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Westside Korean

  • j
  • jwen May 21, 2007 01:28 PM

Can anyone please recommend a good Korean restaurant on the westside for lunch?

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  1. Wharo Korean BBQ
    4029 Lincoln Blvd
    Marina Del Rey
    310 578 7114

    17 Replies
    1. re: tony michaels

      I've yet to try Wharo, but I recently heard that alot of their ingredients are organic - has anyone else heard or know this? Considering this spot has had at least four to six restaurants pass through it, and that Wharo is still there, maybe they are the real deal?

      1. re: bulavinaka

        - tofuya on sawtelle has soondubu, some bbq, and maybe a few other dishes
        - gushi in westwood is a small outdoor hole in the wall but the food is decen
        - there are a few restaurant across from smc...i've never been but they are usually filled with korean international students. not a bad sign.

        1. re: greengelato

          Wharo only if you're too lazy to drive to Koreatown from the Westside (I understand the 10 EB can be scary). I'm just not used to constantly asking for more banchan (stingy with the banchan) and paying for rice. For my Korean food fix, Santa Monica Place Food Court - the stand facing the North Entrance. Good portion, banchan is good and their Yook Kwe Jahng is pretty good too.

          1. re: tatertots

            A little place called Asian-Ya just opened in the strip mall @Barrington and Gateway. I haven't eaten there yet (I was in a ramen mood when I inspected the menu) but the place is very cleand and the menu featured a selection of Soon Tofu, Bulgogi and other Korean dishes. The prices also looked pretty reasonable.

            1. re: thericequeen

              I haven't tried this place either, but the first few posts about this place when it opened were somewhat undewhelming... Maybe they need some time to get their game going, but they'd better do it soon - it's not like their location lends itself to casual passers-by...

            2. re: tatertots

              i second the korean place at santa monica place (although the owner is kind of scary and barks at everyone to try to the teriyaki chicken which is VERY offputting).

              their food is decent and i had a couple of korean coworkers who would frequently order the yook geh jahng to go for dinner. on their recommendation, i also ordered it and it was surprisingly very good!

              speaking of food courts, i also like suhrabul in the century city mall. i like their jap chae (glass noodles) and their selection of banchan-ish side dishes (i like the vinegar-y red chili-flaked cucumber slices).

              1. re: tatertots

                Forget Asian-Ya. Everything was a little off. The salad dressing was too tangy, the kim chee too bland, shrimp in the soon too old. Ordered the spicy soon and could have been eating my grandma's consomme.
                Big disappointment for me as I live only a block away.

                1. re: MissCast

                  Isn't Asianya run by the same guys as Ramenya? Doesn't that make it Japanese-owned and perhaps, then, catering to a Japanese palate and not a Korean one?

                2. re: tatertots

                  I ALWAYS have to BEG for more banchan, no matter WHERE I go. Even if I go to places FAMOUS for nonstop banchan. Why is this?

                  Is it an ethnicity thing. Do I throw off a "don't give her banchan" vibe? I also tend to get the "non-korean" line up of Banchan. I had a Korean friend in college who told me that in her opinion, most Korean places short change non-Koreans on the Bancahn, unless they have a Korean in the dining party.

                  How do politely I get my Banchan needs met? I don't want to be rude, but I want my Banchan!

                  1. re: Diana

                    Don't be intimidated by the waitresses at the Korean restaurants. Just ask for more and think of it like you're ordering more pickles at a deli. Besides, the Korean restaurants are the one's who invented those "bells" on the tables to get the waitresses attention - they aren't trained to be perceptive - gotta speak up.

                    1. re: tatertots

                      absolutely. Korean culture is not as "gentle" as the western world. what might be considered rude is not given a second thought in Korea. things are changing however, but the old school style is speak up and be heard.

                      1. re: ladius

                        So I should just politely but firmly demand the proper banchan?

                        "please give me the same banchan your regular customers get. I am aware that there is usually more than this?"

                        1. re: Diana

                          It may be more along the lines of the waitress (are there any male wait staff in Korean restaurants? - a thread for another board I suppose) assuming you won't like the banchan served to Korean's. You might just start off by saying, "Don't hold back on the banchan -- I eat and like everything you serve to your Korean customers". Or you could see if one of the old CH passports is still moldering in some NY storage locker that says in several languages "I may look like a tourist but I eat like a local so give me the real stuff" -- or something along those lines. ;-D

                          1. re: tony michaels

                            Dang, I want one of those!

                3. re: greengelato

                  I agree with the Tofu Ya recommendation. I had lunch there yesterday. It's my new favorite Korean BBQ place. It's on Sawtelle and La Grange, across from Orris.

                  I like Wharo too but it's better for dinner -- wasn't so impressed with lunch.

                  1. re: greengelato

                    Tofuya is where I mostly go for my Westside Korean fix. Their soon tofu is decent but keep in mind you're not in K-town, so don't expect blow-your-mind-away soon tofu. I usually order the combination (beef and seafood) soon tofu, but the shrimp that comes with it always tastes a little off. Their dumpling soon tofu is good as well and the waiter offered to put in a bit of beef for me, which was nice. Their bulgogi was pretty good too.

                    The only complaint about tofuya is that their panchan is kind of inconsistent. The cucumber panchan sometimes is tasteless and their kimchi lately has a weird tap-water taste to it. I've also noticed that they stopped bringing us panchan early! Now they bring it to us about a minute or so before our ordered food comes. I think it's because they recognize us and the BF always ends up eating a bunch of the cucumber and japchae and asking for more, so now they try to bring us the whole thing as late as possible. My co-worker, who's Korean went there with her parents and said that they got their panchan as soon as they sat down. Grr.

                4. re: tony michaels

                  I absolutely adore Wharo! My boyfriend and I go about twice a month on average. The food is wonderful and the service is top notch. I actually find it to be much better than some of the places I've tried in K-town. Just a tip: get the green tea ice cream for desert. I dream about that stuff!

                5. MadooRang in La Mirada

                  1. I like Wharo okay. Was just there for dinner last weekend and it was packed. Kinda pricey for what you get though, I think.

                    If I'm craving bulgogi or chap chae, I'd rather just drive to the place in the Century City mall food court. I think it's called Sorabol... Beware at lunchtime though - it's crowded due to the invasion of the CAA and ICM agents.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: LisaStitch

                      I have to say that Wharo was disappointing. I've seen other posters describe the service as top-notch but I have to say it was friendly but absent and rather understaffed . . . maybe they had an unforseen problem.

                      Nonetheless, a marinated kalbi order was about $25 and half the size of an order that costs $15 in Koreatown. I agree with LisaStitch -- we spent nearly $200 for four of us and I wasn't full (or drunk) when we left . . . nor was there anything special to account for the price.

                    2. Unfortunately, not a lot of good options. Despite a really nice atmosphere, Wharo is absolutely terrible. BBQ is cut so thin it just falls thru the grill.

                      Haven't tried Tofu Ya yet, but seems very popular. But really, Korea town is so close, its really worth the trip if you're going to bother with the stomach stretching, smoky, and soju-shooting Korean experience. Too many great places to count.