The Best Dim Sum Restaurants In LA guide image

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The Best Dim Sum Restaurants In LA

Spin that lazy susan—these are the 9 best dim sum restaurants in Los Angeles.

As anyone who has spent the better part of an hour waiting for a table on a Saturday morning can tell you, LA—particularly the San Gabriel Valley—takes its dim sum seriously. We're blessed out here with some of the country's best dim sum restaurants. Generally, they fall into three categories: upscale banquet halls where you order off a menu, takeout operations that sell boxes of affordable dumplings and buns to-go, and the handful of remaining old-school spots that still offer roving cart service. As always, we've got you covered on all fronts. So pour a pot of chrysanthemum tea, grab a side of hot mustard, and spin that lazy susan—tg

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Sea Harbour imageoverride image
8.7

Sea Harbour

$$$$

3939 Rosemead Blvd, Rosemead
Earn 3X Points

What To Order: Truffle Siu Mai, Har Gow With Gold Leaf, Salted Egg Yolk Custard Buns

When it comes to dim sum in LA, Sea Harbour is like Meryl Streep. It’s been on top so long that some people start to take it for granted. But this two-decade-old grand Cantonese banquet spot in Rosemead not only pioneered many of the SGV’s prevailing dim sum trends—upscale twists on classics, ditching the carts for menu service—it still does them better than anyone else. Sea Harbour doesn’t have the largest (or cheapest) menu, but we do appreciate that it’s filled with absolute bangers: sticky rice balls with oozing salty egg yolk centers, fragrant truffle siu mai, and smooth-yet-flaky egg white custard tarts. And though the dining room does vaguely resemble a hotel conference room, the people-watching here is unparalleled: Come any day of the week and be greeted with a wondrous ladies-who-lunch crowd all clutching Prada bags, whispering about the latest neighborhood gossip. The biggest challenge here is battling the wait for a table on weekends—stay strong though, it's worth it.


What To Order: Jumbo Siu Mai, Spinach Dumpling, Egg Custard Tart

Few places have done more to spread the dim sum gospel across LA than Lunasia, which in addition to its original location in Alhambra, now has branches in Pasadena, Torrance, and Cerritos. Unlike other dim sum restaurants that might switch over to a broader Cantonese menu once brunchtime is over, Lunasia commits to all dim sum, all the time. And that focus pays off. You’ll find a mix of traditional dim sum and splashier items decorated with squid ink or dabs of caviar, but in general everything on Lunasia’s 100-plus item menu ranges from solid to impressive, including their glorious, signature softball-sized siu mai. The Alhambra flagship, which is basically a giant luxury dining hall at bottom of a big apartment complex, has the best food and longest waits, but if there’s another branch closer to you, it’s probably your best bet for a classic dim sum experience.


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What To Order: Sticky Rice Balls With Salted Egg Yolk, French-Style Baked Pork Bun, Wok-Fried Radish Cake With XO Sauce

We’ll admit it right off the bat—Chef Tony isn’t for everyone. Run by the same chef as Sea Harbour, this spinoff concept is basically a streamlined, slightly modernized version of that Rosemead institution with more casual service, smaller tables, and shorter wait times. And though the dim sum isn’t any cheaper, they do prepare Sea Harbour staples like truffle-topped siu mai and the French-style baked pork bun that are just as spectacular, along with some exclusive dishes like mummy-wrapped fried prawns with Thai-style chili sauce. So if you’re not down to wait at Sea Harbour, or you just want a paired-down dim sum meal that’s a little easier to pop into for a weekday lunch, heading to Chef Tony makes sense. FYI: though there are locations in Pasadena and Arcadia, the latter tends to be much more consistent.


What To Order: Crispy Lobster Roll, Salted Egg Scallop Dumplings, Spicy Minced Pork Dumpling, House XO Sauce

Once or twice a year, a splashy new dim sum spot appears on the SGV scene like a wild Pokémon, adding a dash of excitement to what is otherwise a fairly static group of contenders. Most recently this honor went to Bistro 1968, an upscale all-day dim sum and Cantonese restaurant in San Gabriel equipped with a gorgeous dining room, fantastic service (your pot of oolong will never run dry), and a private parking garage in the back. Did we mention the made-to-order dim sum is great too? You’ll find creative options like crispy lobster rolls that come with a side of mayo for dipping, green-colored ham sui gok shaped liked tiny pears, and golden salted egg scallop dumplings. Savory items tend to be superior to sweet ones (aside from the must-order peanut mochi with black sesame), and we wish the kitchen took a little closer care with fundamentals (as with the squid ink har gow that showed up with split wrappers), but overall Bistro 1968 has clear star power.


