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Your Favorite Dim Sum in China Town?

Does anyone have a favorite dim sum restaurant in China Town or close to downtown?

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  1. On weekends my favorite is Tea Garden, just outside of the ID, on weekdays I'll do Jade Garden.

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    Jade Garden Restaurant
    7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

    Tea Garden
    708 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

    11 Replies
    1. re: dagoose

      Jade Garden's mobbed lobby and tedious waits can be imposing, and Harbor City is a slightly less attractive, slighlty cheaper option, right across the street. They are known for their cantonese BBQ as well.

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      Jade Garden Restaurant
      7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

      1. re: equinoise

        If you go to Jade Garden and say you are willing to share a table, they will seat you very quickly. After avoiding Jade Garden for 2 years becuase of not wanting to wait I went this past Sunday with a group of 3 and were seated within 10 minutes at the most, leaving 25 people behind us in the lobby upset that they were not seated before us.

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        Jade Garden Restaurant
        7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

        1. re: Mike CP

          I was recently talking with the owner of Red Lantern after my wife and I ate dinner there, and she recommended Purple Dot for dim sum, saying that she liked it because it wasn’t as greasy at the dim sum at Jade Garden. I’ve never found the dim sum at Jade Garden objectionably greasy, and I’ve never been to Purple Dot, but I will pass along her recommendation for what it’s worth. Has anyone eaten at Purple Dot, for dim sum or otherwise?

          1. re: Tom Armitage

            Purple Dot was one of the first Dim Sum places I visited in Seattle, about 2 years ago. My friend and I who have been to many Dim Sum places back on the east coast got a strange vibe from Purple Dot. It seemed fancier then the average Dim Sum place, more similar to a sit down restaurant than a Dim Sum joint. I have no memory of the 4 or 5 items we had there, which is a sign that they most likely were not very good.

            Based on my recent successful visit to Jade Garden and other meals I've had at the other more popular Dim Sum places in the I.D, I would quickly recommend these before Purple Dot.

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            Purple Dot Cafe
            515 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

            Jade Garden Restaurant
            7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

            1. re: Tom Armitage

              Purple Dot makes an awesome curry pastry that I've not had anywhere else in Seattle.

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              Purple Dot Cafe
              515 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

              1. re: Lauren

                Is this an item that is Macanese in origin? I recall terrier saying in a seperate post that there might be something like that at Purple Dot.

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                Purple Dot Cafe
                515 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

          2. re: equinoise

            I really disliked the dim sum at Harbor city. Not very good.

            1. re: Teknotic

              Over the past two or three years it seems as if Harbor City's popularity has grown exponentially. I wonder if the quality of their food has grown to meet the larger number of customers, or if they are no longer able to keep up with the weekend rush.

              I will have to try this again soon, as it used to be a favorite of mine.

              1. re: Teknotic

                The quality has gone downwards noticeably from before - probably due to the new crowds. However, that said, it's still much better than Jade Garden or other Chinatown dim sum.

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                Jade Garden Restaurant
                7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

            2. re: dagoose

              House of Hong..

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              House of Hong Restaurant
              409 8th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

              1. re: dagoose

                I LOVE the Tea Garden too! Their steamed shrimp dumplings are amazing. Sometimes, I dream about them.

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                Tea Garden
                708 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

              2. Our one visit to Jade Garden did not impress us. However, we generally find the dim sum at Sun Ya to be excellent and I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet.

                1. Harbor City - they don't have the world's largest variety, but what they do they generally do well. Word has been getting out over the last 12 months or so; best to go before or after the rush.

                  Off of dim sum hours, I highly recommend their moo shu duck.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Scott O

                    Harbor City is the best in ID right now. All other ones, with Jade Garden following very quickly behind them, are pretty sad.

                    O'Asian (by the owners of Top Gun) is not really my favorite as they tend to bland down the food for the downtown lunch crowd, but it has comfortable seating and free parking on weekends. Great place to take those people who just doesn't do the ID thing (it's 2-3 blocks away?)

                    Somebody mentioned Tea Garden on Rainier. They seem to do alright - except they don't seem to have a lot of items last time I went.

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                    Jade Garden Restaurant
                    7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

                    1. re: HungWeiLo

                      I've had 2 or 3 good experiences at Tea Garden during weekend Dim Sum hours. Their selection was at least the same if not better then Harbor City.

                      What interested me the most at Tea Garden was the 6 & 12 person-sized menus available to order. It looked like the larger tables that opted for this instead of the dim sum carts were getting high quality food. Hopefully I'll get a chance to try those fixed menus one of these days.

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                      Tea Garden
                      708 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

                      1. re: Mike CP

                        Regarding your comment on cold dim sum, I've never had cold dim sum at the Tea Garden. If anything, on the weekend, it's so hot that I have to wait for a moment for it to cool.

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                        Tea Garden
                        708 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

                  2. Jade Garden is a solid base hit, although certainly not worth the wait during the weekend rush. Surprisingly, I've yet to find stellar dim sum here. Think you'll have to wait for a trip back East or to LA/SF.

