Most Seattle dim sum fans are either Team Jade Garden or Team Harbor City, fiercely holding that one of the two places located pretty much across King Street from each other is absolutely superior and also the very best in town. Aisha Ibrahim has another idea, and — as she’s the seventh-ever head chef of Seattle’s storied Canlis, with a résumé that includes triple-Michelin-starred restaurants Manresa and Azurmendi, as well as the latter’s sibling Aziamendi in Thailand — her recommendation is clearly worth exploring.

Restaurant review: Canlis’ first female chef is cause for all kinds of celebration

For dim sum in her new home of Seattle, Ibrahim likes a bit of a wild card: Joyale, a palatially large place lodged inside the Pacific Rim Center on Jackson. Days off might find her there at brunch time with her wife, Canlis R&D chef Samantha Beaird, or even with, as recently, the full complement of Canlis sous chefs for a team-building-via-eating exercise.

To be fair, let us note that Ibrahim has yet to try the dim sum at Jade Garden and has only had Harbor City as takeout, so your favorite technically still stands a chance. And for those in Seattle who are Team The-Dim-Sum-Is-Way-Better-in-Vancouver/Richmond-B.C., well, see below for her answer on that. (This interview has been edited for clarity.)

What do you love about dim sum in general? 

It’s an intimate, communal dining experience that is meant to be shared with friends and family. I love eating in that style and the opportunity to try a variety of things in one seating — there are so many different textures, flavors and interactions. Some of my favorite dining cities that I’ve either lived in or visited in the world have come with outstanding dim sum experiences — San Francisco, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok, New York City and now Seattle. They are some of my most fond dining experiences.

How did you find out about Joyale? 

A member of our team shared that this was a legit dim sum spot, so we thought we — my partner and I — would check it out.


What do you most like to order there? 

I really love their taro dumplings, steamed spare rib with black bean, sesame balls, fried tofu with shrimp, egg tarts, and ordering honey walnut prawn à la carte (if you’re into honey walnut prawns). The har gow is delicious, too. I also enjoy my dim sum with chrysanthemum or black tea, depending on what we are ordering on that day.

How would you describe the atmosphere? 

We tend to go Sunday mornings, as the food is rotated and being produced more often, so you get a variety. The atmosphere is usually low-key, generally quite friendly. The crowd is usually a mixture of large family gatherings or elderly friend groups enjoying brunch.

How does Joyale compare with some of your other dim sum favorites — internationally, I suppose?!

I think Joyale certainly ranks with our international favorites — [it] always feels like we are transported back to any of our other dim sum experiences we’ve had while living in Asia.

With regard to that, have you had dim sum in Vancouver, B.C., yet? There’s a whole thing here about how theirs is better than ours — it’d be neat if you could settle that for us!

Not yet, but the trip is in the works. I couldn’t be more excited, as I keep hearing how incredible of a dining city Vancouver is — particularly when it comes to the Chinese food scene.

Joyale Seafood Restaurant: 900 S. Jackson St., Seattle; 206-623-1318;