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LA Dim Sum: Only the Best!

Fellow Chowhounds,

One type of food that I have yet to conquer in the LA area is Dim Sum. In fact, I have never even had dim sum, which is sad and a little embarrassing.

I would like to fill this hole in my stomach with your expert advice. Allow me to state my dim sum mission:

ONLY THE BEST!

I don't care where it is (except China... I know they have the best dim sum!), the decor, service, etc. I want to experience the best based on taste, most fantastic dim sum this city has to offer.

After some research, I know that the SGV is dim sum central. I also know that there seems to be two trends in LA dim sum: traditional and "new wave" dim sum. I would like to hear recommendations for both types and why the restaurant you recommend is the best and better that XYZ.

I would also like to have recommendations for what to order. What is the best dim sum to get at the dim sum best establishment? Also, what do the prices look like? Can I eat for $10? $15? Hopefully not more than $20.

So please, let me know what you feel is the best. THANKS FOR THE HELP!!!

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  1. We have tried most, and we like New Capital at Garvey and Atlantic. We have been many times, and because there is such a great assortment, every time we are able to try new items! They also have a yogurt/pudding'ish "thing" in a short plastic cup infused with chunks of various fresh fruits that is VERY unusual and refreshing. That is usually served around noon. The service here is extremely attentive and pleasant, and you will be able to enjoy a lot of dim sum for $20.

    We also enjoy 888, but sometimes they are better than others. The food is not always consistent, but when it is good, it is quite good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: liu

      Just to clarify I presume you're talking about Capital Seafood, rather than New Capital Seafood which is also on Garvey, and quite popular, but in the Rosemead portion of the street east of New Ave. Concur that Capital Seafood is very good, and it's kind of a cross between old and new styles in that the food is more reminiscent of "new wave," but they use carts.

      1. re: Chandavkl

        Chandavkl -- I believe you are correct. This has been referred to as the "gold" restaurant. It is very pretty inside. It is in the corner of a shopping mall with 99 Ranch, and there is a gas station on the corner. We like the dim sum here very much, and then the walking in the mall afterward is also fun -- the bakery and the store at the end (same as a two-story Chinatown branch, but I don't remember the name of it...help me!). So, what do you think of the dim sum here?

    2. 888 in san gabriel or full house in arcadia. you can eat to your hearts content and get out of the door for under $15pp.

      1. For traditional dim sum I like Ocean Star because it has a nice mix of old favorite dishes and some innovative items, though not to the extent of New Concept, Mission 261, etc. I suspect it does the largest volume of any of the dim sum places, and we usually get out of there for about $10 per person or slightly more.

        1. If you can get over the "C" rating at New Concept in Monterey Park, you'll be in for a treat. Standard fares like "har gow" are the largest I've ever seen and bursting with shrimp filling, but a lot of creativity is put into shaping the little delicacies too. Think spinach skin and shark fin bun.

          This is the OG of New Wave. Check off your selection on a menu and try something new each time!

          New Concept Restaurant
          700 S. Atlantic Blvd.
          Monterey Park, CA 91754

          1. Along with recommendations for the "best dim sum" would you also like to know who the world's most beautiful man/woman is?

            Kidding aside, this is an impossible question to answer.

            It depends on so many variables, i.e. (i) your own palate (ii) kind and style of dim sum (iii) cart service or off-the-menu ordering style.

            CART service (my top 2 choices):
            1. 888
            2. Ocean Star

            MENU ordering (my top 2 choices):
            1. Sea Harbour
            2. Triumphal Palace / New Concept (tie)

            Many here will disagree and there will undoubtedly be many other (equally fine) recommendations, but that's where I'm putting my 2 cents worth.

            Enjoy and chow away...

            1. Does anyone know good dimsum restaurant in woodland hills??

              4 Replies
              1. re: gochisosama

                To my knowledge there is no dim sum of any kind in Woodland Hills or anywhere in the west valley. Reseda is probably the closest.

                1. re: Chandavkl

                  That's what I thought. Can you recomment any particular dim sum place in Receda?
                  Thank you in advance!

                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    That's what I thought. Can you recomment any particular dim sum place in Receda?
                    Thank you in advance!

                    1. re: gochisosama

                      Hmm. The A & W Seafood actually is in Northridge on 9306 Reseda Bl.

                2. Thanks for all the great help so far.

                  Is new age dim sum better that cart style dim sum? Or are they just different. What are the merits of each?

                  Thanks

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: young_chower

                    I certainly wouldn't mind trying any new or different types of dim sum, though I'm new enough to it myself that I'd be hard-pressed to know the difference! However, the notion of ordering dim sum off a menu is to me a lot like ordering sushi off a menu, rather than while sitting at a bar. I have done that, but it's not nearly as much fun.

