A hand picking up siu mai with chopsticks
Photograph: Jaclyn RivasDolo Restaurant

The best dim sum restaurants in Chicago

Dig into dumplings, buns and bite-sized treats at the best dim sum spots in Chinatown and beyond.

Morgan Olsen
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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 Chinese restaurants feature creative spins on the time-honored culinary practice. We've compiled a list of all of the best of Chi dim, and have a diverse set of locations sprinkled about the city. Find a way to get to all of them if you can.

RECOMMENDED: Discover the best things to do in Chicago's Chinatown

Best dim sum 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, 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.

  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 2 of 4

With six locations sprinkled throughout the city and the 'burbs, 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 all day long. 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.

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  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 2 of 4

Imperial Restaurant 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.

  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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  • Chinese
  • Uptown
  • price 1 of 4

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.

  • Lincoln Park

MingHin vet Danny Fang and his partner, Cuiwen Chen, brought authentic Hong Kong-style dim sum to Lincoln Park with this sleek dining destination. The restaurant's dim sum menu is the perfect excuse to call in sick and gorge on shrimp dumplings, barbecue pork buns and pan-fried pot stickers. Return on the weekends to get your fill of glossy pork turnovers, saucy short ribs and oil-dappled corn cakes.

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  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 2 of 4

After more than a decade tucked away on a Chinatown side street, this late-night institution moved to the main drag in 2009, 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 we prefer the dim sum, which is available all day. All the fried classics are here, as well as enticing options like coconut mango rolls, scallp dumplings and piggy custard buns that are (almost) too cute to eat.

  • 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 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!).

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  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 2 of 4

Not to be confused with its sibling in Uptown, this Chinatown spot boasts a modern and spacious dining room that’s perfect for dim sum on the weekends. You’ll find all sorts of delights on the menu, from classics like egg custard tarts and siu mai to lesser known specialties such as black sesame rolls and pan-fried stuffed eggplant.

  • Chinese
  • West Loop

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 duck and goat-filled soup dumplings, fried rice omelet and Hong Kong French toast. Psst! Your table will thank you for ordering the spicy sticky wings.

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  • Bakeries
  • Armour Square
  • price 1 of 4

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 35 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.

  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 1 of 4

The frills are few and far between at this Chinatown stalwart, but that’s fine because you’re coming here for the dim sum. Savor staples like steamed barbecue pork buns, chicken feet and silky rice noodle rolls—all for less than what you’d pay at other neighborhood spots. Three Happiness is also a great place for a late-night bite as it’s open as late as 1am.

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  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 1 of 4

While dim sum is a convivial dining experience, the costs of ordering various dishes can quickly add up. So why not have your own feast at home? Dim Sum House sells a host of frozen dumplings, buns and more, allowing you to stock up on large quantities at a fraction of the typical restaurant prices. It’s hard to top that; just make sure to bring cash.

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