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World-Famous Dumpling Star Din Tai Fung to Open in Santa Monica Soon

Eater 3/8/2023 Farley Elliott
Din Tai Fung’s soup dumplings, and other speciality dishes. © Wonho Frank Lee Din Tai Fung’s soup dumplings, and other speciality dishes.

Attention Westsiders, your ship has come in. Din Tai Fung, the world-famous dumpling specialist known for its juicy soup dumplings, cucumber salad, and pan-fried Shanghai rice cakes, in addition to long lines of adoring fans, will open at Santa Monica Place. And there are already plans for some magical ocean views.

The new Din Tai Fung is set to score more than 10,000 square feet of dining and kitchen space on the third floor of Santa Monica Place, across from the incoming Arte Museum. The giant property will feature both indoor and outdoor seating and will have views to the water below. Reps for the restaurant were not able to offer a timeline for opening just yet. Din Tai Fung Vice President Aaron Yang expressed in an emailed statement that Santa Monica had been in the company’s sights for a long time, and feels they’ve found the perfect place to expand.

The arrival was made possible because of an existing partnership that DTF has with Macerich, operators of Santa Monica Place. The two companies worked together to open Din Tai Fung at the Portland, Oregon-based Washington Square town center back in 2018 — still the only Din Tai Fung in that state.

Santa Monica Place. © Santa Monica Place Santa Monica Place.

Meanwhile, Din Tai Fung continues to make moves locally as well, beyond Santa Monica. The dumpling power players shocked the world last year when they announced plans to jump from the Rick Caruso-owned Americana at Brand development in Glendale to the Glendale Galleria, located directly across the street. The fallout has been well-publicized, with rival xiao long bao (soup dumpling) specialist Paradise Dynasty out of Singapore set to take up DTF’s former location at the Americana along Brand in Glendale.

There should be no such warring in Santa Monica when Din Tai Fung arrives — or at least not right away. The Westside of Los Angeles has long clamored for more high-quality Chinese and Taiwanese food, and it’s only been in the past half-decade or so that names like Northern Cafe, Sichuan Impression, and Meizhou Dongpo have arrived to help answer the call. Din Tai Fung has already been operating a busy Westfield Century City location, which opened back in 2018. But Santa Monica Place is the farthest west the restaurant has ever gotten, leaving Din Tai Fung well-positioned to make millions from its high perch.

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