What Insiders Are Saying
_ma is a small plates Mediterranean restaurant in River North, and it's good for a lot of occasions.
Mid-week dinner with my best friend to catch-up. We loved the white washed brickwork in the dining room, which helps bring on the California/Mediterranean vibe. We tried a few different plates. The spicy hummus and the shrimp were delicious; the sticky date cake hit the spot. Nice wine selection, especially from regions that are not normally offered at most restaurants.
Not seated at time of reservation
Great meal. Only issue was trying to put 4 people at a small table directly behind the reception area. This was a business meal, with 2 large sized men, so the leather chairs and table structure would not be appropriate.
They were able to relocate pretty easily. Rest of meal was great.
Our server was so helpful with explaining the menu and helped us pick some delicious dishes to sample. The food was fresh and serving portions were just right for sharing.
Amazing meal! The atmosphere was great, very appropriate for a special night out.
The charred eggplant was the favorite of the spreads, we had the salmon kabob and short rib. The kabob and rice were delicious. The short rib was good, I've had better, it was a bit dry. Next time I would order the beef and lamb kefta.THE DRINKS WERE AWESOME. We had 2 dirty martini's OMG, best bartender around.
Every dish was packed with flavor, we finished every bite, starting with a fava spread all the way through a sticky date cake they brought out to celebrate our anniversary. Definitely get the stracciatella; simple but every bite divine. Excellent, appropriately attentive service. We had a fabulous Lebanese wine to top off the meal.
The food was fabulous. I love all the different textures and flavors of the items we ordered.
The server was very helpful and knowledgeable. I will definitely return when I visit Chicago again.
Everything was fantastic!! I sat at the bar and Angela was my server. She was absolutely wonderful! I have a lot of food allergies and she went out of her way to make sure I was accommodated and taken care of. The food was great, service was even better! It was amazing!
Good food and ambience but parking an issue. Service very good.
Excellent service, delicious food!
The food is delicious with many choices for a vegetarian or vegan as well as carnivore or omnivore. The server was knowledgeable and pleasant, not too aggressively friendly ( a pet peeve of mine). We sat outside, as it was a pleasant evening. I'm glad we didn't sit inside, as it is loud and difficult to hear your companions. The noise level will curtail my visits in the winter months.
Always good, always consistent. Love the light mediteranean fare.
I don’t expect anything special but iwhy ask why you’re coming or if you’re celebrating something & then not have anyone bother to even acknowledge it! Seems like a setup for disappointment.
I think you’re better off not asking that question as part of the reservation & no one will care that you don’t say or do anything.... Especially bad form when you’re the host taking someone out to celebrate their ‘whatever’!
LOVED this place! We ended up getting an entirely vegetarian meal. We tried a ton of stuff, it was all exquisitely delicious and very fairly priced. Staff was helpful as well. Will definitely be back!
We absolutely loved Ema. The dishes were inventive, fresh and delicious. Our server also recommended a wine that paired perfectly with our meal. I would go back in a heartbeat.
We had reservations and it was a Monday night so we did not experience any inconvenience in dining at all. Our server was attentive and helped us well for recommendations. Ambiance was great. They were playing house music mostly Kygo the night we were there. The only problem is that parking can be challenging because of the location but we were lucky enough to find street parking.
We had the Greek Salad and Hummus as appetizers. Both were really good. Salad was refreshing with huge chunks of feta cheese, light dressing and fresh ingredients.
For the mains we had the Lamb and Beef Kefta, and Coconut Curry Mussels.
The curry sauce of the mussels went great with the charred bread that came with it. The kefta was moist and well seasoned.
We had Youre a Peach and The Last Don for drinks. Both were fruity and surprisingly strong drinks. Everything was split between 3 girls and we still felt like we had more than enough. Would def recommend and will come back.
An important part of going out to a restaurant is for the service. While the food at Ema is quite good, the service
we had was nowhere close to what came out of the kitchen. And severely diminished the overall experience.
The food, cocktails and wine were, as always, amazing! Despite having a reservation, our table was ridiculously small, especially for shared plates, and awkwardly positioned adjacent to two staff stations. No one should ever be subjected to sitting there, no matter how busy it is. (We’d rather have waited for a legitimate table, and would in future.) Anyway, service was good considering busyness, and the food was sublime, so...
Perfect for Mother's Day . . . great food, no fuss, elegant, amazingly friendly staff/management
What an absolutely exquisite Mothers Day Brunch we had. Our server Emma crushed it with phenomenal service and a mastery of the menu. The spread sampler was bomb the Brussel sprouts were seriously THE BEST I ever ate and the Honey Pie is one of the city's best desserts. They accommodated a seating request I made immediately and were a highlight of Moms Day. Thanks Ema (and Emma)!
Food was really good, service wasn’t great, I had four different people attending to me and I only saw my initial waitress once after we sat down. I had to call for service twice myself, waited 10 minutes with an empty table waiting for the check and only got 1 water refill all dinner.
Delicious food and nice ambiance!
Ema is an incredible place for brunch! Fantastic, diverse breakfast-style options and classic Ema dishes are available. My go-to for catching up with friends!
There was a long delay for us to be seated. It was aggravating. However, the manager personally checked on us several times. He provided some complimentary items. At our table, the server, who had been briefed by the manager to our situation, was especially nice and helpful. The food was outstanding. What could have turned into a bad night was saved by the care and concern of the manager.
My first time at Ema was amazing! I loved the beets and berries!
Waitstaff is excellent including helping choose menu items. Everything is fantastic. Small plates and large plates accommodate anything you are in the mood for.
My husband and I dined here and loved it! I had the bartenders choice for my drink twice and both were very different and delicious. Well done drinks! The charred eggplant spread is amazing! I’d eat that weekly! We loved the octopus and the braised short rib. We will definitely be back. The only downside - they don’t serve their happy hour throughout the restaurant. It’s localized to the bar and a few nearby tables. We didn’t mind not partaking in the happy hour specials but it felt a bit misleading.
We had a wonderful Anniversary dinner. The food was excellent and the service was outstanding. The staff went out of their way to make it a special evening for both of us !!!
Great vibe and excellent food....vibrant without being too loud, delicious combination of flavors, attentive service.
Delicious!! Great for sharing plates! Staff is very friendly and great atmosphere.
Nice casual place innovative cuisine well worth a visit
Delicious food, great atmosphere and a pleasantly varied menu. I'll definitely go again!
The really wasn’t that great. The lamb and beef kefta were very dry. I was highlighting disappointed.
Super fresh products
Inventive and tasty cuisine, served skillfully in a beautiful space. All in all a wonderful time.
We really loved the food we got at Ema. My husband and I shared four plates and they were all delicious!
All of our food was delicious except for the only gluten free dessert, a particularly nasty, sour frozen yoghurt. What’s wrong with ice cream? We had to take our gluten free guest out for dessert afterwards.
The food was delicious, but overall the restaurant is a disappointment, especially for a “Lettuce” restaurant. We felt the food was very overpriced for such small portions and that the somewhat indifferent waiter encouraged over-ordering. Perhaps he had to because of the portion sizes. We have become suspicious of the “small plates/sharing” phenomenon as a way to overcharge.