Ema

4.7
1665 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 1665 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
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a
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

I love Ema, and the brunch was no exception. Surprised they don’t open until 11:30. The only thing I didn’t like was the Bloody Mary. I wanted to try it, but the Harissa was odd and the Israeli pickles didn’t come through (I assume it was their juice).

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D
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

It was some of the best dishes we have had. Risotto was amazing as was everything else. Will definitely be back.

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C
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service was outstanding, drinks were amazing! Loved the steak kabob & eggplant dip!

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

It was great ! Our group (6) had a delicious dinner !

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GH
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was out 5th time at Ema and is a favorite with our daughters who enjoy the creativity and quality of the food. The atmosphere is perfect - both casual and sophisticated, but not fussy. The service is always perfect with the right level of attention.

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OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

The food was incredible. Service was just okay but the amazing meal made up for it. Recommend the falafel and date cake!

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

A nice basic restaurant. Aba is a better version of it!

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CF
Chicago
8 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Incredible food! Great place to share plates and try lots of food. Will be back for sure!

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

Very tasty take on Mediterranean cuisine. Would definitely go back.

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F
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Phenomenal food. Waitress was helpful and delightful. Only complaint is tables are extremely close together. Don’t go for a private lunch. Dinner might be less crowded.

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PW
Kansas City
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ema has the cutest ambiance! With vines all across the restaurant and light, earthy decorations, it feels like a Spring-time Mediterranean oasis, even in the dead of winter! They serve a great selection of fairly-priced Mediterranean tapas that are truly all delicious. I had a wonderful experience!

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t
Chicago
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Fun environment-great service-big windows to outdoors-contemporary but cozy furniture. Mediterranean food with quite a few options for small plates to share.

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

Good food good service nice atmosphere

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L
Chicago
21 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

i preferred the lunch/ brunch selections
more than dinner. for dinner they
don’t serve the falafel sandwich which
is out of this world, but instead falafels
with beet purée and tanhanni. it lacked
those wonderful veggies, disappointing.
but the almond and garlic hummus spread
was sensational along with delicious pita.
desserts were good too.
waitress was outstanding👍👍👍

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

My niece was in town and I wanted to take her someplace special. She’s a foodie who loves to cook. EVERYTHING as FABULOUS!!!!

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L
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on January 15, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Food was good, service decent, entree of fish was very small portion, busy place

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KD
1 review
Dined on January 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This was my 4th time here over 6 months Nd it has been outstanding every time! The Brussels Sprouts are delicious, the scallops were a wonderful flavor combination and the spicy hummus is perfect.

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r
Chicago
53 reviews
Dined on January 14, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Over all everything was good.

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OT
Tampa
1 review
Dined on January 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Birthday acknowledged

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b
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a lovely time, one of the best meals. Would come back in a heartbeat

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k
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good For:
Brunch
Healthy
Happy Hour
Vegetarian/Vegan
Bar Seating
Carryout
Patio
Date Night
Work Meal
Great for seafood and vegetarian dishes, ambiance is awesome. James, Maddie, Kristen, Michael and their team are great and special thanks to Andrew, Abeba and Janelle for their continued amazing hospitality. Great for brunch/lunch, dinner, and happy hour too for their mezze plates
Favorite Dishes: Brussels sproutsCauliflowerSpicy HummusKing Salmon KebabFalafel SandwichMediterranean chopped with salmon are great. Almond blueberry pancakes and French toast are delicious!

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Incredible dips and veggies.

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WC
Chicago
75 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This restaurant is wonderful. It was my second visit, which prompted the exact same words "I am coming back here JUST for the Hummus with Lamb Ragu. We ordered 5 other items and nothing was mediocre. Every plate was nicely presented and included thoughtful flavor combinations. It's a great place to experiment with new tastes. I highly recommend Ema.

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MK
Chicago
15 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Food was just ok

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

Food was excellent. Great customer service!

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

This was my second trip to Ema. The service is always fabulous. Knowledgeable, attentive, and friendly staff. The food was amazing again ( I dream about the Brussels sprouts) and the wine also did not disappoint. Will definitely be back.

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OT
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

The cocktails and hummus were impeccable to start with! Ema was perfect for our vegan coworker, so many options and they were so willing to make adjustments to cater to dietary needs. I will definitely be back!

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

Great recommendation for wine that night.

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OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on January 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Met family ,wife and adult children, for a very tasty weekday meal.

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f
Baltimore
50 reviews
Dined on January 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Decided to come here based on Yelp reviews. The food and service were excellent. The toasted almond hummus was truly amazing. The service was friendly and attentive with all of the wait staff working together, which is nice and makes for a better experience in my opinion. They all seemed willing to help each other on a busy night.

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C
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on January 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service was top notch. Loved the hummus and potatoes so much.

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C
Chicago
12 reviews
Dined on January 7, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

We were seated at a nice table and our server was helpful in orienting us to the restaurant and making menu suggestions. Some of the food was exceptionally good, the eggplant dip & pita and the octopus. The risotto and celery root/leek soup were adequate at best. The pie, supposedly named one of Chicago’s best, was not good. The texture was grainy and the taste fairly absent. I would go back to sample more of their dips and to have the octopus.

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OM
Chicago
18 reviews
Dined on January 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Hard to point to any faults in dishes we tried or service. Garlic hummus, toothpick lamb, and lamb meatballs were the highlights. Well worth the visit.

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N
Chicago
15 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

I brought my partner here for his birthday and we loved it. I'm gluten-free so it was nice to be able to share plates since most of the menu is gluten-free. We had the eggplant hummus, crispy potatoes, Brussel sprouts, roasted cauliflower, chicken keftka, and octopus. The majority of dishes were spectacular and unique, mostly due the sweet and savory combination of honey, yogurt, and spices. The octopus was of good quality and texture, but overall too citrus flavored; the potatoes they came with tasted like I was eating a lemon whole. The only other thing that was disappointing was our seat placement which was smushed up against a white brick wall in the back and next to a large jolly table; we felt a little cornered and didn't get to enjoy the full ambiance that Ema can provide in the more open spaces with soft lightening and ceiling greenery. Nevertheless, overall, the dining experience was great and we will return or try sister restaurant Aba soon. The cuisine was a unique take on med small plates with attention to detail, the drinks (Jade and Smoking Jacket) were refreshing with distinct flavors, and the service was excellent.

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OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Fantastic food especially butternut squash rissotto, kabobs and almond/garlic spread.

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JL
Milwaukee
7 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was delicious (we had brunch). Really nice interior design, with beautiful bar. Excellent service. The waitress gave us great recommendations.
Would highly recommend the hummus to start! We asked for an assortment of veggies (instead of the bread) and the veggies were fantastic. The lamb shakshuka was out of this world.. incredibly tender and so flavorful. Had the side of potatoes, which were cooked perfectly with a hint of salt and spices. We also had the house-made stracciatella and it was delicious.. highly recommended.

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JC
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First time! Loved everything about the place. Ate at the bar and had wonderful food, drink, and conversation!

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SE
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

The waiter turned quite sour when we did not order drinks and kept our selections to a minimum.
He took away plates before we were finished and wiped the table down in the middle of a conversation.

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VW
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Well worth every penny!!
Brousel sprouts are a must have!!!

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K
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food, amazing drinks and wonderful ambience. The decor there is also super adorable. Now one of my favourite dining spots! Love this place!

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