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Ema - Ema, Chicago, IL

Ema

4.7
4.7
3408 Reviews
$31 to $50
Mediterranean
A Mediterranean & California-inspired restaurant featuring small plates & Chef CJ Jacobson's lighter style cooking in Chicago's River North.

Make a reservation

2 people

9:30 PM


Booked 193 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Other options

  • Order online
  • Logo image for Uber Eats

Additional information

  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Cuisines

    Mediterranean, Californian

  • Hours of operation

    Lunch Mon–Fri 11:00 am–4:00 pm Brunch Sat, Sun 11:00 am–3:00 pm Dinner Mon–Thu 4:00 pm–10:00 pm Fri, Sat 3:00 pm–11:00 pm Sun 3:00 pm–9:00 pm

  • Phone number

    (312) 527-5586

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Dress code

    Casual Dress

  • Executive chef

    CJ Jacobson

  • Catering

    Enjoy Ema Catering for your next event at home, in the office, or for your next celebration! Contact emaparties@leye.com for more information.

  • Private party facilities

    The open and inviting dining room features reclaimed wood, rustic white brick and an indoor ivy terrace with operable windows. The dining room accommodates groups up to 150 guests and may be custom configured for your next family-style dinner, business lunch or cocktail reception event.

  • Neighborhood

    River North (Chicago)

  • Cross street

    Clark & Illinois

  • Parking details

    Valet parking is located just east of Ema on Illinois Street at the Hyatt Place/Fairfield Inn valet. It costs $21 for 3 hours with validation, and increases to $45 after 3 hours. Discounted garage parking is also available for $12 Friday - Sunday at Greenway Garage (60 W. Kinzie) and street parking is available daily.

  • Public transit

    Red Line Stop at Grand / Blue Line Stop at Clark

  • Additional

    Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Counter Seating, Delivery, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Gift card

Gift card

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Popular dishes

What 3,408 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.7
4.7 based on recent ratings
  • 4.7Food
  • 4.5Service
  • 4.7Ambience
  • 4.4Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • Chicago / Illinois

    Mediterranean

  • Chicago

    Most Booked

Sort by

Filters

  1. KF

    KerryF

    Chicago

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined today

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Had a great lunch! Love the hand crafted cocktails and the sampler platter you can’t wrong.
  2. S

    Samsmith

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined 1 day ago

    overall1food5service1ambience1
    Got to Ema 20 minutes prior to my reservation and I was told it was fine to enjoy happy hour at the bar while they prepare the table. 5 minutes after ordering a drink from happy hour, the waitress informed me the table was ready. When I sit, the happy hour server literally came up to me angry saying that my drink will be charged as normal price, not the happy hour price if I sit at the table where the first server conducted me to. I said I’ll finish my drink at the bar and come back to the reserved table, but then I was told that when I leave the table, my reservation is automatically cancelled so I’d lose my spot. I asked another lady and she confirmed that was the restaurant’s policy. While I was trying to process the information, the waiter rushed to return the menu from our table and conducted me to the hotel lobby right next to the bar. Terrible service.
  3. JC

    JenniferC

    Chicago

    3 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    amazing food in a beautiful space. great for hosting a VIP dinner :)
  4. S

    Sunny

    Chicago

    19 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    19 reviews

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall4food4service2ambience4
    Lovely way to spend a Sunday evening. The server unfortunately wasn’t the best as she wasn’t particularly attentive and also didn’t know a whole lot about the menu. Kind of felt like she was just reading off of it and didn’t really have any good recommendations. Also felt that when she came to the table to fill the water etc. she was not able to stand out a deal reasonable distance and bumped up against the guests at the table. Was a little bit awkward
  5. AR

    AndreaR

    New England

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    I brought my brother and his (now) fiancee to Ema after he proposed to her to celebrate, and the staff was so welcoming and made them feel extra special!! The food was delicious and they gave them complimentary prosecco for a toast, and an incredible frozen Greek yogurt with a candle in it!
  6. S

    Susankk

    Houston

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience3
    Loved the food, The sea bass was excellent and so was the cauliflower salad, and the broccoli side dish. The dessert wasn’t one of my favorites though. Didn’t really care for the rice pudding. And I didn’t like the yogurt ice cream. My family however, loved the the yogurt ice cream. Matter of taste I guess.
  7. MS

    MicheleS

    Seattle

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall5food5service4ambience4
    The food was outstanding. Great shareable plates. Hummus and grilled octopus a real stand out!
  8. C

    Chantelle

    Chicago

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall5food5service3ambience3
    food was perfect and we were able to make almost everything on their small bites menu vegan
  9. EG

    ElizabethGE

    Chicago

    3 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    3 reviews

    Dined 4 days ago

    overall4food5service3ambience5
    Food was delicious but the service was poor. We would have had more food and drinks but it took too long for the waitress to come around
  10. HJ

