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Dec 17, 2013 05:58 PM

Christmas Dim Sum wait times and other questions

Planning on doing Dim Sum with the Family, 8 ppl, on Christmas Day. Approx what kind of wait times should I be prepared for? Is there a better time to go to avoid wait? We actually prefer to do this later, say 2ish. What would be the best place for a group of non Chinese speakers?

Thanks again!!

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  1. Most places are ending dim sum service by 2 p.m.

    For a party of 8, try Elite cuz you will have the best luck in trying to make a reservation. Best to reserve in person, however [wink, wink]. Sea Harbour *might* accommodate if you reserve a private room. No guarantees.

    Otherwise, if you just show up and want a table for 8, buy matinee movie tickets first, put your name down, then come back and your table should be ready in about 10-15 minutes.

    13 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Ok cool, so 2 hours wait? Do they allow you to put your name down and come back? I will def try dropping by Elite to see about a reservation.

      1. re: MissBubbles

        Do they allow you to put your name down and come back?

        That was a joke. A bad one, I guess.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          It's been a long time since I did Dim Sum and never in LA. I just don't remember how it works. Do you just stand around and wait? Do they give you a number? Do you put down a name? In the past I am done some dumpling houses that have waits and we put a name down, got a buzzer and they gave us an estimated time that was about an hour away. We went for a drink, came back 15min before that time and our buzzer buzzed soon after and we were seated. Worked better than just standing around for an hour. Just trying to figure out the best way to approach this, I like to let family know what to expect, my husband and I can roll with whatever but when Family is involved like to have a plan.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              for 2 hours? That seems a bit nuts if you can't leave and come back closer to your reservation time,

              1. re: MissBubbles

                No, more like 2.5 hours.

                Holiday. Check.
                Large party. Check
                Non-Chinese large party on a holiday. 2.5 hours.

                Happy holidays.


                1. re: ipsedixit

                  that's kinda why I mentioned we were non Chinese, I was hoping to find a place that wouldn't discriminate on race. I want to find good Dim Sum but it doesn't have to be the best of the best as I usually would want, just good.

                  1. re: MissBubbles

                    Not so much about discriminating based on race, per se, but more about not being able to properly do the "put your name down and haggle and wait" routine.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      yes and is there a place that is better about this?

                      1. re: MissBubbles


                        I generally avoid dim sum.

                        And I especially avoid dim sum joints at peak hours/days.

                        And, on holidays, I avoid dim sum like I would avoid sucking pus from another person's open wound.

                          1. re: wienermobile

                            When Sea Harbour opens at 10am on weekends we arrive at 9:30 and are sat right away when their doors open.

      2. Oh and do any places that are good take reservations?

        1. Shanghai No. 1 on Valley Blvd. has several rooms and is quite large; they normally do take reservations. Try calling them for your large party table:

          King Hua in Alhambra also takes reservations. For some reason, they seem to fill later than some of the others, so you might try to make your reservations there for around 10:30am:

          Both of the above-mentioned restaurants are quite good for dim sum, but Christmas Day might not offer a "typical" experience.

          2 Replies
          1. re: liu

            Thanks, I had been looking at Shanghai 1. What time usually is the craziest for Dim Sum?

            1. re: MissBubbles

              Hi, MissBubbles.

              I know dim sum on Saturday mornings; usually, the magic time seems to be around 10:30-10:45...surely, before 11:00am. However, each place seems to have its own schedule. Elite, as has already been mentioned, is quite good and seems to get busy early. Before 11:00am even, two of us have had to wait 30 minutes sometimes.

              Shanghai No. 1 opens their extra rooms as they need them; quite often before 11:00am we are seated in the main room. As well, we are usually able to find main room seating at King Hua before 11:00am.

              All of these mentioned places are good and have large tables, but they always seem to fill. I highly suggest that you call very soon to see if you can get a reservation.

          2. Besides the wait time concerns, I would recommend against a late seating if you're going to a place where they serve out of push carts. It's not uncommon for popular items to sell out and a very late seating might mean your party would have to pick amongst whatever is left.

            Non-chinese aspect isn't much of an issue if you have a general idea of what you want to order. It might be an issue if your party has food allergies and dietary restrictions and you need to ask what's in each dish.

            General rule of thumb is go earlier to avoid long waits. We try to have our name down by 10am but even then we expect to wait around 30mins.

            I agree that you should call around and find a place that would take reservations. A party of 8 can be tricky to seat on a regular weekend but could be disastrous on Christmas Day.

            1 Reply
            1. re: prawn

              Thanks for all this info it certainly helps. I agree I might try and make it an earlier thing and reservations sound like the way to go. I am a bit worried about a reservation getting "lost" on such a big day though per Ipsedixit's insinuation above.

            2. With regard to your ordering, many of these dim sum places have menus with pictures...just ask if they do not put them on your table when you are seated.

              If you let us know ahead of your day where you are planning to land, we might be able to suggest a few items to consider in your order.

              3 Replies
              1. re: liu

                Thanks, I even notice many have them online so I could print out and have before we even sit down. We are all med-high adventurous eaters with no allergies or restrictions so I am not worried about that aspect. Anybody have an opinion on Lunasia?

                1. re: MissBubbles

                  I like Lunasia, but the waits on weekends can easily be over an hour during prime time hours. I imagine the wait on a holiday weekend would potentially be even longer

                  1. re: MissBubbles

                    Lunasia is good and the space is very nice. For taste, it is lower on my list than some of the others mentioned, but the main room is very pretty and comfortable.