Dim sum — bite-size Chinese dishes served alongside tea — is a fun way to try a variety of delicious foods. From soup dumplings and chicken feet to barbecue pork buns and egg tarts, there’s always something new to discover. Whether diners are dim sum vets or it’s their first experience, these 16 restaurants excel at delivering a seemingly endless supply of sweet and savory items. New additions to the list include Stephanie Izard’s Duck Duck Goat, xiao long bao specialist Imperial Lamian, and elegant Shanghai Terrace inside The Peninsula Chicago.Read More
Chicago's 16 Essential Dim Sum Restaurants
Feast on an array of dumplings and baos
An Uptown institution for more than three decades, Furama continues to deliver quality dim sum. The restaurant keeps it old school by servicing the banquet room with roaming food carts for diners to choose from. With dozens of options readily available, it’ll take several visits to sample everything.
Dim sum meets opulence at The Peninsula Chicago’s upscale eatery on the fourth floor. The majestic experience — from the ’30s supper club décor to the excellent service — is right in line with what guests would expect a five-star hotel to provide. It doesn’t come cheap but enjoying refined plates, such as lobster and chicken dumplings with black truffle or spicy beef potstickers, on a lovely outdoor terrace that overlooks downtown is well worth the steep price tag.
High-end Chinese restaurants are few and far between but this Indonesian-based import has made a huge imprint on the city since debuting two years ago. Its xiao long baos — colorful soup dumplings bursting with broth and other fillings — are in a league of their own. Get them during brunch in a variety of different flavors and complete the dim sum meal with pumpkin puffs, piggy baos, and hand-pulled la mian noodles.
Duck Duck Goat
Stephanie Izard’s duck empire spans across three restaurants and at her most recent opening, the focus is on Chinese cuisine. Billed as ‘reasonably authentic,’ her chef-y brunch menu goes beyond the standard array of small bites to include items like wood-fired duck hearts, char siu ribs, pig face buns, and Taiwanese fried chicken. Guests can also order dim sum and more, seven days a week, from the takeout window.
Located near UIC, this Cantonese spot from a former Phoenix co-founder has garnered considerable buzz in recent months. The selection of dim sum isn’t as extensive as some of the Chinatown mainstays but all of the greatest hits are here. Start the day with har gow, turnip cake, shumai, and more.
Tang's Garden Restaurant
Just a few minutes away from Chinatown sits this under-the-radar spot. The spacious banquet-style dining room plays host to the usual dim sum choices as well as some more unique bites, such as blood pudding congee and pork intestines. An added bonus: Unlike other similar restaurants in the neighborhood, Tang’s has its own parking lot.
No place in Chicago captures the feel of a dim sum parlor quite like Cai. The ballroom-sized dining room is decked out with chandeliers and covered chairs and fortunately, the cooking lives up to the grandeur. Make sure to try the creamy egg yolk buns, a satisfyingly rich and sweet treat that’s the perfect finish to every meal.
There are many restaurants in Chicago that serve dim sum but very few offer the type of experience found at Phoenix. Instead of ordering off a menu, servers push carts of food around the room so guests can pick the items they want while they eat. The continual flow of savory (soup dumplings, spare ribs) and sweet (barbecue pork puffs, sesame balls) bites ensures guests don’t leave hungry.
While dim sum is traditionally eaten during the day, it also makes for a great late-night meal. This popular spot is one of Chinatown’s finest thanks to a menu that offers both traditional and contemporary dishes. Best of all, it’s open until 2 a.m. so folks can get their fill of congee and egg tarts at (almost) any hour. Don’t forget an order of the signature crackling Macau pork belly, either.
This small hole-in-the-wall is open almost all hours of the day and dishes out dim sum as well. The décor isn’t anything to write home about but the food coming out of the kitchen is solid. From shrimp dumplings and beef crepes to barbecue pork buns, it’s a reliable cheap spot to satiate that dim sum craving.
Dolo Restaurant and Bar
This Eater 38 spot has quickly made a name for itself in Chinatown since opening a few years ago. The décor is sleek, the food features “modern twists,” and the kitchen specializes in seafood. But for dim sum, the restaurant offers superb versions of tried-and-true classics such as shumai, rice crepes, and barbecue pork buns.
Triple Crown Restaurant
This beloved Cantonese restaurant on Wentworth Avenue has been a Chinatown staple for more than 20 years. Dim sum is available throughout the day so diners can get their fix of steamed meatballs and chicken feet morning, afternoon, or night.
Chiu Quon Bakery
A few dollars goes a long way at this Chinese bakery. Fill up on a variety of inexpensive baked buns, cakes, and pastries. They’re great for snacking but if that’s not enough, there’s also a limited dim sum menu that can be taken to go or enjoyed in the dining room.
Dim Sum House
What’s better than dim sum? Dim sum in the comforts of home. Pick up a frozen selection of shrimp dumplings, shumai, pot stickers, barbecue pork buns, and more at this small shop. They’re sold in large quantities for less than $10.
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Head south on Wentworth Avenue past the main Chinatown strip to find this café inside of a strip mall. In addition to favorites like congee, rice crepes, and deep-fried taro puffs, the restaurant also sells a number of frozen dim sum items for diners to make at home.
As the name suggests, dumplings are king here. The xiao long bao is among the best in town and complemented with Northern Chinese specialties like steamed pork bao, wonton soup, veggie potstickers, and pan-fried smoked pork pancake.