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10 Best Dim Sum Restaurants In Los Angeles

Chandavkl Apr 30, 2012 02:13 PM

From Clarissa Wei, who gave us the 50 Top Chinese restaurants in the U.S. I really can't complain about this listing.

http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/20...

  1. l
    LostInLA May 7, 2012 10:30 AM

    Great post ! I'm from HK and always looking for good dim sum in LA. I've enjoyed sea harbor but will have to check out Elite.

    1. liu May 7, 2012 08:16 AM

      Our dim sum experience this past Saturday morning at King Hua was extraordinary!

      Until Saturday morning, my favorite has been Elite...with a close second to Sea Harbour. However, King Hua just moved to up to first place. This was not our first visit there, and I remember liking it every time in the past. Their sticky rice was at least as good as Elite's. In other various dishes, the shrimp were large and clean...and they tasted like shrimp! Their honey BBQ pork pastries were divine.

      The space is very clean, bright and pretty. The service was attentive and not rushed. The tea is good. I am so excited to announce a new favorite!

      12 Replies
      1. re: liu
        JAB May 7, 2012 09:09 AM

        Notice taken as you've been one of Elite's biggest proponents and I know that it took some doing to knock them out of your # 1 spot.

        1. re: JAB
          liu May 7, 2012 09:14 AM

          Hi, JAB!
          You're funny!
          I am a bit "honored" that you have been listening so carefully.

          I still like Elite and they only moved to second place, but King Hua felt fresh, bright and alive in a way that Elite does not. AND the dim sum was delicious!

          1. re: liu
            s
            Sgee May 7, 2012 10:40 PM

            King hua is not good, king hua is not good..... Repeat after me.....Stick to elite or sea harbor

        2. re: liu
          b
          bulavinaka May 7, 2012 10:09 PM

          Slapped myself just to make sure I read this right... Elite dethroned - long live the King! Your judgement I trust - will have to give them a whirl...

          1. re: bulavinaka
            liu May 8, 2012 07:43 AM

            You're so silly, bulavinaka!
            Are you saying that YOU have not yet tried King Hua?

            I am still in the tasting stage. Elite has been consistent for us over many years. I have been to King Hua about 5 times, and each time I leave with that dim sum smile.

            I felt very comfortable at King Hua. I think the table spacing at King Hua is better than that at Elite and it is a more serene dining experience, yet the space is very alive.

            Also, this last time that we were at King Hua there were a lot of trays being passed around; this was the cart experience and the menu experience simultaneously!

            1. re: liu
              o
              omieurhomie May 8, 2012 09:52 AM

              I'm with you Liu! King Hua has dethroned my past #1, Sea Harbour. I've been to King Hua about 4 times and will be going back this Saturday for an early Mother's Day dim sum. Their har gow and pineapple char sui bao are out of this world!

              Sea Harbour has been really inconsistent lately... I went 2 weeks ago. Their chicken feet were really bland. The beef tendon/offal dish had an perfume-y off-putting taste to it (and was no longer spicy, different recipe for sure). The har gow skin was kinda mushy. Maybe the only item up to par was their tripe. Sad times... long live King Hua!

              1. re: omieurhomie
                liu May 8, 2012 12:40 PM

                Hello, omieurhomie. I am glad that you have chimed in to join me in my King Hua cheer!

                YUM! That pineapple char sui bao that you mention sounds delicious! I will order it next time.

              2. re: liu
                TonyC May 8, 2012 11:20 AM

                I think you're really saying King Hua's dimsum "experience" is what makes it your new dimsum "king".

                Sorta like how Sushi Gen makes me feel every time I visit: herded cow heading to the slaughter.

                King Hua's fine. If I lived in that part of town (and I did, within walking distance, even), I'd make it my de facto dimsum house. It's relaxed, it's not too busy, the servers aren't hateful, it's quieter, and the wait isn't nearly as painful. Sometimes, it's about more than just then food.

                1. re: TonyC
                  liu May 8, 2012 12:36 PM

                  Hello, TonyC! You captured exactly how I feel.

