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Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas for Time Out

The best Chinese food in Chicago to try right now

For stellar dumplings, barbecue pork and chow fun, book it to one of these Chinese standouts.

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Whether you’re craving scrumptious dim sum, a multi-course Peking duck dinner or spicy Sichuan specialties, Chicago’s top Chinese restaurants have you covered. While Chinatown is an obvious place to start, there are plenty of excellent options all across the city, from Uptown to Hyde Park. You can expect to find enticing dishes like crackling roast pork, Hong Kong-style crab, fluffy barbecue pork buns and supple dumplings filled with lamb and shrimp. There’s even an upscale hot pot experience, complete with wagyu and robot servers, among our picks. So check out our guide to the best Chinese food in Chicago and prepare to feast on a variety of delights.

RECOMMENDED: Discover more of the best restaurants in Chicago

Best Chinese restaurants in Chicago

  • 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, durian crepes 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, crispy fried 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.

  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 2 of 4

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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  • Armour Square

MCCB—short for Modern Chinese Cook Bookspecializes in Sichuan- and Canton-style cuisines, which means guests are treated to an in-depth menu that appropriately represents several regions of China. Items like dry chili fantail shrimp, served in a small fryer basket, hold down the "modern" end of things. The Chinatown restaurant’s signature dish, though, is a whole fish soaked in hot chili broth before it's grilled and carved at your table.

  • Chinese
  • Hyde Park
  • price 2 of 4

Taking over for her late father Eddy Cheung, who also co-founded Chinatown mainstay Phoenix Restaurant, Carol Cheung delivers a marvelous lineup of aquatic treasures at this Hyde Park spot. Though you’ll find Peking duck, egg foo young and orange beef on offer, the real stars of the show are the lobster and Dungeness crab, which can be prepared in a variety of ways. We recommend the typhoon shelter-style—tossed with chilis, dried fish and garlic chips and piled high on the plate. It’s a delicious sight to behold.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Chinese
  • Uptown
  • price 1 of 4

This fan-favorite 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.

  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 1 of 4

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 section—the grilled lamb is divine.

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  • Chinese
  • Ukrainian Village

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.

  • Chinese
  • Suburbs
  • price 2 of 4

The best Chinese cuisine in the suburbs, and arguably all of Chicagoland, can be found at this Rolling Meadows spot. Familiar go-tos, such as General Tso’s chicken and broccoli beef, don’t disappoint but Chef Ping’s home-style dishes are the true standouts. The spicy Gan Pong recipes are deeply satisfying, as are old-time favorites like twice-cooked pork and yellow leeks with seafood.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 1 of 4

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 mapo tofu, but you're definitely rewarded when you try something new.

  • Cocktail bars
  • Armour Square
  • price 2 of 4

Chinatown is finally home to a cocktail lounge and it’s been worth the wait. Hidden behind Moon Palace Express, Nine Bar is a dim and moody space inspired by the world of Blade Runner. The Asian-tinged menu presents guests with concoctions like a Mai Tai blended with almond cookie orgeat, and an old fashioned that forgoes whiskey for rice vodka, plum wine and barley. There are also complementary bites, such as wings tossed in General Tso’s sauce and a McKatsu sandwich.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 2 of 4

If you’re looking for some much-needed sustenance after a night on the town, you’ve come to the right place. Golden Bull, a Cantonese stalwart that’s been in business since 1992, specializes in homestyle cooking and hearty rice casseroles. Order them with proteins such as chicken with black mushrooms or ribs in black bean sauce. The rest of the menu offers intriguing items like beef tongue swimming in XO sauce, pork tripe with pickled mustard greens and deep fried quail.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
  • 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. You can gorge on shrimp dumplings, barbecue pork buns, pan-fried pot stickers and other small dishes all day long. For something heartier, try the Guangzhou-style roasted chicken.

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  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 2 of 4

One of Chinatown’s most prominent restaurants, Phoenix doles out classic Cantonese fare in a spacious and grand environment. Come for dim sum to enjoy an assortment of staples like chicken feet, egg yolk buns and steamed beef balls. Large parties can opt for special multi-course feasts that feed up to 10 people.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
  • 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 Sichuan pepper, so pad your order with the warm water jelly cake with black sugar for relief at the end of the meal.

