It’s Yum cha Time: The 12 Best Restaurants for Dim Sum in London
Who doesn’t love dim sum? The term for the tiny dumplings loosely translates as to touch the heart and dim sum was traditionally served alongside Yum cha, which essentially translates as drinking tea. Think of it as a type of Cantonese brunch.
Dim sum comes in loads of different shapes and sizes and is stuffed with many different fillings. Most importantly, all of them are delicious. Dim sum in London is especially so, with the quality of the dumplings here particularly high.
The Yum cha tradition remains in London and some restaurants here only serve their dumplings during lunch. However, many other dim sum restaurants in London long ago broke the mold and nowadays offer dumplings well into the early hours. Cocktails and dim sum are even now a thing!
No guide to the best dim sum in London would be complete without where to find the tastiest soup dumplings – known as Xaio long bao. Filled with a delicious broth to be sucked carefully out of the dumpling, these little parcels of heaven are both figuratively and literally a taste explosion! Just don’t burn yourself!
Despite dim sum restaurants being abundant in London, finding the very best dumplings was no easy task. True, you could just head to Chinatown, safe in the knowledge that you should get some pretty decent dumplings.
But we’re not interested in just pretty good! Instead, our quest to find the best dim sum in London took us all over this great city.
Dim Sum in London: Chinatown
Legend is even in the name of this famed Chinatown dumpling spot. This unfussy restaurant offers straightforward Chinatown service, but the focus is squarely on the food. You can watch the chefs hard at work in the open kitchen, where dim sum and other dishes are made fresh from scratch each day. Locals come here for some of the best soup dumplings in London.
Price: ££ Address: 15-16 Gerrard St, London W1D 6JE, United Kingdom Opening hours: Mon – Thu: 12pm – 2 / Fri – Sat: 12pm – 3 / Sun: 12pm – 11pm Contact: 020 7494 1200
Right near Queensway underground station is Kam Tong, a Cantonese restaurant known as one of the best places for dim sum in London. As a result, it has become a bit of a local hero. The restaurant might be large but service is much more personal than in most Chinatown dim sum restaurants. Steamed, fried and baked dumplings comprise the menu, as well as sweet dim sum for dessert, such as custard buns and Hong Kong tarts. Prices are also pretty low for the area, which is another reason why Kam Tong is one of our favourites.
Price: ££ Address: 59-63 Queensway, Bayswater, London W2 4QH, United Kingdom Opening hours: Mon – Sat: 12pm – 11pm / Sun: 12pm – 11pm Contact: 020 7229 6065
Wan Chai Corner
Wan Chai Corner has been on its little corner in Chinatown for over 20 years and its bright red exterior means that you can’t miss it. Throughout that time the food has stayed great and the prices low. The place is no frills, but relative to the low prices, these are some of the best dumplings in London. There are loads of dumpling options, along with other Cantonese dishes on the large menu. For a quick fuss-free dumpling lunch, you can’t beat Wan Chai Corner.
Price: ££Address: 3 Gerrard St, London W1D 5PD, United KingdomOpening hours: Mon – Sat: 12pm – 11.30pm / Sun: 11 – 10pmContact: 020 7434 1188
Imperial China has been a London dim sum favourite for years. The huge restaurant has three floors and despite its size is usually always full. Inside there’s even a fish pond with a small wooden bridge that customers can walk over. The dumplings here are solid, if not mind-blowing, while there are also cheung fun and congee dishes. We particularly like the custard buns, a sweet bun that’s either steamed or fried and filled with a set custard filling.
Price: ££ Address: White Bear Yard, 25A Lisle St, London WC2H 7BA, United Kingdom Opening hours: Mon – Sat: 12pm – 12 / Sun: 11.30 – 10.30pm Contact: 020 7734 3388 / email@example.com
Something a bit different from the surrounding Chinatown dim sum restaurants, Opium is first and foremost a cocktail bar – a 1920s Shanghai-themed cocktail bar, no less! Dim sum can be ordered by the basket or platter and focuses on fish (lobster dumplings, anyone?), but there are veggie options too. Being a cocktail bar, Opium is open late into the night, meaning dumplings are dished out until 3am!
Price: ££ Address: 15-16 Gerrard St, London W1D 6JE, United Kingdom Opening hours: Mon – Tue: 5pm – 1 / Wed: 5pm – 2 / Thu – Sat: 5pm – 3 / Sun: 5pm – 12 Contact: 020 7734 7276 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Golden Dragon Chinatown
A dim sum daytime specialist on Gerrard Street, Golden Dragon has been a Chinatown stalwart for over 25 years. The menu features endless dumpling creations alongside Cantonese classics like steamed spare ribs and crispy bean curd rolls. This is the place to visit if you want to try some unique dumplings. Additionally, there’s always a chef’s special dim sum menu, with one favourite being the prawn and melon winter soup dumpling.