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                    Jade Garden Restaurant
                    7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                      The food itself is probablyyy best in Seattle on good days (it seems to be very hit or miss), but the service is terrible and the staff rude. Not only do you have to wait in a crowded area, but I've often had food come completely cooled (not even lukewarm). I tried grabbing dim sum on a weekday AM by msyelf and although half the restaurant was empty, the woman put me in the far back left corner. By myself. Next to their storage of various items. And extra carts. All of the carts would come out of the doorway then make a left, completely skipping me. It took them 15 min to bring me tea, and another 10 min before a cart even stopped by me. (On a bright note, the shrimp and chive dumpling I had that day was amazinggg). I avoid going there now even though the food is better because of the horrible service.

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                      Jade Garden Restaurant
                      7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

                      1. re: roolala

                        Jade Garden is my favorite for Dim Sum. The waitstaff aren't so much rude, as they are busy and if you don't speak Cantonese (or Mandarin) they'll wait for you to start a conversation. The table they sat you at is where I often sit - I enjoy it because it's between the kitchen and the waiter station. There's always someone coming by for me to grab if I need anything! If you happen to get a cold item from the cart then let them know - the servers will take care of you, but can't read your mind.

                        I guess what I'm saying is that you need to be slightly aggressive as a customer. If you don't like something (table, food, ...) let them know (wo bu yao --> I don't want/bing --> cold/wo yao bing shui --> I want ice water). Honestly, the food is well worth a bit of self-assertiveness! Now I'm craving a few har gao!

                        Next time you go, try the shrimp noodle ... oh lord! You taste noodle and shrimp individually, and the texture of the noodle contrasts very well with that of the shrimp.

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                        Jade Garden Restaurant
                        7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

                        1. re: bjones9942

                          That advice can go for any Chinese restaurant. They are used to (in China), people being very assertive. Whereas Seattle people are super passive aggressive, to a fault. Part of Chinese culture is that if you haven't said something is wrong, nothing is.

                          1. re: Teknotic

                            I have to disagree. I have no problem being assertive in restaurants, including Jade Garden, but Jade's service is crap. The cart people have no social skills whatsoever, service to them is pushing a cart and punching a clock. The host staff are abysmally obtuse when it comes to keeping a queue, and don't give me any of that "different culture" nonsense. The staff at Harbor City are not any less Chinese, but they are customer oriented and understand that treating people well means they will want to return.

                            -----
                            Jade Garden Restaurant
                            7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

                            1. re: Scott O

                              @ bjones
                              I'm Taiwanese and have been to dim sum restaurants in most major cities in the U.S., and I understand that the wait staff can get busy and aggressiveness is your friend at a Chinese restaurant. I do speak Mandarin also. However, at Jade Garden (even when the place is dead empty) I have just had bad experiences with being unable to flag down waitstaff and cold food. One or two cold dishes, I chalk it up to being busy and usually let it slide. However, I have had most of my dishes come out lukewarm before during peak hours, which I have never experienced at any other dim sum restaurant.

                              -----
                              Jade Garden Restaurant
                              7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

                              1. re: roolala

                                I really am sorry that you've had bad experiences at Jade Garden. Reading reviews here and on Yelp, the notes about service are always 50/50. I've only once had inattentive service there - and it was the first or second time I went. Now that they recognize my face as someone who comes in every now and again (not enough for me) I haven't had any problems. Honestly, I've had more service issues at House of Hong (i like their variety, but the food just isn't as good as Jade Garden). One thing I do when the first cart arrives is tell them everything I want. I think the waitress tells the other waitresses and the carts come by with my items fairly quickly. Then if I see something else that looks good I just stop the next employee that walks by my table and ask them for it! This works especially well at that little table by the server station (carts do take a while longer to make their way to that table - I think they follow the same path every single time).

                                Anyway, I hope you don't give up on them. They can be a lot of fun and the food really is delicious.

                                -----
                                House of Hong Restaurant
                                409 8th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                                Jade Garden Restaurant
                                7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

                                1. re: roolala

                                  Lukewarm dishes are the norm at Jade Garden. The only acceptable dimsum in the ID is Harbor City, which is starting its slow decline in quality as well.

                                  Dim sum in Seattle is pretty sorry for the most part. At least it's better than Portland.

                                  -----
                                  Jade Garden Restaurant
                                  7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

                                2. re: Scott O

                                  JG's got unbelievably long lines at any time when I drive by - so it's no wonder that they don't care about service. They don't have to. And their nonexistent competition ensures that they can treat you badly, serve you cold food, nag you to buy their crappy deep-fried stuff, and still expect more people to queue up.

                        2. Jade Garden is my go-to for dim sum. I love it and used to eat there almost every weekend for a time. I only stopped because I felt I was packing on the pounds from too much delicious dim sum.

