Shun Lee Cafe

3.8
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1273 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Dim Sum

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Pre/post Theatre
Casual
With Shun Lee Cafe conveniently located across from Lincoln Center, Dim Sum is just the ticket. The Cafe, a black and white checkerboard dining room, decorated with images from the Chinese calendar.
Terrific Dim Sum on rolling carts in constant motion and a variety of dishes in smaller portions completes the menu at Shun Lee Cafe. The Cafe is a great pre-theater stop for a “quick” dinner.
What 1273 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.8based on recent ratings
4.0
food
3.6
service
3.6
ambience
3.3
value
Noise · Moderate
67% of people would recommend it to a friend
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MR
New York Area
46 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience4

great decor, very good service, the place is lovely, but for Chinese tends to be at the higher end,

BS
London
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall1food3service1ambience3

We went for dinner pre-opera on Friday, and were seated at 6:15. We asked our waiter if the dim sum menu items were available and he said the carts were good to go. So we waited for them to make their way to us, and waited and waited and waited. Each time we asked, we were told they only had shrimp dumplings (which we didn’t want). We told the waited what items we wanted and he said they were being made, but still, no food. We were finally brought 2 items but then ran out of time. As we were paying the check, the waiter brought us another dish - but we had to go. Ridiculous experience, inept service, no manager involvement. Will never go back.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall2food3service1ambience2

Very poor service and poor attitude - We has to ask several times for our orders as service was very slow and they clearly made us feel they don’t care about customers

SP
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Great place for Dim Sum before a concert. Delicious and varied. Great, attentive service!

JB
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

We arrived early for a pre-performance dinner, before the restaurant filled up, and it was a quiet and pleasant experience. Our orders came promptly, and the food was dekcious. One of us had dietary restrictions, and she was fine.
I definitely would come to Shun Lee again for a pre-performance meal, and will recommend to friends.

S
New York Area
20 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

I go as often as possible to the café. It's a bit crowded but the food is great. Crispy vegetables, flavorful. Loved the prawns with candied walnuts and Grand Marnier cream sauce!

c
New York Area
29 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2019
Overall4food3service4ambience3

Food has been better at other visits - not as hot from the kitchen, shrimp texture was okay, dim sum delicious as always. Its one of my favorite Chinese food spots in the area so I will certainly go back again

BL
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

It used to be much better. Dim sum was not hot enough when served, and the carts did not come around often enough.

VP
Denver
2 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Visiting from Colorado and can always count on excellent dim sum in a congenial atmosphere with superb service.

BA
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Tastes good, but pretty pricey. Service was good.
Good place to get food before a night at Lincoln Center.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall1food1service2ambience4

Food was really bland and the service was lacking

KL
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Definitely be sure to enter the correct entrance to the Cafe and it the main restaurant in order to avoid the pompous and rude host who was irritated when he realized we wanted the cafe. He redirected us and was so unpleasant.

Luckily the Cafe house staff was attentive and friendly enough. The dim sum was good. Prices were very high but I suppose this is to be expected in Lincoln Center.

A good option if craving dim sum in this area but not someplace I’d seek out when there are so many options in Chinatown. Possibly good for a tourist but being from the City I don’t think this would be a regular go to option for me.

S
Houston
5 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience3

I love this place. The carts come around and you can pick your appetizers which are delicious. The Lemon Chicken balls are beyond amazing. The Peking Duck for 2 is surprisingly affordable and the waiter makes the moo shu pancakes tableside. We asked for sparkling water and tea multiple times before we finally did get it but other than that, this was perfection!! There is a reason it has been a staple of the neighborhood for decades.

CZ
Philadelphia
12 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience3

Quick and delish before going to Lincoln Center. An old, well-loved friend. We can

LA
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2019
Overall2food3service1ambience2

The food was good, not fantastic, but good. The people coming around with the cart of food made the wait for your order more pleasant, but the waiter service is really, really bad. It took 30 minutes to get our check and since we had ballet tickets, and they were made fully aware of this, we missed opening curtain. Most of the people were there for pre theatre and many were threatening to leave without paying since many of us could simply not get our checks.

SA
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was delicious and the service was lovely. No complaints!

SJ
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Wheelchair friendly
Limited menu
Very courteous service. Nicer than the main restaurant next door.

JF
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall2food3service1ambience2

Understaffed, slow harassed service; some of the dim sum didn't taste freshly made: dumplings were gooey.

GC
New York Area
39 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall2food4service1ambience2

The food was delicious (hot & sour soup, peking duck, steamed buns with pork), the service was not good, the ambience was OK - a crowded noisy NYC restaurant experience. Trying to order was confusing, trying to get a drink was harder, but we ended up enjoying our food and thinking we would try the regular Shun Lee restaurant next door (they share a kitchen, but don't have the dim sum carts).

n
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall1food4service1ambience3

I guess single customers are ignored - at least I was

JM
New York Area
304 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall3food2service3ambience3

This stylish, zodiac-decorated dining room used to have the best dim sum on the Upper West Side. It no longer does. Shun Lee Cafe has had its ups and downs; lately, it seems down. The dim sum options have shrunken. We had to ask for the fried dim sum cart, which was not circulating as it had in the past; and when it arrived, its options were few and cold (they should have been hot). The service was friendly and relatively efficient pre-theater, but the main reason for eating here is on the wane.