    HaileyJ

    Chicago

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 4 days ago

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    We shared a bunch of small plates, very tasty, get the hummus with lamb Ragu and the mezcal cocktail!
  11. SS

    SoniaS

    New York Area

    1 review

    vip
    2.0

    1 review

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall2food2service3ambience3
    Food was pretty mediocre. I would not go back or recommend
  12. PK

    PaulaK

    San Francisco

    3 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great food, drinks, service and location! Order the Brussels sprouts, you will not regret it!
  13. FW

    FredW

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    The atmosphere and tapas were great for a group dinner. We enjoyed sharing MANY of the menu options. All were delicious.
  14. TT

    TrinidadT

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 1, 2022

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    The food was amazing. I definitely will be back for the dinner menu!
  15. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    1 review

    vip
    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 1, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The food was EXCELLENT, and our server, Diego, was extremely efficient, courteous, and kind! Will dine here again!
  16. BY

    BobbieY

    Chicago

    60 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    60 reviews

    Dined on August 1, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The food here is always amazing. We shared the grilled branzino last night. Wish i was going there again tonight.
  17. MD

    MarcyD

    Chicago

    30 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    30 reviews

    Dined on July 31, 2022

    overall4food4service4ambience4
    Goff was really good! Great choices!
  18. E

    Elaine

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 31, 2022

    overall5food4service4ambience5
    It was lovely to sit on the terrace and enjoy the delicious flavors. I especially enjoyed the beet salad and brussel sprouts. The hostess was able to update our reservation and seat us early, which was very helpful. Service was great even though they were very busy.
  19. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    3 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on July 31, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great food and excellent service by Jen.
  20. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on July 31, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Best. food. ever.
  21. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 30, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    I took my three friends who were visiting from Michigan and they absolutely loved it. We celebrated my friends birthday and appreciated the complementary dessert.
  22. DO

    DaynaO

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 29, 2022

    overall4food5service5ambience4
    The bread was really really really good. Get the bread.
  23. BN

    BNez

    Chicago

    9 reviews

    4.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on July 29, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience5
    Wanted to try for quite some time. Healthy mediterranean food with interesting taste twists on some items. Ordered 4 apps and sides, 3 main courses. Meat and foul kebobs, hummus, crispy potatoes, stracciatella, brussel sprouts. Halibut was pretty teeny for the cost with nothing more than 4 2 inch slivers of blackened artichokes on the plate. If it were me I'd put some rice on the plate. Good zero and alcoholic cocktail choices. Pomegranate Backsplash was refreshing. Decor was light, clean, restful and background music did not overwhelm the conversation. Reservation at 3:30 perfect for non crowding and good spacing of patrons. We were not rushed out and service was seamless. Summer indoor outdoor restaurant complete with birds flying inside. Generally can't go wrong with any L.E.Y. restaurants.
  24. FS

    FinaS

    Chicago

    20 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    20 reviews

    Dined on July 29, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Found Ema on Instagram and completely enjoyed my experience the food was amazing. The drinks are not they delicious but the food really made up for the lack thereof. I will be returning.
  25. AF

    AFrances

    Chicago

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 28, 2022

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    Restaurant is spacious and nicely designed. The food was GREAT and will definitely be back again.
  26. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New York Area

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 27, 2022

    overall2food2service1ambience3
    Friends gathering after not seeing one another for a long time. We marked it was a special occasion in the reservation. But you would have never know, no one said or did a thing. After we sat down, The server brought the champagne we ordered and then we couldn’t find her to place our order. The food came from a food runner, our last dish was so late we had already nearly finished dishes 1,2,3. The bread in the tomato salad was so stale, so dry it was impossible to put a fork in it - the tomatoes were not fresh. The falafels were so spicy we decided not to eat them - I adore falafels when they are authentic, The mezze sampler looked like a tablespoon was thrown down on the plate for each selection - the plate tasted good but missed the authenticity of flavour. We finished our champagne and wanted a glass of wine, looked for our server for such a long time we finally flagged down another server. The wine came, server was pleasant but she never came back to our table once the food was delivered. A customer at the table next to us - back up into the bar server who was delivering our wine and hit his tray spilling all the other drinks over us and another table. Poor guy, it was just awful. The manager came with a mop that smelled so badly of mold we were gagging but he didn’t seem to notice. We enjoyed our wine and searched for our server again for such a long time, we finally decided to leave - we had to ask a bus boy outside to come and take our plates away. Our server NEVER came back to the table !!! We had to ask another server for our check it was so absurd.
  27. L

    Lisa

    Chicago

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on July 26, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Ema provided very nice dinner atmosphere from table seething to the service. We were very happy with the food. The spicy Hummus was excellent. Fish was fresh and well prepared. Highly recommend.
  28. GB

    GeorgianaB

    Orlando

    7 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on July 25, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The best Mediterranean food I’ve ever had. We started with the hummus, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts. Had the salmon kabobs for our entree. Everything was fantastic and full of flavor. Will definitely visit next time we’re in Chicago!
  29. DH

