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The toothpick cumin lamb at Chengdu Taste
Photograph: Courtesy Chengdu Taste

The 24 best Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles

Dim sum, dumplings, hotpot—whatever you’re in the mood for, these standout Chinese restaurants are calling your name.

Written by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Contributors
Jarone Ashkenazi
&
Stephanie Breijo
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Fact: L.A. County is home to the most diverse, high-quality array of Chinese food in the country. While many of the area’s best Chinese restaurants are in the San Gabriel Valley—and technically outside city limits—you’ll still find plenty of excellent, more centrally located options in Chinatown, Historic Filipinotown, West L.A. and Silver Lake, among other neighborhoods. In recent years, a new generation of Asian American chefs have also expanded the definition of Chinese food, blending old family recipes with seasonal, high-quality ingredients and uniquely L.A. flourishes. 

Whether you’re in the mood for Sichuan, Cantonese, Taiwanese, Hong Kong-style dim sum, Shanghainese or even Uighur cuisine, these restaurants more than solidify L.A.’s claim to the best Chinese food scene in the nation. From cash-only takeout joints to more formal dining establishments, here are the best Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles.

L.A.’s best Chinese restaurants

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Alhambra
  • price 2 of 4
After running a successful restaurant in China and working at the Panda Restaurant Group in Los Angeles, Tony Xu opened Alhambra’s Chengdu Taste in 2013. The SGV—and the rest of L.A.—quickly took notice, and for good reason: Fiery Sichuan dishes fill tables with intoxicating smells and an overarching red hue that often indicates an intimidating level of spice. Along with featuring a lighter, yet still spicy style of Chengdu cooking, one of its signature dishes is the hearty diced rabbit with “younger sister’s secret recipe.” Other must-tries are the Sichuan-style mung bean jelly noodles with chili sauce; mapo tofu; and toothpick lamb with cumin. They’ve also got a second location in Rowland Heights, so those further east can get their spice fix, too.
  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Alhambra
  • price 2 of 4

This sprawling restaurant in Alhambra offers refined made-to-order dim sum all day, every day. Along with cast-iron teapots full of steaming jasmine tea, Lunasia Chinese Cuisine serves their famous steamed and baked bites including giant pork shumai, plump har gow and fluffy BBQ pork buns. You’d be remiss not to try the dim sum house’s dessert offerings as well, like the almond milk tea, a show-stopping dish of hot, sweet almond milk covered by a flaky puff pastry top. You won’t find the traditional push carts, but it’s always an energetic scene filled with families, friends and dates. Don’t want to brave the crowds in Alhambra? There are newer locations in Pasadena and Cerritos, which offer smaller menus if you’re just looking for a few quick hits.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Alhambra
  • price 2 of 4

Spice fiends flock to Sichuan Impression on either side of the city, probably because its founders—Chengdu natives Lynn Liu and Kelly Xiao—serve a jaw-dropping selection of Sichuan dishes that’ll keep you slurping up hot-and-numbing wontons, noodles, salads and entrées no matter how spicy it gets. Both the Alhambra and West L.A. restaurants build upon familiar options such as mapo tofu and kung pao chicken, and feature harder-to-find items like mung bean jelly tossed in chili oil; wok-fried crab; and the “party in a pot” Leshan bobo chicken pot. Somewhat of a rarity among other Sichuan restaurants in town, Sichuan Impression also offers desserts, including a brown sugar rice cake, and pumpkin mochi wrapped around red bean paste.

  • Restaurants
  • Monterey Park
  • price 2 of 4

Given the concentration of outstanding Chinese restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley, it says something when a particularly tasty dim sum meal stands out—and does it for so long. Elite Restaurant is located in a small strip mall in Monterey Park, and has, for years, remained a top dim sum house in L.A. If you’re looking to try their shumai or flaky and buttery egg tarts, be prepared to wait. It’s well worth it, however; Elite makes their dishes to order, and each one comes out piping hot. The spacious restaurant offers a picture-laden menu with chef recommendations like the dragon’s eggplant and honey walnut shrimp.

