When the weekend rolls around, the best dim sum restaurants in Chicago buzz with energy. Families and friends come together to feast on dumplings and bite-sized Chinese morsels, often tucked inside steamer baskets and served alongside tea. It's an ideal choice for those who want to try a bit of everything—from shrimp dumplings and chicken feet to sesame balls and egg yolk buns. Are you drooling yet? Some of the top Chinatown restaurants specialize in traditional dim sum service, while other new Chicago restaurants feature creative spins on the time-honored culinary practice. Try them all with our guide to the best dim sum restaurants in Chicago.
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Best dim sum restaurants in Chicago
With five locations sprinkled throughout the city and the 'burbs (and more coming soon), MingHin is one of the most recognizable names in dim sum and Cantonese cuisine in Chicago. Their easy-to-find Chinatown outpost offers dim sum service in the morning (8am–4pm) as well as late at night (9pm–2am). Expect a classic menu that's rooted in tradition, with baskets of siu mai, lotus-wrapped stuffed sticky rice and some of the all-time best creamy egg yolk buns we've ever tried.
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.
MingHin vet Danny Fang and his partner, Cuiwen Chen, bring authentic Hong Kong-style dim sum to Lincoln with this sleek dining destination. 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. Return on the weekends to get your fill of glossy pork turnovers, saucy short ribs and oil-dappled corn cakes.
Stephanie Izard's self-dubbed "reasonably authentic Chinese food" spot forgoes tradition but still manages to crank out some delectable dim sum eats. Lean into the fun with menu items like goat-filled rice dumplings, wood-fired char siu ribs and mango-coconut cloud with dragon fruit and kiwi. Psst! Your table will thank you for ordering the wood-fired char siu ribs.
Cai is classed-up dim sum at its most traditional, mirrored by the over-the-top, glitzy, gilded look of the second-story restaurant, making it a favorite pick for Chinese wedding banquets. The dim sum menu is available seven days a week, with a laundry list of one-bite morsels to choose from, like soup dumplings stuffed with tender crab meat and baby cuttlefish dripping in curry sauce. Despite its high-end finishes, the prices are reasonable, though you should expect to wait for a table.
Dim sum fans are accustomed to cart service and ordering cards, but the majority of the small dishes traditionally served originated in tea houses and bakeries in southern China. Chinese bakery Chi Quon has been making these delectable items for more than 25 years, attracting locals and visitors from around the city with dishes like fresh BBQ pork buns, sesame balls filled with bean paste and shrimp dumplings. Pop in for a snack or make a meal out of the various baked goods on display.
For some, Sundays are for church. For others, it’s dim sum time. This spot offers one of the largest selections in town and proves the most consistent overall. People pack the giant banquet space to settle in for the barrage of carts that wheel by brimming with a dozen different dumplings (shrimp-peanut, chive and pork stand out); fluffy buns (barbecue pork and pan-fried veggie-pork are awesome); and various fried and steamed morsels of hangover-absorbing snacks.
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 easy to love. The dim sum menu is short but curated, featuring some luxe spins on the classics, like the lobster and chicken dumplings with black truffle (an absolute must try!).
Nine-to-fivers will have to skip work to avoid the crowds at this dim sum stalwart, but it’s worth it to bypass the weekend frenzy. What’s the fuss? Hangover cures in the form of fried or steamed dough stuffed with savory, sometimes spicy pork. The classic bao are proper pillowy buns, Malay steamed cake is soft and spongy, deep-fried red bean dumplings are sweet and greasy (this is not a bad thing), and crêpes are characteristically silky wraps for shrimp, beef or greens—try the pan-fried version of both for a bit of crispness.
After more than a decade tucked away on a Chinatown side street, this late-night institution moved to the main drag, with a second-story view of the area’s action. The dinner hour brings a nonstop flurry of cooks plucking lobsters, sea bass and Dungeness crab from the seafood tanks, but after 10pm, it’s drunken dim sum time. All the fried classics are suitable stomach lining, but we say meet in the middle with the late-night menu of small-plate portions of salt and pepper eggplant, chicken skewers and shrimp toast.
Even if you're not a dim sum aficionado, you've likely seen Imperial Lamian on your Instagram feed—the River North restaurant's rainbow-colored soup dumplings are equal parts photogenic and delicious. And they come stuffed with crab, duck, gruyere and truffle. Toss in an order of crispy spring rolls and scallion buns before diving into the rest of the extensive menu.