Ema

4.7
1563 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$31 to $50
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Mediterranean
Mediterranean & California-inspired restaurant featuring small plates & light style cooking in Chicago's River North.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Cuisines
Mediterranean, Californian
icon/ic_clockCreated with Sketch.
Hours of operation
Lunch: Monday - Friday 11:30am - 4:00pm
Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 4:00pm - 11:00pm, Sunday: 4:00pm - 9:00pm
icon/ic_phoneCreated with Sketch.
Phone number
(312) 527-5586
icon/ic_new_windowCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_paymentCreated with Sketch.
Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
icon/ic_dress_codeCreated with Sketch.
Dress code
Casual Dress
icon/ic_chefCreated with Sketch.
Executive chef
CJ Jacobson
icon/ic_neighborhoodCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_cross_streetCreated with Sketch.
Cross street
Clark & Illinois
icon/ic_parking_detailsCreated with Sketch.
Parking details
$15 with restaurant validation. Parking available with Hyatt Place hotel located at 66 W. Illinois.
icon/ic_public_transitCreated with Sketch.
Public transit
Red Line Stop at Grand / Blue Line Stop at Clark
Additional
Bar/Lounge, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Wine

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 1563 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
4.5
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
Sort by
Newest
Filters
L
Chicago
8 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing meal! Great flavors! Can’t wait fo return!

Report
Helpful
OT
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have been to Ema twice before and all three for different occasions. The atmosphere is light and the noise level once seated was not a problem! The food is delicious! Typical for me, I will read the menu but have some difficulty imagining the dish. So I have come to take chances and have never be disappointed!

Aside from the variety of dishes, try the hummus and homemade pita bread. The fried chickpeas are a wonderful touch!

Report
Helpful
AS
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Creative, delicious dishes that can fit all dietary restrictions. Amazing service and great value.

Report
Helpful
WJ
Chicago
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Ema was a fun environment with good food , but nothing spectacular

Report
Helpful
c
Chicago
127 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Really enjoyed the food at Ema. Best choices were the octopus (most tender ever) and the charred eggplant spread. Had to ask for extra bread, but it came no problem. Hummus with mushrooms not so exciting. Toothpick lamb was way too spicy, despite server saying it wasn't.

Report
Helpful
C
Chicago
8 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Awesome option for a lighter dinner in river north at a great value. Delicious flavors always.

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

We came for my sister’s birthday and it was great! Food was great and service was great as well!

Report
Helpful
GR
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic service and delicious Mediterranean-inspired eats at Ema. Plates were small but unique and delicious. Service was kind and attentive. Would strongly recommend.

Report
Helpful
SB
Chicago
23 reviews
Dined on December 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Had a great time at Ema. Really good for vegetarians and lots of choices. Highly recommend the fennel and the soft serve frozen greek yogurt! Yummy! Will definitely return.

Report
Helpful
P
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 2, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

Little dissaponted in the portion size and overall brunch menu choices

Report
Helpful
SF
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

A lot of these dishes combined sweet + salty tastes, which I found cool and interesting but my boyfriend disliked. Really enjoyed the halloumi and spread, but my cauliflower dish was actually a broccoli and the octopus tapas fell a bit flat-- those two were not as imaginative as other dishes, and were more or less exactly as described. It seems like the food experience is largely dependent on ordering the right things.

Report
Helpful
VS
Chicago
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was really good. I would visit this restaurant again.

Report
Helpful
AM
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

How can a restaurant continue to surpass one's last experience which you believe would be the best!!!! This is one of my favorite spots here in Chicago and each and every guest I have taken there has marveled at how wonderful the food is. What also is amazing is that seldom do you see even one guest texting or on their cell phone which says that they too are enjoying the experience they are sharing with their family or friends and welcome no outside interruption. Ema is the best!!!!

Report
Helpful
K
1 review
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 3

Waited 30 minutes from being seated to order drinks/be acknowledged by a waiter, even though the restaurant was not busy at all. The table next to us was also forgotten about and gave up and left out of frustration. Eventually the hostess realized and the manager apologized to us, but still did not offer to comp a part of the meal or give a discount to make up for the inconvenience. We were very gracious and did not make a fuss when we had every right to, but I have never experienced service that inattentive, especially for what ended up being a fairly expensive meal.

Report
Helpful
MD
1 review
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of my favorite restaurants! Thank you! Will be back soon!

Report
Helpful
CO
1 review
Dined on November 29, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Sorry, I didn’t find enough Israeli cuisine to choose from ( my main reason for the trip) . Location, ambience and food are ok, but my Israeli expectation is absent.