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  • Restaurants
  • Taiwanese
  • Glendale
  • price 1 of 4

You probably know the name by now: Din Tai Fung is the xiaolongbao mecca that started in Taiwan and now has locations in Arcadia, Glendale, Century City and Torrance. Each soup dumpling is meticulously made, resulting in lovely, thin-skinned pouches filled with savory pork—there are shrimp and veggie options, too, but you’ll want to go with the pork—and hot broth; eat with a dab of soy sauce, vinegar and ginger, slurping the dumpling’s soup carefully when you begin. Small plates of noodles, rice dishes and stir-fried vegetables round out the menu, but the stars are the dumplings, some of which you can top with slices of truffle.

  • Restaurants
  • Taiwanese
  • Highland Park
  • price 1 of 4

Vivian Ku’s Silver Lake staple, Pine & Crane, already cemented her status as one of the city’s best new school Taiwanese chefs, but at Joy on York, these flavors blend with quick-and-casual Chinese classics for totally unique cold salads, comforting noodle bowls and some serious thousand-layer–pancake sandwiches worth a trek to Highland Park. Extremely affordable and hyper flavorful, everything Joy dishes up is, well, a joy, meaning no matter how you mix and match you’ll walk away happy. Trust us, the Hakka mochi dessert is worth braving the parking along York Boulevard alone.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Monrovia
  • price 1 of 4

The husband-and-wife team of Alan Lam and Grace Li built a cozy dumpling destination with goods that live up to the name. Before you have a chance to choose from the variety of jiaozi, every table receives a complimentary dish of peanuts, celery and firm tofu tossed in chili oil. Along with choosing boiled, steamed or pan-fried dumplings, guests can opt for the noodle soups and rice bowls. For those looking for a little Luscious outside of Monrovia, Highland Park’s Mason’s Dumpling Shop offers a more limited menu, albeit the same dumplings, as its sibling restaurant in the deep SGV.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • price 2 of 4

Though its name might conjure up images of New England lobster rolls, this small Vietnamese-Chinese SGV strip mall spot sells the most incredible fresh stir-fried lobster with green onion and garlic in town, all on top of a bed of noodles. Boston Lobster also serves an excellent, melt-in-your-mouth shaking beef, listed here in English as “French style beef cube.” While the rest of the menu is solid (we also love their clams in basil sauce), you’d be missing out if you don’t order their highly addicting signature crustaceans. Those in search of a deal will also appreciate their affordable lunchtime specials menu.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Alhambra
  • price 1 of 4

Famous across the Southland for their shengjianbao (pan-fried Shanghainese soup dumplings), this casual, cash-only takeout spot with locations in Monterey Park and Alhambra sells a wide, affordable array of Chinese cuisine. Having operated in the area for over 20 years, Kang Kang Food Court has drawn the likes of celebrity Momofuku chef David Chang through its doors for its piping hot, juicy deep-fried soup dumplings. However, the rest of its menu is full of quieter delights, like a mini shrimp wonton soup and Suzhou-style fresh pork mooncakes, that keep locals in the know coming back time and time again.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Historic Filipinotown
  • price 1 of 4

What started as a charming mother-and-son pop-up is now a mother-and-son brick-and-mortar, bringing generational Chinese recipes from Julie and Keegan Fong to Historic Filipinotown. Head to Woon for perfectly chewy pan-fried noodles, pork-packed steamed buns and Chinese-sausage–flecked fried rice. The menu here is streamlined and the vibe is quirky and casual, with small plates, salads and shareables made from local farmers’ market produce and cold-pressed teas to wash it all down. They’ve even started their own in-house line of sauces, bottling “Mama’s Way” hot sauce and “Wok Legend” seasoning salt so you can recreate that generational Woon magic at home.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • price 2 of 4

