Ai Japanese Restaurant and Lounge
358 W Ontario St.
Chicago, IL 60654Neighborhood:
River North (Chicago)
JapanesePrice: $31 to $50
Ai Japanese Restaurant and Lounge
- Dining Style: Casual Elegant
- Website: http://www.aichicago.us/
- Phone: 3123359888
- Hours of Operation:
Mon-Thu 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Fri 5:00pm to 11:00pm
Sat 5:00pm to 11:00pm
Sun 5:00pm to 11:00pm
Lounge open late night for special events
- Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,JCB,MasterCard,Visa
- Cuisine: Sushi, Japanese
- Executive Chef: Toyoji Hemmi
- Dress Code: Casual Dress
- Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
- Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Delivery, Entertainment, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
- Catering: Various off site catering options are available. Traditional Japanese lunch boxes, platters for conferences or meetings, banquets with chef, and more. Please call for more info.
- Private Party Facilities: Our semi-private, dimly lit lounge can be rented out for special occasions. Please contact for more information.
- Private Party Contact: Sandy Lim 3123359888
- Entertainment: SUN:All You Can Eat, $31.95
MON:1/2 price bottles of wine, sake and select apps
THU:$3 Sapporo Drafts & Hot Sake
EVERYDAY: Lounge menu consisting of small plates from $3-5 offered in lounge.
- Special Events: SUN:All You Can Eat, $31.95
MON:1/2 price bottles of wine, sake and select apps
THU:$3 Sapporo Drafts & Hot Sake
EVERYDAY: Lounge menu consisting of small plates from $3-5 offered in lounge
A word from Ai Japanese Restaurant and Lounge
Ai Japanese Restaurant, the hottest sushi bar in River North, features Chicago’s only sake bar, offering sakes from various prefectures of Japan. A unique variety of sushi and sake flights are signatures to Ai. The softly lit lounge with a warm fireplace provides an intimate setting for a relaxing cocktail. Open for lunch Monday to Friday, and late night on Friday and Saturday. Carryout and delivery are welcome.Continued
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Ai Japanese Restaurant and Lounge reviews from OpenTable diners
- Always GreatOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 5/12/2013This is my third trip to Ai Japanese (the second for Mother's Day). The food is always good, although it took a little long to get some of our dishes. Our waitress was friendly, a little shy but that's alright. She took her time taking our orders and was very patient with our party. Overall I love this place and will always recommend it for all sushi loversSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Very good Japanese restaurantLarrydermVIPDined on 4/30/2013Very good Japanese restaurant to which we returned a second time during a visit to Chicago. There is a wide selection of sushi, and the ones we ordered were well-made. The service is commendable.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- There were a couple Maki rollsOpenTable Diner Since 2006Dined on 4/27/2013There were a couple Maki rolls that were tasty but over half our selection were bland compared to the same rolls at other favorite Sushi restaurants (i.e. Coast, RA...). Our biggest issue was the street parking. After 6pm on Saturday no paid receipts were required (even though we tried, the machine was nice enough to say not required). We received 2 parking tickets due to 'Permit Required' even though we did not see any signs stating the requirement...turned our downtown birthday dinner into a very expensive night out!
- Went there for lunch for myOpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 4/9/2013Went there for lunch for my husband's bday with a couple of friends - great place, at 1pm it was super quiet and cozy. Sushi was excellent and my hubby got an extra bday treat - highly recommend it!Special Features:
- Great...butOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 4/4/2013Food was great! Service was great! Amazing sushi! We went very close to close and they were very accompdating. Only problem was, my credit card was charged for my bill and a other tables bill! When I called to notify them I was just told to wait for the charge to be reversed. And a brush off "sorry about that." How about exceeding my expectations? How about making it up to the customer for an inconvenience?
- I love this place for sushiSheaVIPDined on 4/3/2013I love this place for sushi lunch. It's the best value in the city for the freshest sushi. Service is great. Easy to get a table at lunch.Special Features:
- If u don't have mango offerOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 3/20/2013If u don't have mango offer to replace it by strawberry Its even betterDelicious signature sushisSpecial Features:
- Cool lounge area but we wereGinapic21Dined on 3/20/2013Cool lounge area but we were the only ones in there. Lounge is hidden because it is in the rear of the restaurant. Only complaint was that everyone's meals came out at different times.Special Features:
- This was my second visit toA1foodieDined on 3/16/2013This was my second visit to AI and it did not disappoint. Due to a total absence of available taxis on that night, I had to walk a great distance to arrive and was running. They were nice about accomodating us. The ingredients were fresh and flavorful. The presentation was beautiful. Our server, Ronn, was kind and timely.Special Features:
- Beautifully prepared and presentedMDSchicagoVIPDined on 3/8/2013Beautifully prepared and presented maki and sushi specialties in a mellow River North setting. The saki flights are an excellent way to sample and build your expertise in the nuances of saki.Special Features:
- Say Hi to AiA1foodieDined on 2/25/2013Our server Ronn knew the menu well and made fantastic recommendations. The ingredients were very fresh and just the right blend of flavors to have a party in our mouths. I do wish they offered more wine by the glass for those who are wine drinkers, but the Malbec I had was sufficient. It was my first visit to Ai, but I enjoyed the food very much and plan to soon return.Special Features:
- Me and my friends thoroughlyOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 2/23/2013Me and my friends thoroughly enjoyed the quality of the sushi we received at this place - we all agreed it was some of the best sushi we had in a while. Getting reservations was easy and the service was great.
