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Dec 10, 2012 08:41 AM

Best dim sum in chinatown?

hello -

I was asked to find the best dim sum place in Chinatown for a team lunch. Any ideas?

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  1. I think Winsor Cafe is by far the best. No carts, though, so if that is important to you, you may want to look elsewhere (I can't recommend any since I only go to Winsor now, but I'm sure someone else could help).

    1. No idea of "best" but I've been to China Pearl many times, and Hel La Moon once. Both are good and do carts.

      1. how many people? Windsor, for example, isn't huge.

        1. Empire Garden is another dim sum spot in Chinatown closer toward the downtown crossing side. Very large open space (a former performance space I believe). My family usually goes there, Hei La Moon or China Pearl - those are the "big 3".

          6 Replies
          1. re: trillen

            Sorry, trillen, I can't recommend Empire Garden (also known as Empereor's Garden and Imperial Garden).

            There are four big Dim Sum places in Boston's Chinatown, not three: Hei La Moon, China Pearl, Empire Garden and Chau Chow City. Empire Garden is easily the worst of the bunch, although (because?) it has a really impressive setting, inside the former Center Theatre (originally Loew’s Globe Theatre).

            Other than Empire Garden being really, really bad, I think the other three are all okay. I had a nicer experience at Chau Chow City recently, and a worse experience at Hei La Moon recently, but in general they are similarly mediocre. I would only recommend going to one of those "Dim Sum Palaces" if you have a large party, or really like the experience of the carts and the cacophony.

            But for the best Dim Sum food, you are much better off to going to places that make them to order, like Winsor, Great Taste or Green Tea 2 in Newton. Are all places with menus better than all places with carts? Of course not. But the ones in Boston happen to be.

            1. re: lipoff

              I've never been to Windsor Café so I cant comment but Chau Chow City is absolutely horrible for dim sum - I can't even include them in the discussion. As for Green Tea, they microwave their dimsum "to order" - any place that does that, I can't respect.

              1. re: trillen

                I have been eating dim sum in Chinatown for about 25 years and I do not find the dim sum at Chau Chau "horrible". I eat regularly at China Pearl, Chau Chau, have been to weddings and dim sum at Hei La Moon and have had dim sum at Empire Garden though not recently. I find them all to be interchangeable...good to very good but not great.

                1. re: bakerboyz

                  "interchangeable" is a word that I'd use as well. I tried to follow people's reported trends up & down, note which places were better for X or better for Y, etc.

                  At the end of the day I felt like any variability I saw between the 4 major houses was just as likely to be due to random chance than what the name on the front of the place said. So now I just go to whichever is the most convenient and/or wherever my companions want to go.

                  1. re: jgg13

                    I agree with you guys. Sometimes I don't get the strict devotion people have to a particular dim sum place (excluding Windsor, of course, which is freshly made).

                    They've all been good-to-very-good, and I don't think I could pass a blind taste-test if you presented me with similar common dim sum items from either of the big dim sum houses here in Boston.

                2. re: trillen

                  where did you get that info on green tea? Have not been in a long time but always found it to be very good. Used to really like the one in framingham that closed down.

            2. Winsor is easily the best dim sum in Chinatown, and the best I've found on the east coast, but Great Taste is also good and has a few items on the menu that Winsor doesn't.