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Chef's Special Cocktail Bar
Photograph: Galdones Photography

The 19 best Chinese restaurants in Chicago

For excellent dim sum, Peking duck and chow mein, book it to one of Chicago's best Chinese restaurants

By Time Out editors
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Whether you're hankering for authentic dim sum or a perfectly carved peking duck, the best Chinese restaurants in Chicago will send you home with a full belly. There's no better place to start your journey than Chinatown Chicago, which is home to a phenomenal concentration of globetrotting eateries and cultural landmarks. But your foodie search shouldn't stop there: From Uptown and West Loop to Avondale and Lincoln Park, the best Chinese restaurants in Chicago are farflung and wonderfully diverse. Some stick to the classics, serving mapo tofu and shrimp crepes, while others specialize in remixed dishes like wok-charred brussels sprouts and lobster dumplings laced with truffle. No matter your order, the best Chinese restaurants in Chicago are ready to dish.

RECOMMENDED: Discover more of the best restaurants in Chicago

Best Chinese restaurants in Chicago

Sun Wah
Photograph: Erica Gannett

1. Sun Wah BBQ Restaurant

Restaurants Chinese Uptown

This no-frills joint tempts passersby with lacquer-skinned roast ducks hanging by their necks in the steamed-up window. The menu is expansive but inexpensive: The Pei Par BBQ duck and the Hong-Kong–style barbecued pig are sublime in their simplicity, savory and slick with fat. Chinese broccoli arrives jade-green and crisp, and the beef chow fun comes out charred and tasting of the properly smoking wok. Even the egg rolls are notable, dotted with bits of roasted pork. Our advice? Order lots and save the leftovers for lunch.

MCCB
Photograph: Tim McCoy

2. MCCB Chicago

Restaurants Armour Square

MCCB, which stands for Modern Chinese Cook Book, specializes in Sichuan- and Canton-style cuisines, which means guests are treated to an in-depth menu that appropriately represents several regions of China. Holding down the "Modern" end of things are dishes like the Philly steak egg roll and dry chili fantail shrimp, which is served in a small fryer basket. The Chinatown restaurant’s signature dish is the charcoal-grilled whole fish, which is soaked in hot chili broth before it's grilled and carved at your table.

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3. Lao Peng You

There are few purer joys on this earth than actual handmade dumplings and noodles—a skill that brothers Daniel and Eric Wat have down pat, thanks to careful instruction from their grandmother and generations of women before her. Chicagoans happily agree, because the brothers' cozy Ukrainian Village shop has been in high demand since it opened in early 2020. The cold noodles are a vehicle for chili oil, peanuts, soy and cilantro, while the dumplings are served in a delightfully spicy broth apt for dipping and slurping. Also in the carb department, the chung yao bing bread is an absolute must.

4. D Cuisine

Restaurants Lincoln Park

MingHin vet Danny Fang and his partner, Cuiwen Chen, bring authentic Hong Kong-style dim sum to Lincoln Park with this sleek dining destination. When indoor dining is permitted, the restaurant's early-bird special is the perfect excuse to call in sick and gorge on shrimp dumplings, barbecue pork buns and pan-fried pot stickers, priced under $1 each from 8am to noon Monday through Friday. Order takeout on the weekends to get your fill of glossy pork turnovers, saucy short ribs and oil-dappled corn cakes.

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Photograph: Nick Murway

5. Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings

Restaurants Chinese Armour Square

This humble dumpling spot started as a walk-up stand in the basement of the Richland Center before moving above ground to a beautiful, airy storefront in the heart of Chinatown. The menu reads like a dumpling addict's dream—choose from a lineup of pillowy pockets crammed with beef and onion, egg and tomato, lamb and dill, chicken and cabbage, and many, many more flavor combinations. When you tire of popping dumplings (if that's possible), select a few kebabs from the barbecue—the grilled lamb is divine.

Minghin.venue.jpg
Photograph: Erica Gannett

6. MingHin Cuisine

Restaurants Chinese Armour Square

The crackly skin attached to a juicy barbecue duck and a slab of “Macau” pork belly is like a primal call to fans of Cantonese-style roasted meats, and we’d recommend both, along with the perfectly cooked beans in the string bean “casserole” and the chubby rice noodles pan-fried in a lightly spicy XO sauce. But with extensive seafood offerings and an interesting dim sum lineup offered from early in the day to late in the evening, what we really recommend is going to the slick, contemporary dining room and choosing your own favorites.

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Dolo Restaurant
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

7. Dolo Restaurant

Restaurants Chinese Armour Square

To say the menu at Dolo is expansive would be an understatement. The chic Chinatown restaurant serves dozens of dim sum treats, including creamy egg tarts, bitter melon custard cakes, tender pork shumai, bright-green durian pancakes and fluffy pork buns. But that's just scraping the surface on what Dolo has to offer: A novel-sized menu is packed with glossy photos of seafood by the pound, spicy jellyfish, Taiwanese-style shrimp, mango beef tenderloin and stir-fried lo mein—among many other specialty dishes. If we haven't made it clear already, come hungry and bring a friend or two.

Xi'an Cuisine
Photograph: Courtesy Xi'an Cuisine

8. Xi’an Cuisine

Restaurants Chinese Armour Square

At this Xi’an-centric spot, order an array of small dishes to share with the table. Start with super thin slices of raw potato, soaking in sour and spicy sauce; hand-stretched noodles with lamb in a gamy broth; and tofu skin with celery in white vinegar sauce. But everyone at the table should order their own lamb flatbread—stuffed with tender, cumin-spiced lamb and tucked into seared, crisp bread (it's the one dish you won't want to share).

