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. Featuring fancy takes served in ornate dining rooms and 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
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.
Kingdom Dim Sum
For those who don’t wish to trek out to the San Gabriel Valley, Kingdom Dimsum by Thai Town in Hollywood is a quaint eatery featuring a few tables that offers fresh dim sum. Customers place orders at the register, pay, and await the freshly steamed dishes. While the selection is smaller than other dim sum establishments, the classics are on offer. Menu highlights include rice noodles, baked barbecue buns, shrimp dumplings, deep-fried sesame balls with red bean paste, egg tarts, and shu mai. For convenience, the restaurant accepts Apple Pay in addition to online orders.
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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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.
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.
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.
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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.
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 souffle 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.
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.
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.
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.
Bistro 1968 boasts the most innovative dim sum in Los Angeles, available all day in addition to an extensive menu of entrees. While the menu includes classic dim sum offerings like barbecue buns, spare ribs, rice rolls, and egg tarts, it’s the unique creations by Chef Wong that set this restaurant apart. Delight in dishes like the baked wagyu and mushroom puff, abalone tart, baked peanut mochi, or the salty egg yolk golden skin har gow (shrimp dumpling). The pumpkin and sweet bean paste sesame balls, and spicy minced pork dumplings shaped like miniature pears are also popular choices. Dim sum prices at Bistro 1968 lean towards the higher end, ranging from $4.88 to $8.88, but the quality, execution, and flavors are unparalleled.
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.
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.
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.
Colette, which may be considered one of the most exciting new Cantonese restaurants in the Los Angeles dining scene, has been causing quite a stir. While the dim sum menu is small, it includes the classics. The most unique dishes, though, are ones that can’t be found anywhere else in Los Angeles, such as the sticky rice with chicken, salted egg yolk, and mushrooms wrapped in lotus leaf and topped with mozzarella cheese. The cheese is torched tableside until it becomes molten like lava. This dim sum is currently one of the latest trends in Hong Kong. Other unique dim sum dishes include the multi-grain bun with sesame, peanuts, shredded coconut, and walnut Hakka buns; abalone sauce chicken feet; and the crispy abalone taro tart.
Hailed as one of the best Chinese and dim sum restaurants in Vancouver, Chef Tony has two locations in the San Gabriel Valley: one in Pasadena and another in Arcadia. Chef He, who is behind the concept, is no stranger to the dining scene stateside, having opened another beloved restaurant on our list, Sea Harbour, in 2002. At Chef Tony’s, dim sum dishes are not served on carts, but made to order and frequently topped with touches of gold leaf and truffle. While the classics are all available with Chef He’s elevated twist, there are also à la carte dishes not included in the dim sum menu. Some unique dim sum offerings include pan-fried shrimp and pork pandan buns, edible gold and black shrimp har gow, lava egg custard buns, baked milk buns, and deep-fried durian pastries. The Pasadena location also offers a variety of alcoholic cocktails, wines, and Chinese spirits on the menu.
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.
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.
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.