The Best Dim Sum In Atlanta
photo credit: Tabia S. Lisenbee-Parker
Some of our best food memories include dim sum. We like that feeling of growing anticipation, watching the cart full of steaming hargow, siu mai, and other goodies make its way through the dining room. While the city isn’t full of quintessential dim sum places, many Atlanta restaurants come up with their own take on these small plates and dumplings. Whether you want the classic rolling cart experience or something more unique, here is our comprehensive list of the best dim sum restaurants in the metro.
Royal China in Duluth is the best spot for a full, traditional dim sum experience since they have a ton of offerings. Picture chandeliers and beautifully decorated private banquet rooms—where there’s a good chance you’ll glimpse a wedding reception. Steamer carts make their way around the room while sounds of chatter echo off the high ceilings. We’ve never had an item we didn’t like here. But if we’re picking favorites, we like the steamed shrimp rice rolls, ginger scallion tripe, and beancurd skin rolls. The place is always busy, so order knowing items sell out quickly and may not restock again during your meal. And keep in mind while dim sum opens at 10am, the kitchen doesn’t open for entrees until 11am.
We’ve been coming to this iconic restaurant on Buford Highway for years, where there’s always a celebratory gathering in their chandelier-lit private space. Canton House provides the full dim sum experience with unique offerings like dessert carts with mango pudding and the only bubble tea cart we know of in the city. The salt and pepper squid is our favorite item here, but it’s not always on rotation. Just make sure you catch a cart that has our other favorites like sponge cakes, pan-fried shrimp, chive buns, and steamed rice rolls filled with shrimp or beef. We always like to get the pan-fried noodles with beef from their regular menu since it’s the tasty, filling finale we need to keep us from cleaning them out of chive buns.
Can we make brunch dates more of a thing? Especially if we can take our dates to Yao, a beautiful Thai-Chinese restaurant in Dunwoody that impresses with live music and a weekend dim sum brunch. The shrimp siu mai, har gow, dumplings, and sticky rice are solid. And when they’re coupled with a vibrant scene and spectacular drinks like the lychee cocktail, Yao makes us never want to have night dates again.
Best BBQ in Buford Highway’s City Farmers Market might not provide the full experience with rolling carts, but it makes up for it with affordable made-to-order items, which is why we’re always here. Come on a weekday for the best chance of claiming a table quickly. If it’s packed, you can always grab to-go and shop the market while you wait for your food (there’s also a Best BBQ in Duluth). Order at the counter, and listen out for your number. Be warned their har gow, siu mai, and other dumplings are giant—so it’ll be hard to make those dainty, early dating-stage bites if you’re still hiding your true, ravenous eating form.
Jen Chan’s has the city’s most unique dim sum experience with a weekend “dim sum-ish” brunch menu that features a few traditional Chinese dishes mixed with other small plates like lamb tacos and duck-gravy drenched biscuits. Their baked char siu baos are the best in Atlanta. The pork and shrimp siu mai are just as big, if not bigger, than Best BBQ’s version. And everything is artistically presented with garnishes of chili crisp, scallions, and fish roe. Start things off with sesame boiled peanuts and hash browns, which are solid choices. And just make sure you don't end your brunch without a delicious passion fruit donut hitting the table. Their wide ranging menu and colorful, eclectic atmosphere is perfectly in sync for the artsy Cabbagetown neighborhood.
We’ve been coming to Oriental Pearl in Chamblee for a decade, and we always order the turnip cakes. And when you see a special cart frying these freshly steamed turnip cakes tableside, that’s your sign to get them, too. The cocktail buns and pineapple buns are also a safe bet. And don’t overlook the larger items like the char siu or Chinese broccoli. And the service is prompt as the aunties pushing the carts will notice new customers being seated and wheel over all their offerings quickly.
Bun Factory is located in a strip mall perpendicular to Chicago Supermercado on Buford Highway. While the name doesn’t give much indication to their offerings other than buns, they have a very decent-sized dim sum selection. We enjoy their leek shrimp dumplings and like their har gow as much as Best BBQ down the road. And we’re confident enough to call their sticky rice with chicken the best in the city, and that’s a major reason why you should come here. Plus, Bun Factory is a laid back, quiet restaurant that also offers traditional Cantonese entrees. Between the dim sum and larger plates, such as the beef chow fun, or salt and pepper calamari, Bun Factory is always a great pick for a low-key night with friends.
When the sudden urge to eat dumplings hits late at night, head to Wok Chi on the Westside near Tech’s campus. While it has an extensive menu of both traditional and American Chinese entrees, it also has a dim sum section, which offers everything from har gow and shrimp shumai to salt and pepper calamari. We especially enjoy the handmade pork dumplings and crab rangoons. Open until 2am on weekends (and midnight on weekdays), you’ll see people sliding in for takeout or a bite after the bar. And if your night of partying has you hungry enough for a full meal, supplement your dim sum with their fried rice (they have 11 different versions), or our favorite, the sesame chicken, which is some of the best in the city.
Find somewhere to wait in this Duluth restaurant where your ankles can be marked safe from roaming dim sum carts. That's because East Pearl gets busy on the weekends, so be prepared to wait—and not get in the way. And it's well worth that wait since their braised chicken feet are fantastic—in fact, they're the best we’ve ever had. Be sure to grab the tofu pudding in ginger syrup, too. It’s a gently sweetened dessert that’s a nice contrast to the plentiful savory items.
While there aren't any dim sum restaurants in Buckhead, we like hitting Grand China with a small group so we can create our own experience from their big list of small plates. The restaurant has been a fixture in the city since the late ’70s and is still a go-to stop for quintessential American-Chinese dishes like sesame chicken and general tso’s and more traditional items like steamed whole fish with black bean sauce. But head to the small plates section of the menu to build your own dim sum meal with our list of favorites like their fried pork dumplings, ribs with black bean sauce, green onion cake, and shrimp toast.