Ema

4.7 based on 1646 reviews
Cuisine Type Californian
Price Range $31 to $50
Neighborhood Near North Side

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Fri 3/22
2 guests
7:30 PM
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+1 312 527 5586

About Ema

Mediterranean & California-inspired restaurant featuring small plates & light style cooking in Chicago's River North.
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drink (2)
food (2)
interior (1)
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drink (2)
food (2)
interior (1)
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Menus

  1. Dinner
  2. Dessert
  3. Catering
  4. Drinks
  5. Gluten Free
  6. Kids Menu
  7. Lunch
  8. Carry Out
  9. Brunch
  10. Happy Hour

Reviews and Ratings

4.7
Excellent
Based on 1,646 reviews
Noise Level
Moderate
4.7
Food
4.6
Service
4.6
Ambiance

Pros

Cons

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Find reviews that mention:

best hummus
dining experience
falafel
food was great
frozen yogurt
great place
great service
love mediterranean
mediterranean food
menu
restaurant in chicago
restaurant week
small plates
toasted almond
vegetarian options
2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

Tried to use the $30 meal comp 'Lettuce' gave me for food poisoning which was about a fifth of the original meal price. Waiter was nice, but we kept having to ask for silverware, plates, and everything came out in odd order. As I was on a date with girlfriend, I left the $30 comp with the check. $18 was applied to the meal. Not wanting to make an unpleasant situation out of an inability to do math, I let it go. \n\nI will not be returning to Ema.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

Waiter was unexpectedly rude when we asked for clean water glasses as the ones on the table were dirty.. Food was good overall, but tough to share with more than two people a table as portions are small. The service was very bad and we all ended up with food poisoning. 'Lettuce' gave me $30 in meal tickets (fifth of the meal price) for a night of sickness.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great food and service, the chicken kabobswere fantastic

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Good experience I just wish that the restaurant had acknowledged the fact it was my daughters birthday as specified in my reservation. That was disappointing!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

While the ambiance isn't the best, the setting is pleasant and comfortable. The fabulous food is the shining point and the craft cocktails were amazing. Definitely worth multiple visits for the eclectic menu of small plates. Can't wait to return since there are plenty of other dishes I want to try. The staff was very friendly and helpful while helping me with my dietary restrictions. Very much recommended.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

We took the grandparents and our 1 year old, and it was a hit with all! The service was warm, the food was delicious (eggplant hummus is a MUST), and our evening was just perfect. Will definitely be visiting again!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

I want MOAR! Amazing food. Garlic almond spread had great texture and taste, the short rib was melted in your mouth, the crispy potatoes were so good I would have been happy if they'd brought us 5 plates of just those.\n\nCan't wait to go back and try more.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great dinner! Everything we ordered with suggestions from our server were so good! This was a convenient location to go before theatre. The pace of the food being brought out was perfect and we easily made our curtain time. Will definitely go back!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

New favorite restaurant in Chicago. Everything was amazing!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Ema was surprisingly good. I did not expect a restaurant in the lobby of the Hyatt to be this good - from excellent environment to fantastic food. We had heard from friends to check this place out, and we're happy we did.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Offers a menu unlike any restaurant in Chicago: California-inspired Mediterranean. Food was light but filling, coursed appropriately, and inventive. Fantastic service. Warm, welcoming build-out, as well.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

Service was very slow for a Sunday evening. First we waited more than 15 minutes for our bottle of wine to arrive. Then we had to ask for silverware and then for plates to be cleared from our table by what seemed to be the only busboy working the restaurant. The staff kept bringing wrong or duplicate plates to our table and forgot to bring us plates we did order. At the end of the dinner there was a small discrepancy with the bill, which the staff handled quickly but the staff then explained the $ breakdown right in front of the bday guest...which was very awkward. The food was delicious and the room had a great feel but the lack of service and training took away from the evening

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

A lovely dining experience. The food was amazing and tasty. The service was good. I loved that the restaurant is well lit so we could see the food. We loved the hummus and lamb ragu, almond garlic spread with pita. The grilled octopus was cooked well.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

There were 3 of us for dinner. The waiter recommended 2-3 dishes per person so we ordered six. Most of the plates were very tasty. The majority of what we ordered was vegetarian with the exception of the hamachi. That was a new menu item and I don't recommend it. The portion was small and it was not that flavorful. So in general the food was good, but it's the service that suffered.\n\nI always have concerns with meze restaurants and the rate the plates come out. Ema is probably worse than most. We were served all six dishes in less than one hour, and that includes the 15 or more minutes we took to decide on drinks and place our actual order. \n\nSince the plates came out quickly we tried to slow down the process with our pace of eating. At one point we had 3 partially completed mezes on the table. We were approached no less than six times, several times by the same staff member to see if we were done. It felt like they try and turn their tables by rushing you through the dining process. Not something I plan to repeat anytime soon.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Michael was extremely attentive and a great guide around the menu for a couple of novices

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Our server was very attentive, and I wish I could make hummus that good!

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

Not that impressed. Lovely space. Limited menu of small overpriced plates. Probably will not return.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

A very satisfying dinner!!! Everything from food to service was awesome!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

The food and service were great! It has a great atmosphere for casual dining. The patrons comprised of young and middle aged diners. It is a fun date night restaurant for conversation, and delightful culinary food combinations.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

Underwhelmed by the small hummus plate that included a combination of three different hummuses. Prices were high for the pared down plates. There are other healthy restaurants I would visit over Ema. Save your money.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

I like Ema so much that this was my 2nd visit in a week.. I brought a guest from out of town who is a vegetarian. \n\nEverything is delicious but the pumpkin hummus is fantastic, as is the zatar f lavored bread baked fresh when one orders it.. I like it so much that this time I even ordered a separate loaf to take home. We also tried dessert...The almond cake is outstanding, the best I have ever had..It comes with whipped cream and a wedge of fresh pear.\nWe were so lavish in our praise that the waitress had the chef come to our table so we could meet him...He even shared the recipe with us ..\n\nI think this restarant would please all who try it..

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

The food was amazing and the decor is stunning. It's perfect for date night or friends catching up. We ordered a bottle of wine and it's now my favorite bottle (Banshee)

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Fun family night. Excellent tasting. Beautiful ambience.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

The best customer service and great food and ambiance!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Went for a date Great food, Knowledgeable Server and good looking restaurant in general

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Be sure to try the roasted cauliflower - it made a mundane vegetable magical for me and my girlfriend when we visited. The Lamb and Beef Kefta was light, citrusy and delicious. Hummus is accompanied by more unique veg like endive, lightly pickled cucumber, and a gorgeous radish that was edible art. We will be back!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great atmosphere. Excellent service and food great for sharing.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Came for Valentine's Day and was very impressed. Our server was amazing-friendly and attentive. We started with avocado and pea hummus with warm bread- amazing. The squash risotto (with all sort of buttery goodness) was mind blowing. Brussels sprouts and beet salad were good. The salmon- oh, sweet sweet love- I'll be back just for the. My tequila cocktail was also a great value and tasty. The atmosphere is very modern and clean California style with greenery. Loved it overall! You must go!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

The food is great and perfect for sharing. Even as a party of three, we got to try many different delicious dishes.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Middle eastern cuisine. Pretty good food. Small portions for the price though.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

The food was creative and delicious. We had a wide variety of vegetarian and fish options. There was something for everyone. The server was a bit inattentive and we needed to flag a different server down to refill our water glasses. Overall enjoyed ourselves and hope to return!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

The staff was very accommodating and made sure we weren't at a table that was too loud after we had requested a quieter table because of our guests. Food was excellent.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great seafood and vegetarian, the cauliflower was amazing, Brussels sprouts was really good, tuna crudo was delicious, great falafels, and service was excellent

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

My friend recommended Ema to us. We wanted to do date night and enjoy a new spot. We had Ema's delicious specialty cocktails to start. The spicy hummus was outstanding. We tried the crispy potatoes and the brussels sprouts along with the short rib and lamb chops. The lamb was a little fatty, but overall good. The best thing is the bread - wow!

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

Restaurant very loud, portions unexpectedly SMALL, food not remarkable but it is possible to eat healthy there and wait staff is nice. Would not return

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great food. Vibrant. Busy.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

delicious smaller plates - went for restaurant week - had the garlic hummus and the avocado spread to start (PITA TO DIE FOR), potatoes (SOO GOOD) and cheese curd things , squash risotto and chicken kabobs as our entree, honey pie and frozen yogurt as dessert. Everything was very tasty! Will definitely be coming back!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Phenomenal from top to bottom!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Wonderful meal, great food and service

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Fantastic middle eastern ; great to share. Loved the hummus and chicken keefta in particular but it was all great.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great variety in menu choices

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Fresh food, I'm satisfied but not weighed down. A great place for friends or a date, perfect sound level for chatting - not too loud.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Everything was great except the missing candle

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

We arrived half an hour early for an 8:45 reservation. The hostess told us we would be seated 'closer to 8:45', then proceeded to seat several walk-ins who had come in after us. We were not seated until after 9. \nWe had the feeling that we would have been seated sooner if we had NOT had a reservation. We love the food here, but it was a frustrating enough experience to make us choose another restaurant next time.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

This was the second time I've been to Ema, and I always love their choice of spreads and cold mezze dishes. I wasn't super thrilled with their falafel, but overall our waitress could not have been nicer and the wine was great.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Loved it!!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

ema has real food with love, in a very nice ambiance and not too pricey. my favorite restaurant in Chicago alongside avec.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Everything was great! Except the back part of the restaurant gets SO HOT! We literally had to be asked to move to another area - then we were fine.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Appetizers were excellent and drinks were good. Entrees tended to be on the saltier side. Great service.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Beautiful restaurant and great food! Not sure what I was going to get but everything was excellent.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

great addition to the neighborhood, We will be back soon.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

The atmosphere and decor at Ema is warm and welcoming. The food is beautifully presented and always delicious. I would highly recommend the hummus and/or the crispy potatoes. Such a fantastic dining experience. I will be returning again and again!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

I've been 6-7 times now for lunch, dinner and just drinks. Service is amazing, even chef CJ has brought out our meal before. I've never had a bad plate. Favorites are avocado/pea spread, beef kabob and grilled octopus. Cocktails are great too.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

The food was outstanding. Really light, phenomenal Mediterranean food, creatively presented and very fresh. Spreads are to die for, and our server was great. \n\nI had made a reservation as soon as the restaurant week list became available, over 2 weeks in advance of our reservation. Unfortunately we were actually seated in the lobby of the Hyatt hotel instead of in the actual restaurant. I was extremely disappointed in this since I did make a reservation significantly in advance. Only disappointment was the atmosphere and being seated in the lobby...awkward & felt like we were given the 'boot'.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Trendy menu. Cool decor and stylish guest. Suggested from open table after couldn't get into Girl and the goat. I put them at that level of dining experience. Shared plates were tasty just could not break that level of being excited. This may be just my experience /expectations. I have to try again before a more official decision is made about Ema. There prices were awesome for this level of dining.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

