Los Angeles is home to some of the best dim sum in the U.S., especially in the San Gabriel Valley neighborhoods of Rosemead, Arcadia, and Monterey Park. From fancy takes served in ornate dining rooms to traditional spots with old-school push carts, here are the 21 essential dim sum restaurants in LA.Read More
21 Essential Dim Sum Restaurants in Los Angeles
Har gow, rice rolls, siu mai, pork buns, and more
Lunasia Dim Sum House
Although dim sum is typically a breakfast or brunch meal, Lunasia serves it from morning until night. The ambiance is luxurious and showy. Tea is served in heavy iron kettles and dumplings are jumbo-sized. Some menu items are on the gimmicky side — like the truffle siu mai, caviar siu mai, lobster rice rolls, and the super-sized shrimp har gow dumplings — Lunasia’s traditional dishes are solid. There are a number of modernized takes on dishes like the scallop dumpling with squid ink and the fried sweet potato mochi balls with salted egg yolk that cements Lunasia as the go-to for upscale dim sum. Lunasia offers online ordering, as well as curbside pick up but don’t expect to see push carts here.
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There are a number of Capital Seafood locations spread throughout Los Angeles and Orange County — each one with a different vibe, menu, and price. Capital Seafood Beverly Hills has the fanciest interior. Capital Seafood Monterey Park is the most affordable and still employs push carts. Capital Seafood Arcadia ranks as the supreme location with an upscale cart-less experience with favorites like spinach dumplings, mini egg tarts, and roast duck. And Capital Seafood Irvine is the most over-priced but carries typical dim sum like har gow, siu mai, and a variety of buns.
Even though China Red has reduced the variety of dim sum on the menu due to the pandemic, lines are still out the door for dine-in and takeout. The purple yam crispy bao is a must-order, with its salted egg custard center. China Red has both the traditional steamed barbecue pork bun, as well as the hard-to-find French-style baked barbecue pork bun. Also good are the chicken feet that slide off the bone and pan-fried turnip cake with XO sauce. The fried crushed peanut crepe and water chestnut cake make for a sweet ending.
Tong Tak House Seafood Restaurant
Although Tong Tak used to have push carts, it has since switched to making dim sum fresh to order. The dim sum selection is not as large as other restaurants, but everyone loves the pig-shaped purple yam buns, pan-fried dumplings, jellyfish, egg tarts, rice rolls, claypot rice, and chicken feet.
For great dim sum without the wait, head to Grand Harbour in Temple City. The prices are on the higher side for standard (har gow, siu mai, and pineapple buns) and more unique dim sum (fresh lobster congee, purple yam buns, and deep-fried chicken cartilage). There are no carts, so use the paper checklist to order. Grand Harbour also has a number of lunch specials Monday through Friday and offers online ordering.
The original Embassy Kitchen in San Gabriel’s been around for decades and remains one of the most solid dim sum restaurants in the area. The executive chef is from the Peninsula, a famous luxury hotel and restaurant in Hong Kong. Embassy Kitchen makes all the tried and true dim sum staples, but also more unique dishes like a salty duck yolk turnip cake, oatmeal egg custard buns, and shrimp and corn patties.
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Ixlb Dim Sum Eats
Ixlb Dim Sum Eats sits on the busy corner of Sunset Boulevard and Bronson Avenue. The restaurant is helmed by 77-year-old Tony Ying, a third-generation Chinese restaurateur who can be seen working in the restaurant every day. The dim sum is made in-house, with the staff visible in the open kitchen rolling out dough, steaming, baking, and frying various dishes. The most popular item is the flaky French-style baked cha siu bao. Other favorites include egg custard tarts, pan-fried turnip cakes, scallion pancake, and xiao long bao dumplings. Dim sum is served all day until 9 p.m. except on Sundays when the shop closes at 8 p.m. The hip, to-go-only establishment has a wall lined with iPads for contactless ordering and also offers online ordering and curbside pick-up.
888 Seafood Restaurant
Opened in 1993, 888 Seafood seats up to 800 people and is one of the last Cantonese restaurants of its size to weather the pandemic. While many dim sum restaurants have switched from pushcarts to paper menus in recent years, you’ll still find aunties making their rounds at 888 Seafood. The restaurant has an online ordering system and offers vacuum-sealed dim sum to-go.
Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
There’s no avoiding a wait at Sea Harbour on weekdays and weekends. The dim sum, which is priced higher than competitors, is ordered using a menu. However, servers offer fresh-from-the-oven dim sum sometimes. Fan favorites include the French-style baked barbecue pork, durian pastries, sticky rice balls stuffed with salted egg yolk, salt and pepper calamari, charcoal skin har gow, and truffle siu mai. Also look for creative fusion dishes like the shrimp and roe dumplings, egg tofu in abalone sauce, green spinach pork buns, and deep-fried fish paste with chives.
Five Star Seafood Restaurant
Five Star is a sit-down dim sum restaurant that’s been around for decades in the San Gabriel Valley. Located on the fourth floor of the landmark Focus Plaza on Valley Boulevard, the restaurant is known for its value, large portions, and push cart service. Prior to the pandemic, the wait on weekends would regularly be up to two hours. The menu is currently limited due to the pandemic, but expect the more unique, specialty dishes to return soon.
