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Photograph: Time Out/Stephanie Breijo

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
Edited by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Contributor
Esther Tseng
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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 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

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

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Alhambra
  • price 2 of 4
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This cherished upscale dim sum spot in Pasadena and Alhambra 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 spots on this list, Lunasia serves dim sum well into the evening.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Century City
  • price 2 of 4
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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, the city’s 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Monterey Park
  • price 2 of 4
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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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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Arcadia
  • price 2 of 4

At the site of L.A.’s original Din Tai Fung, Chef Tony Dim Sum’s eponymous chef is once again crafting destination-worthy dim sum of the highest order. Having closed his Pasadena brick-and-mortar in 2020, Tony He shines again in this Arcadia strip mall space, 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.

  • Restaurants
  • 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. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Arcadia
  • price 2 of 4
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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 purple yam dumplings with custard filling. You’ll also find a longer list of traditional Chinese desserts than usual, including a water chestnut cake and a fried peanut crepe.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • price 1 of 4
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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.

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  • Restaurants
  • 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.
  • Restaurants
  • 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.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Highland Park
  • price 1 of 4
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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.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Monterey Park
  • price 1 of 4
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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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