Report
Helpful
OT
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Very wonderful waitress. Food is going down a bit. Soup was too salty, the toasted almond dip had too much olive oil and the short rib was too fatty. However, the place has a good vibe and a unique and enjoyable wine list.

Report
Helpful
OT
Milwaukee
2 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great spot, bright, light, fun, great food, service and ambiance

Report
Helpful
OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Anniversary

Report
Helpful
PM
Chicago
12 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The food and environment were great. Probably 5 stars in many people's opinion, but I am a tough grade. I really appreciated our server's attention to our needs. It was a family luncheon that had been put off too long. The server let us proceed at our own pace. Giving us the time to reconnect. This sensitivity made the lunch a great experience. Will definitely be back for the food and service.

Report
Helpful
JS
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious lamb ragu and hummus on grilled pita. Wonderful flavors in every course. The roasted cauliflower seasoned with honey was wonderful. The sticky date cake with warn whiskey and caramel sauce was memorable. A great birthday treat!

Report
Helpful
T
1 review
Dined on November 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding food. As a vegetarian, I could easily find many sides and entrees on the menu. I enjoyed the size of the dishes as well as the uniqueness of flavors. The brown butter pumpkin hummus and pita bread was to die for. The sticky date cake. . . amazing.

Report
Helpful
K
Chicago
1 review
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Nice Anniversary dinner for my parents. They even brought a special dessert for my parents. I wish however I could have used my lettuce entertain points for the dinner on Saturday. I had no idea that Saturday nights were not eligible for points.

Report
Helpful
BS
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Fresh and delicious dinner, full of small plates meant to be shared. Service was prompt, per our request, since we were headed to a show later. Lovely space that will impress.

Report
Helpful
AR
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and service

Report
Helpful
B
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Our party had a couple dietary restrictions - no diary for one, and no mixing of meat and dairy for another. Our server knew the menu inside and out and was able to tell us exactly what we could and couldn't order from over 25 dishes on the menu. Everything was spectacular, I don't think there was a dull dish out of the 8 or so we tried. This says a lot, as diary or other ingredients had to be omitted from several dishes yet the they still shined. Vegetarians rejoice - you can enjoy a fine dining meal at Ema with without feeling like your dietary restrictions have relegated you to an afterthought. Omnivores rejoice as well - the salmon was spectacular.

Report
Helpful
LH
Boise
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We selected Ema based on a recommendation from a local Chicagoan. We weren't disappointed. There were four of us and we all selected two or three plates to share. I highly recommend the hummus, brussel sprouts and the black lime shrimp. The service was friendly, prompt but not over bearing. We had a delightful meal.

Report
Helpful
OU
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Exceptional service and wonderful food. Had a wonderful experience.

Report
Helpful
a
Indiana
121 reviews
Dined on November 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was terrific. I love small plates as you can try more dishes. I would definitely return!

Report
Helpful
l
New York Area
66 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

More food than anticipated

Report
Helpful
OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

Very small portions for the money. They should be embarrassed

Report
Helpful
SF
Chicago
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went with a group of friends and tasted a bunch of things, all delicious! Nice atmosphere, perfect for group dining.

Report
Helpful
OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food!! Loved everything we ordered.

Report
Helpful
OT
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 4

This is the second time I have been to Ema in the past two weeks and I have experienced lackluster service each time. It seems like they are short staffed as dishes are not cleared in a timely way, water glasses are not consistently refilled, and the wait staff doesn’t ask how things are tasting. Given the price point, I expect better service. It really detracts from the overall experience despite the lively room. It is also not up to the service standard at other LEYE restaurants. Some of the dishes are very good (the crispy potatoes, spreads, kefta and breakfast eggs your way), others are just ok (the octopus dish was so lemony it was almost inedible).

Report
Helpful
PE
Los Angeles
6 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

Small portions. Food was cold. Tasty but nothing to write home about. Wine was delicious but expensive.

Report
Helpful
OT
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great for gluten free eaters!

Report
Helpful
AR
Chicago
1 review
Dined on November 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

always such delicious food and great atmosphere! the pumpkin hummus was divine!

Report
Helpful
OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on November 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food here is excellent!! The service was great! I'll be back for sure.

Report
Helpful
b
Chicago
14 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved the food; best humus I've had in a long time. And the Brussel Sprouts and risotto! Haven't had any like this before.

Report
Helpful
GM
Chicago
1 review
Dined on November 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Picked Ema out of the blue. The food was very good and the service was good too.

Report
Helpful
1
2
3
40

Tweets by Ema