imperial lamian: our dim sum journey

Ivy loved checking out the murals

Earlier this week Ivy and I had the pleasure of meeting my fabulous auntie for lunch while she was visiting the Windy City on business. With countless food options to choose from downtown, we finally decided some delicious dim sum was just what we needed to take us on a journey out of the internal winter that Chicago has been stuck in the last couple months.

The restaurant’s beautiful entry decor

After looking at several options, we decided a restaurant called Imperial Lamian had the best looking reviews, atmosphere, and food– and man, were we right!

It was a slow Wednesday afternoon after the busy work crowds had cleared. Unfotunately, it was raining out and I was not in possession of an umbrella, so I had to take the whole stroller so I could cover my daughter with her rain shield. (Sometimes taking a stroller into downtown restaurants can be difficult.) This was the first sign that we had chosen the right place. They opened the door for us, ushered us right to our table where my aunt was waiting and said it was absolutely no problem if we just wanted to park the stroller there with us.

We were promptly greeted and given a thorough run-through of the menu, though not rushed whatsoever. We started by ordering the Combination Xiao Long Boa, also known as soup dumplings, per the server’s recommendation. My aunt had already ordered an aromatic pot of jasmine tea, that was waiting to warm us up. We sat in a cozy booth and admired the beautiful oriental decor throughout the restaurant.

Combination Xiao Long Boa – Shanghai, Szechuan, Gruyere, Duck, Truffle, Crab

Unfortunately, my little one decided today was the day she would be nice and loud and fussy during lunch. I know it happens to parents all the time, but it doesn’t make you feel like any less of a bother when you’re at a nice restaurant. It was so refreshing that nobody seemed the least bit bothered. All the staff simply waved at her as they went by, getting her to wave and smile at them. As a mother, there is nothing you are more thankful for when in this situation. That won me over right there.

To eat a soup dumpling, it is tradition to put it in the soup spoon and poke it so the soup leaks out and you get a delicious bite of soup and dumpling

Our visit only continued to get better. Our soup dumplings arrived and were phenomenal little rainbow dumplings of deliciousness. We then ordered what we had come for — DIM SUM. We went with three of the most popular — Mushroom, Pumpkin Puff, and Shengjian Bao. They all came out as perfect as the pictures on their website. The Mushroom dim sum actually shaped like a mushroom, as well as the Pumpkin Puffs looking EXACTLY like little pumpkins. It would be hard to choose, but I think the Mushroom ones were my favorite.

Pumpkin Puff dim sum – roast duck and butternut squash
Mushroom dim sum – shiitake, truffle oil, steamed bun
Shengjian Bao – pan fried bun, pork, pork broth

For our main entrees, though I think we could’ve had a meal of all dim sum, we ordered Char Siu & Wonton La Mian and Vegetable Wok Fried La Mian. Both were so full of savory flavor, we didn’t want to stop eating. Even my little one year old loved all the noodles. Luckily for my husband, we finally concided and packed up the leftovers to take home. I can honestly say that everything we ate met or exceeded expectations.

Vegetable Wok Fried La Mian – mixed peppers, bean sprouts, soy sauce, egg
Char Siu & Wonton – hand-pulled noodles, wontons, pork broth, bok choy, cilantro, scallion

After our delectable meal the staff let us have a look around to check out the different murals and art within the restaurant. We even got a personal greeting and thank you from the owner.

A mural that can be found in the private back room

Overall, our experience at Imperial Lamian was excellent. Wonderful service, food, and allover atmosphere and the best part, totally baby friendly! (The women’s bathrooms had a large stall with a clean changing area.) If you find yourself in the River North area downtown Chicago, definitely check it out!

The second mural located by the front bar

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