Shun Lee Cafe

4
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1321 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 1321 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.0based on recent ratings
4.0
food
3.8
service
3.8
ambience
3.6
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience4

We chose the meal from the dinner dim sum menu and thought the options were all excellent. There were no prices on the menu. The meal cost more than expected. While the food was excellent, I was not planning to spend that amount on dinner. It was not the best value for the money. The cafe was quiet enough to converse without shouting. The ambiance was very casual, almost diner-like, making the prices seem even more expensive and out of place.

M
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall2food5service2ambience1

The food is fantastic but the atmosphere really drab. We used to go all the time it was always full and happy but that was over 6 years ago and it's not at all what it was.

EK
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4food4service2ambience3

It's a lovely place. When you can get a server they're wonderful. The food is excellent and the cost for this quality is reasonable. You have to be ok with noise, the place was half empty and we still couldn't have a conversation. We had one person wearing hearing aids and it was impossible for her, she couldn't hear the servers or the rest of us.

GA
New York Area
36 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Excellent food and service. Looking forward to a return visit.

O
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on February 5, 2020
Overall3food4service2ambience4

I love being able to go to Shun Lee Cafe to get good dim sum on the Upper West Side! The waiters are a bit grumpy and are not that attentive, but over the years of going there I know it's part of the overall experience. Be aware I only eat dim sum and veggies when I go and am always satisfied.

S
Miami
52 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2020
Overall4food3service4ambience4

We found the food lacking in strong flavor. Everything tasted pretty much the same from the dumplings to the moo shy pork. The sesame noodles were bland

m
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I miss your tall handsome maitre D. Also the dim sum cart brought only the steamed items past our table, we were hoping for the fried. Would be good to have a house red and white wine.

n
New York Area
254 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall1food3service1ambience2

I don't know what happened to this restaurant! It used to be terrific!
The service was practically non existent. The people who were working barely spoke English - as the young woman who walks the dumpling cart around couldn't explain what they were. Nobody asked if we wanted drinks and had to chase down someone who could have been one of the 2 waiters to order food.
The meal was good but the experience was very disappointing.
Our coats were checked but when we left the "host" kept his back towards us and my husband reached into the coat closet to retrieve them. The place was not busy on a Friday after 7PM, it used to be very lively and full. The prices are on the high side for Chinese food but not for this neighborhood.
We won't go back.

ZS
Orlando
9 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Always wonderful!

CK
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall4food5service3ambience3

The food was good, tasty. Waiters were helpful, relatively quick. My concern is - small tables, crowded..
Though food compensated it! :)
Would return to have Chinese dumplings again!
PS during weekends it is better to have a reservation.

l
New York Area
145 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Nice for a light dim sum lunch before lincoln center performance. Surprised to get tea made from tea bags, and reused ones at that. A high end place like this could do better for tea. I also miss the rolling carts where I could see and select my dim sum.

LN
New York Area
63 reviews
Dined on January 24, 2020
Overall1food1service2ambience2

We will never go to Shun Lee again. After bad experiences a couple of years ago, we stopped eating there. Good recent reviews made us think it was time to give it another chance, so we booked dinner before a ballet performance. We were encouraged by the dumplings from the dim sum cart. but when our main dishes arrived, they were inedible. Shrimp tasted of a fish tank, the staleness exacerbated by a watery sauce. Lo mein was slick with tasteless grease. There was no point in eating either dish. We asked for the check, paid, and went to the Boulud Cafe, where we enjoyed sandwiches on fresh baguette and a delightful white wine.

RS
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on January 21, 2020
Overall5food4service4ambience4

The food has improved greatly since we were last there, over five years ago. We stopped going because the food went from good to mediocre. It was a great surprise. We'll go back.

MI
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

orange flavor beef was awesome - as was the beef fried rice

AM
New York Area
24 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Love the dim sum. I know there are many higher rated dim sum places in NY but this is one of our favorite spots. Every few months we make the trip into the city for Shun Lee dim sum!!

M
Philadelphia
5 reviews
Dined on January 14, 2020
Overall3food3service5ambience4

It has been a lot better. The portion size of Generals Chicken was a lot less this time than I have ever seen. It was always the dish that drew me back there. I will give it another try, but the food was only ok this last visit. I recommended the restaurant to a lot of friends and they enjoyed it. Not sure what happened this time. Will give it another try soon.

OT
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience4

We have been going there for over 20 years. We love the dim sum on Sundays. However, in the last couple of years, one thing has been really annoying, the servers keep on overfilling the glasses with the sparkling water we order and keep on pushing for more bottle, it’s been a common problem in restaurants in general. The good ones will charge for the first bottle and then they will refill your glass as many times as needed without further charge. Unfortunately, Shun Lee has taken the route of “ push hard and sell sell”. It’s become too annoying.
Otherwise, the food has been good and the service is decent.

CL
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall2food1service2ambience3

below average.

j
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Excellent food and ambiance. My only caveat is that I wish the wait staff could communicate better about the Dim Sum options. We sometimes did not know what we'd ordered.

b
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall3food1service2ambience2

Food was old, smelled. Small crowd on a Friday night. It seems to have gone downhill.

OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on January 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This place is small, cozy and absolutely delightful!! I am so happy I found this place and I most definitely come back again. I thought the food was very fresh and delicious, and the wait staff were very friendly and accommodating. The price is a little steep but quite reasonable compared to many other places, especially since this place is right by Lincoln Center. Definitely well worth it.

d
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on January 7, 2020
Overall1food2service1ambience3

This has been a go-to establishment of mine for decades, so I was shocked to find it so deteriorated in all respects. The service fluctuated between non-existent to chaotic -- from the moment I sat down I felt like they wanted us to hurry up and leave so they could shut down the area of the dining room they had seated us in. They would take an order and promptly forget about it. The items would never arrive. We waited for a long time and ordered the same things more than once. What we did eat was definitely not up to the standards of the past. Beef shumai were hard and dense - like a meatball in dough. Chicken sesame pancakes were cold and tough. Don't know if they were having a bad day or if the restaurant is under new management, but last night was the first time I experienced the place half-empty during prime dining hours near Lincoln Center, so the world seems to have already known what I found out last night. Never again!

S
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall3food2service2ambience2

Average food and service. Dumplings arrived dry and lukewarm.

SS
New York Area
105 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Pre concert dinner. Excellent

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall3food2service4ambience3

I’ve gone several times to this restaurant for over 15 years, it was one of my favorite places. This last visit was sad to see their decline. They have eliminated several dishes from the dim-sum menu. There’s no more carts passing around you have to order specific pieces and takes longer. You can see the place that used to be crowded and difficult to get a table with only a few patrons. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be going back. I’ll keep the memories of what it used to be.

B
New York Area
14 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience3

Very disappointing. Food was no better than any mediocre Chinese restaurant. None of the interesting menu items of Shun Lee East. Canned mushrooms, canned bamboo shoots and canned water chestnuts in a dull brown sauce.
Hardly offered any dim sum. Had to do calisthenics to get a waiter. Planned to hangout for a few hours but left in less than an hour, half the food on the plate. Not worth wrapping for take out.
Super pricey for such run of the mill food.

E
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

New Year’s Eve. A great place to go. All service people kind and helpful. Good food.

PV
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience3

We’ve been going here once a year for a long time. In the past years, it has seriously gone down hill. This mealy has one good dish, several so-so dishes. Will not return.

SD
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Nice lively go-to place, good service, good food but a bit pricey

LL
1 review
Dined on December 19, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience3

The food exceeded our expectations, the crunchy orange beef, and pork fried rice were delicious. It was an extremely cold day and you felt it in the restaurant. They had a portable heater in one area that didn't reach those by the windows. Many were wearing coats and the food was not hot by the time it got to our table. I would try it again on a warmer day.

C
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on December 18, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Eaten here many times. Will be back. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

TM
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience3

Shun Lee Cafe is always a blast. We never wind up getting anything from the menu and instead sate ourselves with the wonderful dim sum. My one critique is that some of the favorites (e.g. pork buns) can be a bit few and far between servings. Unless you're willing to wait quite a bit, you may only get one shot at a particular item. Other than that, love this place!

p
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on December 11, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience4

This was a really fun way to end the day! Everyone was starving so having the dim sum right at hand was perfect. We enjoyed all of our dishes but particularly the Peking duck was excellent. We will be back!

AM
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Went for dim sum. Food was excellent, service was good.

OT
Philadelphia
9 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Delicious food, attentive service. P

CK
New York Area
20 reviews
Dined on December 3, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience3

The food was good- as always. But there was a private party behind us, with only a screen separating the party from the general dining room. It was so noisy conversation was impossible. Also, the wait staff was so tied up with the party, we had to repeatedly request a waiter. Finally, the manager came and took our order. Never again will I go there during holiday season.

LC
Houston
3 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall4food3service4ambience5

Shun Lee’s dim sum is an old love, but we prefer it right out of the carts rolled in regularly from the kitchen. Ordering it out of the menu is a new thing and, sine they stock steaming baskets in expectation of your order, it’s not as fresh or as hot as in the past

PB
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fast, friendly, and attentive service with excellent food and selection. We were able to be seated after the opera and were finished eating with plenty of time to get tickets for a Broadway show. Beijing Duck has been a consistent winner for many years!

c
New York Area
30 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience3

PLEASE let Management know that it's disappointing that after the many years we have eaten there, often before attending Lincoln Center events - we found that they have significantly diminished the Dim Sum menu options- BRING BACK the Duck in Rice noodles , crispy shrimp with bacon and other choices! The food remains tasty, convenient but as prices increase I would prefer to have more choices as previously provided. We will need to rethink returning with our usual frequency since the dim sum is so limited .

S
New York Area
35 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2019
Overall3food3service1ambience2

Service was horrid-
We had to wave down a waiter for everything! Couldn’t get clean plates between courses
Had to yell to girl to get dim sum cart
They forgot the ribs for my grandson
The chicken dish was not what we ordered and $21 for an order of string beans!!! We were treated as if we were in a bad diner
Terrible experience- we’ve been going there for 25 years - this was the worst!