Average Mediterranean food. Small portions. Over priced. Nice space

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Good location near bars on Hubbard. We went for restaurant week and liked the: spicy hummus, short ribs and pork chops. The atmosphere had energetic music and a busy crowd. We waited at the bar for a drink before being seated and the bar staff were friendly and attentive. The only negative for us is that the restaurant is located next to a hotel lobby, which is separated by a thin curtain.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

The location is great! The environment is fresh & inviting. The food is good too & Mediterranean is flavorful and fulfilling.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

A friend and I tried Ema during restaurant week, and loved it. The food and drink are outstanding, and the service was very good.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Our waiter was very helpful with suggestions and dietary restrictions. We took part in restaurant week and I'm not sure if it was from lack of staff, but our appetizer portion lasted an hour. We had to ask for the second course and main. The whole meal lasted 2 hours when it should have been one.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great service, food and atmosphere.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Excellent experience in a light,lively, airy environment. The night we dined there was a Thursday and It was restaurant week. Valet was very simple with the Hyatt and they walked us through the lobby to the restaurant. Arrived 5 minutes early our reservation was for 7:45pm and we seated at 8:10pm, I was informed on checking in of them running 'a bit behind.' We waited at the bar and had no problems getting a drink, they let us try a couple of white wines before settling on one. We dined off of the restaurant week menu and all of the food was good. A couple of the items felt a little like they had been sitting and the timing of items coming out of the kitchen could have been better. Overall, it was a nice experience and all of the staff were attentive and helpful. I did get table setting with 3 forks and no knife. As well as, they brought my soup and I had to ask for a spoon. Again small things that could make for an excellent experience. Overall though still good and my wife and I both said we would return.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Waited 30 minutes to be seated despite reservation. Ran out of the entree I ordered. Food was good though

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Went for restaurant week dinner at 7PM with the girls mid week. The only complaint is we needed to wait 30 min but we had drinks in the comfy lounge area, so not a big deal. I can't wait to go back for the food!! Everything was so delicious and the staff was really nice. Very bright and warm environment. Loved it!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Birthday lunch with colleagues

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

We went to ema for restaurant week. Got out pick of 3 courses, small plates, mezze and mains. Everything was delicious and much of it unusual. Would recommend the halloumi with dates, the pea and avocado spread, the chicken shishkabobs and the falafel sandwich. Wine selections were diverse.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

One of the best new restaurants in Chicago. Loved the food from this latest Lettuce Entertain you Restaurant. Absolutely delicious dishes--incomparable!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

My girlfriend and I went to dinner at Ema on Jan 31. It was restaurant week and the place was incredibly lively for a Tuesday. We got their early (7:30 for a 7:45 res) and decided to grab a beer at the bar. The bartender Hailey was welcoming and quite knowledgeable about the menu. We did taste a couple wines while we were waiting and ended up getting one of them with our dinner. The hostess sat us right at 7:45! I closed my tab and then joined my girlfriend. Leslie came to our table within a couple minutes, asked us how we were, if we were there for any occasion (restaurant week) and if we had dined before. She walked us through the menu, which we were pleased to hear I could do the RW menu and my girlfriend could do a la carte. I feel like we ordered everything! We started with 3 dishes, the spicy hummus (great!), the homemade labneh (great!) and the crispy halloumi and dates (amazing!) I'm pretty sure we licked the plates. Next we had the shaved romaine and feekah along with the tuna crudo, probably one of my favorite bites! (Those crispy lentils were a brilliant surprise) At this point we had ordered some wine. I had a glass from Israel and my girlfriend got one from Greece, both coastal wines. Our 2 main dishes came next, the grilled octopus (OMG!!!!) and the beef tenderloin kabob (you should bottle that zhoug, no joke I would buy it) Both dishes were cooked to perfection. My girlfriend cannot stop talking about that octopus! We had ordered the honey pie from the RW menu, which was gone in under 30 seconds and thought we cannot leave without another dessert. We ordered the frozen Greek yogurt with olive oil and the only hiccup of the night, the machine broke. Do not worry the manager Sally came out, explained the situation, mentioned the machine will be operational soon, and took the dessert off the menu! It was incredible olive oil on frozen yogurt (Yum!) The whole meal was $120 plus tip, extremely reasonable!! This night was amazing Thank You Ema!!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Jennifer was our waitress and she was outstanding! Very knowledgeable and well spoken.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

We tried the lunch restaurant week special and everything was amazing! Great choice!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

I loved the different options to typical Mediterranean food. The flavors were delicious, the portions were large and the prices were reasonable. Restaurant week was a great way to try Ema.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

I went during restaurant week--my first visit. Great experience. Lunch menu was an incredible value. Wonderful hospitality as well. Can't wait to return.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

this was my third visit. Hummus was great but the chicken kevla (sp?) was salty, not hot, and a disappointment. an expensive chicken patty. noise was conversation unfriendly. felt bad because first two visits were good, and recommended it to friends....there are so many good restaurants in chicago, will probably not give ema another try....

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Excellent as always, the stracciatella blows my mind a little bit, it's perfect. Hummus is world class and the lamb chops were delicious. Thank you!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

The food was inventive and exciting, and our table enjoyed sharing many different things for each course. The falafel is the best I have ever had and the hummus with lamb was phenomenal. Our server was outstanding - attentive, but not overly and extremely adept at anticipating our needs before even we did. She overheard us mention our sister's birthday and surprised our table by delivering a dish of frozen greek yogurt drizzled in olive oil, sprinkled in with sea salt (to die for) with a candle in it without our having to ask. The whole meal was amazing and Ema has officially been added to my favorites list. Thanks to the whole team - front and back - for such a great meal.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Amazing food with a great atmosphere

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Amazing staff, sensational cuisine

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

The food serving is big enough to share... my friend and I went for restaurant week and their deal was very filling!!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

It was great food. Waiter was not super attentive, but was nice. Was not thrilled with the ambiance. It's a restaurant in a hotel and that's what it felt like. Didn't seem special at all, the lights were too bright and felt like they were trying to be upscale in a mediocre hotel lobby.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Excellent food with really interesting Mediterranean flavors!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

The food was excellent. Cocktails were delicious. Service was good. Interior is bright and fresh. We had to wait a half hour for our table even though we had a reservation. Not a problem for us as we just went to the bar, but that might bother some people.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great food! Went for restaurant week and got so much food. Everything we ate was good. I would go back again and recommend to anyone. Make sure to make a reservation as it gets crowded at night.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great service and delicious food. Reasonably priced, too!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Glad I tried this new restaurant. Loved the modern, clean decor; service was good; food was good and fresh with unique options.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

Disappointing experience. Food was great, and the restaurant week menu is a really good value. But beware, it's a lot of food, I wish the server had warned us.\nThe disappointing part was the service. We had a reservation, were on time, and got our table 40mins later. I realize they were busy, but there was never an apology about the delay. Afterwards, we spent over 3 hours dining. We ordered a lot of food, but there was a lot of unnecessary wait in between dishes, and the dishes kept coming out in a scattered order, one of the entrees coming out before some of the appetizers. We consistently had to get our servers attention to get more water or wine, and we kept having to ask for the next dishes to come out. We skipped desserts because it had already been 3 hours and we were just ready to leave. Again, no apology. \nTo sum up, the food is good, the place is nice enough with a pleasant ambiance, cocktails were very good. But the service was very inattentive, making it a disappointing experience overall.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Our dinner at Ema was everything I look for in a great restaurant experience. Love the fresh, vibrant ambiance, service was wonderful, and the food was creative and innovative. I like the restaurant group rewards card too. Love the small plates and the food truly was delicious. Mediterranean and CA influenced dishes that are light and healthy and beautifully presented.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Food was amazing. The staff was very attentive and friendly. the ambiance was inviting and comfortable.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Delicious food, attentive and relaxed service, nice atmosphere. All 4 of us agreed we would definitely go back again.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Everything is so flavorful. The salmon kabob was outstanding. Love the halvah for dessert!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

I don't know why it should be surprising that Ema is so good because I have yet to be disappointed with a meal at any place in the LEYE empire, but I was indeed surprised and delighted at just how darn good this place is. Each dish and cocktail we had was a flavor bomb. The menu is varied and can work for veg heads and meat lovers alike--it's also a great menu for gluten free folks. The room is a bright airy space that manages to be open yet cozy. Highly recommended.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

It was awesome. Great service great staff and great food

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

We loved Ema's innovative Mediterranean take! The lamb and sea bass plates were perfect. The room was energetic so any business needs to take place b/4 coming here ;-)

1.0
Poor
Dined Apr 29 2018

The chicken kebab was tasteless and the lamb kebab was way over cooked. A very disappointing dinner.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

I've been to Ema about five times now, for both lunch and dinner and it never disappoints. Service is top notch as well as the food.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

We had a large party of 10, which made it a little harder to order and have everyone share but everything we ordered was very tasty and we think it would be fun to come back with a smaller group. Some of the things that we ordered somehow got left off of our order when the food was delivered so we had everyone eating at different times, which made it a bit difficult since we had some children with us, but, everything considered, it was a good dinner.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Food quality is excellent. Portion size could be way better for the main dish. You would have to load up on appetizers to fulfill hunger. Ambiance was nice and service was good.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

everything we ate was yummy!! especially halva,appetizers,salad and main course.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

I thought small plates, while my favorite, has been done. Ema has provided another but much better Mediterranean dining option. Go! Go! Great evening that I didn't want to see end

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Overall Great Mediterranean spot. We had to wait 20 minutes past our reservation time to be seated which is very annoying. Food quality was very good, spicy hummus while not really spicy but was great, Crispy Halloumi Cheese dish was the star..best of the night. While the falafel was good not great and the Chicken Kefta was again good not great, maybe could have a bit more inspiration on the kefta than just sitting on a pile of basmati rice. Overall price is reasonable, suggest 5-6 dishes for two people. Also some cool off the beaten path Mediterranean wine selections, like from Greece and Lebanon.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great destination for vegetarians. Loved the halvah desert.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

All the staff were outstanding and helpful. This was my second visit and everyone LOVED this new concept restaurant. Food was exceptional. Many thanks to all at EMA.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Excellent foot and fantastic service. Crowded for w weeknight but that is to be expected for such a great restaurant. I will definitely be back!!!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Excellent dining experience!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Amazing is the only word to describe it. This was our first visit. The service, the food, everything was great! Our server helped us order, he was so attentive to us. We will come again.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Food was good but when you order an entree and it come with one skewer and about a tablespoon of rice for $14 I call that a rip off.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Food was very good -- waiter had great recommendations and we ordered a variety of courses - when we said we read not great reviews about the cauliflower, he brought us an order on him! Wines by the glass had small pours (which, for $15/glass, was disappointing). Great food, nice ambiance and I'd go back with a small group so we could share even more courses.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Quite possibly one of the best meals ever. only thing we didn't care for was the falafel. Otherwise we pretty much licked the plates

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Amazing evening with friends, thanks to ema. The sharing plates, including a avocado pea spread and an almond garlic hummus were delish! So good the server had to bring more pita. Really enjoyed the flavorful chicken kabob and crispy potatoes truly delivered in crispy crunchiness. The salmon (fish of day) was flaky and grilled to perfection. Brussels were a tad too sweet for my taste, but I'm not a sweet person, so....The only bad thing: the dining room was too toasty. Maybe because it was super cold outside???Not a big deal...we just drank more water & wine to feel refreshed. Definitely a place to return.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Wouldn't eat here again Excellent food, service; but they play loud, insipid EDM (or EDM-ish), totally discordant with the atmosphere and menu, intrusive, unpleasant. The constant thumping of the music made the entire dining experience unpleasant. I asked our server about it and he said , 'yeah, lots of people complain. It's worse for us, we have to listen it all night.'