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FriendshipChinese.Venue.jpg
Photograph: Martha Williams

9. Friendship Chinese Restaurant

Restaurants Chinese Avondale

After his father passed away, Alan Yuen renovated his family’s chop suey house (even installing beautiful hardwood floors himself) and set about turning out solid Canto-American classics. Sesame beef and honey-walnut shrimp are joined by creations such as stir-fried seafood in a shredded potato “bird’s nest,” pan-seared salmon with champagne apple, and boneless Peking duck with Grand Marnier sauce. Don’t want to go out? Take advantage of the brisk delivery service.

Chef's Special Cocktail Bar
Photograph: Galdones Photography

10. Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar

Restaurants Chinese Bucktown

The culinary geniuses behind beloved Chicago restaurant Giant offer hot takes on sweet and sour chicken, mongolian beef, walnut shrimp and other crave-worthy Chinese-American takeout classics at Chef's Special Cocktail Bar in Bucktown. Wash it down with a selection from the cocktail menu, which includes refreshing sippers that showcase ingredients like green tea gin, orange blossom syrup and fresh lime leaf. No order is complete without a trio of warm almond cookies.

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Chengdu Impression
Photograph: Courtesy Chengdu Impression

11. Chengdu Impression

Restaurants Chinese Lincoln Park

Pulling classic recipes and techniques from Chengdu (the capital of China's Sichuan province), this Lincoln Park restaurant will surely delight those who are looking for something authentic. The menu is packed with fascinating dishes that dare guests to cheat on General Tso's chicken (though they have that, too). Start with the Mouth-Watering chicken—bone-in poultry in Sichuan chili sauce with peanuts—before making your way into the Zigong-style frog, with pickled chilies and ginger.

Lao Sze Chuan
Photograph: Erica Gannett

12. Lao Sze Chuan

Restaurants Chinese Armour Square

The kitchen uses plenty of Szechuan pepper, dried chilies, garlic and ginger to create flavors that are incredibly addictive. Our favorites are Chengdu dumplings, crispy Chinese eggplant with ground pork, twice-cooked pork, mapo tofu, Szechuan prawns and “chef’s special” dry chili chicken. Trust us or choose at random—you won’t be disappointed.

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Go 4 Food
Photograph: Jason Little

13. Go 4 Food

Restaurants Chinese Armour Square

This Chinatown restaurant fuses multiple Chinese cuisines together to yield dishes like the chili crab—huge Dungeness crabs cooked with curry, onions, ketchup and other ingredients—for a spicy, messy, delicious meal. There are the usual suspects, like ma po tofu, but you're definitely rewarded when you try something new.

14. Hon Kee

Restaurants Chinese Uptown

Those ducks hanging in the window? Yeah, you’re going to want to order one—you’ll want to experience the interplay of the crispy skin, the soft fat and the rich, gamey meat. You’ll also want the spiced, hot shrimp encased in an addictively crisp and salty coating; the sweet roasted pork with scrambled egg over rice; and the fresh dumplings, so thin you can see the pink shrimp and cabbage hiding within.

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Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

15. Da Mao Jia

Restaurants Bridgeport

Transporting diners to the streets of Chengdu, Da Mao Jia (formerly known as A Place by Damao) deals in heat and flavor. Set your taste buds ablaze with spicy braised duck wings, spicy Chengdu fries and supple handmade dumplings. Almost everything here comes rubbed or topped with mouth-tingling szechuan pepper, so pad your order with the warm water jelly cake with black sugar for relief at the end of the meal.

Furama
Photograph: Jaclyn Elizabeth Rivas

16. Furama

Restaurants Chinese Uptown

For some, Sundays are for church. For others, it’s all about dim sum. This Uptown restaurant offers one of the largest selections in town and proves the most consistent overall. Though the giant banquet space is typically filled with hungry diners and a barrage of carts brimming with dumplings, Furama is offering its fare to go for now. Stock up on fluffy buns (barbecue pork and pan-fried veggie-pork are delicious), steamed dumplings (shrimp-peanut, chive and pork stand out), and various fried morsels of hangover-absorbing snacks.

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shanghai terrace
Photograph: Courtesy the Peninsula Chicago

17. Shanghai Terrace

Restaurants Chinese Streeterville

Normally we don’t condone paying through the nose for Chinese food when Chinatown options abound, but this gorgeous fourth-floor terrace, brimming with fresh flowers and offering a view of the historic Water Tower, is hard to beat. Elevated takes on peking duck and wok-baked lobster surpass expectations, but if you’re looking to take advantage of the digs while keeping within a budget, stick with snacking on dim sum and splurge on a fancy cocktail.

BBQ King House
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

18. BBQ King House

Restaurants Armour Square

This small but hopping barbecue shop has a lengthy menu, but you're here for the Small Peking Duck Dinner, which rings up under $35 and easily feeds three to four hungry adults. The steal of a meal includes duck bone soup, shredded duck with veggies, spicy fried shrimp and—the star of the show—crispy duck skin presented on soft bao buns.

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Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

19. Min’s Noodle House

Restaurants Chinese Bridgeport

If you have an abnormally high tolerance for spicy foods, put your taste buds to the test at Min's Noodle House in Bridgeport. If the name didn't tip you off, this spot is known for its slurpable fare—specifically its lip-numbing Chungking noodles. Adventure seekers will be delighted to see that the shop offers the special dish with pork intestine and beef tripe. Testing the waters for the first time? Go with the original, which is topped with bok choy, a braised egg, crushed peanuts and scallions.

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