                  Sushi and dim sum are two experiences for me...I want the entire package: the music, the noise level, the cleanliness, the feel of the seat, the seating arrangement, the room, the pace, the pulse, the attitude/disposition of the servers and the other restaurant team members, the food, the attention to detail, the lighting...and on. The food is an important element, but just one that goes into creating the entire experience.

                  Everything else -- beyond sushi and dim sum -- is pretty much about eating. I specifically feel this way about sushi and dim sum because I love these dining experiences so much.

                  I am so glad that you posted; you really get it!

                  1. re: TonyC
                    raytamsgv May 8, 2012 12:44 PM

                    I refuse to go to a quiet and relaxed dim sum restaurant. It's just not right. :-)

                    1. re: raytamsgv
                      liu May 8, 2012 12:58 PM

                      I completely understand what you are saying, raytamsgv. I don't want my servers to be melancholic, but I don't want to feel their stress, either. Stress, tension and chaos in a restaurant can show up in many places. I get a feel when I walk in the door. I want to feel calm and peace, not the stress of the worker bees who are just passing through for a paycheck or those who are over-worked and overwhelmed.

                      But I enjoy the hustle of a dim sum restaurant. King Hua definitely feels alive to me.

                      1. re: liu
                        ipsedixit May 8, 2012 07:57 PM

                        Sushi and dim sum are two experiences for me...I want the entire package: the music, the noise level, the cleanliness, the feel of the seat, the seating arrangement, the room, the pace, the pulse, the attitude/disposition of the servers and the other restaurant team members, the food, the attention to detail, the lighting...and on. The food is an important element, but just one that goes into creating the entire experience.

                        [snip]

                        I want to feel calm and peace, not the stress of the worker bees who are just passing through for a paycheck or those who are over-worked and overwhelmed.
                        ______________________________________________

                        I'm with raytamsgv on this one.

                        When I go out for dim sum, I want a lively atmosphere, even something bordering on chaotic. Serene and calm is not what I want, nor do I care about the sense of peace in the dining room.

                        I'm there to eat and chat, not meditate.

                        If I had my druthers, I would combine the din and atmosphere of Ocean Star with the food of Sea Harbour.

                        Alas, for now, I will just have to settle for the latter and bring my own soundtrack (like the way BMW has jigged up the M5 exhaust note).

            2. o
              omieurhomie Apr 30, 2012 05:29 PM

              Yeah this list is pretty spot on. I went to Sea Harbour recently and thought their dim sum was a bit off. Hopefully it was just an off day. They made a slight change to menu though. Any 'hounds know if they hired a new head chef for dim sum?

              Been going to King Hua more often now. Their food is pretty amazing :)

              16 Replies
              1. re: omieurhomie
                liu Apr 30, 2012 06:10 PM

                I don't know if Sea Harbour has a new chef, but this is why I think that First Place is a tie between Elite and Sea Harbour.

                Elite is more consistently amazing!

                1. re: liu
                  b
                  bulavinaka Apr 30, 2012 07:14 PM

                  I revisited Elite after a while - two weekends ago. I hadn't gone in a while because I felt their consistency was actually not - two visits each with varying levels of quality between various items. I have to admit that I think where they excel is in their baked things relative to Sea Harbour. But all eaters at the table still felt the edge belonged to Sea Harbour overall - pluses go to quality and dining room. But this has been our dim sum stop almost exclusively for the past couple of years. I think it really boils down to one's tastes and expectations. If one or the other were to disappear, I would feel at a loss. But as long as one were still around, I would be happy with either.

                  1. re: bulavinaka
                    liu Apr 30, 2012 07:49 PM

                    I also prefer Elite's sticky rice over the other dim sum places on the Top 10 List. Of course, this, too, is a matter of taste. I have deconstructed Elite's sticky rice many times, and they are very generous with their treasures in the fragrant package!

                    Perhaps to our advantage at Elite is that we have been there so many times over many years. (In our minds, we are there EVERY weekend...realistically, we are there perhaps once or twice a month.) Consequently, our service is extraordinary every time.

