The 12 Best Dumplings In Chicago

By Staff in Food on Aug 6, 2014 8:00PM

Dumplings, an ultimate comfort food, can take all shapes and sizes and run across a gamut of cuisines—pierogi, kreplach, potstickers, gnocchi, even stuffed pastas like ravioli can technically be dumplings.

Last year we listed five of our favorite Chinese dumplings in town. This year we expanded our view to include more of a variety of dumpling styles.

You know we love hearing what your favorites are. Leave them in the comments!

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Dumpling from Joong Boo Market. (Photo credit: Jessica Mlinaric/Chicagoist)

Dumpling Stall at Joong Boo
I’ve already shared my love of the dumpling stall outside of Joong Boo as being my favorite cheap eat in Chicago, but they also happen to be my favorite overall dumpling in the city as well. As much as a love a good pierogi or potsticker, I can never get enough of their fluffy, steamed wang mandoo. Each hefty dumpling is crammed with a hearty filling (red bean is my favorite, although I love the other two options as well) and the dough has a slight sweetness to it, never hard but perfectly airy and light. I love to watch the steam rising off the trays of dumplings inside the glass stall before being handed a hot fresh dumpling through the window, devouring it before or after a shopping trip inside. Whether you are stopping by the market or not, these dumplings are worth their own trip. — Lisa White

Joong Boo is located at 3333 N. Kimball Ave.


Chicken & Dumpling Soup at L'Appetito
I don’t quite know what it is that L'Appetito does to make its soup so delicious, but a bowl of this is like heaven to me. The tiny little dumplings are suspended in a thick, salty broth with tender carrots, celery and (of course) chicken. Pretty much my definition of comfort food, especially after sprinkling some black pepper on top. — Rob Christopher

L'Appetito has locations at 30 E. Huron St. and 875 N. Michigan Ave..


Potstickers at Fat Rice
Since its opening a year and half ago, I have sacrificed many hours waiting for a table at Fat Rice. The meal is always worth the wait and my first course is always the potstickers. Made with a delicious shrimp and pork filling, Fat Rice’s version of the classic take-out dish is served crispy and connected by a thin layer of dough. Once you break your potsticker free, you have the option to savor it with a tangy black vinegar or extra spicy ghost pepper dipping sauce to balance out the savory flavors. You can’t go wrong with either, just know if you’re sharing this starter, you’ll quickly be left picking at crispy leftover crumbs on an empty plate. — Gina Provenzano

Fat Rice is located at 2957 W. Diversey Ave.


Yu Ton Dumpling House
With so many strong choices for dumplings in the city, from Uptown to Chinatown, you might wonder why a restaurant in a suburban strip mall landed on our list of Chicago’s best dumplings. If you find yourself in the southwest ‘burbs, try some of the food at Yu Ton and you’ll know the answer to that question. Taiwanese fare and Shanghainese soup dumplings are among the standouts here, as well as traditional noodle soups and breakfast favorites like the elongated, funnel cake-esque Chinese doughnut. Get a little bit of everything and share it—and don’t skip the dumplings. — Chris Bentley

Yu Ton Dumpling House is located in the International Mall at 665 Pasquinelli Dr., # 110, in Westmont.

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Pierogi at Flo & Santos. (Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist photo)

Pierogi at Flo & Santos
You can find quality pierogi all over Chicago, but for my money I love the offerings at this South Loop Polish/Italian restaurant. The pierogi here come stuffed with meat, cheese or mushroom and sauerkraut. (The latter is my personal favorite.) They’re fried to a golden brown and maintain the succulence of the fillings inside. Order a plate containing two of each for $8.99, which comes with the pierogi nestled atop a healthy mound of house made sauerkraut and sides of applesauce and sour cream. if you ask your server nicely and they’ll let you order all one flavor. —Chuck Sudo

Flo & Santos is located at 1310 S. Wabash Ave.