                  2. Not that there's a clear delineation between the two, but I would describe the new wave dim sum as consisting of nontraditional ingredients or combinations and prepared in a more delicate manner. I'd be interested if somebody can give another interpretation. Not everybody likes the new style, but I like both.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Chandavkl

                      Hard to describe the difference in words, the "new age" stuff is like a reinterpretation of traditional dim sum dishes with a Western/European twist.

                      Sort of like:

                      *You used to have Pizza, then you got Spago's Pizza with goat cheese and cured salmon
                      *There used to be Maki Sushi, but someone figured that avocado was just too good to save only for guacamole and so became the California Roll
                      *Mexican was always a good meal, but when someone realized that cooking a burrito the southern way (e.g. deep fried) you get a chimichanga! and the creation of Tex-Mex.

                      You get the idea ...

                    2. Empress Pavillion downtown is authentic, amazing, cheap. On Broadway in a shopping center on second floor. If you take the Harbour Freeway from the west, the Broadway exit bumps you directly into the building.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: MalibuAly

                        I'm familiar with Empress PAvillion. But what I've read from other posts, it's good, but if you want the best, which is what I'm after, then you really got to go to the SFV.

                        Thanks for the suggestion though.

                        1. re: young_chower

                          Agreed. Maybe 5 years ago I might have recommended Empress Pavilion along with some San Gabriel Valley restaurants, but these days, no way. Empress has gone way downhill in the past year, and the new places in the San Gabriel Valley keep raising the bar.

                            1. re: Chandavkl

                              Yes, it's not what it was.
                              BUT sometimes you just don't want to drive the extra 10 minutes. In which case, it's ok.

                              I also like the new dim sum offerings at MPV on Garfield.

                              1. re: Jerome

                                Is this the MPV you are talking about?

                                http://www.google.com/maps?f=l&hl...

                                It seems that there are more than one?

                                Also Jerome, I understand you are an authority on Chinese food. As I originally asked, would you consider MPV the best? Is it traditional or new wave dim sum? Thanks.

                                1. re: Jerome

                                  Well, I'm sorry to say I really don't know "bests" of anything. There are one s I like and I always think you should try a bunch because tastes differ. That is the right MPV. The dimsum are quite good. There are places with bigger selections, and MPV is really a seafood dinner place (there's a methuselah of a lobster which probably will go for close to $600 when someone decides to eat it), and they've switched from Cantonese small lunch plates to more conventional dim sum recently.
                                  But the quality is high. I'd say go there, try Ocean Star and the other seafood places in Monterey park, NBC is that still around?, and 888 although someone said it closed.

                                  Then please report.
                                  A caveat - I'm just as happy having a youtiao and sweetened soy milk breakfast as with a complex yumcha;/dimsum meal. I like dimsum more as a social thing. So if you go, try to get at least 3 or 4 others with you so you can taste the variety. For just two, unless you have specific favorite dishes, you really miss out. As well, the beauty of the yumcha meal is the variety.

                          1. I've been eating @ NBC in Monterey Park for years and only after hearing about it here, I've been frequenting 888 Seafood. I've been there now 5-6 times and over all, have been very satisfied with the quality of the food but have always been a little suspect of the service. Today, my suspicions were fully realized.
                            My girlfriend and I went there today later then anticipated (12:30). We usually like to get in by 11:30 and avoid the mad rush. Therefore, we had about a 20-30 minute wait. I can handle that. We got seated and the nightmare began. For the first time ever, I was treated like an outsider. I'm not Asian but I’ve never felt unwelcomed to such establishments until today. We were ignored; carts rolled right by and would only stop when you practically yelled out for them. The waiter was noticeably rude and neglectful and it took 3 request and 30 minutes to just get water. Then when we asked for hot tea and he delivered me a coke, when I declined it, he looked at me like I was being difficult and rolled his eyes. To boot, the carts were scarce and simply not available in our area. I asked for the bill and to validate my concerns, our bill was only $14.00. I've NEVER walked out (with 2 people) not spending a dime less then $25-$30. That was a testament for the lack of food. Sadly we left still hungry and extremely unwanted. Regardless of previous experiences, I WILL NEVER GIVE SUCH AN ESTABLISHMENT MORE OF MY BUSINESS AND MY HARD EARNED MONEY. I would much rather go somewhere where service and equitable treatment of customers are more common practice.

                            The 888 Seafood establishment should be ashamed of themselves. We will never return!

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Joe

                              When they are good, they are very, very good; when they are NOT so good...

                              We like it here, but it just is not consistent. Please do try Capital Seafood at Atlantic and Garvey! The service is excellent, and the food is always a delicious adventure!