    DottyH

    Chicago

    11 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on July 25, 2022

    overall4food4service4ambience4
    The food and service was great. Good place to go with a group for lots of plate sharing. Went on a Monday evening and there was great energy. Entire Clark Street was busy and it felt really positive that so many people were out enjoying themselves. Would recommend Ema. Very delicious.
  30. AK

    AlexK

    Denver

    11 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on July 25, 2022

    overall5food5service4ambience4
    We had a wonderful experience. The food was remarkable and truly a good value. Service was generally attentive, but there were a couple times when we were waiting on wine refills, plates to be switched out, etc. We would pay Ema another visit during our next trip to Chicago.
  31. LO

    LakeO

    Portland

    14 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    14 reviews

    Dined on July 24, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    All the dishes were fabulous! Outdoor seating was charming. Staff very nice & experienced! Our server had been there 4 years & she was one of the newer staff. Family owned. Yummy dishes included salmon skewer, Greek salad,lebneh ? Chicken skewers, both mocktails, frozen yogurt & honey pie desert! Sticky date cake was so good too! Go!! Don’t hesitate!
  32. KH

    KateH

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 24, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Loved my experience at Ema. The service was great and my whole party had a great time. Would definitely go back again.
  33. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 23, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great service and spectacular food
  34. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 20, 2022

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    Great food as always. Balanced menu options for each taste preference.
  35. r

    rddf

    Dallas

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on July 19, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We sat outside. The food was delicious, and our server was outstanding. This is one of our new “go to” places in Chicago.
  36. MD

    MelindaD

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 19, 2022

    overall3food3service3ambience3
    Sorry to say, the food was just okay. If you are familiar with middle eastern food you will be disappointed by the lack of fresh flavors (bland), as well as unbalance of seasoning. Service was ambivalent, no inquiries of needs or added dishes / beverages. Accommodations disappointing because big place was far from crowded, yet we were put closely next to tables with no consideration of comfort and health safety.
  37. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    6 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on July 19, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great food and service
  38. M

    Megsy

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 17, 2022

    overall3food3service2ambience3
    The appetizers were yummy. We had the fish roe spread and a version of hummus. Both very good. The feta and olives were uninspired as was the cauliflower. Our service was initially very solicitous and then disappeared for most of the meal. We wanted to order more drinks but she disappeared until the meal was over. Place was ok. Go to Aba instead.
  39. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 16, 2022

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    Fantastic food. Server didn’t refill our water. Will definitely go back.
  40. DL

    DLG823

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 15, 2022

    overall4food3service3ambience5
    Fun atmosphere. Our waiter surprised us with a delicious dessert for our anniversary. The halibut was very salty and there were bones in the branzino, but the roasted brussel sprouts alone are worth coming back for.

Safety precautions

  • Cleaning & sanitizing

    • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
    • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
    • Common areas deep-cleaned daily
  • Screening

    • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace

FAQs

You can order delivery directly from Ema using the Order Online button. Ema also offers delivery in partnership with Uber Eats. Ema also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (312) 527-5586.

Ema is rated 4.7 stars by 3408 OpenTable diners.

Ema does offer gift cards which you can purchase here.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

9:30 PM


Booked 193 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Other options

  • Order online
  • Logo image for Uber Eats
Google Map for Ema

74 West Illinois Street, Chicago, IL 60654

Additional information

  • Cross street

    Clark & Illinois

  • Neighborhood

    River North (Chicago)

  • Hours of operation

    Lunch Mon–Fri 11:00 am–4:00 pm Brunch Sat, Sun 11:00 am–3:00 pm Dinner Mon–Thu 4:00 pm–10:00 pm Fri, Sat 3:00 pm–11:00 pm Sun 3:00 pm–9:00 pm

  • Cuisines

    Mediterranean, Californian

  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Dress code

    Casual Dress

  • Parking details

    Valet parking is located just east of Ema on Illinois Street at the Hyatt Place/Fairfield Inn valet. It costs $21 for 3 hours with validation, and increases to $45 after 3 hours. Discounted garage parking is also available for $12 Friday - Sunday at Greenway Garage (60 W. Kinzie) and street parking is available daily.

  • Public transit

    Red Line Stop at Grand / Blue Line Stop at Clark

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Executive chef

    CJ Jacobson

  • Additional

    Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Counter Seating, Delivery, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

  • Phone number

    (312) 527-5586

  • Catering

    Enjoy Ema Catering for your next event at home, in the office, or for your next celebration! Contact emaparties@leye.com for more information.

  • Private party facilities

    The open and inviting dining room features reclaimed wood, rustic white brick and an indoor ivy terrace with operable windows. The dining room accommodates groups up to 150 guests and may be custom configured for your next family-style dinner, business lunch or cocktail reception event.

Gift card

Gift card

Send gift cards instantly by email or print to present in person.

Send a gift card
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