Ema

4.7
2092 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 2092 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
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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ES
Kansas City
12 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were visiting Chicago and made reservations for dinner at Ema after a friend recommended we try it. We had a wonderful meal-everything was perfectly prepared and delicious. Since the menu is small plates we ordered 5 things for the two of us and loved everything we ordered. We had the beat and berry salad, pea soup, Brussels sprouts, chicken kefta and spicy hummus. All were wonderful. Our dinner at Ema was our favorite meal in Chicago during our visit. I highly recommend it. The only downside to our experience was that my husband realized that our credit card was never returned to us after we paid and he didn’t notice until the next morning. When we called to see if it had been turned in or misplaced they told us they didn’t have it, so we have no idea what happened to it. Needless to say we had to cancel the card. Partially our fault for not noticing that we didn’t get it back, but disappointing nonetheless.

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FF
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love EMA! Everything is delightful!!!

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F
Vancouver
24 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Contemporary, Bright, airy and warm atmosphere. Friendly service with deliciou and fresh food. We enjoyed the 3- spread sampler (eggplant, pea & avo and San Torino), Brussels sprouts, lentil and basmati salad and grilled octopus. Loved it all but especially enjoyed the octopus.

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JS
Chicago
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The staff was very accommodating in seating our party of 8 together. Waitress and waiters very friendly and happy!!

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W
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 5

Spreads and starters were great. Service was very slow, had to ask for our coffee three times. One plate was very dirty. One entree was brought out 10 minutes before the other was served even though it was the same thing--we waited for a long time to be served our entrees.

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

Bar tender was very rude and dismissive

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f
Louisville
4 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

An impassioned twist on falafels and hummus etc
Every dish stands tall on its own merits. Not too Spivey. Not too garlicky. Not too oniony. Hot fresh pita makes all complete.

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DM
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

High prices for overrated food. Kebabs were dried out.

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h
New York Area
108 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

To be honest, we didn't order more than many appetizers, but what was annoying was the condescending attitude and rush given to either order more or start removing the apps before we were done. We all had drinks...the bill was still in a decent range for three people - there were quite a few times where we all felt that the waiter was borderline unfriendly/rude.
The hummus, eggplant, stracciatella....all mediocre.
I think Aba was better - even if they're owned by the same people (assuming everything is owned by Lettuce)

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DF
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really good food here and good for sharing! One of my favorite restaurants

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GP
Chicago
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 2

The food was small,had to order pita extra with Falafel outraguious , Bartender short bearded guy was rude and obnoxious, Pita inn and mizrahhi grill have better food

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Quick service & great food

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LW
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food, fantastic service, would come again and highly recommend to friends and family!

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OT
Chicago
17 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Staff is amazing and the food is ridiculously amazing! Everything on the menu is great! Great for brunch!

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NF
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding food, great ambience

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

Dined outside, party of two... loved everything!

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AD
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My girlfriend and I were celebrating our anniversary and we had an splendid evening. From the moment we arrived, our waiter was super friendly, he explained the menu and provided with really good recommendations, the service was impeccable! The drinks were perfect for the weather (we sat outside on the terrace during a warm evening) and the food... SO DELICIOUS! We really liked everything that we ordered (Brussel sprouts, a couple of spreads and the octopus). The cherry on the cake was that we got two amazing and creative desserts as our anniversary gift from the restaurant. Thank you so much, it was PERFECT and we will back again soon!

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CA
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

I like the style of small plates but I didn't like the order in which the food came out. One of the first dishes we ordered was the tuna carpaccio. We ordered two of them and two shrimp, then we went on to order other stuff--spicy hummus was amazing and lamb on toothpicks, fantastic. The first shrimp came out at the beginning, then we never saw the last one until we were practically done with eating. Same with the second tuna. The timing of the food placed on our table seemed awkward, sometimes rushed, then sometimes dragging. We got charged for a drink we didn't order that they brought to the table but then they made up for it I guess by giving us an extra dessert, no charge. The physical space was bright and open and very relaxing. Probably wouldn't return as there are other mediterranean places to try.

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OT
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Very good food and ambience!

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LM
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

Went with a few friends - everything there is so amazing. The decor is so light and fun. I love being in there. Also it feels healthy and I can’t tell if it is or not

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LW
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This was the first time any of us ate at Ema and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. We ate a Sunday brunch, ordering 6 items for 3 of us. Brussel sprouts were a huge hit as were the spreads that we ordered. Service was very attentive and readily held back more plates until we had finished some of the ones that we were eating. Definitely planning on returning.

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SC
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing meal. Such wonderful flavor combos!

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F
New York Area
92 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I absolutely love Ema! I usually try to come here whenever I visit Chicago. I took my boyfriend here this past weekend for dinner. The service was great and the food was awesome. My boyfriend and I got the bartender's choice for our drinks and they did not disappoint. This continues to be a great choice whenever I am in town.

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TJ
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The ambience, the food, the staff were magnificent. It’s at the heart of the city so I would definitely recommend it to anyone willing to try something new.

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K
St. Louis
11 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We made reservations on Open Table and glad we did. It was crowded with a wait. The service was great. I highly recommend the spreads.

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c
Chicago
1 review
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Good food and excellent service. Very fresh and well prepared.... enticing presentations!

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JK
Chicago
77 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely must go to this place! Octopus, salmon kebab, any of the mezzes (but especially the avocado and pea one) are to die for. Interesting drinks. Great service. What's not to love and come back to, again and again?

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LC
Chicago
1 review
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ema’s is great. The atmosphere is so calm and relaxing. The food is always phenomenal and tastes so fresh.

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JR
Chicago
10 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful! Great menu! Terrific service! Fun vibe!

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AG
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ema has a quaint and elegant atmosphere perfect for friends, dates, and meetings.

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F
Chicago
50 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

lovely, casual spot. Well-priced. Good meal -- fun to share. One food complaint -- Octopus has too little octopus and too much potato. Also, felt too much pressure to order as soon as we arrived.

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RR
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Seriously one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago, and definitely in River North. Get all the shared plates, and especially the labneh dish - its my favorite!!

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OT
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

A great meal with tasty food which was fun too share. Service was good especially given it was a super busy Saturday night. Everything with our order was served accurately. Some interesting wines to match the food from Lebanon, Israel, Greece...highly recommend and will consider again when in Chicago.

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S
Chicago
79 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

yummy small plates of delicious unusual tastes
incredible bread

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PG
Chicago
49 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

First time at Ema. Started with the sampler of 3 spreads. They were good and the bread with it was delicious but it was literally a tablespoon of each dip and the cost was $14. I had the fried chicken sandwich which was ok. The beet topping was unique but very good. Chicken was just blah...overcooked and a very thin piece. My guest had the lemon which she said was delicious. Without drinks, two entrees and a starter we shared was nearly $50. Not worth the price.

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

Fabulous. Just fabulous.

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YR
Chicago
11 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Good food. Our Labane was served warm. Could tell it was left outside the fridge for some time. The service was great despite the late hour and the fatigue of the staff. Jeniffer was efficient and very pleasant.
Noisy night, became better the later it got.

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L
New Mexico
1 review
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Incredible food, wonderful server. Had a reservation but still quite a long wait and our server got hummus going for us before we even sat down.

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JS
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 3

Food is excellent. The service has declined significantly over the year. We waited 20 mins for a reservation we were on time for. The Hostess staff is not very friendly and ignored us when we asked to be seated. Our waitress was pleasant but service to table was slow. I had a business guest in from out to town. I was very disappointed. Service is so important I will think twice before I take a client to Ema.

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A
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Amazing service and food!

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