Quality dim sum at this seafood specialist ensures there’s always a bit of a wait, but the above-average fare (truffle-laced shumai, Chinese celery dumplings, shiso-fried duck kidneys) will force you to choose carefully when it’s time to order from the encyclopedic menus. Watch hot dishes flying out of the kitchen as you consider the lengthy selection of steamed buns, dumplings and a variety of abalone dishes, some fetching $100 a serving. A few favorites here include pork fried dumplings, deep-fried tofu in abalone sauce, and fried durian pastry.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • price 3 of 4
Newport Seafood Restaurant specializes in—surprise, surprise—seafood. Inspired by Ly Hua, the founder and head chef of the original Newport Seafood in Orange County, executive chef Henry Hua (Ly’s son) built the menu based on his father’s travels throughout Asia. The family-style restaurant serves bold dishes—many with influences from Southeast Asia—that are meant to be shared with a large group. A large group is best, because you’re going to want to try a little bit of everything from the expansive menu: Signature items include the house special Maine lobster, shaking beef (listed here as bo luc lac), crab with tamarind sauce, and elephant clams served as sashimi, and more.
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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Century City
  • price 3 of 4

Diner’s choice rules the day at the mall-anchored Haodilao Hot Pot, an upscale Sichuan-originated chain whose signature built-in hotpot tables hold up to four different kinds of broth. Ordering off an electronic tablet, patrons can choose from nine different base broths, including the always popular Sichuan mala soup and a mellower, milky pork bone flavor. From there, it’s a relatively pricey build-your-own meal of meat, seafood, vegetables and other delicious add-ins. Those in a celebratory mood may also enjoy ordering their signature Dancing Noodles add-on, which will bring a graceful noodle-pulling employee to your table, complete with musical score.

Note: With walk-in waits stretching past the two hour mark on peak nights at both of Haodilao’s Westfield Santa Anita and Century City locations, it’s best to make a reservation ahead of time.

  • Restaurants
  • Central Asian
  • Alhambra
  • price 2 of 4
At Dolan’s, servers wear shirts that have “Google ‘Uyghurs’” emblazoned in white letters across the front. It’s a highly visible political gesture by owner Bugra Arkin, whose casual restaurant specializing in traditional Uighur cuisine serves as a lesson in the past and present of the Turkic ethnic group currently in the throes of persecution by Beijing and ongoing cultural genocide in China’s Xinjiang province. Uighur cuisine is considered a Xinjiang regional staple, which Dolan’s kitchen faithfully reproduces with ingredients and flavors that skew Central rather than East Asian. Manta dumplings are steamed and filled with soft pumpkin, while its signature stir-fried chicken, leek and potato plate comes on a bed of hand-pulled flat noodles. Our go-to order, however, is the Uighur polo. Cooked with carrot, onion and lamb, the flavorful braised rice dish comes with a side of red cabbage and apple coleslaw and yogurt.
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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • West Adams
  • price 2 of 4

Mala—the unique numbing and spicy quality of Sichuan peppers—remains the ultimate name of the game at Mian, the second restaurant concept from the Chengdu Taste team with locations in West Adams, Artesia, San Gabriel and Rowland Heights. Here, the restaurant’s easily decodable menu (for both spice and numbing level) ensures the heat-averse can rest easy each time they order a bowl of Chongqing-style noodles or pick from the varied selection of hot and cold Chinese appetizers. 

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Hollywood
  • price 1 of 4

The brainchild of a longtime NYC restaurateur (who couldn’t stand retirement) and his adult daughter, this family-run dim sum spot in Hollywood makes all of its menu items from scratch on a daily basis, with each dish cooked to order. Although you won’t find chicken feet on the menu, Ixlb Dimsum carries the bulk of a standard yum cha menu, including wonderfully bouncy shrimp har gow, gleaming custard-filled pineapple buns and soup dumplings individually housed in aluminum foil wrappers.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Alhambra
  • price 1 of 4

The crisp, pan-fried dumplings, garlicky pancakes and thick beef rolls should be more than enough to draw you in, but we’re betting you’ll be glued to one of their massive bowls of beef noodle soup once you’re seated. This noodle house offers dan dan noodles and a handful of soups, which are so big they’re practically cauldrons, not to mention pillowy steamed buns you can fill with pork or pork with shrimp and sea cucumber. The setting is no-frills, but the thick, hand-folded dumplings are some of the best you’ll find tucked away in an SGV strip mall—not to mention all of L.A.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Alhambra
  • price 2 of 4