- It was an enjoyable ambiance.OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIPDined on 2/16/2013It was an enjoyable ambiance. The menu wasn't especially impressive, nor the food that we ordered. It wasn't bad by any means, but I would not spend that amount of money on food if its just mediocre in my opinion. i know people that love this place, and it is absolutely possible i ordered wrong.Special Features:
- We have been to AI in theOpenTable Diner Since 2007Dined on 2/16/2013We have been to AI in the past and have loved it, great food and great atmosphere. Unfortunatly the food was not as good as it was in the past, which was a big disappointment. I am not sure if this was an off night or if they have changed chefs but we are not sure if we will return again.Special Features:
- Best sushi on the planetOpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 2/15/2013The Spicy Hawiian Crab maki roll is now my favorite roll, period! My gf and I went there for our anniversary, and couldn't have had a better experience. As self proclaimed sushi snobs, we have eaten our fair share of sushi at all different kinds of spots. Ai is an absolute treasure. The ambience, service, presentation, and food was superb. The Tabenyaki is also high recommended as long as you don't mind cooking for yourself! LolSpecial Features:
- No better place for Chicago Sushi!!ChicagoDaveDined on 2/14/2013The attention to detail for each plate; sushi, shashimi, maki roll, or something from the kitchen assures you will have a visual feast before the food even touches your lips. And once the food does touch your lips, you will not be disappointed in the taste sensations. The staff is very attentive from the moment you walk in the door, during the meal, and right through until you leave. A friendly place with a touch of class, and even better food.Special Features:
- The ambiance was great, niceOpenTable Diner Since 2008Dined on 2/10/2013The ambiance was great, nice space between tables and not to noisy or hectic. The Sake flights were a nice new twist and the martinis were also very good. An amazing variety of sushi. Everything we tried from the menu was delicious. The Sunday all-you –can-eat special was well worth it.
- It was quite an enjoyableOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 2/7/2013It was quite an enjoyable experience. From cuisine and atmosphere to the service we received from Sam, our waiter, all was great! I would go there again and recommend to others.Special Features:
- Went to Ai for lunch duringOpenTable Diner Since 2008Dined on 2/6/2013Went to Ai for lunch during restaurant week. Everything was pretty solid. They offered a decent variety for restaurant week. Will go back for all you can eat sometime I think. Decor and ambiance is pretty cool. Will give it another shot for sure.Special Features:
- Very nice with good service.TMazDined on 1/26/2013Very nice with good service. Only downside was it seemed that the wine pours were very, very small! Would not go back with such small wine pours for $10/glass.Special Features:
- Excellent quality sushi, myOpenTable Diner Since 2006VIPDined on 1/26/2013Excellent quality sushi, my husband particularly loves the Toro flight. We came for a special occasion!Special Features:
- Try the mozzarella cheeseOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 1/22/2013Try the mozzarella cheese tempura . It's so good! Our server was very attentive and explained each roll.Special Features:
- The atmosphere was very pleasant.OpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 1/13/2013The atmosphere was very pleasant. My toro and o-toro were absolutely phenomenal. The egg custard appetizer was to die for. I enjoyed the sake flight experience also. I appreciated the cocktail menu. A finer selection of white wine may suit this restaurant. Our server was very "green", though pleasant. The noise level allows for fun but was never loud but we went on a slower night of the week it still became quite busy at one point but noise levels remained subdued. By all means, I would return to this restaurant!Special Features:
- The ambiance in the loungetravelledfrombarringtonVIPDined on 1/12/2013The ambiance in the lounge was worrisome. Not very clean and empty. Sushi was outstanding. Not much better in Chicago.Special Features:
- Great service,good food,a must try!JohnsonVIPDined on 1/5/2013We really enjoyed the food and the ambiance of this restaurant, but it was the service that made the evening a memorable experience for us. Our server Juan was very knowledgeable and the entire staff made us feel welcomed. Some of the dishes we loved liked the wasabi filet and the Kobe beef, but others were standard fare that you can get at any decent Japanese restaurant. We did order dessert and they were good but not great. A mix of Japanese style desserts with American influences that didn’t really leave us wowed.(We are true dessert lovers) The martins are very good, loved the lychee tini and the sake tini. We would return here and would recommend it as a great night out.Special Features:
- Solid!OpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 12/29/2012This is one of my favorite restaurants for both special occasions and just a casual night. The sushi is stellar and the tonkatsu ramen is my favorite! Also they have very good and potent cocktails! This time our server wasn't so great but the last couple of times, it has been good. She was a bit negligent with water, and our food, and just hard to flag down in general. You won't regret going here though. The food is good!Special Features:
- On a residential River NorthNoahFVIPDined on 12/6/2012On a residential River North street, there is never that much traffic. The food is decent, but not spectacular. They always have odd promotions (1/2 off happy hour, but limited to the first 5 patrons???), which makes you get the sense that you're just a business deal and not a valued customer. Perhaps this is why it is quiet. The architecture is interesting, and would make for a better bar/lounge. Friendly staff know the menu and can make recommendations. Over all, 3-stars to account for the Food-Quality-&-Quantity-to-Price ratio.Special Features:
- It was the best sushi I haveOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 12/6/2012It was the best sushi I have ever had. The creativity leads to layers of taste that were wonderful. It was a bit expensive yet worth it.Special Features:
- The sushi was very delicious.OpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 11/30/2012The sushi was very delicious. The quality of the sushi was much greater than I expected. Just know that you can not park on the street in front of the restaurant unless you have a permit. highly recommended.
- A Hidden GemOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 11/27/2012Sushi, Negiri and Maki we had, dining at the bar, were excellent and the Ai Signature ones very creative. The impressive list of Sake is an invitation to discover more about the complex fragrances and tastes of the Japanese "wine". Try the Super Flight. We appreciated the quiet, discreet but efficient service. This restaurant would be one of the city's favourite, if it was not suffering from its location too aside from the heart of Downtown
- Excellent service by Lena!OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIPDined on 11/21/2012Excellent service by Lena! Chef choice on sushi, sashimi and rolls. Delicious!Special Features:
- Wonderful food and service.OpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 11/3/2012Wonderful food and service. Beautiful space and a great presentation of food. The service was attentive without being over-bearing. A great place if you want to enjoy a very good dinner and enjoy a conversation.Special Features:
- Noodles GoodOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 11/2/2012Noodles were good, Sushi unimaginative and bland. Staff bordering on overly jolly. Over priced as well.
- Very expensive for the smallOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 10/19/2012Very expensive for the small quantity of food. However, the food quality was very good.
- Don't waste your. Time and moneyOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 9/28/2012I really wanted this place to be awesome. The ambiance is amazing, really cool looking restaurant. However, the food and the service were a joke. We ordered a specific roll and they brought us a different roll. When we brought it up, the server just looked at us like something was wrong. The service was hands down terrible. The server never asked us if wanted any more drinks and never refilled our waters. Like I said, I really wanted this place to be good... I gave it opportunities to be good.... But in spite of my efforts, this restaurant was just not good at all.
- Ai is OKChicagoFoodieVIPDined on 9/22/2012We come to Ai quite often since it is one the better places in Chicago for sushi, sashimi, Maki rolls and some excellent kitchen preparations like the sea bass (despite being endangered species) steaks etc. Chef Hemmi has some creative and artistic Maki rolls. More often than not, the place is quiet enough to easily carry on a conversation. We strongly recommend it.Special Features:
- AI is OKChicagoFoodieVIPDined on 9/1/2012AI is always among the best Japanese placess, great appetizers, creative maki rolls, very fresh fish, excellant kitchen dishes such as sea bass, steakes etc. We go often, and given so many choices for sushi, that says something. Tables well spaced so you can carry on conversations. Service is usually quite good-strongly recomendedSpecial Features:
- I miss Tsuki, but this isOpenTable Diner Since 2006VIPDined on 8/30/2012I miss Tsuki, but this is a pretty good substitute.Special Features:
- our server, sam, was awesome.OpenTable Diner Since 2006Dined on 8/29/2012our server, sam, was awesome. it was our first impression when the host shut the door on our faces, made us wait, and made us feel like an inconvenience. if it werent for sam, we would have left. he made our visit awesome. i love this place, but it was my husbsands first time and he was not so impressed at first, but between sams service and the great food he was won over
- Ai offers and all you canOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 8/26/2012Ai offers and all you can eat sushi special with high quality sushi. You will be hard pressed to find an all you can eat sushi restaurant with such good quality.