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Siu Mai Elite Restaurant
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman Siu Mai Elite Restaurant

The best dim sum restaurants in L.A.

Whether you’re looking for hidden gems or destination-worthy dumplings, we found the best dim sum restaurants for your next brunch adventure

By Esther Tseng and Time Out editors
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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 that was 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 has become a part of the entire city’s culture, too, with viable options tucked away in metropolitan Westside L.A. Whether you flag down dumplings from a push cart or check off boxes on a menu, we have your guide to the best dim sum restaurants in L.A.

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

Here’s where to find the best dim sum in Los Angeles

1. Sea Harbour

Restaurants Seafood San Gabriel Valley
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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.

2. Lunasia Chinese Cuisine

Restaurants Chinese Alhambra
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Once home to the famed foie gras dumpling, the cherished dim sum spot now 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 note that this spot serves dim sum well into the night. Pro tip: You’d be better served by going to Lunasia’s original location in Alhambra than to their second location in Old Town Pasadena, where you don’t quite get the same feel or quality.

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3. King Hua Restaurant

Restaurants Chinese Alhambra
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At this regally appointed banquet hall ensconced in red and bronze, excellent dim sum dishes roll out to meet your pencil-and-paper order menu. King Hua’s shrimp dumplings are exceptional, with springy shrimp in tender, stretchy skin. On the back of the menu you’ll find a selection of flavorful noodles, soups and rice dishes, and in the middle of the menu, the desserts and the congee: The pork with preserved egg congee is spectacular, but you can also go all out with the market-priced lobster variety. Can’t decide which to choose? Flag down one of the restaurant’s friendly servers wandering around, who’ll be more than happy to advise.

4. Din Tai Fung

Restaurants Chinese Century City
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Taiwan’s beloved retail store flipped to a full-service dumpling shop in 1972, and to the delight of the entire world, it never went back. Din Tai Fung is now a major international dim sum player, and here in L.A. we have locations sprouting up all over town: Century City, Glendale, Torrance, Costa Mesa and Arcadia, our first outpost. The traditional pork soup dumplings are a treasure, but it’s hard to go wrong with anything at this modern dim sum house (see also: the truffled pork soup dumplings, the steamed cod dumplings, the noodles with pickled mustard greens, the sticky-rice shumai). Just order it all.

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5. Capital Seafood

Restaurants Seafood Monterey Park
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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 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.

6. Elite Restaurant

Restaurants Monterey Park
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Food is ordered hot off the menu at Elite in Monterey Park, where your lengthy table wait time gets rewarded with dishes like fluffy, buttery baked pork buns. True to its name, this high-end spot tends to showcase more delicate and nuanced flavors, with a wide selection of noodle roll dishes and unique offerings like coconut in BBQ buns, pan-fried imitation shark fin, and fried taro and pork with flaky, gauze-like breading that melts in your mouth. The dumplings are large—but you’ll finish them, of course.

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7. Hui Tou Xiang

Restaurants Chinese San Gabriel Valley
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Tucked in a plaza of dumpling restaurants, Hui Tou Xiang distinguishes itself as a worthwhile competitor with their hui tou potstickers: Oblong-shaped, pan-fried on all sides and meticulously seared to a juicy crisp, the stuffed-dough variety is a house signature. That’s not to say their other items—fried leek pancakes, steamed soup dumplings, stuffed-full wontons in soup, and flavorful slivers of tofu skins, to name a few—aren’t worth an order, too.

8. Mason’s Dumpling Shop

Restaurants Chinese Highland Park
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From the team behind Monrovia’s Luscious Dumplings comes Highland Park’s first designated dumpling shop, complete with house-made sides like seaweed salad and sweet-and-sour lotus root. The vibe is casual and the menu here is brief, limited to a handful of boiled and fried dumplings, one or two bao and one or two rice bowls, but it’s hard to go wrong. Order at the counter—don’t expect a roving-cart set up—then take a seat and watch the cardboard boxes and metal steam trays of soup sumplings, pan-fried potstickers and steamed bao fill up your table, fast. Get there early, because once Mason’s dumplings are gone for the day, they’re gone, and you’ll have to come back tomorrow.

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9. China Red

Restaurants Chinese Arcadia
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Make your way to Arcadia for a standout dim sum experience at China Red, where diners pick from a robust menu—note: no carts here—that includes steamed bao, shumai, har gow and plenty of other staples. Service is attentive, plates come out hot and there’s no shortage of dishes to order. Finish with a few egg tarts, sweet bao and China Red’s signature yam dumplings with custard filling.

10. Capital BBQ & Dim Sum Express

Restaurants Chinese Monterey Park
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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.

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