Service is fast and the dim sum is fresh at Ocean Bo. Dim sum is sold behind the counter and is served with such efficiency that the long lines move quickly. There’s also a picture menu for those who need help ordering. Find pineapple barbecue pork buns, coconut and taro cake, garlic spare ribs, deep-fried taro pastries, among a long list of favorites.
Atlantic Seafood & Dim Sum Restaurant
Atlantic Seafood serves dim sum favorites like the egg white snow bun, mini pineapple salted egg yolk bun, egg tarts, mango pudding, and fried turnip cake. Although most of the dishes are above par, the star is the mini pineapple salted egg yolk bun that is carried out on trays fresh from the oven. The restaurant is among a select few left in Los Angeles that still uses push carts. Atlantic Seafood also sells a number of its dim sum frozen for takeout.
Ocean Island Restaurant
Ocean Island is the new and improved incarnation of Yum Cha Cafe, a run-down fast-casual dim sum spot located outside the GW Supermarket. Though Ocean Island has a few tables, it is meant to function as a to-go establishment. The dim sum sits behind plexiglass and each dish is designated A or B (A items cost $3.99, while B items are $4.69). The solid lineup of dim sum favorites includes barbecue pork buns, shrimp dumplings, pork dumplings, steamed bean curd rolls, turnip cakes, and fried sesame balls with red bean filling. There’s also a Cantonese barbecue meats section. Although Ocean Island Restaurant is technically open until 7:30 p.m., some dim sum dishes can run out before then.
Lucky 1 Restaurant
Lucky 1 is the go-to spot for no-frills and inexpensive dim sum takeout. The huge variety of fast-food dim sum offerings is not the most refined, but everything hits the spot when there’s a craving. Favorites include the fried yam dumpling, oatmeal snow durian bun, siu mai, har gow, and chicken feet — there are also cute pig-shaped pork buns. Take a look at the online picture menu written in English and Chinese and order by phone to avoid waiting in line. Open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tang Gong Seafood Restaurant
Not many dim sum restaurants make dishes in-house these days — most serve frozen wares reheated for service. But that’s not the case at Tang Gong, which is home to the best crispy baked barbecue buns. Another unique item is the purple yam salted egg yolk balls — the exterior tastes like a crispy, hot mochi ball, while the inside oozes out steaming salty egg yolk. Other notable dishes include spicy fried garlic shrimp dumplings and crispy red rice noodle rolls. Dim sum variety during the pandemic is not as vast as it used to be, but the restaurant has been slowly trying to offer more items.
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Longo Seafood Restaurant
Prices are on the higher side at Longo Seafood Restaurant, but the dim sum here is solid. The lobster noodles are always popular, as are the scallop dumplings with roe, flaky barbecue pork pastries, baked barbecue pork buns, snowcap oatmeal buns, XO spicy steamed chicken feet, and the roast pork and barbecue pork rice roll. Don’t forget to order the almond soufflé for dessert, which consists of hot almond milk with gingko nuts wrapped in a dome of puff pastry. Dip the pastry puff into the milk or push the puff into the hot milk to enjoy.
Blooming VIP Restaurant
Blooming VIP Restaurant is the newest dim sum restaurant in town and it's filled with LCD screens throughout the dining room. Dim sum dishes are priced from $5 to $7 each. Look for many one-of-a-kind dishes on the menu, like an egg white souffle, lobster congee with a side of lobster dumplings, baked nuts and taro tarts, baked yam and cheese, and Guangdong-style big golden buns.
NBC Seafood Restaurant
NBC Seafood is a landmark in the San Gabriel Valley. The restaurant has been around for decades and serves dim sum every day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with push cart service. The best dish is the special “To To” ma lai go sponge cake, which is layered with salted duck yolk and made using a recipe from a famous Hong Kong chef and food personality (梁文韜). The dim sum offerings are vast but don’t be alarmed — there’s a picture menu for the uninitiated.
Elite is another high-end dim sum restaurant. Ordering is done via paper menu. No carts here, but they do have staff walking around with trays of dim sum fresh from the oven sometimes. Whereas most dim sum restaurants only have beef, barbecue pork, or shrimp rice rolls, Elite has all three along with its own unique shrimp and asparagus rice roll. In addition to traditional buns and dumplings, Elite also has more modern dishes such as fried taro cake with pork, a pork- and wood ear mushroom-stuffed bean curd wrap in oyster sauce, scallop dumplings, and fried shrimp dumplings. The Macau roast pork is a must-order dish, but don’t forget the steamed turnip cake, baked durian pie, barbecue pork pastry puff, white almond fluffy bun, and the snowy mountain bun.
Tasty Box Dim Sum
Tasty Box Dim Sum is a fast-casual dim sum spot (not to be confused with Cantonese barbecue restaurant Tasty Box located in the same plaza). While there is some outdoor seating, most people prefer to grab dim sum to-go. Hone in on the restaurant’s more unique items, like pu’er barbecue buns that are infused with tea flavor and quail egg siu mai. Online ordering is available for those wishing to skip the line, but for everyone else, grab a clipboard with the menu and mark the items desired.
J. Zhou is a pricey favorite among Orange County residents. Don’t go looking for carts, simply order off the paper menu and wait for the dim sum to arrive. The shrimp and chive dumplings, egg tarts, and garlic spareribs are solid. The lotus leaf-wrapped sticky rice, chicken feet, and steamed rice rolls are highly recommended as well.