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Dim Sum-Best Cart place in SGV

I have searched through the existing threads on this topic but am still confused! What is the best cart style dim sum restaurant in the SGV? 888? NBC??? Help please. (I would love to try Elite but this crowd wants carts!!!).

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  1. I hear you, handlertaper, and we also like dim sum cart service...HOWEVER, the quality of the dim sum at Elite will change your mind.

    They do have menus with pictures to help you order. Additionally, there are several servers passing trays around so that you still can have that spontaneous experience as you might with carts.

    We used to enjoy Capital Seafood at Atlantic and Garvey, but recently we found most of the cart items to be luke-warm or cold; dim sum suffers greatly if the temperature is not "right." In contrast, at Elite, the items are extremely fresh as they come to you directly from their kitchen!

    2 Replies
    1. re: liu

      I am will liu about Elite.

      I do appreciate cart-style dim sum in a huge dining hall. The vibrancy, the aroma, the callings for various dim sum. Frankly, I miss that a lot. But I haven't quite found a cart-style dim sum place that is on par with Elite. And unlikely I will sacrifice quality with the atmosphere.

      1. re: Vince S

        Hey, Vince S! "The vibrancy, the aroma, the callings..." You have captured what I, too, love about those massive dim sum dining halls! B U T, the dim sum at Elite is wonderful! We have dined there several dozen times and never been disappointed.

      1. empress harbor.......located at garvey/atlantic.

        1. I'm partial to 888 Seafood on Valley Blvd. in Rosemead. It's one of the few dim sum places that has a number of Chiu Chau items - including my fave - gau choy gau. I try to get there early - around 10am - and talk my way into a table near one of the kitchen exit doors so that I can have a good selection when it comes fresh from the kitchen.

          4 Replies
          1. re: estone888

            estone888 -- Back a couple of years, we were huge 888 fans!
            Then, we noticed that their items were not hot and the carts seemed sparse; it felt like they were struggling to keep up.
            Please tell me that they are still good as I would love to return.

            1. re: liu

              I agree. We noticed a drop in the quality at 888 over a year ago and have stopped going back for dim sum. The whole winter melon soup for dinner is still amazing though.

              1. re: Porthos

                I went about six weeks ago and though it wasn't quite as good as I recall from the past, I still thought it was very good. I did have the good fortune to be seated within two tables of the exit from the kitchen, so I was one of the first tables that the carts got to. I do think where you sit is a vital part of getting good dim sum at a cart place. I generally prefer the food at the order off the menu places, but sometimes I'm just in the mood for the carts.

              2. re: liu

                The few times I've was at 888 (last year) I actually thought the food was decent . Couple of items there, forget which ones I actually prefer over Elite or Sea Harbor.

                Only problem is the wait is terrible, worse than Sea Harbor down the street I dare say.

            2. I like 888 in Rosemead and Empress Harbor in Monterey Park. At 888, I figured out that you shouldn't arrive before 1030 AM or so. That's when the kitchen really starts cranking out the dishes. If you go there earlier, you'll be waiting for dishes, and the dishes that didn't sell will be sitting around for a while.

              Empress Harbor is also really good. I believe that if you get your check before 12, you will get a 20% discount. But I haven't been there in about a year.

              Personally, I think Elite is the best, but I like going to cart places, too.

              1. For a lot of people the cart experience is one of the big plusses of dim sum. I took a group out for dim sum and changed restaurants from Elite to NBC because they wanted carts. Having said that, everyone was very pleased with the selection and quality at NBC. We had gone to Ocean Star the year before and NBC was much better.

                2 Replies
                1. re: NAspy

                  When I was in Hong Kong in 2006, I discovered that Hong Kongers view cart service is an old-fashioned anachronism. Having said that, I really do enjoy the food and cart service at Ocean Star.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    You can squeeze in more tables in a restaurant if you get rid of carts. Hong Kong is notoriously short of space.

                  1. re: Selter Head

                    Thanks so much for the suggestions. I REALLY want to go to Elite but my sister, who is the bday girl wants CARTS. So it sounds like 888, Ocean Star , NBC or Empress Harbor are the way to go... Hmmm..which one do I pick?!!!

                    1. re: handlertaper

                      I think Empress Harbor has long been underappreciated for overall quality.
                      Ocean Star is kind of fun just for the people watching in a gigantic hall. 888 I've always liked the quality, and the waits I don't recall being too bad. NBC also solid. I guess this post isn't much help ;)

                      1. re: handlertaper

                        NBC. Though i agree with the all of the above about Elite and other made to order dim sum spots. Ocean Star is pretty inconsistent. NBC is always decent

                        1. re: peppermonkey

                          so...I am leaning towards NBC and am hoping that it is a good choice! Next time, when I am with a smaller group of people, I want to go to EIite!

                          Thanks for you suggestions.

                          1. re: handlertaper

                            Where is NBC Located? Is this the place??

                            NBC Seafood Restaurant
                            404 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                            1. re: Foodandwine

                              Went to NBC. Very attendtive service but not the greatest dim sum,..We should have skipped the cart place and gone to Elite!!!!

                              1. re: handlertaper

                                I was at Elite today. Really, really good dim sum! Can't wait to go back.

                                1. re: xoxohh

                                  I am so jealous-wanted to go to Elite but someone else in our group insisted on the CART experience!!!! Glad you enjoyed. Will try Elite next time....

                                  1. re: handlertaper

                                    don't knock all cart places until you try empress harbor or happy harbor.

                                    still scratching my head why you went to nbc. it's just ok.

                                    1. re: wilafur

                                      wilafur -- There is no denying that the cart experience is an experience unto itself. It's not just about the carts, but about the chatter and the palatial spaces and the abundance of food! It's about the servers and the aromas and the traffic control! It all seems so chaotic, although it is well choreographed. What a show!

                                      However, if we are focused on the food, then Elite deserves the praise it is receiving on this post. I have been to Empress and Happy; they are good in spots. All of the cart places that we continue to mention (888, NBC, Capital, Ocean Star) have their merits, but if it is the dim sum that we value, then Elite is in a class by itself...my take.

                                      1. re: liu

                                        i hear you loud and clear on the cart experience, hence the reason why i am scratching my head why the OP went to an average cart place when there are bettter than avg ones.

                                        i totally spaced, happy harbor is order off the menu style. my bad.

                                        and finally, i agree, i prefer the order off the menu places such as elite due to the quality.....for some reason they are just better than any cart palce in socal.

                                        1. re: wilafur

                                          wilafur -- I've been reading you on these Boards for a long time...and mostly we agree. I think we agree here, too, more than we disagree!
                                          My wishes for lots more memorable dim sum plates!

                                          1. re: liu

                                            this dim sum convo made me hungry. ugh. lols.

                                  2. re: xoxohh

                                    Mme Zoe and I went to lunch at Elite last Tuesday (and the Tuesday before). Outstanding. Derek, one of the manager/waitpersons is so attentive and fills us in with description of any dishes we asked about. Heaven for me is the baked turnip and also the scallops in a turnip crust (I am sure this description sounds better in Chinese) but Chinese or English, the freshness, the flavor and the texture are beyond description, they are that good. Last week, no signs of recession with a line around the building (we went early, before noon) and no parking spaces open.

                      2. Someone took me to Top Island on Valley and New Sts last week and I thought it was pretty good and inexpensive. Dim Sum cost $2.09 per order on weekdays and $2.29 on holidays and weekends. Was kinda crowded for a weekday.

                        2 Replies
                          1. re: Silverlaker


                            Elite Restaurant
                            700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754