Ema

4.7
1727 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 1727 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
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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a
Indiana
127 reviews
Dined 10 hours ago
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

Good is fantastic. Ema is our new favorite!

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C
Atlanta
7 reviews
Dined 16 hours ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I was expecting simple Mediterranean, which would have been just fine, but I also found a solid brunch menu with traditional proteins like eggs and bacon. Tried the kefoulis, traditional and mushroom hummus, Brussels sprouts, and bacon which were all excellent. Only disappointed by the risotto which was TOO al dente and too oily. But great open feel, not jam packed, with conversational sound levels. Service was excellent with a table visit from the manager.

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OT
1 review
Dined a day ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Great atmosphere and staff. Food came out super quick! The hummus I ordered as an appetizer had more flavor that both meals my associate and I ordered. The food was good, but could have been more flavorful. Portions were okay, but I left still hungry even after dessert.

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OS
Chicago
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Acoustic is great you can enjoy conversation.
Food fantastic
One thing if it 's a small plate plates clean plates has to be served with each dish you cant mix tastes.
It our 9t time there will come more!
Keep going!

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DF
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, great waiter, and overall great experience. I would go back.

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KH
4 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Beautiful space with great food and service.

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ES
Birmingham
4 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is one of my favorite restaurants ever! We went this week to celebrate my husband’s birthday
We had a few cocktails, 3 different Spreads, the eggplant, the labane and the pumpkin, we had a salad (which was the only thing we did not like - it was a cold rice salad which was kind of tasteless), we shared the fish of the day as a main course which was amazing and we had the homemade yogurt as a dessert - my favorite part of the meal!!
The service was amazing like always, the music was nice and the overall ambiance was great!!

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ST
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Great food, great drinks, great company. 10/10 from me.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 2

It was incredibly warm in the restaurant and quite uncomfortable. The food was amazing and the service was great.

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MR
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Exceptional! Anxious to return and try other wine and food items on the menu.

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CS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

It was a great atmosphere, but I recommend this place as a light lunch or dinner. I went for brunch and the menu wasn't as appealing or had the greatest options.

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OT
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Spices and seasonings added a nice touch to all dishes. Freshly prepared and delicious food. Service was excellent.

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B
Chicago
22 reviews
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

the food was outstanding and the wait staff could not have been more accomadating -
this was our first time at Ema - but is definately a place we will visit again.

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SG
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We dined at Ema on our second night stay in Chicago and wished we would have gone here both nights as every dish we had, six plus two desserts, were delicious. The server was fantastic in his recommendations for wine and food and never made us feel rushed. Overall we really enjoyed our dining experience and will gladly return on our next visit to Chicago.

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KH
Chicago
14 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was my third visit to Ema and it lived up to my expectations. One of my favorite spots in Chicago.

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IK
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service, excellent food and a pleasant setting. We will definitely go back.

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k
Naples
4 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Ema has wonderful food in a lovely atmosphere. We had great service and enjoyed our meal!

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GC
Chicago
24 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

The brussel sprouts and charred eggplant were phenomenal. I wasn't as keen on the butternut squash risotto, a bit too salty for my taste. I made no complaint about it because the front manager and the waiter were great. There had been a mixup about restaurant week end date and the manager offered to comp one side dish to urge me to stay. I highly recommend this restaurant.

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M
Chicago
16 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

We went for restaurant week and the food and drinks were very delicious. The restaurant is very vibrant! The service wasn't the best. It was very slow and food took long to get to us. I don't know if was because of restaurant week, but I'm willing to go back and give it another try because of the food!

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OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2019
Overall 1food 5service 1ambience 5

When you first walk into Ema it is a beautiful experience. The dining room is modern and flanked by a front and back bar. A lot of work was clearly put into the decoration and atmosphere - the wood and ivy provides a gorgeous natural feeling. However, the planning stopped at the front of house. We had a reservation that wasn’t fulfilled for 51 minutes. The hosts weren’t doing a good job at properly hiding their disdain for the customers asking about updates for their tables (we were not the only ones who waited over 30 minutes for a table) I’ve been in the industry, it is highly inappropriate for staff to clearly be complaining about customers. Our poor server was serving at the front bar and also running tables. We quickly put in our order because we were afraid it would take unbearably long like awaiting the reservation. I was pleasantly surprised when all of the food came out quickly. The food was the saving grace of the experience, it was delicious and had bold flavors. I highly recommend if you’re wanting to try Ema to try and find their least busy day. We originally had no intention of a reservation because OpenTable said it was very open and not busy. Luckily we did and we still had to wait, this unfortunately ruined the experience for me. There were more than 5 parties awaiting a reservation that was late. Someone high up needs to reassess how quickly they think Ema can flip tables, because their equation is off.

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CB
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on February 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The hummus and grilled octopus in particular are great.

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A
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on February 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The place was amazing! Food was excellent and shareable. Ambiance rocked. HIGHLY recommend.

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MM
1 review
Dined on February 5, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great for lunch - not so much for dinner. Great service, yummy apps

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b
Chicago
94 reviews
Dined on February 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fun fun place with great street views of the energy driven city!

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LB
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was an amazing experience per usual. This is my go to spot to meet up with friends for a bite to eat.

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SC
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had such an amazing experience. Food and ambiance were so, so good. Our server, Cody, was especially wonderful. So friendly and considerate. We were truly blown away!

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

Amazing food and cocktails! Frustrated that we had to wait about 15 minutes for our table despite having a reservation, but it was a busy evening during Restaurant Week and the quality of the food more than made up for the inconvenience.

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S
Ruhr region
3 reviews
Dined on February 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Your food and your service were excellent! We‘ll be back! Thank you for an awesome evening.

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AA
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Probably my 100th time at Ema, stopped in for restaurant week/birthday. When it was time to leave, I sighed and thought "I love this place so much". It's true.

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AV
1 review
Dined on February 4, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 4ambience 4

Food is excellent.
Very few items on menu.
Portions are small. Eat before coming here.

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KW
1 review
Dined on February 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The flavors of every single dish were amazing and did not disappoint. Visited during Restaurant Week and the offerings and portion sizes were spot on and offered an excellent tasting. I cannot wait to visit again and try the full menu.

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JD
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always excellent.

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F
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place always amazes me. They have amazing service! All of their servers are pleasant and attentive. Their food is outstanding.

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L
Chicago
38 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Very good in all respects. Slightly disappointing short rib dish - ribs were not sufficiently seared, resulting in meat that looked and tasted steamed rather than braised.

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AW
1 review
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I was brought to Ema by a GFS food trends tour in 2018. For my boyfriends birthday I chose to bring him since Mediterranean food is his favorite. We drove from Toledo, OH, spent $250 and as a Chef myself, it was worth every mile and penny. I adore this mans passion, dedication and execution. I can’t wait to come back!

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was outstanding!

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JM
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious food! Loved the Californian spin on traditional Mediterranean!

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DB
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went for lunch
The server was efficient and helpful
The food was flavorful and well prepared
Noise lever allowed for enjoyable conversation

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LR
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on January 30, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Our server was inattentive but the food and ambiance was very good.

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BD
St. Louis
9 reviews
Dined on January 29, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was great!

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