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

My wife and I shared 5 dishes, all excellent, and 4 would have been plenty. The grilled octopus was at least as good as what we had in Greece this summer. Falafel is middle eastern fast food, but ema elevates it like other places that make a great burger or fried chicken.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

We had a super time. The restaurant is beautiful and the food is great. We had a drink at the bar and the bartender was very friendly. We were also given a free appetizer with dinner. The service was excellent. I would definitely go back.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Only criticism is being seated right by the door and hostess stand; there really should not be a table there, and while I understand wanting to cram everyone in the draft and commotion of the door is not a great ambience. Food is great, however, and pretty fast for the quality. It comes out as its ready and is spaced nicely. Small plate concept that might inflate the bill a bit, but the 2-3 plate per person recommendation of the server is about right. Server very nice and knowledgable, not overly attentive or MIA.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

We enjoyed our dinner, especially the lamb ragu with hummus and grilled octopus. But the service was a bit mixed at both the bar and table.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Fantastic meal! Can wait to go back! The risotto was incredible!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

The best salmon I can remember having!! If you go to ema, get the salmon kebabs. They are amazing and melt in your mouth. Perfectly cooked, lightly charred and cooked to medium rare/medium with no fishy taste (as should be expected by a restaurant of quality but sadly is present at so many), these will be the best salmon kebabs you ever have. Other yummy bites include hummus, beets with black lime, halloumi and dates and octopus. Service is also fantastic with knowledgeable staff who can give suggestions based on taste not just 'these are our most popular items.' I will definitely be back again and again ;)

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Locals gem in the heart of River North!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Excellent small plate cuisine with a Mediterranean twist. Price point is very attractive.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

I took my mother here while she was visiting me. I had been once before and had a great experience so I thought she would enjoy it. Overall we had a great experience, my only complaint would be where we were sat. It was a two top table right by the host stand and window. You would feel the draft coming in from the window and the draft from the revolving door. The noise level was actually very nice because we were removed from the main floor. My mother wore her coat the entire time which I was not pleased with, but I understand its Chicago and winter. Our server was great and offered us hot tea on the house. I thought this was a nice gesture and it was a great first impression. I work in the restaurant industry and first impressions are so important. Our server was very attentive. The food was great, the flavors were all very complimentary and colorful. The pan-roasted romanesque cauliflower with house made yogurt and honey was my favorite. The presentation was great and the dish tasted amazing!

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

The food was good but not as fresh as the first time I went there...the hummus tasted like it had mold in it.

1.0
Poor
Dined Apr 29 2018

The food was as if it was frozen previously then cooked in the microwave before coming to our table. The server was obnoxious, and on two separate occasions, came and bent over near my seat to tell me how to eat my food. Will not be going back under any circumstance.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Been there a couple times now and still craving to go back! River North needed a good mediterranean spot! Their dips and hummus are ALL delicious. Cant go wrong with any of them. The skewers are well sized. Order a bunch of dishes and share - definitely the way to go! For the number of items we got and how much food there was / how full we were we were pleasantly surprised to see our bill was really reasonable. Great place for dinner!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great, light food with a nice ambiance. Good wine list and great to share plates.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Wonderful experience. The ambiance was lovely...quiet!!! Serene!!! And the service and food was exceptional!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Went to Ema for the first time on New Year's Eve for the price fixe menu. The first course was 3 kinds of hummus with pita bread. They were good, but it was a heavy first course and we were somewhat full after this course. The second course was a wonderful lentil soup. The third was a kind of shredded fresh mozzarella (very tasty) with roasted root vegetables and chorizo. We did not think the flavors of the vegetables and chorizo went with the mozzarella. The next course was a main course, and we were already full. I had the scallops on a puree; the dish was way too salty. My husband had the veal short rib with chickpeas; the dish was overwhelmed by the anise flavor. We like anise but the flavor was overwhelming. We were too full to try to even appreciate the chocolate mousse dessert, which was an odd collection of flavors.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Unexpected and exotic! We were on a Girls Weekend in Chicago and loved the flavorful and exciting flavors! This is not the kind of dining we find at home, and that's what we loved about it! Our server was very helpful in deciphering the menu and making choices we could all share and enjoy. Very diverse wine list as well.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

We were surprised that there was a fixed menu, no notice on the website when we made our reservations, so we were at first put off by not seeing the menu items from the web menu that we wanted to try.\nBut after all was said, and eaten... LOL it was great! A wonderful way to start NYE celebrations.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Loved the food! Great little spot and a new great find for us.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Amazing experience from food to service!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

I have eaten at Ema 5 times and every time I am very pleased. I happen to love to eat Israeli and Mediteranean food and Ema is amazing....\nI would love the recipe for the Basmati Rice, Pistachio, Orange, Garlic......dish!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Dined here twice now, each time was a huge success. The food was excellent having great favor packed into every bite. Especially enjoy the family style presentation of the tapas like hummus and other small plates. Each dish ( hummus based, vegetarian, fish, lamb or chicken) was a gastronomic adventure that I and my party didn't want to end. Pared with cocktails, great conversation and a great frozen yogurt desert offering (shared by three) made the evening a great success. I would highly recommend that you check out EMA. You want be disappointed.\n 4 and 1/2 stars.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

LOVE this place. Great for lunch and dinner. Plan to share many small plates and sample the variety. Fantastic food and service

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

As a long Lettuce Entertain You member, I am thrilled Ema has joined their list of restaurants. The interior was light like Summerhouse, but they took a risk with the menu, which I admire. Multiple items I had to look up, but it meant I experienced something new, something that rarely happens when I dine out nowadays. Not only did they expose me to new ingredients and dishes (many of which I plan to try as an amateur chef), but our server Amy, was wonderful. She had answers to every question from the wine to unusual dishes like Labneh.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

Mediocre food. LEYE restaurants usually don't disappoint, but this one did.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

We love the new addition to River North. The food is very good; always seasoned just right. I can eat the almond garlic hummus every day! And the frozen yogurt?! Love!! Service is on point; knowledgeable and pleasant. Can't wait to go back soon😀

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

This was my first time Ema and I was delighted. Healthy flavorful food. We loved it!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

delicious food, excellent service but the tab adds up. have been there twice. however, it's small plates so need to order several and a meal, without drinks or desert, can easily come to $45-50, which is a bit high for a casual night out. lower prices and i would be a regular; now it will be not so frequently, unfortunately.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

We visited as a family and appreciated the shared plate concept. Cocktails were tasty and inventive. The hummus choices are not to be missed! Everything we ordered, from seafood to kebabs, was fantastic. Service was friendly and attentive. We will definitely return.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Truly excellent. Killer bread for their hummus, etc. The charred eggplant spread was awesome and the mussels were too. If I return to Chicago, I'll definitely come here again.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

The hummus with lamb and the grilled octopus are fantastic.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Took my friend for bday lunch and she had salmon Kebob and has been nauseous since she ate and now is throwing up and today is her bday, I feel terrible

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Very good server and lots of interesting small plate menu items that are good for sharing with other guests. Excellent homemade fresh tasting pita bread. Probably best to order menu items that are good for sharing rather than larger courses.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

The service was fantastic, ended up sitting at the bar for dinner because we showed up too early for the reservation. The bar has comfortable seats AND hooks for purses and bags. The bartender was outstanding, attentive and great at recommending dishes. I loved the mussels, lamb hummus, eggplant dip and the cauliflower that we had. The chicken kefta was good, and the dates and cheese were ok. My friend and I shared and left full. \n\nI would definitely go back. It's a nice, light and airy space with attentive service and great food. I wish I could have ordered the broth the mussels were in as soup! It's a great addition to Clark street restaurants.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

very good for many occasions. would recommend to everyone.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

This is my third visit and each time I love Ema more. Today was my first lunch visit and it was perfect for a meal with a client. The menu is interesting and unique and a great conversation-starter. And everything is delicious! Service is flawless - energetic and helpful. The vibe is very relaxed and comfortable. But every thing is well thought out and consistent with the brand. For the record, I'm 72 and my guests have been in their 50s. Yet, we all felt very comfortable and will be back! Pumpkin hummus, beets, kebabs, sensational bread and more. Go see for yourself.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

I love this place! I will definitely be coming back here, especially since its right near my office.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Thoroughly enjoyable night out with the family. Lots of great flavors and shared plates, which is a lot of fun. The service is excellent, and like every Lettuce Entertain You restaurant they have great food and a theme done to perfection. Crisp falafel with a wonderful tahini. Crispy potatoes are fabulous. The special wild bass with parsley sauce was very delicate. Lamb chops were a bit of a disappointment---only two and very fatty. Cauliflower was delicious, brussel sprouts lacked a bit of flavor. Basmatic rice was tasty as a semi-cold salad option. The avocado/pea spread was deliciious and their pita is fabulous. You get unlimited if you order it with a spread. Only downside, it was REALLY cold. They need to build some sort of screening from the door and close the curtains into the Hyatt.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

Never been before. Decided to go since it was right next to the Aloft hotel. The food was fine. Nothing tasted bad, but nothing tasted outstanding. The Labneh spread was decent, the pita was slightly too hard for my taste. The octopus was good, tender, but not as flavorful as I hoped. The beef-lamb kefta was good, but I didn't love that they were pink in the middle. The Cardamum's the Word was a good, clean drink. \n\nThe service near the end, when the restaurant was only half full, was terrible. After I finished no one came over for 15min. I didn't even see other servers out at one point. My original server never came back. One of the hostesses (I believe) came over and took my plates. I asked for my pita and spread to be boxed. She placed the spread plate, which had been on the table, directly on top of the pita. Not great in my opinion. \nFinally the bill came from another waiter. I left with a poor impression. I would not not rush back. And I felt slightly cheated for the price. A sour way to end.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

We dined pre-theater with two teens who surprisingly enjoyed the food. Service was excellent, attentive and not intrusive. Great value with everyone being full even though it was small plates. Delicious handcrafted cocktail (Cardamum's the Word).

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

The restaurant was beautiful. Our table was lovely. Service was fabulous. The first mezze of lamb hummus and the burrata were exceptional. After that nothing was great. The chicken kebab was terrible- the beef and lamb kebab was mediocre the falafel was very disappointing

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

The risotto was incredible.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

We had a great meal at ema. The bar tender had fantastic recommendations and we ended up ordering the mushroom, hummus, squash risotto, and cauliflower. Also, the cocktails were fantastic.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

We really enjoyed our lunch. We started with the cHarred eggplant. The warm pits tastes great with everything. We shared the market salad with grilled chicken. Loved everything we got.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

It's All Good. The food was excellent, with lots of choices. The sharing size portions are perfect for two people. \n\nThe room is light, airy, and open. Our server was very friendly. The pace of the food arriving at the table was good.\n\nThe martini pour was a bit low, but that would be the only complaint.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Fun, lively place. Great spreads & small plates. Loved the hummus with lamb ragu & warm pita, crispy potatoes, roasted cauliflower & crispy halloumi & dates! Will definitely go back. Only thing disappointing was the lamb kebabs- only 3 pieces.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Wonderful food, wonderful service, and wonderful lunch! Staff did not hassle us so we had plenty of time to talk. When the food came it was delicious and very attractive on the plate. My butternut squash risotto was tremendous and I have already booked my next business lunch there so I can enjoy it again.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

The food was okay but nothing special; the decor was dated and nothing to write home about and the service was nothing to get excited about either. Not worth the parking fee.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Delicious foods and wonderful to share.