                              1. re: Joe

                                It's not just 888.

                                Depending on which manager/staff is on duty and how much traffic there is at the restaurant, most Chinese restaurants will tend to treat non-Chinese (not just non-Asians) as if they had the bird flu.

                                You'll get smaller portions, less meat in stir-fry dishes, the switcher-oo with the fresh steamed seafood items, etc.

                                It's unfortunate. If they were more accomodating, their clientele base would expand significantly, but I suppose there is enough of a critical mass of Chinese customers that it hasn't affected the bottom-line ... yet.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Less meat in stir fry? Smaller portions? Switcheroo? Wow I have never heard that kind of complaints.

                                  1. re: PeterL

                                    We have ALWAYS been treated with great respect. If anything, the servers, staff and managers frequently come to our table to chat and check up on us, and offer any further assistance...ALWAYS with courtesy and kindness!

                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                    While I think non-Chinese customers tend to get worse service, I don't believe the kitchen will shortchange your dish. In the grand scale of things, a few slices of chicken or beef are worth just pennies to a restaurant. Especially with the big dim sum restaurants, it just isn't worth the effort. A slightly smaller portion will save a few more cents. If these restaurants have only a few non-Chinese customers a day, they'll be saving less than a dollar a day. This is chump change.

                                    Unlike some western restaurants, most Chinese restaurants weigh the meat before they cook it. Cooks simply grab what they think is the right amount and put it in.

                                    I've ordered the same dishes from the same restaurant numerous times. Sometimes, my mom orders. We never get the exact amount or ingredients twice.

                                    Having said that, I do believe that Chinese restaurants need to have better customer service if they are to expand beyond ethnic Chinese customers.

                                2. i live in Monterey Park, and i believe that 888 is closed down. My family really enjoys eating dim sum and is among the regulars in many dim sum restuarants. I must say the one restuarant which i enjoy eating dim sum has to be this fancy place in rosemend called Seafood Harbour Restuarant. It can be expensive if u just order many different items. But its really enjoyable.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: I_need_laxatives

                                    Interesting. I has hoping to not spending a lot of money. Any more affordable, yet tasty recommendations?

                                    1. re: young_chower

                                      If you're talking about the most inexpensive place, that would be New Capital (not Capital) Seafood, 7540 E. Garvey in Rosemead and 1330 Fullerton Road in Rowland Heights. It fills up very early and the food is good, not great. However, if your upper limit is $20 per person, you should be OK at any of the newer places so long as you didn't go absolutely crazy on expensive stuff.

                                  2. Not exactly around the corner, but the SO and I stumbled upon this very good dim sum at reasonable prices, served Hong Kong style (of course) and were way impressed:

                                    Hong Kong Palace
                                    19101 Colima Road
                                    Rowland Heights
                                    626-854-9829

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Silver Lake Guy

                                      We have been frequenting Hong Kong Palace for many years. The only problem we have encountered is inconsistency...and I guess this is just part of the nature of the business of food. When we first tried it, they had an "A." A while after that, they had a "C" and I was a little reluctant to be a regular. However, I think they are back on track.

                                      Oftentimes, about noon'ish, they do serve an almond tea; it is gorgeous to see, with a dome-shaped pastry covering. The almond tea is creamy and oh-so-scrumptious! If you are there on a weekend, perhaps you can ask for it when you are seated; it takes awhile, so do try to order it ahead of when you want it.

                                      It is also a very pretty restaurant, and we had experienced very good service!

                                    2. After trying many dim sum restaurants including most mentioned so far, I have to go w/ Ocean Star, Monterey Park- NW corrner Atlantic & Garvey-2nd floor w/ easy free parking below.
                                      1. the food is delicious, freshly prepared & served
                                      2. the variety is best I've seen
                                      3. there are a lot of food carts passing all the time except before closing, I think 2:30.
                                      4. Prices are as cheap as anywhere, $10- $15 per person.
                                      5.. And this IS important: little or no waitng even on weekends. The place is huge. Nearly all other Dim Sum places have a wait- at Empress Pavillion it can be an hr.
                                      6.. Nice well kept, kind of fancy Hong Kong style decor/interior- such as large chandeliers. Unlike sum of others which not kept up & show the wear and tear.
                                      7. see #1 & 2
                                      Everone should definitely try Dim Sum if you like Chinese food at all!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ilikefood

                                        What do you recommend to get? Any specialties?

                                      2. Ocean Seafood downtown is my favorite in Chinatown. Don't even bother arriving past 11AM because the lines and the wait are brutal, or after 1PM because they run out of things (that pretty much applies to all of the good ones by the way). Seafood Paradise in Westminster is the best in OC.