Price: ££ Address: 28-29 Gerrard St, London W1D 6JW, United Kingdom Opening hours: Mon – Thu: 12pm – 11.30 / Fri – Sat: 12pm – 12 / Sun: 11 – 11pm Contact: 020 77734 1073
Dim Sum in London: Everywhere Else
Located in the heart of Paddington close to Little Venice, Pearl Liang is a dim sum institution and offers modern comfort with traditional decor. Dumplings are steamed or pan fried and there are endless options, including plenty of vegetarian friendly ones. We suggest heading there for lunch, as the 10 dumpling set-menu costs £12.80 and will satisfy all your dim sum cravings.
Price: ££ Address: 8 Sheldon Square, London W2 6EZ, United Kingdom Opening hours: Mon – Sun: 12pm – 11pm Contact: 020 7289 7000 / email@example.com
Soup dumplings are normally eaten with the help of a spoon so that you can hold the dumpling while carefully sucking out the delicious broth filling. Not at Red Farm! The xiao long bao here are served with a straw so that you can suck the soup straight out. Genius! Red Farm is a modern Chinese restaurant, so expect lots of twists on classic dishes. Prices are a little steep, but the green market approach ensures you are getting fresh, sustainable ingredients. Head down on Sunday for perhaps London’s only dim sum and champagne bottomless brunch!
Price: ££ Address: 9 Russell St, Covent Garden, London WC2B 5HZ, United Kingdom Opening hours: Mon – Thu: 11.45 – 3pm & 5pm – 10.30pm / Fri: 11.45 – 3.30pm & 5pm – 11pm / Sat: 11.45 – 4pm & 4.45pm – 11pm / Sun: 11.45 – 9.30pm Contact: 020 3883 9093
Dedicated to dim sum, Ping Pong has many London branches and does bao, gyoza and dumplings. The menu is a bit smaller than many of the larger restaurants on this list, but you’ll still find enough to get your dumpling fix. Ping Pong is also one of the few places in London to do gluten-free dim sum. Alongside the dumplings there’s a massive cocktail menu, as well as happy hour everyday between 3 – 6pm.
Price: ££ Address: 45 Great Marlborough Street, Soho Opening hours: (Ping Pong Soho) Mon – Wed: 11 – 10.30pm / Thu – Fri: 11 – 11.30pm / Sat: 12pm – 11.30pm / Sun: 12pm – 10pm Contact: 0207 851 6969
Royal China Club
Led by chef Billy Wong, Royal China has many outlets and is known as a top Chinese restaurant in London. Royal China Club is our pick of the bunch and is located in Marylebone. The dim sum here is a bit more expensive than most other places on our list, but the quality and taste makes up for that. Royal China also does some of the best soup dumplings we’ve tasted in London, which is reason enough to make the trip.
Price: £££ Address: 40-42 Baker St, Marylebone, London W1U 7AJ, United Kingdom Opening hours: Mon – Thu: 12pm – 11pm / Fri – Sat: 12pm – 11.30pm / Sun: 12pm – 10.30pm Contact: 020 7486 3898 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtesan in Brixton is a modern dim sum joint that combines two great things; dumplings and cocktails. This place is seriously pretty and has a sort of Chinese apothecary vibe. There are steamed and fried dumplings and even bao on the menu, while fillings are more modern and creative than traditional. The dim sum menu is pretty small, but there are loads of other tasty Chinese dishes, like Sichuan ribs and deep-fried soft shell crab.
Price: ££ Address: 69-73 Atlantic Road, Brixton SW9 8PU, United Kingdom Opening hours: Mon: 12pm – 11pm / Tue: 6pm – 11pm / Wed – Thu: 12pm – 11pm / Fri – Sun: 12pm – 12 Contact: 020 8127 8677 / email@example.com
For authentic dim sum in a traditional and lavish restaurant, look no further than Phoenix Palace. Dim sum is served at lunch only, so don’t come by expecting a dumpling dinner! Dumplings are served steamed, baked and fried, but Phoenix Palace also does cheung fun. Despite the fancy interior, dumplings here are pretty affordable, so it’s a popular place for families too.
Price: ££ Address: 5 Glentworth St, Marylebone, London NW1 5PG, United Kingdom Opening hours: Mon – Sat: 12pm – 11.30pm / Sun: 11.30 – 10.30pm Contact: 020 7486 3515 / firstname.lastname@example.org