1.0
Poor
Dined Apr 29 2018

We eat out several times per week and try different cuisines around the country n the world.\nThe food is geared for people who have rarely traveled outside their domain and don't know.\n\nTravel to Long Beach California and go on 2nd street. The food there will be authentic and with taste.\nSomeone in this kitchen made these dishes 'Americanized' to serve a wider bland pallet.\n\nThe atmosphere // ambience needs a total review and deep thought . Plastic green leaves on a trellis near the ceiling... no way.\nAgain, someone that did this had no taste or limited budget or both.\n\nWe give wine tours and have refreshed wine lists at several Chicago restaurants...whoever picked these wines does not drink,\nAnd has no clue what goes well with each entree.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

The manager of the restaurant saved our evening... Our waiter was in outer space! We specifically told him we wanted to share our appetizers (fantastic dips and warm fresh pita!) but we wanted our entrees (for 4 people) served at the same time as a dinner course. The dips were fine and then the trouble began. Our friend Samantha received her soup and falafel first, ten minutes passed, then her husband received his roasted cauliflower. His grilled fish showed up ten minutes later, with our shared salad. Ten minutes later our shared fish arrived but no roasted cauliflower for us! At that point, we asked the manager for assistance. with her guidance, the cauliflower arrives immediately and she offered to treat us to desserts. We ordered two delicious treats but she included a third and four forks. She also took our very late roasted cauliflower off the bill. Perhaps you should avoid Ema if you do not want the kitchen to determine what food arrives for who and when, but if you like small plate sharing, the food is fabulous! Or perhaps, just go because it's a lovely place and make sure your waitperson understands the style of dining that suits you.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Amazing!! Run don't walk to Ema! CJ is a master at what he does, make sure to have the pita.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

We have been to Éma several times and have always enjoyed the meal. Consequently, our most recent visit was something of a disappointment. As before, the appetizers were delightful: the hummus with mushrooms and the roasted eggplant dishes were both excellent! Unfortunately, the main courses were not. Perhaps the kitchen was distracted by the large office holiday party seated in the space by the windows, but the rotisserie chicken was overcooked and dry, while the striped bass filet was under-cooked and served at room temperature on a cold plate. Oops. The wait staff is consistently outstanding so we'll be back, but next time we may focus exclusively on the appetizer plates.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Everything was great! My only note would be to make sure diners have the appropriate serving utensils for each dish. And for diners with multiple courses, offer to replace plates.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Joe was a great server! He really made the experience special. The recommendation on wine was spot on!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Good food & service only complaint is high liquor prices ( small wine pours) & expensive parking next door

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

A lovely evening! We were a little uncertain about the 'small plates' concept, but our server guided us very well. We had a lovely mixture of different dishes, each of us selected 2-3 items. It was perfect & we were too full for dessert! The flavors are brilliant - equally satisfying for the more adventurous of us, as well as for those who were less so. We'll be back!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

While I absolutely loved the atmosphere here, the lighter feel - white brick walls, vines, and trellace on the ceiling - give Ema a modern Mediterranean/SoCal vibe (think: Summer Hosue Santa Monica) which contrasts a bit with Chicago's dark and cozy winters. Don't get me wrong, the food was DELICIOUS and I love seasonal menus. Servers were very well-versed in the menu and wine pairings. Overall experience was enjoyable and would recommend.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

We went there looking for something new, this was it. The service was good. The food was all delicious, nicely plated, but too expensive for us overall.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Well done! Get the cauliflower. Yum!! The Food and atmosphere are so clean and fresh - and you don't feel sick to your stomach full when you leave, love this place.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Excellent menu. Very reasonable prices. Loved the lamb ragu

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

What a find. Who wants a delicious healthy meal in 60 minutes or less? That's what ema does. But they also have breakfast and dinner. Right in river north. Connected to Hyatt.\nTry the delicious healthy salad, the appetizer spreads and the chicken. Lovely service.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

This is a great restaurant. There are lots of nice options for sharing - outstanding presentation and delicious food. The wait staff is efficient, and friendly and the atmosphere is fun and pleasant. \nGreat job !

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Delicious unique food. Great cocktails. A home run. Can't wait to go back.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Fabulous atmosphere, incredible food, and amazing service

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great food and setting. Small portions for what you pay. Had 5 plates and one dessert for two and left a bit hungry.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

It was the sixth time at Ema and they must have had an off night in the kitchen. If it had been my first time I probably would have not went back.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great flavor and loved the chicken kefta kabob and octopus. Thought the waiter had great suggestions but talked too fast was slightly hard to follow. But I'll be back

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Excellent meal! The choices were enticing, so it was difficult to choose. The grilled octopus was excellent and the brussel sprouts were out-of-this-world! The service was 'just right' as well.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

They didnt say or give anything for the birthday that was mentioned on opentable. The food was not great. The risotto was inedible.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

I have been to Ema many times and it is always consistently delicious.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

We found the majority of the food to be fairly mediocre and were disappointed. We did like the hummus with lamb ragu spread and one of the beef kebabs, but otherwise several of the spreads were bland and the halibut lacked the appropriate texture.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

We arrived 10 minutes early for our reservation yet we were very quickly seated by a very cordial hostess. We had great service. Our waitress, Brittani, knows her menu/ingredients and gave great wine suggestions. Very friendly as well. The food was excellent. And, despite how busy it was, we never felt rushed.\n\nWe'll go back there for sure--there were definitely more menu items we wanted to try. Especially enjoyed the local feta and olives, celery root soup and beef tenderloin kabab.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

It was fine til server gave us bill and walked away, forgetting to send over special bday dessert for my friend and I had to chase down another server. Then our server came back to collect bill and never said 'thank you' to us. \n\nThe food portions are super small. Our tuna and salmon portions was VERY small for the price we paid.\n\nPlus we were late seated when we had a 730 rezzie.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Without a doubt, one if the best LEYE venues available! Service, food, ambiance were beyond perfect!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Chicago needed a place like this so I am glad we have someone who understands vegetarian food and know how to best cook with vegetables.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great small plates to share were very tasty. My favorite to start with was eggplant spread and humus. We also had falafel plate which was excellent. We also shared two hot plates of chicken and salmon kabobs which were delicious. \nService was perfect! For desert do not miss halvah directly from Israel!\nI can't wait to go back!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

The restaurant was very well lit with a fun decor.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

It was a very nice restaurant, liked the design, couldn't try many plates but everything I tried was good.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Best overall dining experience in a loooong time. Fresh flavors, amazing combinations. I would get everything we ordered again, twice! The frozen yogurt dessert was insane... Can't wait to come back

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Food was terrific. Only issue was that my salmon kabob was undercooked.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

We went to ema for lunch for the second time. Both times we were so impressed with the unique menu - everything being great. The spreads - a variety of hummus spreads on their house bread - are delicious. The octopus was so tasty and tender - a standout dish. Both times we have had kabobs. The salmon is my favorite. The lamb & beef kefta is also really good. We think we can return and try everything on the menu - that's how much confidence we have that it will all be good. It all tastes fresh and excellent. I would not hesitate to bring a group there and know everyone would be satisfied. The service was attentive and he made many good recomendations.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

A really pleasant surprise in a hotel lobby. Excellent, fresh food.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

Food was good but the portion was very small. Chicken Kabob had three small cube of chicken and small side of rice. A lunch portion typically has twice the amount of chicken. The dessert (frozen Greek yogurt) was good and tasty.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Ema serves small plates to share. The food was so tasty. The crispy broccoli was my favorite and is the most unusual dish that I have ever had. Not an inexpensive dinner but extremely yummy. Service was outstanding. Beautiful interior of the building. Sat by the open window which spanned the restaurant so got the best of inside and out.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

I was so impressed by the flavor of all the food. The risotto is very unique and I would have licked the plate if I could have! Can't wait to go back.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Met at ema for a girls' dinner. The atmosphere is really nice - bright, light, and airy. It was warm so they even had the windows to the street open. Great décor and 2 bars on either side of the restaurant. Service was good overall but a bit inattentive at times. Food came out quickly and was beautifully presented. Drinks were delicious! The food was the star though... We had some amazing Mediterranean dishes with a California twist that left us satisfied but not feeling heavy. I really enjoyed the hummus with lamb ragu and the octopus. The stracciatella with tomatoes on the vine was amazing! I can't wait to go back! Lots of choices for vegetarians too!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Many hits, some misses.\nExcellent: garlic/almond hummus with homemade bread. \nMisses: basmati/lentil salad had much too much rice relative to beluga lentils. Proportion of rice to lentils should be corrected and the salad would also benefit from more chopped veggies. Dressing was good and not overpowering.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Everything was great about Ema except the value. You'll leave hungry or broke. You definitely get very little for the price. Nevertheless, it's a very nice place worth trying. We won't return, but we were glad we tried it. There's too many other restaurants in that 3 block radius to go to which give you more all around bang for your buck.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Chef CJ Jacobson has designed a variety of tapas style dishes that are unique, delicious and complex! Lamb ragu, halloumi and dates, lamb and beef kefta were just a few of the favorites. Be warned, the bread is as addicting as any you've ever had.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

We had a group for a friends birthday. Was pleasantly surprised at the quality of service, and the food was all to die for!!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Beautifully decorated restaurant; food was fun, adventurous and delicious. Must have the Greek frozen yogurt for dessert. There was an issue with our dessert coming out late - the chef himself came to the table to introduce himself and apologize and then personally delivered the dessert once it was ready. Awesome restaurant and a great experience!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

The braised lamb with cherries and dates was fantastic, as was the octopus. The broccoli and the cauliflower were good, but not as interesting as the lamb and octopus. The service was excellent--very attentive. The desserts were wonderful--honey cake with peach and a chocolate torte. The ambiance was lovely and it was very quiet although the restaurant was full.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Fabulous service and incredible food. I could eat there daily.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

The food was absolutely amazing. There are a number of small plates to sample several things. The desserts were more savory which my wife really enjoyed.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Terrific flavors, fresh ingredients. The vibe is terrific. Beautiful space. Loved meeting Chef Jacobson too.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

The food wasn't great. The atmosphere was beautiful.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

The menu at Ema is unique, and the food was excellent. It's a nice mix of Mediterranean flavors and featured a series of dips and tapas. Definitely try the stracciatella. It was creamy and delicious. The bread served, which is sort of a cross between pita and naan, was warm and pleasing with the hummus, the cheese, and the labneh with the roasted grapes was one I'd definitely get again. The grilled octopus was very well prepared and the crispy potatoes are a must. Very good spot. I look forward to going back.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great experience...unique and tasty cocktails, bright and cozy atmosphere, and fabulous food. Just a bit pricey for the amount of food you get per plate, as it is a tapas concept. Enjoyed the pumpkin hummus - sounds strange but it was amazing.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Fantastic food menu. strange desserts. i love everything here except the broccoli.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great place, definitely will return and recommend to others.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

The décor and food were remarkable. The menu had different and creative options I had never seen before in the Chicago restaurant scene. Great place to take clients. Service was exceptional. Wait staff was very knowledgeable about the menu and it's ingredients.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

This has been on my local restaurant bucket list and it did not disappoint! Very creative menu.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Loved Ema! Another good representation for the Lettuce Enterprise. Great, well-informed server; host very nice as well. Food absolutely delicious with so many interesting choices. The server helped guide us. My only complaint is that wines by the glass should come with more generous pours (that is a pet peeve of mine).

