Ema

4.7
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2328 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Mediterranean

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Good Vegetarian Options
Mediterranean & California-inspired restaurant featuring small plates & light style cooking in Chicago's River North.
What 2328 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
4.5
service
4.6
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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SA
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined a day ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love Ema. It's so great for both work lunches, and for a night with friends and family. Consistently great food....seasonal dishes are great.

p
New York Area
14 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 2

This restaurant has an attitude problem. Our server was great but the rest of the staff are snooty. Keeping people from their table until the entire party arrives is not a welcoming gesture.

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent seasonal brunch menu. A bit pricey but outstanding quality and fantastic service.

MJ
Milwaukee
9 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place for brunch! Everything we ordered was delicious and different.

MG
Kansas City
6 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our first time here and we will definitely be back. Mina was an outstanding server, she did an amazing job explaining the menu and pointing out favorites. The food was DELICIOUS!! We are so happy we chose Ema

AA
Chicago
23 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 2food 5service 2ambience 1

Unfortunately ema was not what I expected. The food was delicious but far too sweet. Lebaneh does not usually include honey and neither does cauliflower.
We went for our anniversary and we were seated at an extremely small and uncomfortable table. When I complained, the table was quickly changed, but I was already aggravated.
Halibut was delicious but tiny portion.
Dessert was divine, I must say.
The restaurant was Very loud and the service at the bar was inattentive .
I’m not sure what the ambiance was supposed to be, but it wasn’t meant for me.

MW
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely meal out with friends. Service was excellent with attention to all of our dietary needs. Really enjoyed our evening. Too bad that we are only visiting... would like to return!

JB
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and ambiance. Fantastic drink menu. Highly recommended

FT
New England
12 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic experience. Food was excellent and staff very knowledgeable in regards to my wife’s gluten allergy. Best meal we had during our Chicago trip.

AJ
Detroit
4 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Ema was a great blend of casual atmosphere with fine dining. The avocado-sweet pea spread, sweet corn risotto, and brussel sprouts were stand-outs. Outstanding selection of vegetarian options.

SL
Los Angeles
9 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

I first dined at Ema last month on a whim...we had just checked in to our hotel located a couple blocks away and were looking for a place to have a late lunch and just happened to walk by Ema. As we sat down I learned it was CJ Jacobson's establishment and because I knew of his fine work in various kitchens in the Los Angeles area, I was confident that I was probably in store for a nice meal. Ema did not disappoint. Great food and beverages, service that was generally on point and a comfortable environment all at a very approachable price point. The menu is fairly straightforward for a Mediterranean/Israeli restauant but everything we had was prepared with a freshness and brightness you don't often see at other establishments. I often tire of the "latest and greatest" or the "special event" restaurants as they are too ofen, too fussy or precious for their own good. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy those type of places but visit only on occasion (and as aside, stop it already with the hot new restauranst where securing a reservation is an ordeal or requires you to wait in line for hours for a table...the reality is most of these joints will vanish before you know it after the hype is gone). On the other hand, we need more restaurants like Ema...establishments where the operation is just plain rock solid...across the board! if I lived in the Chicago area, Ema would definitely be on my list of "regular spots" to nosh. Yesterday my wife and I had brunch at Ema before heading back to the airport. It was simple and delicious...just what the doctor ordered after a ruckus, albeit fun, college football weekender. My only complaint about Ema is they don't have a location in my home town. Chicago is a wonderful city and I look forward to my next visit to the Windy City, and of course to Ema. Well done!

LH
Chicago
22 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was fantastic
Our waitress was the best ever

MP
Chicago
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 4

Was there Oct 12, 2019. Food and beverages were very good. A little noisy but not so much that you couldn't have a conversation. Server was not any good. Kept forgetting items, didn't know the menu, overall poor server. Would go back, just would not accept the server we had.

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

Amazing food!

LL
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have a ton of food allergies and the waiter was very patient and accommodating! Excellent service :)

CW
Seattle
8 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We really enjoyed our food at Ema! Great place for vegetarians and people who like Fish! The ambience is awesome a dour waiter was very attentive and explained the menu very well ! Nice wine list ! Would highly recommend !

