Ema

4.7
1892 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Mediterranean
Mediterranean & California-inspired restaurant featuring small plates & light style cooking in Chicago's River North.

What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
7.7

_ma is a small plates Mediterranean restaurant in River North, and it's good for a lot of occasions.

Ratings 7.5-8.0:These are restaurants that are reliable, tasty, and particularly good for whatever we have deemed them “Perfect For.” Hit up a 7.7 for Date Night with confidence, as long as you don’t need the restaurant to be the most interesting thing that happens that night.
What 1892 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.6
service
4.6
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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FF
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome! Great Restaurant!!!

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SS
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

my favorite! AMAZING food! great service! great wine and cocktail choices as well!

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JP
Columbus
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Overall amazing. I have celiac and had no reaction - this place was amazing for GF!!!! I loved everything I ate but the lamb kebab was FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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AV
Los Angeles
7 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great vibes here! Everything is shareable and delicious. I recommend the eggplant hummus, the lamb shakshuka, and the blueberry pancake (forgot the menu name) for brunch. Looking forward to coming back and trying something new!

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MR
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a wonderful dinner at Ema this past weekend. All of the food was thoughtfully prepared, with real attention to detail, and we very much appreciated the vegetable-forward skew of the menu. The ambiance was also wonderful -- not too loud, well-lit, comfortable seating, + visually appealing. Would definitely recommend.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

This was so phenomenal! Will definitely be a regular customer

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KM
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First time visiting Ema and we LOVED it. We enjoyed several items from the brunch menu including a delicious frittata and the king salmon kebab. We will definitely be adding this to our regular rotation when heading to River North.

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OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Great food. Both myself and sister in law are gluten and dairy I tolerate and we both enjoyed many options. Only wish you would have gluten free bread similar to your non gluten free bread. Crackers were only ok. Thanks for a lovely experience!

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S
Chicago
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Healthy and innovative Mediterranean cuisine!
Desserts and wines are great too.

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J
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great and helpful waiter staff. The food and drinks were on point.

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A
Chicago
17 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fresh and innovative food, good service, with my compliments to our server’s patience in the face of one of our party being difficult. Will go again soon again.

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f
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Met some friends for lunch at Ema. Was seated right away. The wait staff was excellent as was the food and seasonal beverages. Great location and ambiance in the restaurant. It was my first time there and I will definitely be back!

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing service. Waiters truly care if you enjoy your food and want what’s best. Amazing food too

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G
Chicago
10 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A fresh take on Mediterranean dishes! The spicy Hummus is excellent with nice soft pita bread. The dishes are shareable which makes it easy to try a few. All the vegetables are great, with nice seasoning! The “ toothpick lamb” was a winner, but really all plates were flavorful and tasty. Also a nice selection on Mediterranean Wines!

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GE
Chicago
185 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The hummus with lamb ragu and the perfectly cooked octopus were huge hits.

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r
Chicago
15 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

Second time dining at Ema. First time we had a great server, funny, professional and very accommodating. This past Wednesday night, our server was rude. There were 4 of us and my dinner was still not served 15 minutes after the others in my party received their food. When I flagged our server and asked, she didn’t even talk directly to me... or come to our table... from across the room, she shouted, “ our dinners are prepared one at a time, so yours is still in the kitchen “. What? No, “ let me check” or “ I’m so sorry”
It only takes one bad apple.
We had one vegetarian with us... I asked if they had tofu.. Our server said, “” we have never had tofu!” But she didn’t make any suggestions.
Not in a hurry to go back.

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LD
Chicago
1 review
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was so flavorful. It had depth as well as was pleasing in appearance. I would highly recommend Ema to anyone and everyone I know.

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AY
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food at Ema was a delicious elevation of some classic middle-eastern/home-style cooking with a twist. I'll return to order the fire roasted eggplant and the salmon kabobs again!

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PT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on April 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food. Small portions gives you the opportunity to trial several meals.

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OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on April 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

we’re visiting from Seattle and had so many recs for Ema— it did not disappoint! So many items to choose from & all delicious.