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

DELICIOUS, great value and quality food for the price, lighter, smaller portions so you can try several dishes. Feels luxurious and sophisticated :) I had my birthday here, and the staff was very accommodating of our large group! 5 stars.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Definitely need 2-3 items per person. A little pricey for value but the hummus was delicious.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

The food was amazing - it is the first time we have enjoyed Mediterranean food where it tastes just as good, if not better, than in Mediterranean/ Middle East!\n\nGreat and attentive service and a super atmosphere!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

Very satisfied with the food and ambiance. Felt we had to flag down waitstaff several times. I get it, you are busy on a Saturday night. Sure, but could you check in more than twice a meal (beginning and end?) Yes, I realize that a collection of people will randomly bring our dishes to the table. But I think you are still our waitperson.\n\n4 plates and a shared dessert were just right. Portions, flavors---all as described on the menu. No surprises, but left us a little cold for a connection.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

This was a fun restaurant for a group of 4. We ordered several small plates and enjoyed them all. Nice atmosphere.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Service was top notch, prompt and attentive. Yummy warm lavash bread. Would recommend the spicy hummus, rotisserie chicken, and crispy potatoes. Loved the Rose and rose cocktail! Look forward to the next visit and trying Rotisserie EMA for lunch.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

The bar staff (Michael and Joe) were very knowledgeable about the food and wine menu and they did a great job helping us make selections that we loved. First rate from top to bottom.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Great food! Loved the small plates and being able to share. Got to try many different dishes. The Meyer lemon risotto was outstanding! A must try! Would definitely go back and eat there again!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Fantastic food and service. Wonderful vegetable-centric food.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 29 2018

Not sure why Ema gets such high reviews. The food was generally good but not great. Despite the restaurant not being very full a table of four was seated next to our two. The tables are so close that we could hear every word of their conversation which put a damper on ours. The service was fast and attentive but, please, ask servers not to refer to customers as 'dear' as it is extremely patronizing especially if they are younger than the diner.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 29 2018

We loved Ema! Food was delicious. The hummus sampler was a great option. Caesar salad with chicken was fantastic and I can't wait to go back and have it again. Everything was very fresh. Interior was light and airy and clean. Highly recommend.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

My daughter and I went for dinner last week for the first time and we loved it. We ordered 6 plates to share and all were delicious. The wine was superb and the service very good.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

This was our second time at Ema. Both visits have been very satisfying. The food is imaginative and tasty. Service is prompt, friendly, and informative. Young, casual crowd lends energy. We'll be back.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

My friends and I like to dine late and with 9:45 reservations we were still able to take our time and enjoy each other for a few hours over a great dinner. We shared 9 plates - including dessert - and each one was delicious. Service was excellent and the space is beautiful. I would recommend ema to anyone.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Truly fantastic meal. Don't skip the veggies. The broccoli and cauliflower mezze were standouts for us. Also the halva for dessert was the best I've ever had, even better than what I've had in the Middle East. They import the sugar for it directly from Israel and you can taste the difference. We came in before seeing Hamilton and they got us out with time to spare. Our waiter was beyond knowledgeable about the menu and the wine list which we really appreciated. Will definitely go back.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Just keep coming back! Great spot for dinner with girlfriends

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 29 2018

Our server is excellent and we cannot wait to come back!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

The food was delicious, fresh, and light-yet-satisfying. Phenomenal service from everyone. Will be back very soon and would absolutely recommend!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

We were blown away by all of the delicious food! Our server did a great job recommending a bottle of wine that truly enhanced our meal. We will definitely be back!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Awesome new place in river north. Everything was fresh and new takes on Mediterranean. Really interesting wine list. And service was great. Can't wait to go back.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Scott was great . He took great care to explain and serve us. Great job Scott.👍

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Nice varied selection of small plates - easy to share. Beef kabobs were delicious as were other menu selections. Fairly high noise level on a crowded evening. Helpful staff. Cocktails were so-so. I would go again.

1.0
Poor
Dined Apr 30 2018

The host and service is slow and lacking. A bit disappointed in that dept.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

I emailed ahead about a food allergy and the whole staff was very accommodating. The food was delicious! The best thing we tried was the Basmati salad.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Food came out too quickly. The waitress asked us to put everything in at once and told us she would course it out. We didn't get to finish items and they were already taking them away from us to make room for other things.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Excellent food, excellent server ( Jennifer )and and excellent management (Sally )

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

First time there, definitley wouldnt considee myself a foodie, but the waiter was very helpful with the menu without being pushy. Amazing food cant wait to go back.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

My party of 10 really, really enjoyed Ema's new lunch. Outstanding food and great service - so happy for the new addition. My vegetarian friend was also extremely happy about the menu!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Wonderful experience here, and looking forward to going back again and again.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

The Goddess has dined at Ema five times in three weeks. That says something. Love.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

Food was disappointing. My tuna was over cooked.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Food was excellent, as were the drinks, glad I saved room for dessert; great wine list too

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

My latest favorite restaurant. I love the creative dishes.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

The food was basic at best. Small plates that didn't taste that great for an expensive price. I would not recommend this restaurant to a friend. There are too many great restaurants in Chicago to dine at an average restaurant.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

We were completely disappointed with Lettuce on this one. We're big Lettuce fans, but the food was just sub-par. We ordered spicy hummus and the lamb kebabs to start, and it was all bland. We were definitely expecting more.\n\nAdditionally, the host was blatantly rude. The kinks of opening a new restaurant were apparent with the delay in seating, but had he been kind and respectful it would have been no issue. He was very pompous and rude.\n\nDisappointing overall experience.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

They offered vegan accommodations and the food was not balanced--the amount of salt made my food inedible. The waitress also forgot our bread for the spreads--hard to eat without bread--she didn't check back until the meals were delivered. So we are appetizers and meals together, but I returned my vegan risotto to the kitchen. Overall, a bust.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

I don't typically write a review but this place was fabulous. My new favorite!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Great atmosphere, amazing food and unique menu options - our server was extremely knowledgeable about wine, food, long distance running and pretty much anything in between. We loved everything about the experience and definitely plan to go back!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

The food was so good and left us full on 6 shared dishes between the two of us! The server was great and recommended a perfect light red wine for us! She was very informative and bubbly. They brought our bar drinks to the table along with our tab, so that we didn't have to wait extra. Overall, food and service is great!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Great food . We tried many dishes and they were delicious All of useill come back

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

We had to wait to sit down so they gave us 'complementary' hummus. We had to ask twice for more bread. They forgot to bring our tuna, so we had to ask for it. When we got the bill, it included the hummus, so we had to ask them to remove it. We split the bill three ways, but they ran one of the cards twice and didn't run one of the cards. The only way to fix it would have been to void all purchases and recharge them again. We just decided we'd figure it out between ourselves.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Great flavors, upbeat vibe, good for adults, kids and business....would not recommend for a romantic date....lights could be a little less glaring!!!\nOverall, can't wait to return and fills out that corner with lots of amazing dining options.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Starters were delicious!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

We loved our visit to Ema!! We will definitely return. The food was fresh, delicious and interesting.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Fresh fresh fresh: from the cuisine to the friendly and informed service staff to the clean, beachy interior, everything felt...FRESH! Falafal, potatoes & chicken were all delish. Definitely will be back.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Everything was amazing!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Thank you for a wonderful birthday celebration dinner....

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

the food was a wonderful surprise, with many re-imagined standards

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

We loved the food is fresh, new and healthy. Mediterranean plates for sharing and big plates for personal. We loved the deco. It is a bit noisy and the services was great until entres arrived then we had a challenge ordering dessert and coffee. Maybe a change of servers or just no more interest.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Great customer service! Would recommend to all my friends

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Food is amazingly simple yet delicious. Service is the perfect balance of helpful but not hovering. Fabulous, complex drinks. The perfect place for a night with friends or a last minute date night.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

Despite a reservation, my table for two was what appeared to be a makeshift table at the very front of the restaurant right next to the host station. I asked for a different spot but nothing was available. It felt like the kids' table.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Attentive and friendly customer service! Can't wait to go back! Such good dishes!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Great addition to the neighborhood. Despite being in a hotel, it's quality, trendy and awesome food!!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Very fresh ingredients presented in 'small plates' so we could all sample many dishes! Our waiter was excellent. He was full of answers to all our questions, despite the bustling, very full restaurant. Delightful experience. Appreciate the parking info with the Hyatt. Would love to go again!

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

Service was fair. Drinks came late after few dishes were served, manager acknowledged but that was it....

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

The service was terrible. We asked for lemon for water, got it 1/2 way thru meal. Asked for black napkins, never got them. Ordered veggies for the hummus, they came when we had finished all the apps. Server never brought us a bill but collected our credit cards and then brought them back 10 minutes later, still had not run them. we waited 25 minutes total to sign our receipts - it was so weird that she never brought a bill. Horrible service all around. Love LEYE, gold card member. Was supposed to come back to Ema next week with out of town guests, would have been my 3rd time. Canceled reservation and going to Naoki instead.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Great ambiance for a lunch meeting. Hip and contemporary with stellar, fresh options. I loved it, everyone loved it.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

The octopus is amazing. Try the almond garlic spread. End desert with their homemade frozen yogurt which is out of this world!

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

Even though we had reservations \nThey seated us very late and at a table in the bar

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Service was excellent, food was fantastic.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

It is bright! What I immediately think of is that the lights were on full blast when we arrived at 8:30 at night. After asking if it's always that bright they did turn them them down a little bit about half an hour later which really helped the ambience.\n\nWe ordered the eggplant spread which was absolutely to die for yummy! The octopus and potatoes was pretty good and the risotto with corn a little disappointing – it was served cold and is not a small bowl but literally a thin layer spread on a small round plate. Even for a small plate it should've been a little larger and would've been better served warm. We also had the chicken kebab that was a ground chicken with seasoning. We both thought it was all right but not spectacular . The bread, that is a combination of Nan and pita, was excellent. We would definitely go back for just some wine and small plates but not really thinking of it as a place for a full dinner. They did have a nice selection of good wines by the glass.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Thanks to a very helpful server, we tried a few things we might not have like the labnah and really enjoyed it! Will go back to try more

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

Very disorganized, choppy service. Food mediocre and poorly described by the staff. Very expensive for the portions.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Ema was a great dining experience. Food, service, ambiance all excellent. Would most definitely recommend this restaurant and will most definitely be back again. This one is a winner!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

First time dining here. Lots of interesting and different items on the menu. Loved all the choices for the hummus. We got a variety and everything was great. Had fish for the entree and that was great. I definitely will go back. Tables are pretty close together but otherall a nice space even if it is a little cramped. Loved the decor and great service.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Great food, the garlic almond spread was amazing, along with the octopus. Attentive staff made the evening very nice. Noise level was a big high, be nice if it was a bit more laid back.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

One of my new favorite River north spots!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

A little bright and need softeners on bottom of stools but fantastic food and service.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Another solid offering from this incredible group. Portions were fair, quality was outstanding and I can't wait to return!

