Chef Tony Dim Sum assorted
Photograph: Courtesy Chef Tony Dim SumChef Tony Dim Sum

The best dim sum restaurants in L.A.

Craving some yum cha? We’ve found the best dim sum restaurants in Los Angeles.

Patricia Kelly Yeo
Contributor: Esther Tseng
Advertising

There’s no question that Los Angeles has one of the largest offerings of dim sum in America. In the San Gabriel Valley—a place once advertised to would-be immigrants as the "Chinese Beverly Hills"—dim sum restaurants are the de facto brunch spots, drawing lines of people attracted to the hustle and bustle of this culinary tradition. But dim sum's reach has grown to encompass neighborhoods within the city's official limits, including serviceable options available in Hollywood and parts of the Westside. Whether you flag down dumplings from a push cart or opt for a more upscale dining experience, here’s your guide to the best dim sum restaurants in L.A.

RECOMMENDED: Have a meal at the best restaurants in L.A.

The best dim sum in Los Angeles

  • Chinese
  • Alhambra
  • price 2 of 4
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Lunasia Dim Sum House (@lunasia.dimsum) on

This cherished upscale dim sum spot in Pasadena, Alhambra and Torrance serves dainty golden egg buns, with runny, sweet yolk centers that ooze out from fluffy white exteriors. The almond milk with puff pastry is another one of their signature creations, with hot and just-sweet-enough almond milk beneath a fluffy, flaky top. House-made dumplings are aptly labeled "jumbo," and their sticky rice wrap has exceptional flavor and just the right texture. Arrive early to avoid the inevitable brunch rush, but latecomers, take heed: unlike other dim sum spots, Lunasia serves the Cantonese tradition well into the evening.

  • Seafood
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • price 2 of 4
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Hangrydiary Food + Travel (@hangrydiary) on

After all these years, Sea Harbour is still a crowd favorite; the cozy dining room has been offering made-to-order dishes since 2002. Dare to visit on a weekend morning and you’ll find a line that formed long before opening. With a menu of more than 100 items, you’ll do best to stick to the well-executed basics, like crystal shrimp dumplings and pork dumplings. The vibrant pork soup dumplings are hot and juicy in their tins on arrival, while the springy rice noodle rolls nail the ideal filling-to-rice-paper ratio and are some of the best in the city. Highlights beyond the basics include fried whole smelt, steamed black fungus in vinegar, and celery-and-fungus dumplings.

Advertising
  • Chinese
  • Arcadia
  • price 2 of 4

In Arcadia and Monterey Park, eponymous chef Tony He is crafting gourmet dim sum of the highest order. While his original dim sum destination Sea Harbour offers a wider array of dishes and more cozy environs, his cooking shines just as bright at his sleeker, more youthful concept with truffle-laced shumai; translucent, fish egg-topped scallop and shrimp dumpling; and not just one, but two jet-black dishes topped with edible gold: shrimp har gow and salty-sweet lava egg yolk buns—the latter best eaten extremely carefully. Among its desserts, you’ll also find a trio of darling sesame-eyed coconut jelly bunnies. Although the final bill is likely to raise an eyebrow among dim sum aficionados, a meal here justifies both the price and the wait, which can get long on weekends if you don’t come early.

  • Chinese
  • Century City
  • price 2 of 4
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by SEATTLE FOODIE ♡ | Monica (@monmon.eats) on

This beloved Taiwanese retail store flipped to a full-service dumpling shop in 1972, and to the delight of the entire world, it never went back. While Din Tai Fung isn't technically a dim sum spot, it's still one of the best ways to get your dumpling fix on. Here in L.A. we have locations sprouting up all over town: Century City, Glendale, Torrance, Costa Mesa and Arcadia, the city's first outpost. The traditional pork soup dumplings are a treasure, but it’s hard to go wrong with anything (see: the stir-fried rice cakes, the steamed cod dumplings, the noodles with pickled mustard greens, the sticky-rice shumai). Just order it all.
Advertising
  • Chinese
  • Monterey Park
  • price 2 of 4

This strip mall eatery in Monterey Park is one of the few dim sum places left in L.A. that still use old-school pushcarts to dole out staples like egg tarts, fried turnip cakes and rice noodle rolls. Most items here range from solid to above average, but certain standouts like the pineapple salted egg yolk buns and roast pork are worth ordering every time. On colder days, spring for a bowl of congee with your choice of toppings from the congee cart passing by—it's not every day you can order with your eyes. 

 

  • Seafood
  • Monterey Park
  • price 2 of 4

This San Gabriel Valley push-cart dim sum restaurant has been around for decades, with its vast picture-filled dim sum menu offered daily from 8am to 3pm, then an expanded menu later in the day. Here, you’ll find two kinds of chicken feet (pickled and in black bean sauce), as well as other dishes not commonly found at L.A. dim sum restaurants, including a pan fried meat-stuffed bitter melon, beef tripe and dried squid. Come time for dessert, be sure to order the sponge cake layered with salted duck egg yolks. 

Advertising
  • Chinese
  • Monterey Park
  • price 1 of 4
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Destiny Phan (@dtinypoon) on

Make no mistake: This is no dine-in, cart-wheeling, head-over-heels-in-love-with-the-space dim sum spot, but it’s one of Monterey Park’s hidden gems. This tiny, cash-only to-go counter serves Capital Seafood’s same dumplings—plus combo plates—for $5 and under just a few doors down in the same Monterey Park strip mall. Roast duck hangs behind the plexiglass from the “roast” section, where you can also snag golden chicken, soy sauce squid and BBQ pork for around $10. This takeout joint is no-frills for sure, but it’s not to be overlooked for a quick, inexpensive stop when your dim sum cravings hit.

Advertising
  • Seafood
  • Monterey Park
  • price 2 of 4
Capital Seafood is one of the last great push-cart places in the San Gabriel Valley, with the ultimate aim of being authentic (and inexpensive). There’s plenty to choose from at this Monterey Park and Arcadia spot, but you’ll want to try the sliced crispy pork belly with its fantastic, crackling texture, along with the chicken feet, if that’s your thing. The egg tarts are superb, boasting a multilayered, flaky crust. Service is top notch at Capital, where dishes land promptly on your table and frequent check-ins ensure that you’ll always be able to order more. Note: Capital Seafood also has locations in Beverly Hills and Irvine—though we consider the two San Gabriel Valley spots the best out of the four.
  • Chinese
  • Hollywood
  • price 1 of 4

The brainchild of a longtime NYC restaurateur (who couldn’t stand retirementand 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, in a sleekly designed fast-casual setting with a giant cartoon xiaolongbao painted on its side. 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.

Recommended
    You may also like
    You may also like
    Advertising