 

What To Order: Chiu Chow Dumplings, BBQ Pork Rice Roll, Spare Ribs In Garlic Sauce

A far cry from the soaring dining rooms that dot the SGV, Hong Kong Dim Sum House is the little dim sum parlor that could. This charming family-run strip mall spot in San Gabriel isn’t much larger than your average hair salon, but in terms of price-to-quality ratio its near unbeatable in the SGV. You won’t find many options beyond the dim sum basics on the compact menu, but they all arrive fresh from the tiny kitchen in metal tins still billowing steam. We especially love their chive-filled chiu chow dumplings and delicate har gow. Make sure to ask for some of their excellent housemade chili oil, too. Most customer order takeout, but if you can grab one of the restaurant's six tables, dining in and witnessing the action is more fun.


What To Order: Pork and Shrimp Siu Mai, Rice Noodle Roll With Crueller, Chicken Feet

For many people, the words “dim sum” bring to mind vast ballrooms filled with families and friends and wheeled carts packed with metal steamers rolling past. If you fall into this category, NBC Seafood is your spot. Not only is this Monterey Park institution one of a handful of dim spots that still offer cart service, its bright dining room is one the biggest social gathering spots in the SGV. The menu consists mostly of tried and true staples like juicy siu mai, silky cheung fun, and crispy turnip cakes, but everything is delicious, and the thrill of ordering from a passing cart instead of a regular menu can’t be overstated. Wait times on the weekends can get intense (nearby Elite Restaurant temporarily closing after a kitchen fire doesn’t help), so if you’re short on time, order from their takeout shop next door. It’s the exact same menu.


photo credit: Jakob Layman

Capital Seafood Beverly Hills review image
7.9

Capital Seafood Beverly Hills

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What To Order: Shrimp Har Gow, Steamed BBQ Pork Bun, Sesame Balls

Capital Seafood is a classic SGV dim sum spot with several branches, including one down in Irvine, but the location in Beverly Hills holds a special title: home of the best dim sum west of DTLA. Dining here means being fully aware that you’re in Beverly Hills, with luxury sports cars parked outside and suited business types taking lunch meetings over baked custard buns. Overall, the kitchen does a great job replicating the textures and flavors you’d find at their original restaurant in Monterey Park. The steamed dumplings burst the moment you bite through their wrapper, the barbecue pork buns are light and pillowy, and the siu mai are as plump as they come. It also doesn't hurt that Capital Seafood is one of the cheapest high-quality lunch spots you'll find in this part of town.

What To Order: Pineapple Custard Bun, Sugarcane Shrimp, Fried Pork Dumpling

Much like its name, Lucky 1 in Rosemead is no-frills in the best way possible. Head to this takeout-only counter located in a busy shopping plaza when you want to load up on lots of quality dim sum for a shockingly affordable price. Customers line up early to point at what they want through a glass window—almost everyone is ordering several of their legendary pineapple buns filled with creamy-sweet egg custard, which are so soft and delicious you'll wish you ordered double. Sweet dim sum are definitely a highlight here, but they also do a bang-up job with anything deep-fried: sugarcane shrimp, fried pork dumplings, and crispy egg rolls. They also sell boba, smoothies, and herbal teas if you get thirsty, too.


What To Order: Baked Char Siu Bao, Egg Tarts, Shrimp & Chive Dumplings

After a long week, sometimes all we want is to swan dive into a large supply of dim sum while firming planted on the couch, without having to make the drive to the SGV. That’s when Ixlb DimSum Eats in Hollywood comes to the rescue. Everything here from har gow to siu mai is made fresh daily and satisfies any dim sum craving imaginable (though they sadly don’t serve chicken feet). The translucent har gow have a bouncy skin and are filled with plump shrimp while the egg tarts have a nice, flaky crust—for the most part, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. They primarily do takeout and delivery, but there is a tiny dining area with counter seating for those who can’t wait to get home to eat.

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