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

My parents loved Ema when they went so we decided to try it. While the food was pretty tasty, nothing jumped out at us being particularly amazing. Also...didn't love the primarily non-US wine list (sorry!). Would go back for lunch potentially, just didn't seem that unique for a weekend evening out.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Loved the food - tapas-style Mediterranean food. Offers something new and different in River North. Service was outstanding - great explanation of the menu and just the right amount of attentiveness during our meal. We tried quite a few different plates - the good news is everything was great (peas, octopus, kebab, cauliflower, broccoli and more). The bad news is we had to order so many plates to get enough food. Portions are incredibly small and drove our bill $$$ way up.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Love this new spot! Great food, Cameron was an awesome server. He had great wine recommendations, a few awesome recommendations per menu section, dessert suggestions, overall he just helped us achieve an awesome meal. :) We'll go back for sure!

1.0
Poor
Dined Apr 30 2018

We were thrilled to check out CJ Jacobson's new restaurant, but left feeling disappointed. While several plates stood out, like the hummus with lamb ragu and the sweet corn risotto, the steamed-to-death mussels were the size of a penny, dry as a bone, and overall inedible (we had to send them back). Our cocktails, while tasty, had barely-there liquor and we left feeling as though we had sipped on apple juice our entire meal (for $13 a pop- ugh). \n\nWhile the River North area is in need of an authentic Mediterranean small plates restaurant, Ema misses the mark.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

It is the week before our wedding and we are eating paleo, but we wanted to enjoy a nice meal out. I booked this restaurant because it was new and thought by random it be fun to try. Wow so impressed! Great service! Healthy options and easy to sub out non paleo foods. The grilled octopus was so good that we ordered it again! I can't wait to go back!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

For only recently opening Ema has nailed it! The service is great and so is the food. The homemade Stracciatella is FANTASTIC! I cannot wait to return!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Loved the uniqueness that has not been in the LEYE portfolio before.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Newly opened ema needs a little time to work out the details. Our server was attentive but the problem is that when someone else brings out the dishes they may not know what you ordered. We ordered a dish with sauce on the side but it was mixed in. They were happy to correct it and did not charge us. The selections were innovative and quite tasty. Good drink mixing but light on the beer options.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

The restaurant is nicely decorated with very white and bright decor which I love. There is also a lot of outdoor seating and we easily had the option to sit outside. Every dish we ordered was fantastic. The traditional hummus was really tasty and all the dishes we ordered had very fresh seasonal vegetables. We ordered many sides and the Halibut special. We highly recommend this restaurant. Only negative was that they brought almost all of our dishes out at the same time which was way too fast and there was no room on the table. We had to tell them to hold back the main dish. They need to space out the dishes better but other than that everything else was great!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

It was a delightful and yummy evening. All of us would definitely return.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Immediately to the top of the Lettuce Entertain You chain of restaurants. Menu was perfect for light dining and each dish was executed with elan. Modestly priced as an extra benefit.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Great service and attention from all levels including management. Food was refreshing. Not heavy and made with excellent ingredients. Desserts were a pleasant surprise.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

This place has great potential. Just like any new restaurant, there are a few kinks that need to be worked out - consistency with food prep, etc. I will try again in a few weeks.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

Spent the last twelve hours sick...which I was not expecting from underseasoned food. In retrospect, I shouldn't have been disappointing when the bus boys tried to take the food before we were done eating

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Came here to celebrate my birthday with family. Had a toddler and baby with us. The place is energetic & loud so even if the kids were crying or screaming, no one would be distracted with their conversations. Portions are small, like tapas style. We had a party of 6 adults so we ordered 3 large dishes and 6 small dishes plus 2 desserts to share. We all were pretty content afterwards. Food is really good, the pita bread is tasty but don't be fooled, it's $2.95/basket. I would recommend the braised lamb shoulder, very tender and tasty. Service was fast and accommodating. Definitely recommend the place for its vibrant scene, delicious food, & fast service!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Another gem from Lettuce Entertain You! Loved everything about the meal and I'll be back very soon!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Enjoyed food, service and ambiance enough to come back a second night during a work related trip. Just heard rated #1 of 10 Chicago hot spots, and can see why. Food was delicious, cocktails innovative and fun, and comparable costs to high-quality restaurants in other cities. Despite its 'hot spot' status, it lacks pretentiousness; everyone (staff and patrons alike) seems to be enjoying themselves in its warm and inviting environment. Think a lot of love goes into the food and how this place was conceived. Open environment to street somehow made inviting instead of noisy, with windows eliminated given good weather. On other side, curtains separating restaurant from lobby provides an unexpected openness and flow that draws you in. Unlike any other restaurants I've gone to in other major cities (Boston, DC, LA, Seattle, San Francisco, etc.), and all in a good way. First night's dinner was so good that I began recommending to Chicago locals I was visiting for work, and they have since gone and also loved the food, so not a lark. Looking forward to returning to Chicago and to Ema to see how it evolves given that it's only been open a few months.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Best. hummus. of all. TIME!!!

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

Too expensive for what was provided. The food was definitely not good enough to warrant the $$$

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

We have been to Ema many times since its opening and think the food is great and the ambience friendly. The serving staff and the managers greet us by name. The small plates are very well done and very tasty. We wish Ema much success in Chicago and will continue to support it enthusiastically!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

The food was great! Love the mesas so I could try a little of everything. I'm already looking forward to going back soon!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Amazing restaurant.. food is impeccable and so to is the service! I wish I lived in Chicago so I could frequent more often!!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Absolutely wonderful food with a great atmosphere, service and reasonably priced. Loved it!

1.0
Poor
Dined Apr 30 2018

Absolutely horrible service and we went at an earlier dinner time. Half the place was empty. Our waitress brought us the wrong drinks and then took almost 20 min before our cocktails arrived... Which were off balance and really sour so we just ordered bottles of wine afterwards. She messed up our order and then we had another waitress for about 10 min and then went back to the first one. It was kind of ridiculous. The ambiance is modern, clean, and beautiful. The food we got was either bland or over salted - such a bummer. And we could have easily overlooked the really small portion sizes for good flavors but the whole thing, other than the ambiance, was a total fail. Wouldn't go back and definitely don't recommend. Was really really wanting to like this place- so excited to give it a try, but sadly it feel short.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Very good (personal) service and amazing food! Will definitely add to the dining list again for the next Chicago visit!!!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Good flavors but small portions.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Ema is a great restaurant. The white-and-wood decor is so enchanting and adds to the ambiance of being in a chic but fun environment. Wait staff was friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable about the menu. Food was fantastic for a group of both vegetarians and meat eats. I highly recommend this restaurant to groups looking to get together for a special occasion.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Food and service were outstanding. Prices are a little steep for portion sizes.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

This was our 4th trip to Ema with reservations on board. Everything about this restaurant is perfect. The menu, the food, the ambiance and the outstanding waitstaff.\nCan't wait to return. Look forward to Saturday and Sunday brunch and lunch and Turkish (?) coffee.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Loved this place. Been there twice now and they don't disappoint.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Warm and chill atmosphere with a very welcoming staff. Food is coursed out well and there is a good variety of Mediterranean dishes. Everything was well seasoned. The house bread is amazing. Also try the honey pie for dessert. Three thumbs up!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

A fine restaurant with an interesting take on Mediterranean-themed food. It's like Mediterranean tapas; which means the small plates can add up to big bills. Our server encouraged us to order more plates, and recommended the most expensive wine on the list. So, buyer beware here. But the food is excellent.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

I keep going back here- it's amazing! Everything I've had is delicious.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Wonderful decor and amazing cuisine! The green frozen yoghurt is to die for. Want to go back already!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Ema was great food in a refreshing atmosphere. Our waittress was very knowledgeable about all the dishes and we had some special requests/additions she accommodated easily! The restaurant was perfect for a girls' lunch. We had the three hummos appetizer, and the kebabs (chicken - 2 kinds) and Falafel. Just told another friend to take her boyfriend here for an anniversary lunch. Good for all fancy occassions without the fancy occassion price!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

We had walked past Èma several times and kept saying 'We should try this place...' So we finally did try it and we were not disappointed. A relatively light Mediterranean menu with lots of interesting choices; the dishes are served as they come out of the kitchen. The server was very helpful, the atmosphere was pleasant and all the plates were very tasty. We intend to go back.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

I keep coming back here! The stracciatella is a must as is the lamb shoulder. Great for girls get together, date night or girls night!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

The hostesses were not entirely welcoming, friendly or nice- which is ironic considering they're making the first impression for the restaurant. With that being said, the food was amazing and our table service was also great.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

the food was good - some dishes better than others.\nas usual now, most dishes were small plates.\nwe ordered about 10 dishes. almost all of them came with a yoghurt based sauce - i get that this is a middle eastern / mediterranean restaurant, but it was a bit too much of the same.\n\nthe falafel was excellent, as was the green salad with freekeh.\nThose were my favorites. We also enjoyed the broccoli - it a little salty - and the lamb kebab.\n\nwines were nice as well.\n\ni'll come back, but will probably order a little differently to make sure that we get more variety - i.e. i would order a large plate and fewer small plates.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Everything was delicious!!

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

Service was horrendous! Server had a terrible attitude & didn't check on us unless flagged down! Food we didn't order delivered to our table! Dishes that were finished not cleared! Ridiculous!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Seriously couldn't have had a better time. Service was a little spotty but probably was just due to being a new restaurant. Will be back!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

The cauliflower was phenomenal. Loved the halvah for dessert. Great atmosphere!!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Amazing food quality and options! The grilled octopus was amazing!!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Liked the place overall, a little loud and the chairs are not really too comfy. Made reservation and asked for window seat but didn't get it. Seemed like plenty of open tables but all said reserved. Wasn't I under reserved? Oh well. Food was good. Overall decent place.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Ema's food is delicious from start to finish. Shared plates are not enough food when you expect to eat dinner. Our waitress suggested 8 plates for 4 of us. Servings are small and pricey. I had called in advance and told them we were celebrating my husband's big big birthday. Apparently this was not related to our waitress so nothing special happened. That was disappointing . Hope to have a better result next time.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Interesting cocktails wth delicious small plates that are great for sharing. Overall a great experience...I plan to return

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Not too noisy even when nearly filled on an early Saturday evening. Everything our group had was delicious. The salmon with peaches was perfectly prepared. The octopus succulent. The pea and avocado spread unique and tasty. The quinoa salad was excellent. Definitely will return again and again.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Good was just ok

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

We love mediterranean food and Ema did not disappoint. Everything was fresh and delicious. The home made bread and hummus are a must as is the lentil salad and roasted cauliflower. The honey pie with roasted grapes is one of the best desserts I have had in Chicago. We can't wait to go again to try the roasted eggplant spread.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Very good food and atmosphere- I'll definitely be back....soon!!

