4. Vanessa’s Dumpling House

The exterior of Vanessa's Dumpling House, featuring a bright orange sign
Sporting a bright orange sign, Vanessa’s is hard to miss.

Vanessa’s Dumpling House is the place on our dumpling tour to turn to when your cravings just cannot wait. The kitchen turns out orders in a matter of minutes. Vanessa got her start selling dumplings using her grandparents’ recipes out of a tiny storefront in Manhattan Chinatown. The Upper West Side location of Vanessa’s Dumpling House, a few doors down from the New York Public Library, is Vanessa’s third, the result of recent expansion by the Eldridge Street standby. Here you can find twenty-somethings tearing into softball-sized steamed buns, and kids fresh from soccer practice wolfing down wontons.

An order of eight pan-fried pork and chive dumplings from Vanessa's
Pan-fried pork and chive dumplings.

Vanessa’s Dumpling House excels at straightforward steamed or fried dumplings. Formed with almost industrial precision, the half-moon-shaped potstickers have assertively chewy skins and juicy fillings. Although none of the dumpling plates at Vanessa’s Dumpling House are priced to break the bank, the cheapest and most beloved is the pan-fried pork and chive variety. The dumplings’ lacy, crisp bottoms and herbaceous, meaty middles make it clear that their popularity owes to more than just their low cost.

Vanessa’s is located at 452 Amsterdam Ave. Manhattan, NY 10024