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l
Chicago
25 reviews
Dined on April 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Delicious food and a wonderful server. Will definitely return.

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C
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always love stopping by with my guy for brunch or a late bite...Food is amazing and the Cocktails are just as delicious...

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OT
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place

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L
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had an excellent meal here - very unique and delicious take on middle eastern/Greek food. And the staff were all friendly and helpful.

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OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food. Our mouths were happy. Love the options. Fast service too.

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MR
Chicago
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We really loved everything about our meal and experience other than the light level. It felt very bright in there for a 9:15pm dinner. I'd have dimmed the lights lower. It's the only thing anyone at our table took exception to. The food was EXCELLENT.

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J
Chicago
8 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Very good Mediterranean food. Everything was well done and the service was spot on.

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M
Chicago
299 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Wonderful small plates to choose from. The atmosphere of the restaurant is lively and welcoming. The food was wonderful. The especially loved the grilled octopus. My husband said his lamb kebob was very good and came with rice. really the larger type plates are a full entrée. As always at tapas restaurants you order more than you need but here it is worth it!!! The pita bread is the best I have ever had and you can keep asking for more. You need it to use with all the delicious spreads they have. It's a must go to restaurant!!!!

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were a party of six, and decided to share everything. The dishes were fantastic. We loved especially the lamb hummus, butternut squash risotto, spicy toothpick lamb, the octopus, the stracciatella salad, and the lentils. The pita they serve is a delicious accompaniment. Our cocktails and wine were also great (I loved my mezcal-based “Smoking Jacket”.) Our server, Dana, was wonderful and attentive. We’ll definitely be back!

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t
Denver
39 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were in Chicago for a conference and EMA was recommended by a friend of ours. Made the reservation and headed over there when we got into town. We had a 6:15 reservation and the place was already in full swing for service. We always love the restaurants that focus on small plates and EMA did not disappoint. So many appetizers to chose from but settled on the Roasted Eggplant (with some awesome pita bread) followed by amazing Leek Soup and then Risotto and Walleye fish. The menu is amazing and will not disappoint. We had honey pie for dessert - what a great idea! This is a keeper and can't wait to get back there again! What an enjoyable food experience!

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BR
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

The portions were so small that sharing a plate of something was too small to get a good taste of. Overpriced. Drinks were well mixed but again all ice in many of them and a small quantity of the mixed drink itself. Very good service.

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WD
Milwaukee
4 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and service were excellent. Will be coming back soon.

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p
Chicago
23 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great menu selection. Portion size is ideal for trying many different flavors.

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BI
1 review
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had some friends in from out of town and I had been to Ema before moved it, so they wanted to try it. We got a corner table, so it was easy for us to have a conversation. The wine was great, small plates to share were wonderful, especially the eggplant spread, brussel sprouts, and lamb hummus. We will be back. great evening.

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DK
Chicago
1 review
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 2

Noisy, bustling place serving interesting food and wine. A few of the dishes we ordered were outstanding, the rest were good.

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SH
Chicago
1 review
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Such great, delicious food. Plenty of options for vegetarians, which isn't always the case. Great atmosphere - well enough lit to make it feel bright and happy, but not so much it felt overly casual.

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h
Chicago
17 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The manager and several others apologized when we had to wait for 5 minutes beyond our reservation time. They couldn’t have been nicer. Service was outstanding and food fabulous.

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SG
Chicago
1 review
Dined on April 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Overall I thought the food was excellent but there were a few flaws. Two of the dishes were a little bit too salty. One of the dishes, beets with mascarpone, although tasted very good I thought mascarpone was the wrong cheese to serve in this dish because it’s too thick.

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S
1 review
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Nice place, nice ambience, good food and good family place. Great service and very friendly staff.

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F
Chicago
47 reviews
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Overall the food was very good. Especially the Salmon and Chicken kebabs, which were cooked to perfection. Salad was good too, but tomatoes a bit mushy.
Service was extremely good. Low=key. Professional.
Overall, a lovely evening

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