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

For a restaurant that is so popular, I expected a lot more. The food was not special at all. There are numerous tapas restaurants that serve food with more taste and creativity.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Fantastic food and decor. Great service and value

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Loved this restaurant. Very knowledgeable server, Great food, Terrific service. Didn't rush us. Overall a great experience.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Excellent for a business lunch or dinner with friends which I can say with confidence since I did them both in the same week!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

The wine list was great. All the apps were delicious. Loved the eggplant and avocado pea hummus. The broccoli and cauliflower and crispy potatoes are stand outs. We ordered salmon kabobs which were great. The chicken kabobs came out a significant time later leaving two people with cold salmon and annoyed that not all the entrees arrived at the same time. Also I had to keep asking for someone to fill my water glass. We skipped dessert because the food was so good we were full. I hope the service is better next time.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Delicious!! Chef CJ Jacobson was walking around the restaurant throughout our meal, which was nice to see. Our waitress was fantastic. We will definitely be back!!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Everything was delicious - including the watermelon gazpacho, the lamb and beef kefta, the deconstructed baklava, and the grilled octopus was so tender!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Excellent food. Crispy potato and spicy humus a must. Interesting wine list.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

The space was quite lovely but the portions were very small for the prices. More vegan/non-dairy dishes would be a good idea as my friend found it hard to find things to eat.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

As I write this I am on the toilet and that is where I have been the last three days. The food was average and experiance pleasant. I decided that night not to return to any Lettuce entertain you resturants because they all feel generic and soulless- not brave. But now I am sick and debating calling to complain.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Went with 3 colleagues. We ordered the spread sampler and various kefta kabobs. Everything was flavorful and tasted fresh. The pomegranate lemonade hit the spot as well.\n\nThe restaurant was clean and the staff professional as well as helpful with menu selection.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Delish. Great place if you love to share. Lots of vegetarian options and really so much for all types of eaters.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

We had a terrific meal. Everything was delicious and super fresh. The standouts were a rice and beluga lentil side and the halibut and for dessert halvah flown in from Israel. Lindsey, our waitress, couldn't have been more attentive and nice.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

What a great addition to River North, and what a change of pace with Mediterranean cuisine!\n\nFresh new looks, lots of wood and natural colors.\n\nI made a reservation on Opentable, took the last 5:30 pm spot on a Tuesday! We were a little late, but were seated right away when we arrived. The place was packed!\n\nThe server was very helpful and attentive, with explaining the menu, the international wines, and helping us choose food.\n\nWe were advised to get at least 2/3 dishes per person to share, and we did so, but would have honestly been better off with less food, we were stuff because we couldn't stop eating the goodness!\n\nFood: Hummus, Htipiti, Lamb Shoulder, Cauliflower, Frozen Yogurt, Chocolate Cake\n\nWine: I got an Israeli Sauvignon Blanc, the husband had a cocktail. We were both very happy with our choises. The wine was so flavorful, full of body!\n\nHtipiti was a hit at our table, roasted peppers on a fresh pita, damn!\n\nThe frozen yogurt is like nothing we've had before - olive oil an salt on top made is so unique, yet so simple. I like deliciously simple food!\n\nI love the fact that they have wines from different regions and there is a list divided by island, great way to bring in international Mediterranean wines.\n\nPerfect place for a date night, girls night, etc. yum, yum, yum!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Ema was fantastic. Great Mediterranean tapas selection! Everything we tried was delicious. I recommend the river side cocktail - very refreshing drink. The tapas we ordered tasted great, especially the house bread, which they season and serve warm with the spreads. It is a little on the pricey side, but for a special occasion it's a really great option. It has a nice, upscale vibe, with ambient lighting which makes for a great date. We will definitely be back!

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

All the dishes we got were swimming in oil. I would not recommend the food at all. The decor and ambiance were terrific, but the food is lacking.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

The hummus plate didn't look as good as the hummus plate on your web site....otherwise, everything was delightful and flavorful.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Absolutely amazing! Food was great, ambiance was fun and energetic. Will definitely go back!!!

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

Bad wine selection needs work\nBad mixed drink selection \nFood was not very good needs more choices\nAnd better taste

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Great meza and small plates. A bit pricy but given the quality acceptable. Great chef who makes himself visible. Gave us dinner hints that turned out well.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Each course was better than the next! Save room for frozen Greek yogurt!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Food was unique and tasty. Two of the dishes we ordered were seasoned with fresh lemon and were very enjoyable. The serving sizes of some items are small, especially for the prices. A portion of feta cheese with olives, almonds, lemon zest and middle eastern spices was very good but overpriced at $8.95.\n\nAlso, we selected to sit outside. The Clark Street outdoor area was full. So, we sat on the Illinois Street side. There were no umbrellas and it got to be very hot and uncomfortable to eat there. Of course, we had the option to move inside but did not.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

really amazing food. Very unexpected. Will definitely return and recommend to friends.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

This is the BEST Mediterranean restaurant in Chicago yet. Everything we ate was superb and the options were excellent. Have had dinner and lunch and can't wait to come back.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Great food and nice chat with chef CJ Jacobson

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

A welcome addition to Chicago's vibrant dining scene. The food is innovative Mediterranean and very, very fresh. The crispy broccoli is a standout but everything we sampled was delicious. Concluded with a yummy honey cake. Portions are perfect for sharing. Friendly, knowledgeable servers who made great recommendations. Clean, minimalist but inviting interior with warm accents. Reasonable noise level with no blaring music. Hope to go back many times.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

WE loved this new restaurant. The chef is very creative with both his presentation and his combinations of flavors. We had several small plate and eery one of them was a 10'. The drinks were also fantastic. Our waiter, Mike, was terrific!! I would highly recommend Ema's and look forward to returning soon.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

I loved this restaurant. I'm a vegetarian-and this place had so many absolutely delicious vegetarian options, which is a rare find in this city. I felt the food was very fresh, tasty, and the wine I had was also really excellent. \nI would definitely recommend this restaurant to all my friends! I plan on coming back very soon myself!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

All food was wonderful. Service knowledge and pacing of meal, as well as wine service was lackluster. I expect more from a lettuce entertain you restaurant.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Outstanding , flavorful cuisine! Reasonably priced. A welcome addition to Chicago.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Four friends were getting together to celebrate/reminisce about a recent concert. On a Thursday night, the place was packed and we were glad we had called for a reservation weeks before. The room is very airy and open and a great summertime feel---too hot to sit out at the tables outside, but nice to have the option. Our server was very nice---he recommended we would need 10 small plates, but we were plenty satisfied with 7 and the four of us couldn't finish the shared dessert. Food was very tasty---pita bread with the spread was good, fried eggplant and potatoes were wonderful; chicken kabobs perfectly done; corn risotto delicious, daily fish special excellent. Chef delivered one of the dishes himself and seemed to mingle well in the busy room. Relaxed vibe. Only critical comment was late service on one of the drinks after server found out they did not have my preferred gin and the chocolate torte was not a winner with our group. Would definitely go again. If you like healthy, lighter fare this place is for you---if a big steak fan, you may not like the small Mediterrean plate offerings.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Good but nothing earth shattering. One of many new, sharing, small course restaurants. Nice atmosphere. Good service.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Amazing dinner. You share most of the items. Everything we had was delicious! Service was amazing, the manager Sally fantastic, the chef came out and was extremely personable. He was on Top Chef. Had the pea with guacamole dipping appetizer, tuna dish, gluten free cracker is amazing and made on site...it's to die for., chicken kebab, beef kebab all with a rice that was so tasty. Tried one of their salads and a couple other dipping items. Cauliflower dish is great too. Not one bad dish. Waitress very informative on wines and all the foods. Definitely a place to go, I would go back!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Cameron our server was fantastic!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

I liked the place and the ambiance. The service was outstanding. The bathroom situation could be better as you'd have to go through the hotel lobby first. Also bathroom cleanliness is a must is thing to work on, too.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

This is a lively comfortable spot with delicious food. You really do feel like your on vacation.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

unusual fresh delicious food, outstanding service \ni can't wait to return

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

We recommend ema to everyone we know and keep going back for more deliciousness.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

We are without question returning to this restaurant. Everything, from food to service, was of high quality. Ema has become our go-to place in Chicago.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Loved it. Food and drinks were delicious and flavorful. Service was great.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

We love Mediterranean food so we're excited there was a new LEYE restaurant serving. We got five tapas. One was inedible (crispy broccoli, recommended by the server- it dissolved into a ball of frying oil as soon as it hit your tongue), tuna crudo was tasteless, labneh had the consistency and taste of cream cheese. The fourth was forgettable obviously. The fifth was a kibbeh kebab that was good but not special. \nServer and ambiance were good.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Nice new restaurant located in downtown Chicago.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Ema was fantastic all around. The cocktails were interesting and very tasty. The food was great, the service was very good, and our server was very knowledgeable about the menu and the wine list. I wanted to order everything on the menu. Can't wait to go back again!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Great new restaurant! Difficult to decide what to order on our first visit, but learned anything you pick is wonderful. Definitely going back soon.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Went to Ema to check it out for a birthday/date. Just about everything we ordered was great--standouts included the Avocado and Sweet Pea spread, Crispy Halloumi and Dates, and Basmati and Beluga Lentil Salad. \n\nThe service was great and he recommended wines and desserts that were fantastic (Honey Pie!). The ambience was bright and upbeat.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

ema is a beautiful new restaurant with delicious food! I look forward to going back many times!

