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Dan dan noodles at Han Dynasty
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

The best Chinese restaurants in NYC

Find the best Chinese restaurant NYC has to offer, from Cantonese pushcart dim sum to fiery Xi'an noodles

By Dan Q Dao, Christina Izzo and Time Out New York contributors

New York has a long lineage of Chinese restaurants showcasing the culinary traditions of nearly every province in China, as well as the fusion fare created by immigrants in the United States. Whether you're looking to sample fiery Szechuan fare at hole-in-the-wall Chinatown restaurants, experience a classic weekend dim sum brunch at a New York icon, or grab top-notch takeout and delivery to enjoy at home, the city has got you covered. These are the best Chinese restaurants NYC has to offer.

RECOMMENDED: See all of the best restaurants in NYC

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Nom Wah Tea Parlor
Photograph: Beth Levendis

1. Nom Wah Tea Parlor

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

New York's first dim sum house opened in 1920 at a crook in Doyers Street known at the time as "the bloody angle." That Chinatown passage bore witness to the grisly havoc of the Tong gang wars—shootings and hatchet murders—but the bakery and tea shop had a sweeter reputation: Its almond cookies and moon cakes were legendary. In 2010, the 90-year-old stalwart went through a remodel. The most important tweaks, though, were behind the scenes. Now, each plate is cooked to order and what was once a health department nightmare is now a charming old-school institution, completely unlike the chaotic banquet halls that dominate Chinatown's dim sum scene.

Grand SIchuan
Photograph: Ruvi Leider

2. Grand Sichuan

Restaurants Chinese Chelsea

Xiaotu “John” Zhang may not rank among New York’s superstar restaurateurs, but his expanding Chinese chain has a cult following nonetheless. Zhang brought real-deal Szechuan food to Chelsea when he opened a branch there in 1998. His menu passionately describes the history and cooking process behind each dish, providing diners a comprehensive primer on the feast to come. Start with a sinus-clearing bowl of dandan noodles, loaded with dried peppercorns, or opt for the addictive gui zhou chicken, which combines dry-fried hot chilies and tongue-tingling Szechuan peppercorns, without a drop of gloopy sauce. If you’re looking for something milder, order a basket of eight succulent pork soup dumplings.

Da Xi Sichuan
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Da Xi Sichuan

3. Da Xi

Restaurants Chinese Flushing

It's no surprise that Flushing is home to another spectacular new sichuan place. The slightly upscale restaurant serves its modern dishes, like the Tibetan-style pork rib and orange congee with millet, in a theatrical and playful fashion with bright colors and surprising plating. 

Best new restaurant MaLa Project
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

4. MáLà Project

Restaurants Chinese East Village

Chinese hot pot, customarily stewed with thinly sliced meats, vegetables and stock, gets a brothless showcase with this East Village eatery from owner Ning Amelie Kang and chef Qilong Zhao. Named after the Chinese phenomenon of ma la (literally “numbing and spicy”), the restaurant’s starring dish is a variation on Chongqing-hailing dry pot, a stir-fry-like spread built with a choice of 52 add-ins: Meats extend from beef tenderloin to pig artery; fish fillets and squid balls can be paired with frog; and vegetables include more obscure produce like chayote and konjac noodles. Beyond the pot, diners can pull up to a 15-seat communal table or a marble-topped counter for snacks like steamed egg custard.

Shrimp-and-snowpea-leaf dumplings at RedFarm
Photograph: Virginia Rollison

5. RedFarm

Restaurants Chinese West Village

The dining room is certainly an unconventional backdrop for a Chinese restaurant. Dressed in farm-to-table drag with potted plants in the windows, blond wood pillars and gingham booths, the place could easily pass for another seasonal New American restaurant. And the eclectic menu is just as hard to pin down. Head straight for the family-style entrées. Although there’s a beautiful pricey steak—Creekstone Farms rib eye in a tenderizing marinade of fresh papaya and soy—the real draw for the neighborhood is the stuff that’s most recognizably Chinese, given the dearth of good Sino restaurants nearby.

New York Noodle Town
Photograph: Courtesy New York Noodle Town

6. New York Noodle Town

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

Star chefs like David Chang and David Bouley call this Hong Kong–style institution a favorite for its late-night hours and consistently good eats. Do as Chang does and order the ginger scallion lo mein, or choose from dozens of noodle variations—available panfried or in broth with add-ons like shrimp dumplings, pig’s feet and beef balls. Don’t overlook the rest of the menu: One signature stir-fry features Chinese flowering chives sautéed with your choice of duck, scallops, fish or squid.


7. Xi'an Famous Foods

Restaurants Chinese East Village

Chinese-food fanatics rejoiced when this Flushing chainlet opened this Manhattan branch. As at its Queens counterparts, this tiny East Village shop offers the cuisine of Xi’an, an ancient city in North Central China that was once a vital part of the Silk Road trade routes. The cumin-spiked “lamb burgers,” tangy liang pi cold noodles and warm tofu submerged in crimson chili oil are all must-haves.

Shanghai Red Bean Cakes at 456 Shanghai
Photograph: Jessica Lin

8. 456 Shanghai Cuisine

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

This 1963-vintage Chinatown eatery reopened in 2011 with the original owner's grandson at the helm. Most of the menu's Shanghai classics remain the same—like soup dumplings, crispy whole fish and cold sesame noodles. There is also an extensive array of dim sum and lunch specials.

Cumin/Spicy Lamb Ribs at Fu Run
Photograph: Jessica Lin

9. Fu Run

Restaurants Chinese Flushing

Where China borders Mongolia in the colder north, the food reflects the terrain—it’s rustic and comforting, loaded with rich lamb and focused more on wheat-flour noodles and buns than the rice ubiquitous elsewhere. Flushing has seen an increase in Northern Chinese restaurants like Fu Run, whose owners are from Dongbei (what was once known as Manchuria). They call their justly celebrated dish the “Muslim lamb chop,” but it’s more like a half rack of ribs: A platter of bone-in, fatty meat is braised, then battered and deep-fried, the whole juicy slab blanketed with cumin seeds, chili powder and flakes, and black and white sesame seeds. Try it with a wonderfully greasy beef-stuffed pancake called a bing, and cold saladesque dishes.

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