IS
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall2food4service1ambience2

I had a 6:15 reservation as we were going to the opera at 8. It took about 45 minutes for them to take our food order, and then at 7:40 we had still not been served any of our food. It took us making a scene to finally get a couple orders of dumplings, and then we ended up canceling our entrees. They also served 2 of our martinis on the rocks... the few dumplings that we did get were very good, but for $3 each and that long a wait? Will not be going back

JZ
1 review
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall1food2service1ambience5

After coming to Shun Lee Cafe for twenty years we were terribly disappointed when we went for a pre-theater dinner. Inattentive staff, long 20-25 min waits for drinks, the dinner didn’t come about 45+ mins after we ordered (and it took some time to get the attention of a waiter to order!), and we had to leave for our show before it arrived.

HR
New York Area
91 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall1food3service1ambience3

Horrific service... food good but service that’s horrible will kill an evening
Will never go back! We we ignored totally most of the time
We had to flag down the waiter just to get a drink
Again to place a food order
Again to get a bill... Sorry never to return

OT
New York Area
170 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

We arrived during a busy time so service was a little stretched. Dim Sum was good but bland. Entrees seemed better.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall2food2service3ambience1

Overpriced and dreadful dim sum. Generally, this place relies on its convenient proximity to Lincoln Center. But better Chinese food can be had elsewhere. The dishes here are consistently mediocre at best.

F
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall1food2service1ambience1

The quality of food, service, & ambiance is disappointingly poor... we went for the dim sum, there was only one cart with “crispy” items that were probably in the cart for hours. There were only 3 steamed options left & they too were over cooked. The cart only came once. Scallion pancakes were made to order & were delivered brown on the outside and raw on the inside... etc, etc. The staff is inattentive, at best.
I’m mind boggled by previous reviewers saying this place is, “upscale.” It is anything but that... a trip to the men’s room there will put the exclamation point on that.
To boot, it’s shamefully overpriced.

D
New York Area
30 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Went for the dim sum, wound up having the Peking Duck. Excellent.

MG
New York Area
71 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

A bit expensive relative to the quality but one of only a small number of Chinese restaurants outside Chinatown or Flushing that are of similar quality. Shun Lee is also more about the ambiance, which, with it's 50/60s supper club decor, is about as good as it gets for Chinese restaurants, and it's a convenient location.

DO
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience3

Went to the cafe for Dim Sum. Found that many of the selections didn't appear fresh, probably cooked earlier and left steaming. In particular, the crispy chicken was far from that - it was cold and dry. Hate to leave this type of review, but for the for the prices charged, we would expect better than what we could get at out local takeout.

OT
Atlantic City
1 review
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience5

Had a quick dinner with my wife and friends before concert at the David Guffen Hall. Vary convenient location and outstanding and timely service, but less than optimal authentic Chinese food from a native Chinese’s point of view.
Overall, it was a very positive experience.

P
New York Area
163 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Except for the extreme cold from the ac the food and service was excellent One of our neighborhood favorites

J
New York Area
67 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience5

The service was excellent and it is a wonderful location, but about 1/2 the items we chose (there were 5 in our party) were mediocre. Next time I would just go to Chinatown for dim sum.

OT
New York Area
36 reviews
Dined on August 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food, helpful with picking gluten free options, friendly service! Cant wait to go back. Next time I need to remember to take some gluten free soy sauce packets. Otherwise I highly recommend getting the whole duck on the lettuce wraps.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Neither greeter nor waiter very helpful or informative. Food mediocre. Dessert of pear tart terrible.

MD
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Always love this restaurant. Great place especially if you like dim sum. We ordered off the menu this time and everything was delicious. Also excellent service. A bit pricey for Chinese but this is not a typical take out Chinese place.

MT
New York Area
71 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The best dim sum anywhere!! And so convenient to Lincoln Center. Love the shrimp dumplings -- light and delicious and the shrimp spring rolls -- crunchy and wonderful wrapped in lettuce with the great dipping sauce. Shun Lee Cafe is easy on the pocketbook and can be a quick meal if you're running late!

BG
New York Area
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall3food4service1ambience3

The food was excellent but the waiter ignored us!

OT
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall3food5service4ambience3

Fresh food. But very, very, very overpriced. $8 for a scoop of ice cream. $9 for 3 steamed dumplings $9 for a a handful of sticky rice. Dinner for 2 adults and 2 kids was $185 and my kids shared the lo mein! We had chow mein, steamed chxiken with veggies, chicken lo mein, 4 glasses of wine, 3 ice creams and one fresh pineapple sliced. Sorry, $185 is a total ripoff. Never again.

AE
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on July 23, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Fantastic Dim Sum. a Classic. Have been coming here for 15+ years