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Feb 19, 2010 12:29 PM

Looking for family friendly dim sum


I'm looking for recommendations for a dim sum restaurant that is family friendly. What do I mean by family friendly:

- a not too exotic menu that won't scare away unadventurous grandparents
- a setting that is toddler-friendly
- overall atmosphere that is fun and not too intimidating for the dim sum first timers


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  1. I enjoyed Get Some Dim Sum on North Lamar:

    It has good reviews on Yelp, and the Web site has the menu, so you can see if the food meets your needs.

    In fact, just thinking about, I think I'll go tomorrow...

    5 Replies
    1. re: Rice Checks

      Agreed. If you're dealing with a lot of dietary restrictions (of the allergy and EWWWWW variety), Get Sum Dim Sum is your best bet, since it's counter service and not cart service. You'll have the luxury of being able to review a list of items, ask questions, and pick out what you want at your leisure. They also post their menu on their website.

      I've found that cart service waiters have a limited amount of patience. They're no doubt trying to move from table to table quickly to keep the food hot, but it's problematic when you're unfamiliar with the food or trying to accommodate picky eaters.

      1. re: verily

        O/T, but can I vent for a minute? My dim sum pet peeve is people pointing at the cart with their chopsticks when they ask "What''s that?"

        Hey, Curious George - I know you have questions, that's perfectly cool. But leave your dirty utensils on your plate and use a finger or a hand wave. I don't jab at the desert cart with my fork, and that's display food!

        That said, I think Get Sum is a good suggestion. The cart servers at Shanghai (offered on weekends) are actually fairly patient as things go.

        1. re: brentwood

          Cart service is to me an indispensable part of the dim sum experience. I like Shanghai, and think it will serve your purposes. I always see families there. Get there close to 11 am on the weekend if you don't want a wait.

          1. re: hungryinaustin

            I like all the options presented above. If you are taking non-dim sum parents, be warned that they pretty much bum rush you as you are sitting down. On the way, talk about in the car what you want to drink, so at least that's out of the way. Last time, three separate carts showed up in the first minute.

            If you are doing all the ordering, that helps. It's good to know in advance that granpa doesn't like shrimp, gramma doesn't eat pork, and so on.

            At Get Sum, there's an order menu that you fill out., based on this:


            I actually like the place and the order method (I like the carts, too, and that's what I'm accustomed to), but some of the Dim Sum experts here think its not as good. It's a little more modern, and there's a tea/drink fountain. You order at counter, get a number, and serve your own drinks/refils. There's plenty of seating.

            At Sanghai, if you go early (before 11:30), then you are inclined to leave the table so that other people (waiting) can be seated). They will subtly let you know that its time to go.

            And I've taken my toddler to both places several times each.

            1. re: rudeboy

              "It's good to know in advance that granpa doesn't like shrimp, gramma doesn't eat pork,"

              I was in this exact situation at Shanghai with some siblings. We went early, and while I was able to pick out foods that everyone would eat, it was a nightmare. When we went, Shanghai was only putting out a limited number of items in the first hour and they were all mostly fried shrimp and pork items. One of the cart servers clearly got annoyed when I made her list everything she had and then I passed on all of it.

              As we were leaving, all the interesting poultry and vegetable items started appearing. Maybe they take longer to prepare? I admittedly tricked my pork hating (texture thing, not allergic) sibling into eating char siu bun...she liked it. :P

    2. Given your requirements, I'd go to Chinatown off Mopac. It's probably the priciest dim sum in Austin, but they have many non-exotic choices and it isn't intimidating in the least.

      1. We just went to this place yesterday and had a great experience. This is where Kim Son was briefly, and they kept the concept of a small buffet with a few key items - great for getting noodles in front of a squirmy kid quickly. They had the usual offerings, exotic and not-so-exotic, coming around the cavernous room on carts. Great siu mye - smallish, which I liked, with great fresh flavor and a nice firm wrapper. Tofu skin roll was our favorite - I think it had ground poultry of some sort inside - savory and in a perfect not too heavy sauce. Chinese broccoli was fine, char siu bao (baked and steamed) were great - jellyfish was excellent - crunchy, spicy and refreshing. S&P prawns were flavorful, but cold. No roasted meats (duck, pork) like at Shangai, less selection (especially dumplings) than T&S, but a good, delicious, festive experience. Oh - your choice of five different kinds of tea, steeped loose in the pot. Jasmine was wonderful.

        2 Replies
        1. re: reinadetostones

          What's the name of the restaurant you went to? There is the Chinatown Center at N. Lamar and Braker (location of Kim Son), and then there is the group of restaurants called Chinatown, including the one mentioned at MoPac and Greystone.

          1. re: verily

            Assume this review refers to Fortune Chinese Seafood, in the Chinatown shopping center on N. Lamar.

        2. surprised that nobody has mentioned Pao's Mandarin House in this thread, the best dim sum I've had in the last ten years in Central Texas--Pao's is located in a strip mall about a mile or so north of The Backyard in Westlake...I'm a hardcore meat-eater, and they have vegetarian dim sum dishes that make my mouth water typing this