The best Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles

Dim sum, mapo tofu, dumplings—whatever you're in the mood for, these standout Chinese restaurants are calling your name

Photograph: Victor LeungSzechuan Impression

Fact: Los Angeles is a mecca for Chinese food. And yes, while many of the best Chinese restaurants are concentrated in the San Gabriel Valley, you will find plenty of worthy options in Chinatown, Beverly Hills and beyond. Whether you're in the mood for classics like egg rolls or Peking duck, or are craving more of a dim sum experience, these restaurants will solidify L.A.'s claim to Chinese food domination. From hole-in-the-wall eateries to world-class dining establishments, here are the best Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles.

 

L.A.'s best Chinese restaurants

1

Elite Restaurant

Given the concentration of outstanding Chinese restaurants in the SGV, it says something when a particularly tasty dim sum meal stands out above the rest. Elite Restaurant is located in a small strip mall in Monterey Park, and has consistently been considered a top dim sum house in L.A. If you're looking to try their shumai dumplings or flaky and buttery egg tarts, be prepared to wait—on weekday afternoons, diners line up for around 30-45 minutes. It's well worth it, as the dishes are made to order and come out piping hot. The clean and spacious restaurant offers a picture-laden menu with chef recommendations like the dragon's eggplant and honey walnut shrimp.

Monterey Park
2

Yang Chow

Home to its famous slippery shrimp, Yang Chow is a family-run staple in Chinatown that was started by a family of 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 1977 and now serves a menu of more than 100 items from Mandarin and Szechuan cuisine. A Los Angeles Times review in the early 1980s featuring the aforementioned slippery shrimp launched Yang Chow into stardom; since then, customers have come here to try the dish along with other specialties, including kung pao squid and General Tseng's chicken. If you can't make it to the Chinatown location, Yang Chow has branches in Canoga Park and Pasadena as well.

Chinatown
Advertising
3

Chengdu Taste

After running a successful restaurant in China and working at the Panda Restaurant Group in Los Angeles, Tony Xu opened Chengdu Taste in 2013. The San Gabriel Valley—and the rest of L.A.—quickly took notice, and the lines haven't let up since (a second location opened up in Rosemead). Fiery Szechuan dishes fill tables with intoxicating smells and an overarching red hue that indicates an intimidating level of spice. Along with featuring a lighter and cleaner, yet still spicy, style of Chengdu-style cooking, one of its signature dishes is the diced rabbit with Younger Sister's Secret Recipe. Other must-trys are the Szechuan-style mung bean jelly noodles with chili sauce, mapo tofu and toothpick lamb with cumin.

Alhambra
4

Sea Harbour

Quality dim sum at this Cantonese seafood eatery ensures there's always a bit of a wait, but the above-average fare (foie gras-infused minced beef, Chinese celery dumplings, shiso-fried duck kidneys) will force you to choose carefully when it's time to tick off boxes on the encyclopedic paper menus. Don't fret if you don't speak Cantonese: the large, picture-filled menu offers a variety of meat, vegetable and seafood dishes that make it easy for anyone to order. With hot dishes flying out of the kitchen (there aren't any traditional carts here), the menu features a lengthy selection of steamed buns, shumai dumplings and a variety of abalone dishes, some fetching $100 a serving. A few of the favorites include: pork fried dumplings, deep fried tofu in abalone sauce, and chicken feet fried durian pastry.

San Gabriel Valley
Advertising
5

Szechuan Impression

Opened by Chengdu natives Lynn Liu and Kelly Xiao, Szechuan Impression serves a selection of Szechuan dishes in their art-lined space in Alhambra. The restaurant builds upon familiar options like mapo tofu and kung pao chicken, and features items including strips of mung bean jelly tossed in chile oil, hou dao dumplings and the "party in a pot" Leshan bobo chicken pot. A rarity among other Szechuan restaurants in the area, Szechuan Impression offers dessert options including a brown sugar rice cake dessert and pumpkin mochi wrapped around red bean paste.