                          I have to say I have overwhelmingly gotten good service at Jade Garden. I am not of Chinese heritage and I don't speak Mandarin or Cantonese. On the other hand I have gotten to know a few folks there and find that being nice goes a long way. Also when any business gets to know you there is going to be better service. That doesn't mean its ok for them to give anyone bad service but it's a fact of life that they are going to treat you better when they know you and you patronize their business.

                          One thing I am not sure everyone understands is that the dim sum model is much more like a buffet or conveyor sushi joint. You are not getting the same level of individualized attention you get with a designated waiter. You are seated and the food goes around. The role of the server is essentially to show you what is available, give you what you order and make a check on your order card. You can't fairly compare service at a true dim sum place with table service at a fine restaurant.

                          One thing they do that I very much appreciate is that if you ask for something that is not currently available but is coming up shortly they will tell you "Later." When the item comes up they will bring it out to you. I don't know the system ... maybe some kind of waiting list in the back but it is really nice.

                          Jade Garden is very very busy during peak weekend hours. I go early (between 9 and 10 am) on Sunday. Of course that means that the number of carts and selection will not be as great. However I tend to order the same 5-7 dishes every time and they are available when I go and I rarely wait too long for the dishes I want. The crowd can be pretty mercenary.

                          However you are more likely to get one of the few 2 or 4 tops. I especially prefer the 4 tops on the railing overlooking the lower part of the front dining room but they are not easy to come by.
                          I do not find the cuisine unduly greasy at all. In fact I find the dim sum to be flavorful, well constructed and well seasoned. There are a fairly substantial number of offerings and unless you are really there during a slow period the dim sum are quite hot on average. Everything from the steam cart is going to be hot. Some dishes carried around on trays (typically specials) are intended to be hot and can go cold. Most dishes on the open carts are not necessarily eaten hot. I have never had to ask for a replacement dish that I felt was not hot enough. They would certainly replace it if you ask.

                          -----
                          Jade Garden Restaurant
                          7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

                          1. I find that most Dim Sum in Seattle, doesn't compare very well with Vancouver or even LA/SF both in terms of quality and in terms of selection. Having tried a few places like Jade Garden and Harbor City i've been disappointed. Anything int he greater Seattle area that I'm missing?

                            -----
                            Jade Garden Restaurant
                            7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Psiweaver

                              Seattle Met magazine highly recommends Joy Palace over by White Center. I haven't made it in yet

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                              Joy Palace
                              6030 Martin Luther King Jr Way S, Seattle, WA 98118

                              1. re: Teknotic

                                yeah i just flipped through their asian thing. I'm not sure how much to trust it as they listed samurai noodle as great ramen. its mediocre at best.

                                1. re: Teknotic

                                  I tried Joy Palace on Sunday because of the Seattle Met article and I thought it was pretty good but not much different than every other dim sum place in Seattle. The pork spare ribs were very good there, though. Har gao was pretty good but kind of standard issue as were the fried stuffed tofu and fried shrimp balls. Shu mai wasn't quite so good. They did have some of the biggest lobster I've ever seen in a live tank. I would say if you are in the area it's well worth trying but not worth a special trip.

                                  For me Tea Garden was better. They had the some of the better shu mai I've tried lately.

                                  -----
                                  Tea Garden
                                  708 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

                                  Joy Palace
                                  6030 Martin Luther King Jr Way S, Seattle, WA 98118

                                  1. re: knowspicker

                                    Tea Garden is my go-to place as well. At times it is inconsistent, and is not nearly as good on weekdays, but still, find it best on weekends.

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                                    Tea Garden
                                    708 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

                              2. Went to Jade Garden for the first time this morning. Thanks to the CHs. It was good, not great, but good. We had har gow, spare ribs in black bean sauce, shrimp and chive dumpling with sesame seeds on top (we don't think we've had that before), chicken feet and the rice, chicken, meat stuff lotus leaf thingy. As some have commented almost everything could have been hotter but it was warm enough. The chicken feet weren't as tender as some we've had and I think they suffered the most from being under-warm. We were there about 9AM (Sunday) and were seated immediately. The front area was full but the back room was fine. The service was pleasant, not abrupt in the least. And I was pleased that all the servers seem to speak good English. Helpful for me anyway :) I thought they had a VERY good selection of dishes. Sorry there were only three of us; would have liked to try more. What we had with tea was $20, which is IMO what it ought to be. We used to live in SF and still visit and I'm just not going to pay Yank Sing prices. I would return but would like things to be hotter. That's the only thing I could criticize. We travel alot and CHs never fail me. Thanks again.

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                                Jade Garden Restaurant
                                7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Wow, I was surprised to read my old post. Jade Garden has become our go-to place when visiting fam in Seattle and we now love it. They must have been having an off morning back then. I was just commenting to SIL that everything is so fresh and hot because they're busy enough that nothing sits around too long. I've come to prefer menu dim sum but this lacked nothing. We had chicken feet, a scallop dumpling pretty much like har gow, pork and vegetables in tofu skin, eggplant stuff with shrimp paste and barbeque pork in rice flour rolls. All were just perfect. And it cost $18 with tea. We're here twice a year usually and Jade Garden is always one of the first places we hit.