Efes Restaurant
I'm aware I liken way too many foods to crack, but this time I mean it. Manti (Turkish tortellini) can take away all your troubles and make sunshine sprout out your ears. Boldly pairing fire with ice—spicy marinara with yogurt sauce dusted with scarlet sumac—manti makes most other dumplings taste bland by comparison. It doesn’t hurt that the mushrooms filling the vegetarian brand at Effes, where you shouldn’t bother ordering anything else, are also richly sweet. And then the dough’s tougher texture adds more bite. Italians too might consider swapping tortellini’s traditional navel shape for Turkish crescent moons, if only for wistful appearance’s sake, however quickly they tend to vanish on your plate. —Melissa Wiley

Efes Restaurant is located at 2833 N. Broadway.


Chengdu Dumplings at Lao Sze Chuan
Similar to the more common potsticker, the Chendgu Dumplings at Tony Hu’s Lao Sze Chuan take the Chinese dumpling up a few notches. Though similar in shape, the dough is thicker. The filling of pork is more garlicky and spicier than pot stickers. These wonderful dumplings are then doused in a spicy chili oil that also has some tartness and topped with slices scallions for some freshness. — Benjy Lipsman

Lao Sze Chuan is located at 2172 S. Archer Ave. and 4832 N. Broadway.


Gnocchi at Siena Tavern
Top Chef fans know Chef Fabio Viviani by his charm and cheeky manner, but the Chef and partner of Siena Tavern also has a gnocchi or two under his belt. “Everything I have today I owe to gnocchi in America,” the famous chef commonly proclaims. Though he disrespects potatoes, deeming them the bottom feeders of the vegetable world, Chef Viviani’s fluffy gnocchi are little gems of the pasta world, especially when the little dumplings float around in a truffle cream sauce alongside crispy pancetta. — Erika Kubick

Siena Tavern is located at 51 W. Kinzie St.

Potsticker House’s Pork Dumplings
With the recent openings of Northern City (also on this list) and Homestyle Taste, Bridgeport is home to three of the best restaurants specializing in “dongbei,” or Northern Chinese cuisine, in Chicago. The shop that started it all predates the others by a solid decade and continues to set the tone for quality, affordable dongbei fare. Formerly known (and still called by many) as Ed’s Potsticker House, the pork dumplings here are boiled, giving the dough a shiny, sticky texture concealing perfectly cooked pork inside. Make sure you give them a nice drizzle of soy and spice for a transcendent dining experience.— Chuck Sudo

Potsticker House is located at 3139 S. Halsted St.


Kani Shu Mai at Bob San
Most sushi joints carry shumai, but in my experience it’s always been a little harder to find the kani variety. Pork and shrimp are the more common fillings for these Japanese dumplings, but my favorite tasty bite to stuff these little guys with is crab. Bob San’s offering is always generous on the filling side, delivering it in steaming hot wrapper that disintegrate pleasingly once you pop them into your mouth. — Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

Bob San is located at 1805 W. Division St.


Pierogi at Four Moon Tavern
Take your pick. Classic potato, meat, sauerkraut, mushroom or sweet cheese pierogi, all served with the requisite sour cream and applesauce. It doesn’t matter what filling you opt for because they are all delicious. Or go for a variety plate of the classic Polish treat--it’s like a game of roulette every time you bite into one of those dumplings. — Michelle Meywes

Four Moon Tavern is located at 1847 W. Roscoe St.


Dongbei Dumplings At Northern City
Fans of comfort food will find there's plenty of solace in Dongbei cuisine from the northeast region of China. The dumplings in Dongbei cooking are denser and chewier than their cousins in the other parts of the country and are often filled with meats and hearty vegetables that manage to thrive in the region's winter climates. Northern City in Bridgeport is a new addition to the Chinese restaurants in the neighborhood (among them the iconic Ed's Potsticker House) and has a deep menu of Northern Chinese dishes including a Northern-style steamed dumpling that will send you to sleep once you've licked your plate clean. An order of nine dumplings will set you back $8.95; what you do with the nickel you save is your business. — Chuck Sudo

Northern City is located at 742 W. 31st St.