OT
Austin
3 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Amazing birthday celebration here. Wonderful complimentary dessert with a little candle. Order the charred eggplant - so good!

RB
1 review
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The seafood was delicious. Our server was attentive and pleasant.

DR
Chicago
88 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Having been attracted by the menu we enjoyed our first dinner at Ema. The array of interesting flavors and innovative dishes made this a fun dining experience. The room is inviting if a bit crowded, and our service was efficient and friendly. Definitely worth another visit.

OT
1 review
Dined on October 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Stunningly good. Food was amazing and our server outstanding. I was doing some work in Chicago and Ema held up well to any of the upper end med. restaurants in NYC

C
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service and the server did a great job of adapting the menu to my dietary needs.

J
Chicago
16 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A very nice lunch. Everything is always delicious and the service is prompt and friendly. One of our favorite places!

JH
Chicago
31 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ema is a really great spot to meet and share with friends small, medium and large plates of food made with Mediterranean tastes. The ambience is easy and congenial. The servers are wonderful and keep plates coming with a nice pacing. Wine and cocktail selections are concise. Recently a wonderful Rose and a special cocktail were offered with proceeds going to support Breast Cancer research. (The Rose was really good!) I’ve dined here several times and look forward to going back again and again!

OT
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 5

Really great! Could have used more explanation from the server as we had not been there before and didn’t know what to expect.

m
New York Area
24 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious brunch. Great service. Fun ambiance.

AK
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ema is delicious!!! We have gone several times and it is always fresh and amazing.

GS
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went for a birthday with a group of 9 and everything was great! Will definitely be going back based on both food and service!

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on October 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Like the spicy hummus, my experience was excellent.

AM
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

The food was good and waitress was wonderful.
The host needs to be a lot friendlier and courteous.
We had a reservation and there was still a wait. That’s no ones fault but hostess was quite rude about it. That was disappointing.

OT
1 review
Dined on October 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent fresh delicious

HK
Chicago
1 review
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was my third visit and did not disappoint. I will continue to go to Ema. The food is seriously amazing and its a great value. Our server this time was Zach and he was exceptional. Went above and beyond more than once.

FM
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 4ambience 2

It felt like the temperature in the restaurant was over 100 degrees. It made it impossible to enjoy the experience.

SL
Atlanta
6 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was inventive and delicious, we particularly enjoyed the grilled octopus and the beets and berry salad.

LI
Acapulco
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Impressive mediterranean food. The wine, from Oregon, was new and a nice surprise. Outstanding service!

LC
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Consistently great food and service! Excellent wine list with wine that is a good value.

SM
Richmond
9 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food and service were outstanding. The appetizer spreads were beyond delicious except for a touch too much oil. The portions are on the small side but so filling that more would be superfluous. The accompanying pita was fresh, chewy and had a luscious dusting of spices. The brussel sprouts were perfectly cooked with a tinge of sweetness and browned surfaces. Service was efficient, friendly and professional. I will definitely be back!

SK
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 1

The food was just alright. The ambience was generic and I was unimpressed. After seeing this restaurant on Check Please!, I thought it would be a great food experience and I was disappointed.

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We drive 40 mile to just have dinner at Ema. Delicious food and friendly service!

AA
Dallas
15 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Every bite of every plate was delicious! The flavors were amazing! We were a party of 5 and shared 8 small plates-spicy hummus, stracciatella, sweet corn risotto, cauliflower, green falafel, Brussel sprouts, salmon kebab, grilled chicken kebab- and then finished up with the sticky date cake. It was perfect! Out of everything, the chicken kebab was the only one that lacked a little flavor, but adding the chutney made up for it. All in all, this was a great experience & look forward to going back!

OT
Chicago
34 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ema was recommended by a friend to try out as something new in River North and it was delicious! We were a party of three and ordered several appetizers ranging from the stracciatella mozzarella, hearty falafel and tasty kebabs. Overall, the ambiance is inviting and the food is excellent. Loved the service and would certainly dine here again.

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