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New Job in Koreatown: Any Good Lunch Recs?

Hi All,

I just got a job in Koreatown in a building at Normandie and Wilshire. I haven't thoroughly investigated my options yet, but I'm wondering if you all have any off the beaten track ideas. I'm not a big fan of Korean cuisine, but am open if there are any musts. The only places I can think of within walking distance are The Prince and The HMS Bounty. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  1. I had dinner at Sonamu last Saturday night and thought it was fantastic. The quality of beef is very high and they had some seafood on the menu, too. We had a seafood omelette/pancake that was really good. Many people have said it has good lunch, too.

    3 Replies
    1. re: glutton

      Where exactly is this place???????

      1. re: Ollie

        google is your best friend:

        Sonamu
        3600 Wilshire Blvd
        Los Angeles, CA 90010
        (213) 380-3600

        1. re: wilafur

          I'm curious as to how it compares to Cho Sun?

    2. I also work in the area (Wilshire & Vermont). If you don't like Korean, that limits the lunch choices, but there are some options. For walking, you can do Cassels (6th Street), Makkah Hallal (Sounth Asian - Vermont around 5th); on Friday's there are several food stands at the Mariposa farmer's market. Korean, of course, is the dominant cuisine. You're right near BCD, which is reliable if not absolutely fabulous. I like Yu Chun at 6th and Alexandria for cold (actually slushy) noodle soup (great way to beat the heat).

      With a 5 minute drive, you have a lot to choose from: Guelaguetza, Papa Cristos (just shoot down Normandie to Pico), passable Brazilian at M Grill (Wilshire near Western), Pollo a la Brasa, Taylor's Steakhouse and, of course, literally hundreds of Korean restaurants.

      1. There's Kuishimbo (Japanese) on 6th near Catalina.

        1. try the dumplings at Authentic Korean just a block south of Wilshire where Normandie turns into Irolo. It's only $4 for 6 big dumplings.

          Authentic Korean Dumplings
          698 S Irolo St #111, at 7th
          Los Angeles 90006
          213-480-1289
          Map:
          http://maps.yahoo.com/py/maps.py?Pyt=...

          1. There's a noodle shop on the corner of Hobart and Wilshire called Myung Dong Kyoja.
            There are only about 4 dishes on the entire menu; the first one is noodles in a delicious soup with dumplings.
            I think it's more Chinese-Korean, and is inexpensive so might be worth a try if you like dumplings and noodles.
            Also, there's a decent Chinese-Korean restaurant on Alexandra, slightly north of Wilshire (there's a shopping center there, near the HMS Bounty, and another shopping center behind it.) The store's poster features a cartoon of a strange man with a giant spoon, but I don't know what it is called. It's not bad for a cheap meal.

            1. seongbukdong, 6th and berndon, bbq pork

              1 Reply
              1. re: xdrixn

                i think the place youre thinking of is called ham ji park and its 6th and berendo. delicious place by the way...

                i would kill to be located there!
                or to work on valley and del mar!

              2. I too am not fond of Korean food, but if you like northern Chinese, then you're in luck. Many Korean restaurants are owned by descendents of northern Chinese who emigrated to Korea to escape the Japanese in the 1930s. There should be some good soup noodles.

                Also, you can drive to Langer's at least once a week.

                1 Reply
                1. re: judge dee

                  I would say that Most Korean-style Chinese Restaurants are owned by descendents of....

                2. There's a katsu place on Wilshire and Alexandria(?) that's excellent: Wako Tonkatsu. It's in the same strip mall as HMS Bounty. In addition to the normal dishes of various don (pork), chicken, hamburger, beef, fish, curry-don, cheese-don, etc., katsu, there are combos with udon, soba, and the like. There's a second branch that recently opened (with better parking, it seems) on Olympic a little bit east of Kingsley. There's also a katsu place (that I haven't tried but heard was great) called Don-Ka Katsu on Western and 8th or 9th.

                  1. here are some other non-korean places:

                    you can order takeout kebobs and stuff from falafel corner, which is located in the same lot as the aforementioned dumpling place on 7th and irolo. they deliver, too.

                    there's a filipino place (manila good-ha?) on 6th/catalina. i haven't been, so i can't say much.

                    there's a food court above carl's jr on wilshire/normandie. the korean place there is good. i don't know about the others.

                    and lastly, the burger at the brass monkey (wilshire & mariposa) ain't bad. it's not cassell's, but it's not 4 blocks away, either. avoid everything else on their menu, though.

                    1. If I were you, I would go to the Koreatown Plaza on Ninth and Western, and go to the Food Court down on the basement floor.
                      Free validated Parking in the parking structure, a variety
                      of stalls from which to choose, different Korean items,
                      a Sashi place. a Vietnamese Pho place, A Mandarin place just outside of the Food Court....not the ultimate in these areas,
                      but good enough for the price...A good Kalbi lunch is available
                      for around ten dollars at the Gamja Bawl stall...a good size Sushi platter is around nine dollars....Noodle, Dumpling and Tofu lunches can be had for about six or seven dollars....it's
                      easier reading the posted menus, and easier communicating
                      with the service people, most of the time.

                      1. There are a TON of Latin American restaurants and carts on 8th, east of Western, starting with Pollo ala brasa.

                        1. This won't help for lunch but for after work drinks there is this Korean tavern that has great Korean bar food and drinks called Dan Sang Sa on 6th and Berendo. There is no English menu but the staff are very helpful and speak English.
                          It's got a great atmosphere and food and the prices are reasonable.

                          1. Tip's House at 6th and manhattan (one block west of western) has good thai food at very reasonable prices.

                            1. For some fast grub-- I've had some wonderful pre-made sandwiches and sweet buns at Cake House in the bottom level of the Koreatown Galleria (SE corner of Olympic & Western). My mother is still heads-over-heels for their cornbread (which is just crumbly enough for her.) The food court on the 2nd/3rd floor should also give you some pretty decent dining options on the quick (the boba place there is pretty good too.)

                              1. You should check out M Grill on Wilshire (near Western). They have a traditional Brazilian BBQ (all you can eat) rotation. It's only $15 on weekdays for lunch. It's such a great bargain!!! (Dinner is close to $30) The place is very classy, great place to take coworkers. Try the picanha with the tomato vinagrette. The brazillian sausage is good as well. Fill up on the pao de quejio (cheesebread). I would recommend it over any other Brazillian BBQ place in So Cal including overpriced Fogo. The food is just as good.

                                www.m-grill.com

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: sumo10

                                  i dunno about m-grill being better than any other places in socal. actually, the only other brazilian bbq palce i have been to other than mgrill was picanha in burbank, and picahna was MUCH better tha m-grill.

                                  not saying m-grill wasn't good, it was, but its a stretch to say its teh best in socal. my gripw was that i found that all the beef tasted basically the same....as if they were all marinaded in the same vat or were rubbed with the same spices. at pincanha, the different beef cuts all had their own distinct flavors....which i tend to prefer.

                                  additionally, the side choices are not as plentiful at m-grill than it was at picanha.

                                  1. re: wilafur

                                    Agreed about the flavor of the cuts at m-grill. It tastes like eating the same thing over and over, so is not so enjoyable. Additionally, the alcohol is overpriced.