This Michelin-recognized casual spot with a sleekly modern interior specializes in Shanghainese cuisine, where fresh seafood and sweet rice vinegar make regular appearances. Given its menu spanning over 150 dishes, we wouldn’t blame you for not knowing what to order. However, a tender steamed chicken in a Shaoxing wine sauce and the namesake Shanghai rice cake are surefire bets for a first-time visitor, as well as a whole tilapia lightly fried in a tempura-like seaweed batter. For dessert, try the sliced up red bean pancake or highly filling eight treasure rice.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Chinatown
  • price 1 of 4

This venerated L.A. institution’s original Chinatown location dates back to 1965, although you can now find 12 other sleeker outposts specializing in fast-casual meals and dessert scattered across the San Gabriel Valley. However, we’re most partial to the O.G. Phoenix, with its sparsely decorated dining room, steaming hot jasmine tea and long menu full of dependably delicious plates of Hong Kong-style and Americanized Chinese cuisine. House special congee, Hainan chicken and a delectable steamed Chilean sea bass in a bath of soy sauce and sesame oil are just three dishes from its hundred item-long menu worth an order when you visit Phoenix Chinatown, where time itself almost seems to stop entirely.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Downtown Historic Core
  • price 1 of 4
The Spring Arcade’s only Chinese restaurant chops, steams, grills and sears its way to the top of the food hall’s restaurants, and it’s all thanks to a family affair. Run by a husband-and-wife team, this fast-casual spot combines Leo Lee’s culinary school background with both Leo and Lydia Lee’s family recipes, so you might be tasting a grandmother’s beef curry or generational roast duck. At their casual Cantonese spot, the Lees offer outstanding rice bowls topped with pasture-raised meats, and some of L.A.’s most fun bao. We’re also partial to the char siu-filled egg rolls, which are cheesy and meaty and an ultimate comfort snack.
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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • price 2 of 4
Devoted to their namesake, Tasty Duck offers a plethora of duck dishes—and even encourages guests to reserve a bird in advance. Their Peking roast duck are the highlight here, and are deboned and then come served three ways: sliced with the skin separated from the meat alongside pancakes, plum sauce and scallions; paired with duck-bone soup or stir-fried with bean sprouts; or diners can choose all of the above. Other specialties include the filet mignon cubes with black pepper sauce and house-made tofu dishes like the Northern tofu, but let’s face it: You’re here for the duck.
  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Chinatown
  • price 2 of 4
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Home to the famous slippery shrimp, Yang Chow is a family-run staple that was started by five brothers who named the restaurant after their hometown (Yangzhou, a city in Jiangsu, China). Once an old-school diner, the restaurant opened its doors in ’77 and now serves a menu of more than 100 items, with a particular focus on Mandarin and Sichuan cuisine. While the slippery shrimp is the icon, customers find other specialties to love, too, including kung pao squid and General Tseng’s chicken. If you can’t make it to the original Chinatown location, Yang Chow has a branch in Pasadena as well.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Pasadena
  • price 2 of 4

With locations in Pasadena, Santa Monica, Playa Vista, Sawtelle and Manhattan Beach, Dan Modern Chinese provides fast-casual Chinese food with a level of consistency and convenience that’s conducive to rush hour takeout runs and third-party delivery. While not every item is a winner on the menu, a few standouts—including the pork xiaolongbao, the saucy, garlicky dan mien (served with your choice of protein) and the Dungeness crab fried rice keep us coming back to Dan time and time again.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Central LA

Known for its pan-fried Shanghai pork buns and beef noodle soup, this local mini chain now has locations on West 3rd Street and Sawtelle as well as Lomita, Cerritos and its original location in San Gabriel. While ambience varies among all five Tasty Noodle Houses, what stays consistent are the restaurant’s doughy, sesame seed-flecked pork buns, as well as its salt and pepper pork chops and homestyle soup dumplings.

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