Dim sum is to Cantonese culture what bangers and mash is to Brits. Or fish and chips. Or a Sunday roast… you get the idea. It’s a big deal. Luckily for us, London has more than its fair share of decent dim sum, and we’ve gone to the trouble to find some of the best spots where you can eat it in town. Here’s our rundown of ten of the best dim sum restaurants in London:
1. Din Tai Fung (Covent Garden and Selfridges)
Starting off this list of the best dim sum restaurants in London is the legendary Din Tai Fung, home of the ‘world’s best dumplings’. These tasty morsels are now legendary, and their UK branches – including their Covent Garden one – have earned the coveted Golden ChopSticks Award for the ‘best dumplings in the country’ for two years running.
While everything on the menu here is pretty damn desirable, it’s the pork xiao long bao which are the real jewel in this place’s crown. They’ve won accolades all across the globe, and are the reason why two of Din Tai Fung’s branches have picked up Michelin stars.
What’s more, the dumplings here are prepared by no fewer than six chefs before they reach your plate. That sounds like a hell of a lot of effort, but boy does it show when you’re tucking into them!
You’ll find Din Tai Fung at 5 Henrietta St, London, WC2E 8PS and at 400 Oxford St, Duke St, London, W1A 1AB. Nearest stations are Covent Garden and Bond Street.
2. Yauatcha (Soho and Broadgate Circle)
This modern Chinese restaurant – situated on both Broadwick Street and on Broadgate Circle near Liverpool Street – is a slick spot which has great staff and melt-in-the-mouth dim sum. Upon opening in 2004, the Soho branch quickly gained itself a Michelin-star, and since opening its Broadgate Circle branch, it has just gone from strength to strength.
The dim sum served at Yauatcha is authentic Cantonese fare, and all of it is pretty bloody fantastic. In fact, it’s so good that if you were blindfolded, you’d find it easy to envision that you were eating it in a specialist dim sum restaurant actually in Hong Kong.
Standouts however include the venison puff and the seafood black truffle dumpling. We’re practically salivating at the thought of it…
You’ll find Yauatcha at 15-17 Broadwick St, London, W1F 0DL and at Broadgate Circle, London, EC2M 2QS. Nearest stations are Piccadilly Circus and Liverpool Street.
3. Hakkasan (Mayfair and Hanway Place)
You can’t have a list of the best dim sum restaurants in London without mentioning this one. Dinner at Hakkasan falls squarely into the ‘special occasion’ bracket – with cracking cocktails, faultless service and some lip-smackingly good cuisine – so if you’re looking for somewhere high-end to bring a date, then this is the place to go.
While all the food is bloomin’ good, the real star of the show at this Michelin-star spot is the dim sum. Flavours include Wagyu beef with black garlic, wild mushroom with black truffle bean curd wrap and – get this – abalone and chicken shumai with Prunier caviar.
Caviar you say?! Well yes, this isn’t the cheapest spot in town, but it is well worth a visit.
You’ll find Hakkasan at 17 Bruton St, London, W1J 6QB and at 8 Hanway Pl, London, W1T 1HD. Nearest stations are Green Park and Tottenham Court Road,
4. Red Farm (Covent Garden)
Situated just a quick walk from Covent Garden station, Red Farm first swung open its doors in 2018, and it hasn’t looked back since. A New York institution frequented by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Paul McCartney, this is their first London outpost, and it has caused quite a stir due its culinary creations and playful presentation.
Taking a fresh approach to Chinese cuisine, chef Joe Ng’s menu offers a remarkable selection of small plates, from pastrami egg rolls to the Pac-Man shrimp dumplings which – well – look like Pac-Man.
The top pick here for us though would be the pork and crab soup dumplings, which are served with a straw so you can sip the hearty broth inside.
You’ll find Red Farm at 9 Russell St, London, WC2B 5HZ. Nearest station is Covent Garden.
5. Courtesan (Brixton)
Just down the road from the famous Brixton Market lies this gem, which is part late-night cocktail bar, part dim sum restaurant. Boasting a smokingly-retro 1920s Shanghai look, Courtesan is all about the atmosphere, with moody lighting, dark wooden tables and exquisite artwork adorning the walls.
