Meli Cafe

Restaurants, Contemporary American Greektown
3 out of 5 stars
Meli Cafe
Meli Cafe

Mornings at Meli appear to be the epitome of a picture-perfect breakfast: Fresh juices, such as the thick and frothy apple, are made to order. The hefty “Meli’s omelet,” stuffed with shallots, pancetta and chives, is proudly made with Phil’s “free farmed” eggs. “Meli toast,” the signature French toast (pictured), is drizzled with honey and encased in a thick custard made crispy on the griddle. Marmalades, house-made and “seasonal” (though the strawberry version we were served suggests otherwise), are a little watery; still, your toast could do much worse. Together, it’s as solid a breakfast as any boy could ask for. Until, that is, that boy starts asking for something less solid and a little more exciting.

And that’s bound to happen, because this menu is too familiar to keep one’s attention for very long. Lunch, comprised of soups, savory crêpes, wraps and sandwiches, is just as simple as breakfast, but less successful. Split-pea soup is adequately flavorful but thin and spiked with overly fatty cubes of ham. A “carver” sandwich touts house-roasted beef, but much of it is dry and gristly. And while there’s nothing wrong with the spinach crêpes, there’s also nothing terribly right about them either; they’re simply inoffensive. The sunny room and cheery service lessen the blow—but breakfast is clearly where this spot shines.

By: David Tamarkin


Venue name: Meli Cafe
Address: 301 S Halsted St
Cross street: at Jackson Blvd
Opening hours: Breakfast, lunch
Transport: El stop: Blue to UIC/Halsted. Bus: 7, 8, 60, 126.
Price: Average main course: $10
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