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yes, another dim sum suggestion thread

So I'll be in LA in the near future, and I need dim sum. I'm not into fancy nouveau dim sum stuff. I want ymmy traditional Hong Kong style dim sum at good (cheap) prices. I'm assuming that the best place to find this is still in SGV. Decor is not an issue, neither is service or language barrier. Nor do I care about whether it is cart or "menu" service. Having reviewed the boards, the suggestions that seem to keep popping up are Ocean Star, NBC, and 888. Are there other dim sum places I should consider? Can anyone recommend any of these places (on the basis of quality of food and value alone) over the others?

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  1. It depends. I don't love Ocean Star, so I don't tend to recommend it. NBC is more consistently good, but if you go at, say, 10:30 when the selection is first rolling out and everything is piping hot and screamingly fresh, 888 can be absolutely sublime.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      I agree about NBC and 888, and would put them a notch above Ocean Star. There also have been a lot of favorable reviews of New Capital Seafood.

      1. re: Jwsel

        I enjoy CBS and Golden Dragon, both in Chinatown

        1. re: Jwsel

          I think New Capital is the cheapest of the places mentioned in this post. I think it averages about $1 less per dish than others. It seems very popular with the local Chinese community.

          1. re: Jwsel

            I was just at Capital Seafood in Monterey Park, on the corner of Atlantic & Garvey, over the weekend, and I would rank it about average to good. The quality was good, but nothing was outstanding. The variety of dishes was about average, with no standout or unique dishes.

            There are other people who rate it much higher than I do.

            1. re: Wonginator

              Isn't Capital Seafood (at Atlantic and Garvey) different from New Capital Seafood (which was in that vicinity but moved to the old Sam Woo place on Valley)? I seem to recall that Capital Seafood has been generally deemed okay, but it was New Capital that got the raves.

              Can someone clarify?

              1. re: Jwsel

                Yeah, I just noticed that you were talking about New Capital, which had closed their Rosemead location, and didn't know about the new location.

                Anyone have a specific address on the new location of New Capital? Some people mention the Focus Plaza, but I'm not sure where that is. I'd like to try it out.

                1. re: Wonginator

                  New Capital Seafood Restaurant
                  140 W. Valley Blvd. (fourth floor)
                  San Gabriel

          2. re: Das Ubergeek

            I agree completely with DU. NBC also seems more old school Cantonese to me, so you'd probably enjoy the vibe.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              888 is also quite cheap, especially if you stay away from the fancier items. Only once have we managed to exceed $10 per person, and we usually waddle away very well-fed for around $8 each.

              1. re: Will Owen

                You actually manage to waddle away? We roll ourselves out. :-)

            2. I'm not into nouveau dim sum either. Agree with DU. NBC is very consistent and very traditional. I probably had one of the worst dim sum experiences ever at Ocean Star and even when it was good, it wasn't as good as NBC.

              1. one reason i love NBC over ocean star is that they have the "goon tong gow", which is a honkin' large shark fin dumpling in a little individual-sized pot of soup. ocean star either never has it or only rarely. but yea, NBC tastes better too.

                1. I also think that NBC and 888 are a bit better than Ocean Star. I also hear that Triumphal Palace and Seafood Harbour are good, but I've never been to either place.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: raytamsgv

                    triumphal is excellent, a bit more low key, a bit more refined than say NBC. i go to triumphal when i can, while NBC is my "greasy spoon" for dim sum.

                  2. you should also add empress harbor to your short list. they are located in monterey park on atlantic blvd.

                    1. I prefer Ocean Star because of its greater variety, then NBC. I do not like 888.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Chandavkl

                        Chandavkl - is there a specific reason why you dislike 888?

                        1. re: kcchan

                          Nothing bad about 888, but to me Ocean Star is better both in taste and selection.

                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            I really like 888 because everything's so fresh, and the variety is pretty good. But I agree, Ocean Star has a wide variety and it's good. Haven't been to NBC in a long, long time, never thought it was outstanding in any way.

                            1. re: slacker

                              I've never understood the popularity of NBC.

                              To me, at least, NBC is ... just ... not ... very ... good.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                I have those thoughts about Ocean Star and Sam Woo (the one in Focus Plaza).

                        2. re: Chandavkl

                          Same here. NBC is OK but feels dingier than Ocean Star and not as fresh

                        3. Perfect timing!

                          I'm taking out 12 relatives for either dim sum or dinner in San Gabriel and am looking for reasonable prices with good food quality. I've sort of narrowed it down between 888 or New Capital (the one located in Sam Woo's former location in the Focus Plaza).

                          Does New Capital, in the new location, still offer $1.98 dim sum? Would anyone care to chime in whether it'd be cheaper (per person cost given same amount of food consumed) to go for dim sum or dinner? Is 888 really that much more superior in terms of food quality than New Capital?

                          I've thought about Yum Cha Cafe, but I think it'd be slightly offensive for the older relatives.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Beignets

                            The new New Capital location still has the cheap dim sum. I'd say pretty categorically that lunch is going to be cheaper than dinner, whether at a restaurant that serves dim sum at lunch time or one that does not. As far as the difference in quality, I'd say yes, but with a "but." Realistically the quality of a good buffet restaurant like West Coast Seafood is well below that of a good sit down Chinese seafood restaurant. But I sure do have a good time when I go to West Coast Seafood, and the total dining experience (given the quantity of food and the price) is just as good. In the same regard, I think that while the quality at New Capital is noticeably lower (but still good), whether the price differential makes up for it is a matter of personal preference.

                            1. re: Chandavkl

                              Thanks, this is helpful. I was curious to see how much dim sum for lunch will cost vs. family-style dinner menu.

                              I've never been to West Coast Seafood.

                              1. re: Chandavkl

                                I thought New Capital switched back to "regular" pricing after Mother's Day? And is it still a mob scene, since it's still fairly new at that location?

                                1. re: slacker

                                  I went a day or two after Mother's Day and it was still cheap then. And it was an even bigger mob scene than before, probably due to all the lookie loos like me checking out the new location. There was a crowd waiting to get in and that was before 10:30am, despite the expanded floor space.

                              2. re: Beignets

                                If you have a larger group and order mostly "A" or "B" dim sum items, you will be amazed at how much food for so little

                              3. How about Empress Pavilion in Chinatown. Both Chinese and white people go there. Pretty busy on the weekends, though.


                                1 Reply
                                1. re: fergusmccool

                                  yuck and yuckier. save your money and head east to any of the dim sum joints listed above.

                                2. Gosh, thanks for all the suggestions! I'm leaning toward 888 at the moment, but we'll see where I end up going.