Chicago’s Essential Chinese Restaurants

Chicago’s Essential Chinese Restaurants

  • by Ashok Selvam and Eater Staff
  • 05/6/23

From hot pot, to dim sum, to barbecue, a wide variety of Chinese restaurants contribute to Chicago’s culinary world. It’s also good news that quality options have never been limited to Chinatown, which has also been transforming in recent years with new additions and expanding past neighborhood borders to Pilsen and Bridgeport. Diversity is in full display with these 20 spots.

Sun Wah BBQ

Guests are greeted by the sight of hanging meats like barbecued pork and salt-baked chicken at this beloved Uptown eatery. But the main attraction here is the Peking duck feast. A whole roasted duck is carved tableside and served with steamed bao, garnishes, and hoisin sauce. The remains are then used to make duck soup and fried rice. Call ahead to reserve the duck; alcohol is BYO. They are a James Beard Award winner.

Three duck baos on a plate.
Sun Wah is renowned for its Peking duck.
 Sun Wah BBQ [Official Photo]


There are many places to get dim sum in Chicago but very few are still doing it like Furama. On weekends, servers push carts of food around the room for guests to choose from. The iconic dining experience features baskets of shrimp dumplings, barbecue pork buns, egg tarts, and more. Click here for orders to go.

Friendship Chinese

Friendship’s menu isn’t as long as many Chinese-American menus. They’ve curated the selections with an emphasis on quality ingredients served with Western-style plating. Don’t take that as being snobbish or overpriced. Friendship, as the name implies, is a welcoming place for top-notch noodles, dumplings, and other Cantonese greats. Logan Square is lucky to have such wizardry.

D Cuisine

The North Side is a relative dim sum desert but this Lincoln Park space gives Chicagoans a reason to venture outside of Chinatown for their fill of buns and dumplings. D Cuisine makes its dim sum in-house and offers a full lineup all day long. Munch on classics like siu mai, chicken feet, and congee or go with the Guangzhou-style roasted chicken for an impeccable large course. Online orders can be placed here.

A variety of dim sum spread out on a table.
D Cuisine provides the North Side with another dim sum option.
 D Cuisine [Official Photo]

Chengdu Impression

Set taste buds on fire with copious amounts of chilis and peppercorns. Lincoln Park’s Sichuan expert satisfies mala — the province’s famous mouth-numbing flavor — cravings with choices like mapo tofu, dandan noodles, and dry chili chicken. They provide warming comfort during the cold season and leave a lasting impression. Online ordering is done here. There are also locations in Edgewater and Wicker Park.

A plate of dry chili chicken.
Clear the sinuses with Chengdu Impression’s dry chili chicken.
 Chengdu Impression [Official Photo]

Lao Peng You

Brothers Daniel and Eric Wat opened this small West Town restaurant in late 2019 and quickly earned recognition for their handmade specialties. Drawing inspiration from childhood memories and family recipes, the two have created exceptional dumplings swimming in hot and sour broth and noodles available two ways — cold or in soups. Be sure to save some room for the lamb-cumin flatbread too. Lao Peng You currently accepts orders for pickup and lunch delivery.

A circular plated filled with Chinese dumplings.
Lao Peng You’s fresh dumplings arrive in a hot and sour broth.
 Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

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