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  • Chinese
  • Lower West Side

Located adjacent to 88 Marketplace, this contemporary, China-based chain is one of the best places to get your Chongqing-style hot pot fix. Choose from six broths—you can try up to three flavors in one pot—along with ingredients like Kobe beef, pork belly, lamb shoulder, jumbo scallops, prawns and more. A sauce bar lets you create the perfect dipping sauce for the meats and veggies, while matcha cake helps take the heat off at the end of the meal.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
  • 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 shochu, orange blossom syrup and persimmon bittersweet liqueur. No order is complete without a trio of warm almond cookies.

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  • 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 $40 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.

  • 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 dry chili chicken—loaded with mouth-numbing peppercorns—before making your way into the Zigong-style frog, with pickled chilies and ginger.

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  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 1 of 4

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

  • Bakeries
  • Uptown
  • price 1 of 4

For the best bang for your buck, look no further than this popular Chinese bakery. You can grab a box filled with fresh barbecue pork buns, egg custard tarts, sesame balls and much more for just a couple of dollars. Customers who want some hot bites have a selection of dim sum dishes, including beef rice crepes and shrimp dumplings, to salivate over.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Chinese
  • Loop
  • price 2 of 4

Originally conceived as a virtual venture that took orders over Instagram, 3 Little Pigs pivoted to operating out of a shared kitchen before eventually moving to its current home inside Molly's Cupcakes in the South Loop. Chef-owner Henry Cai whips up what he calls “untraditionally authentic” American Chinese cuisine and with his new brick-and-mortar location, both longtime fans and first-timers alike need not worry anymore about missing out due to limited availability. Cai smokes fatty pork butt to make the signature char siu—Cantonese-style barbecue pork—and finishes it off with a liberal dose of sweet and tangy sauce. The menu also features favorites such as fried rice studded with three types of pork and a unique salt and pepper fried chicken sandwich dressed with fried garlic, sautéed jalapenos and mayo.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
  • Chinese
  • Loop

Hot pot, a communal meal that involves cooking raw foods in boiling broth, doesn’t get any more decadent than the experience provided at this South Loop restaurant. Guests can treat themselves to premium wagyu beef, as well as other delicacies like otoro and foie gras. The sleek and modern spot also offers yakiniku barbecue and robot servers that bring out dishes.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Chinese
  • Streeterville
  • price 3 of 4

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 ginger-garlic 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.

  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 2 of 4

The menu is concise (by Chinatown standards) at Yao Yao but that’s quite alright because we’re here for the star of the show—the pickled fish. The house specialty consists of bass fillets and pickled mustard greens swimming in a spicy, flavor-packed broth, with the option of adding extras like tofu, mushrooms and noodles. It’s a family-style dish–available in several sizes—that’s meant to be shared so bring some dining companions.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 1 of 4

At this spot inspired by China's Shaanxi Province, 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).

  • Chinese
  • Uptown
  • price 1 of 4

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. The giant banquet space is typically filled with hungry diners and a barrage of carts brimming with dumplings. Stock up on fluffy buns (barbecue pork and pan-fried veggie-pork are delicious), steamed dumplings (shrimp-chives, and pork stand out), and various fried morsels of hangover-absorbing snacks.

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  • Chinese
  • Uptown
  • price 1 of 4

Those ducks hanging in the window? Yeah, you’re going to want to order one to experience the interplay of the crispy skin, the soft fat and the rich, gamy meat. You’ll also want the spiced, hot shrimp encased in an addictively crisp and salty coating; the sweet barbeuce pork with scrambled eggs over rice; and the shrimp-stuffed crab claw, a dim sum staple.

  • Chinese
  • West Loop

Jianbing, a popular Chinese street food, is the specialty of Jian, a restaurant with storefronts in the Chicago French Market and Block 37. Similar to crepes, the dish consists of a thin griddled pancake topped with fillings and then folded several times. It’s a hearty breakfast sandwich in the best way, and you can get it with tofu, Spam, pulled pork, shrimp and more.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • 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 intestines. Testing the waters for the first time? Go with the original, which is topped with bok choy, a braised egg, crushed peanuts and scallions.

  • Chinese
  • Avondale
  • price 1 of 4

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 fire cracker chicken lo mein and seared teriyaki salmon with scallop tempura. Don’t want to go out? Take advantage of the brisk delivery service.

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