Alhambra
6

Lunasia Chinese Cuisine

This sprawling restaurant in Alhambra offers refined, made-to-order dim sum served all day every day. Place your name on a wait list, then peruse the menu with a pencil to mark off your desired dishes. Along with cast iron tea pots used to serve guests, Lunasia Chinese Cuisine serves their famous steamed and baked bites including fist-sized pork shumai 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.

Alhambra
Advertising
7

Din Tai Fung

You know the name by now: Din Tai Fung, the xia long bao mecca that started in Taiwan and now has SoCal locations in both Arcadia and Glendale (not to mention an OC spot as well). 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, then eat with a dab of soy sauce, vinegar and ginger. In Glendale, you can top them off with a slice of truffle (there's also a full bar at the Americana location). 

Arcadia
8

Luscious Dumplings

Opened in 2001 by husband and wife Alam and Grace Lam, the cozy—just eight tables—dumpling and noodle soup restaurant lives up to its name serving high quality dumplings. 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 dumpling and noodle soup combo (just $7), which comes with a half-portion of dumplings and a sizeable noodle soup.

Monrovia
Advertising
9

Garage Restaurant

This Tianjin breakfast place was originally founded by Anna Wen in her garage (hence the name) until she moved the location to a formal restaurant in Monterey Park. Garage Restaurant offers standard soy milk and tofu breakfast options like youtiao, the Chinese donut made of fried dough and baked with a layer of sugar on top, along with other exclusive breakfast items like Tianjin buns. The fresh wheat items along with Garage's fried dough with brown sugar, tofu jelly in gravy and crispy mung bean gabacai are must-trys. 

Monterey Park
10

Beijing Pie House

The name says it all—Beijing Pie House is all about xian bing, meat- and vegetable-filled mini pies that are stuffed with anything from lamb to pork to potatoes. You'll also find noodles, wontons, dumplings and soups at this small eatery. Just be prepared to show up early—lines are almost a given, but it's worth the wait.

Monterey Park
Advertising
11

Newport Seafood

Newport Seafood Restaurant specializes in—surprise, surprise—Chinese seafood with influences from Southeast Asia. Inspired by Ly Hua, the founder and head chef of the original Newport Seafood in Orange County which opened in 1988, executive chef Henry Hua (Ly's son), built the menu based off his father's travels throughout Asia. The family-style restaurant serves bold dishes that are meant to be shared with a large group. Their signature items include the house special Maine lobster, beef loc lac, Manila clams with spicy Thai basil sauce and crispy tofu.

Beverly Hills
12

Tasty Duck Restaurant

Devoted to their namesake, Tasty Duck offers a plethora of duck dishes, even encouraging guests to reserve a bird in advance. Their Peking roasted duck dishes, which are de-boned, are served three ways: sliced with the skin separated from the meat alongside pancakes, plum sauce and scallions; paired with 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.

San Gabriel Valley
Advertising
13

Xi'an

Xi'an has been a favorite for Beverly Hills locals since 1996, serving traditional Chinese cuisine with an occasional fusion twist and an emphasis on healthy and flavorful cooking. Signature dishes range from the classic Peking duck, chicken potstickers and Szechuan string beans to contemporary versions of Crackerjack crispy shrimp, kung pao chicken and Xi'an's beef tenderloin. If you're looking for lighter menu options, they also offer veggie, low sodium and/or gluten-free options.

Beverly Hills

Check out our favorite Chinese bakeries

Comments

1 comments
Sklar T

OMG, you can't even take time to figure out exactly where each restaurant is located?? Elite is in Monterey Park, NOT East LA.  Sea Harbour is in Rosemead.  Luscious Dumplings is in San Gabriel.  


Seriously? New Port in Beverly Hills and NOT the mother and most popular location in, again, the City of San Gabriel?  And why do you NOT picture their famous House Lobster?


Tasty Duck in, once again, the City of San Gabriel is so well known for their Beijing style duck, but you used a picture of soup dumplings, which is one of their weakest dishes?


And seriously, Yang Chow in Chinatown, Xi'an in Beverly Hills??  Maybe the Best Chinese food catered to non-Chinese.