                    I agree with you, bulavinaka; the dining space at Sea Harbour is very nice and more serene than Elite's. I do wish Elite would do something more inviting with their patio -- although we are never seated there. Also, there are a few tables in the side rooms that are for two, along with a much larger round table. If you are two and seated with the large table when it is full, it can be quite noisy.

                    Oh, I am glad to have these "problems:" that we have so many choices for good dim sum!

                    1. re: liu
                      J.L. Apr 30, 2012 09:24 PM

                      Sea Harbour & Elite are also my current SoCal favorites, too.

                      But alas, Vancouver still kicks our sorry L.A. butts in the dim sum arena, though. Not even a close contest.

                      1. re: J.L.
                        c
                        Chandavkl Apr 30, 2012 10:10 PM

                        Sun Sui Wah used to blow away our dim sum, but on my last visit a few months ago, I found it was just incrementally better.

                        1. re: Chandavkl
                          c
                          condiment May 1, 2012 12:42 AM

                          Sun Sui Wah was better, alas. Kirin was better still.

                          1. re: condiment
                            c
                            Chandavkl May 1, 2012 09:28 PM

                            Actually I liked Lucky Tao better than Sun Sui Wah this last time, but even here the edge over places like Elite and Sea Harbour was just incremental.

                      2. re: liu
                        n
                        ns1 May 1, 2012 11:23 AM

                        Elite's sticky rice is like the best in the game...peanuts in the chicken feet make it a nogo for us though :(

                      3. re: bulavinaka
                        s
                        Sgee May 1, 2012 09:36 PM

                        -nm

                        1. re: Sgee
                          TonyC May 1, 2012 10:21 PM

                          Obscurity?

                          What are we talking about here? Ocean Bo? Sun City? Busy Cafe?

                          You do realize between Yelp/Chow/BiggestMenu/Blogger, every single dimsum house has been covered by the Intardnet ?

                          1. re: TonyC
                            c
                            Chandavkl May 1, 2012 10:38 PM

                            Maybe New Lincoln? That place fills up early--thought maybe it was discount dim sum, but it isn't.

                            1. re: Chandavkl
                              raytamsgv May 2, 2012 10:38 AM

                              Are you referring to the restaurant inside the Lincoln Hotel in Monterey Park?

                              1. re: raytamsgv
                                c
                                Chandavkl May 2, 2012 10:59 AM

                                Yes, that's the one.

                                1. re: Chandavkl
                                  raytamsgv May 2, 2012 12:54 PM

                                  The last few times I was there, the food was decent but otherwise not spectacular (dim sum and dinner).

                            2. re: TonyC
                              s
                              Sgee May 1, 2012 10:42 PM

                              -nmn

                      4. re: foolra
                        liu May 1, 2012 05:58 PM

                        Thanks for this information, foolra.
                        Do you know who replaced him/her?

                        If this continues to happen -- as it has before as with Lunasia, for example -- we will lose the flavor of each individual place. On the other hand, the competition can be a good thing!

                      5. raytamsgv Apr 30, 2012 03:24 PM

                        I'm pleasantly surprised. It's a pretty good list.

                        The comments following the article are pretty funny.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: raytamsgv
                          PeterCC Apr 30, 2012 03:58 PM

                          Agreed on the comments.

                          "Bah, Din Tai Fung isn't on the list?!"
                          "Din Tai Fung is not dim sum!" (Ack, I almost typed "people" instead of "dim sum"!)
                          "Is too!"
                          "Is not!"

                          My friend took me to Sea Harbour nearly a decade ago. I think they still did carts back then. It was delicious. Need to find some time to go back.

                          Living on the westside, I've never been satisfied by V.I.P. Harbor Seafood (now The Palace) or Royal Star (before they closed), but I was pleasantly surprised by Bao in WeHo. Definitely the only place on the westside I'd go to for dim sum, with the full understanding that it's not like the places in SGV.

                        2. wienermobile Apr 30, 2012 03:01 PM

                          Good list. Now I'm hungry.

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