The Best Dim Sum Restaurants In Chicago
Maybe you associate dim sum with dumplings—which isn’t wrong. But dim sum is more than just a single dish, it’s a whole dining experience that might include chewy rice crepes, custardy egg tarts, and spinning a lazy Susan to grab the last BBQ pork bun. And though Chicago may not be as saturated with restaurants dedicated to it as New York or LA, we still have our fair share of great spots all over the city. Whether you’re looking for dinner in a bustling banquet hall, lunch at a bar, or an old-school place to escape from your family on December 25th, these are the best dim sum restaurants in Chicago.
Dolo is on the smaller side, and you won’t see carts full of steamer baskets rolling by. But what you will find at this modern-looking Chinatown restaurant is some of the city’s best dim sum—all of which is made fresh daily. Everything from classics like siu mai and baked BBQ pork buns are fantastic, but what keeps us coming back to this upscale spot are the more creative dishes. Get the clam shells stuffed with juicy shrimp and pork, and the crispy shrimp and leek dumplings that look like mini fried UFOs. Dolo also has a full bar.
All four Chicago locations of Minghin (Chinatown, Streeterville, South Loop, and Lakeshore East) follow the same format: a large menu of consistently well-made dim sum, a touch of flare courtesy of crystals dangling from the ceiling, and plenty of seating. And all of the above makes Minghin one of the best places for groups—whether it’s with friends or 16 visiting cousins that can’t decide what to eat. The long dim sum menu has a seemingly endless array of choices, and some of the best are the pan-fried corn and pork cake, chicken and dried scallop buns, and desserts like egg tarts.
Trying to find good dim sum north of Chinatown can feel as futile as trying to find street parking in Lincoln Park. But when you do find that mythical spot, grab some dim sum at D Cuisine. This Lincoln Park restaurant looks small, but the bright dining room actually has plenty of space for groups, and a bar that’s perfect for a solo lunch. The menu is compact (just 30 dishes) but they all are delicious. The baked BBQ pork buns have a crackly top with a soft interior, while their shrimp dumplings are loaded with plump pieces of seafood in a thin, chewy wrapper. Make sure to order the sweet buns filled with molten egg custard—but let these cool off first if you want to be able to taste anything else.
Just beyond the massive Welcome to Chinatown gate on Wentworth avenue is Triple Crown, an incredibly busy dim sum spot. Located on the second floor, it’s not uncommon on weekends to see a line of people waiting on the stairs leading up to the host stand, hoping to grab a table. The good news is that busy crowds mean fresher dim sum, and it’s possible to avoid being a part of this Au Cheval-esque purgatory by making a reservation. Classics like BBQ buns, shrimp dumplings, and beef rice crepes are all solid, and the sweet custard buns in the shape of cartoony pigs are great for people with cute aggression.
Wentworth is right next to Triple Crown, and is a great backup if you don’t want to wait. Though they only serve dim sum from 9am-4pm and the space is small compared to the other banquet-style spots, it’s still a solid choice for large groups—there are tables equipped with lazy Susans that can seat up to ten people. Their menu isn’t extensive, but they have great siu mai, har gow, and some fantastic crispy chive dumplings that we wish we could find in Jewel’s snack aisle. More filling XL options are also great, like the spare ribs and chicken feet combo that comes with rice, Chinese broccoli, and only costs $6.45.
You’re starting to wonder: How dare they leave beloved Chinatown staple Cai off this list? Don’t worry, we didn’t. Cai is under new ownership, and is now named Imperial. But the name is the only thing that’s changed about this dim sum spot on the upper level of Chinatown Square. The space is still huge, you order from a paper menu, and there are plenty of lazy Susan tables for groups of all sizes. The all-day dim sum menu is gigantic (both in terms of length and physical size) and everything is pretty good— like the pork pastry and the beef and enoki rice noodle.
This massive second-floor restaurant has been an Uptown staple since 1985, and remains one of the only places on the North Side of Chicago that serves large-format dim sum—complete with serving carts, steam baskets, and large menus. And we mean literally large—it has over 80 dishes, the most of any place on this list. More common options like steamed BBQ pork buns or siu mai are pretty good, but the best things are harder-to-find ones like quail egg dumplings or crispy seaweed rolls filled with pork and shrimp. On a weekday, it’s very easy to walk in and have your choice among their banquet hall’s sea of tables. But it’s busy on the weekend (especially during Drag and Dim Sum brunch which has drag performers on the stage in the back) so make a reservation.
As the name suggests, this two-story Chinese restaurant on the border of Chinatown and Bridgeport is the sister restaurant of Furama. Like its sibling, it’s big: The first floor is a large waiting area, and the upstairs is an expansive dining room serving an all-day dim sum menu that also includes Cantonese-style BBQ and other shareable dishes. Some staples, like the shumai, beef fun rolls, and the fluffy not-too-sweet pork buns are pretty good. Others (we’re looking at you, egg yolk bun that tastes like a sugar cookie from Jewel) are not. But since New Furama isn’t as busy as popular Chinatown dim sum spots Triple Crown and Phoenix, it’s good to keep it in mind as an alternative.
This is a classic dim sum spot with hit-or-miss food. But when it’s a hit, the food is great, so that’s why it’s on this guide. Phoenix used to have the little carts rolling around the dining room, but they’ve switched over to the same kind of checkbox paper menu you find at Imperial. Stick with the classics like pork buns, shu mai with juicy shrimp, and salted egg buns. The dim sum is served all day, but you should hit it up earlier on the weekends when everything is being made fresh.