The food itself – cooked by a team of all female chefs – is even better. The wasabi king prawn dumplings, magical mushroom bags (steady now) and deep-fried sea bass slices are all delightful, complemented by the extensive list of cocktails. Plus, if you’re here on the weekends, they have burlesque and cabaret shows. What’s not to like?
You’ll find Courtesan at The Metropolis, 69-73 Atlantic Rd, London, SW9 8PU. Nearest station is Brixton.
6. Dumplings’ Legend (Chinatown)
The first Chinatown entry on this list of the best dim sum restaurants in London is a real biggie. Like Din Tai Fung, this spot is famous for its soup dumplings, and you’ll have nine different options to choose from – the pork and crabmeat siu long bao still has us salivating just thinking about it.
In fact, the dumplings served here are so beloved that they make 8,000 – yep, seriously – per day. So, it would be rude not to order dozens right? They also have an impressive 47 different varieties of dim sum at Dumplings’ Legend, and an array of different meat dishes for carnivore lovers.
You’ll find Dumplings’ Legend at 15-16 Gerrard St, London, W1D 6JE. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
7. Joy King Lau (Chinatown)
Classic Cantonese dishes are the main staple of the legendary Joy King Lau, which has three floors and a dim sum menu which changes on a daily basis.
A firm Chinatown favourite, there’s plenty of yummy stuff on offer here – the crab with ginger and spring onions and the steamed prawn cheung fun both spring to mind – but it’s the dim sum that really steals the show.
Alongside some of the more regular dim sum options, there are some out-of-the-box alternatives, including curry octopus, duck feet in beancurd and curried whelks. Plus, with prices starting from just £4.40 per dish, you’ll get a hell of a lot bang for your buck here.
You’ll find Joy King Lau at 3 Leicester St, London WC2H 7BL. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
8. Pearl Liang (Paddington)
Just down the road from Paddington station and close to the Regent’s Canal, this sleek spot is always popular, so bookings are advised. It’s easy to see why – the spacious dining room combines beautiful decor with atmospheric lighting, and there’s a lovely blossom tree mural spread across the back wall.
There’s also a fantastic cocktail bar serving Shanghai sour martinis and monkey fashioneds. But what you’re really at Pearl Liang for is the food. They’ve got two dim sum menus – one for the daytime and one for the evening – with dishes including pan fried turnip cakes, king’s crab meat dumplings and tasty pork shu mai.
You’ll find Pearl Liang at 8 Sheldon Square, London, W2 6EZ. Nearest station is Paddington.
9. Hutong (London Bridge)
Perched on Level 33 of London’s most visible building, The Shard, Hutong is all about tasty Northern Chinese cooking and panoramic city views. This atmospheric, award-winning spot has gone to town with its decor – the dark wooden doors and red lantern wall are particularly impressive – but the food takes it up a notch and then some.
Lobster dumplings with a Sichuan chilli sauce and Wagyu beef mille-feuille are particular highlights, but you can also get dim sum platters which include cod and seaweed dumplings and Rosé Champagne dumplings – fancy!
You’ll find Hutong at 33 St Thomas St, London, SE1 9RY. Nearest station is London Bridge.
10. Imperial Treasure (Charing Cross)
To round off this list of the best dim sum restaurants in London, we’ve gone for a real spoil-yourself-because-you-deserve-it experience. Imperial Treasure is part of a group of twenty restaurants which have won over 50 prestigious awards – including numerous Michelin-stars we’ll have you know – and their London branch serves up delectable dim sum and Peking duck as specialties.
Rustled up by chefs hailing from Hong Kong, the dim sum served here is all luxury stuff, with choices including edamame and truffle dumplings, barbecued Ibérico pork buns and Wagyu beef cheung fun. It’s not exactly the cheapest one on this list, but more than worth it for a special occasion!
You’ll find Imperial Treasure at 9 Waterloo Pl, St James’s, London, SW1Y 4BE. Nearest station is Charing Cross.