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

Food was fine (though octopus was chewy and surprisingly untender). They were late seating us for our reservation so we decided to eat at the bar and the service at the bar was non-existent. Bartenders were too busy mixing drinks to deal with those eating at the bar. Too bad.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

We had an absolutely fantastic experience! The hostess was friendly and professional, the bartender was present with every customer and knowledgeable, and our server (Michael) was experienced, attentive and easy-going. He gave us several genuine and excellent recommendations. One of the partners, Marc, stopped by our table and he could not have been more pleasant and accommodating! Definitely will be going back to Ēma\n\nWe loved the spicy hummus with the best pita bread I've ever had! The English peas and yogurt was a very light, refreshing, treat. Our favorite dish was the corn and bulgur risotto. Not a traditional risotto...the texture was phenomenal and we couldn't get enough of it. The octopus was very good, not outstanding. Both the lamb & beef kefka and the chicken kefka were done just right. Finally we had the deconstructed baclava and the honey pie. Normally baclava is too sweet and gooey, but this preparation was delicious and a nice surprise. The honey pie, OH MY! We would go back for that for sure.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

After dining at ema, I immediately booked two future reservations. River North needed a place like this. Still chic and elevated, but much brighter, with white walls and a cheerful ambiance. The food is amazing and you can eat on the lighter side if you choose. Get the stracciatella!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Spectacular place: excellent food, great design, cool ambience and energy.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Exceptional food, brilliant service and management!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Delicious food. Excellent service for just opening. Coming back ASAP.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Love that the place is brightly lit so that I can actually see the people across from me. I can't say that about too many other downtown Chicago restaurants. The portions were perfect in size for sharing a variety of hot and cold plates. Highly recommend the hummus and falafel. Will be going back again soon!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

ema was an amazing and unique dining experience. The food was California meets the Mediterranean. The cocktails have unique ingredients as well. I'm going back this coming week.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

My parents were in town visiting and my mom has a lot of food sensitivities so it can be challenging to find somewhere to go. We had heard great things about Ema and the menu gave us lots of options to chose from. Our server was also fantastic (blanking on her name started with an S?) - from accommodating my mom's food needs flawlessly to recommending fun cocktails and spot on wine pairings as well as a great mix of food (the grilled octopus is unbelievable), she helped make it an awesome experience! Would definitely recommend Ema to others and can't wait to go back!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Great flavors-well balanced share plates and a variety of menu items. Great for vegetarians and chicken lovers. Crispy potatoes, eggplant spread, chicken kebobs, broccoli, crispy cheese were an absolute delight. I would not recommend the octopus- slightly overbooked and hard to chew. Bar service is slower- still working out the kinks. Overall amazing food. Chef if walking and present throughout entire dining experience. Highly recommend. Very pure ambiance and creative cocktails.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Amazing food and great ambience!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

The food was delicious! There were 4 of us and we ordered several dishes to share. Two of us were Gluten Free and there were many items to choose from. Only criticism: Not enough GF bread to share for a pair in one order, there was regular bread left in the basket.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

Seated us 40 minutes late for reso with no apologies. Didn't course out the family style dining menu. They came over to tell us the kitchen was closed (typically restaurants come over to let you know BEFORE the kitchen closes to see if you want to order more). Rushed taking our plates away yet took 20 minutes to bring the check even after we asked for it multiple times. It's a shame because we typically love Lettuce restaurants and the food was actually decent.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

We celebrated two birthdays at dinner the other night at Ema. Overall, the food is delicious and the service is great. We really liked our server, Alissa, who is very knowledgeable about the entire menu. It turns out that we were her very first table since she completed her training! Kudos to whomever hired this young lady -- she is a delight. \n\nFor dinner, we especially enjoyed the house made labneh, sweet corn and bulgar risotto, house made hummus, and both the beef tenderloin and chicken kebobs. Most plates are for 2 or 3 guests to share, and we found that it was best to order 3 plates for each course. Also, the frozen Greek yoghurt pairs really well with the almond cake with roasted peach for dessert. \n\nDecor is calm -- shades of ivory and tan all around, including the 'uniform' of the servers. All the servers were attentive to us, which was very much appreciated. We are looking forward to returning to Ema for another delicious meal!

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

I expected a more vegan friendly menu. There are quite a few vegetarian options but certainly not enough are adaptable. I was told a vegan dessert was available but that was a mistake and the owner had to search for one next door at Beatrix--very nice to do this. Overall it was a positive experience and I will return in hopes of a change where dairy is not included in choices like bread and most of the vegetable dishes.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Food was delicious! They were Great with allergies and very diligent about contamination. The avocado and sweet pea spread was amazing as was the tuna crudo and watermelon gazpacho. Yummy! Nice patio

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

The food was light and delicious. The decor is bright without being overbearing. The mezcal cocktail was incredible and worth going just for that alone. It was quite busy so service was slow so that was the only negative.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

Let me start with the concept of “small plates” reaching a new level of very small portions on small plates, but hey, its downtown Chicago, I get it.\nThe House-Made Labneh $ 7.95 (strained yogurt) with roasted grapes and burnt honey. Although a nice combination, the tablespoon portion of Labneh failed to impress. I would have expected a fabulous Labneh being touted as house-made and offered in such a small portion. It’s unclear whether they make the yogurt for the labneh or just strain it and call it house-made. Either way I would have to guess they used fat free yogurt as the labneh lacked the full cream deliciousness that I am accustomed to. \nLocal Feta & Olives $ 8.95 A well balanced combination of Castelvetrano olives, Marcona Almonds and Lemon zest, with a mini portion of Feta but then came the Brazilian Pimenta Biquinho a Brazilian vinegar cured pepper, what were they thinking?\nHtipiti $ 8.95 A very nice combination or roasted peppers with a micro garnish of Feta was quite tasty on its own until you bit into a Brazilian Pimenta Biquinho, again, what were they thinking? I love PB’s, I also love chocolate, but there’s a place for everything.\nSweet Corn and Bulgur Risotto $ 11.95 although really very good, really isn’t risotto at all, “risotto style” perhaps, but I did not detect a grain of Arborio rice and corn is surely not Mediterranean. $ 11.95 was definitely steep for the serving size.\nPan Roasted Romanesco $ 8.95 Was good but very under seasoned, and again $ 8.95 is a bit steep for one florette of Romanesco split in two.\nGrilled Octopus $ 14.95 was good, well prepared but should have been great, again under seasoned, and why even mention the fried kale if it’s only a garnishing.\nThe restaurant is well run & service was for the most part good, dirty dishes hung around longer than they should have. But it comes down to the food, & there’s definitely much better Mediterranean food to be found in Chicago as well as better food in general for the price.

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Very expensive given what it is. They need to provide serving spoons with each dish - we had to ask for cutlery to serve shared plates at every course.

1.0
Poor
Dined Apr 30 2018

Ema was a huge disappointment for every reason but the food--I love middle-Eastern food, and the dishes were very tasty if not authentic.\nFirst major complaint would be the wine list selection and the skimpy pours of all drinks.\nSecondly, the ambiance is nonexistent for dinner.\nThird, the pricing of the dishes is ridiculous for what comes out on the plate.\nThe very best item in this restaurant is the warm pita bread--it is as good as it gets.\nAll in all, as much as I adore this kind of cuisine, we will never go back!\nSorry, I, as an ema, would be embarrassed to serve these portions as shared dishes or tapas or whatever name one wants to give minuscule portions to jack up the bill because you must order so many dishes.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Although the restaurant had opened just 6 days ago, service was great and staff was well trained. We had dinner with our two kids. Kids menu is more elaborate Nd healthy than usual. Food was great and very tasty. Small plates formula allows to share plates with guests. The ambiance is very relax. We had a great family meal!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Great restaurant, everything was delicious, great ambiance and great service! Can't wait to come back

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

There were 4 of us and we really loved everything about the restaurant. The food was just terrific. A really interesting and fun menu!\nSome of the plates are smaller than others. But since it's new we all felt like it was more fun to try different things to know what we liked in order to know what to order when we came back. Obviously a limit as to how much one can order st a time. But we did a nice job sampling but next time we will try some different things. \nThe crispy potatoes and crispy broccoli were really amazing so would order that again for sure. \nThe chicken kebobs were delicious but there only one smallish skewer so not a large amount. Same with the lamb and beef kefta. \nWe were disappointed with the size of the Halva which was delicious and imported from Israel. But there were 2 tiny amounts of shaved Halva... Barely a couple bites. It came with some pistachio nuts and cherries. Delicious but for $9.95 nowhere enough Halva at all. So disappointed about that. The frozen Greek yogurt was delicious. \nWe will definitely go back!

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

Only open few days, food lacked punch spicy hummus was not at all spicy, most dishes lacked the real flavor of the middle east. Can overlook slow service as it was just open a few days, they comped desert , but very small order. Will try again in a couple of weeks to see if thing improved.

2.0
Mediocre
Dined Apr 30 2018

I was very excited to go to ema! I had high expectations knowing the chef and that it was a Lettuce Entertain You place. The room is definitely Cali like, hosts dressed in white and beachy airy room. The scene was young and hip, people wanting to be seen... \n\nPlease note, they must be having AC problems. It was stuffy and hot. \n\nThe manager was super nice, a women. Their was a guy floating around that didn't look happy and didn't say hi. The Chef came out to present the desert which is a nice touch. \n\nThe Food was trying to be a lot of things but just wasn't good. \n\nGreens salad: dressing was imbalanced, tasted like rubbing alcohol\n\nHomemade cheese: The bread was over seasoned and the cheese was OVERLY SALTED (bad). They are using sea salt which I understand. Yikes it was over salted. \n\nCorn dish: simple and tasty but no 'wow' flavors. I really wanted to love this dish\n\nChocolate cake: warm and mushy. It has a straw like statute next to it for texture. Why don't they just make the cake more textured or better so it doesn't need extra stuff.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Interesting take on several 'common' Mediterranean dishes. Smaller, shared plates are creative and fun. \n\nGreat ambiance and environment.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

After reading a great article about ema, my boyfriend and I met after work at this new spot, and we had a wonderful experience! Chef CJ was working the kitchen and floor with his awesome chefs and staff, and they did not disappoint! (Although we were so sad he didn't stop by our table, because we're HUGE Top Chef fans.)\n\nMy bf and I love Mediterranean food, and ema's selections did not disappoint. As someone who regularly has hummus and chips as a quick lunch, the spicy hummus was AMAZING. I could literally eat it with a spoon. The leg of lamb and potatoes were a perfect pairing, thanks to the suggestion of Timmy, our waiter. We also had the chicken kabob, which did not disappoint. \n\nFinally, we had three cocktails between us, and each was a perfect summer treat. From what I recall, cherry, apricot, and AMAZINGGGG rose flavors were constantly refreshing my palate. (The drinks were too good not to share.)

3.0
Okay
Dined Apr 30 2018

Try this latest invention of LEY, it is all Mediterranean and has a lot of veggies options. We loved the bread (a combo of naan and pita) so much we filled up on it before we ordered our main meal. Next time, half the bread! The wine list is spectacular and they even have special wines not on the menu. Everything was delicious. The worst part of this place is the location which is off the lobby of a hotel (much like Beatrix which is around the corner) but the bathroom is part of the lobby and it is far from the restaurant, cramped and was dirty. If you open the door you will hit the person washing their hands at the sink! Crazy. Go to Ema with a group or a twosome, just go to the bathroom before you get there!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Excellent food combined with a wide ranging list of options.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

First and foremost, the staff was welcoming and absolutely fantastic at what they do. Genuinely friendly, happy to engage in conversation and share recommendations, and all around a group that seems like they love what they do. Follow that up with a reasonably priced, creative and delicious menu and you have a winner. We will be back and visit often as we really loved the food, drinks and service.

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

We were so excited to try and his new restaurant and we love Mediterranean food. We were not disappointed at all. We were seated at one of the open window tables, a great start! We let our server share her favorites and we took most of her advice. I started with a nice glass of white wine (Greece) and my husband had the River Side Cocktail which was so light and refreshing, perfect for summer. Our first dish was the House Made Labnah, I would order this starter every time. Perfect combo of a light creamy cheese with honey, Marcona almonds and roasted grapes - the best appetizer, served with pita. We then shared crispy potatoes, grilled octopus & crispy halloumi w/ dates. Each dish was as good as the next. The star of the night was the Pan Roasted Halibut. I would come back here all day every day for this dish. Simply amazing!! We were too full for dessert but the dessert menu was very appealing! We can't wait to get back here with some friends and try the rest of the dishes!

4.0
Good
Dined Apr 30 2018

Did not receive my dining points. Food was good. Cool spot.

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