HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


koba- korean food in west la

does anybody know about the korean bbq restaurant on national and sawtelle?(supplanting that nasty fake vietnamese red moon restaurant). it's not open yet but they have all the furniture and vents in place. i will be SO friggin happy if it's good since 1) i'm korean and 2) it's down the street from me.

my restaurant map:

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It will be a nice addition to the Westside dining options indeed.

    1. Drove by today...it's definitely open...seemed pretty damn busy too

      1. We tried Koba for dinner tonight. It was pretty good, albeit somewhat toned down for a westside environment. The decor is pleasant; in-table grills are gas and the vents seem to be blowing strong so there's no smokiness or meaty scents in the air and it's almost chilly from the breeze. Drinks menu was fairly limited (we stuck to ice tea and calpico).

        But we liked the food we tried: a 9-ingredient lettuce wrap plate with crab, chicken, and assorted other fillings, a smallish but very good seafood pancake; and pork belly and boneless rib meat on the grill, both of them very tender and very tasty.

        With tax and tip this came to about $70, which is perhaps a little expensive by K-Town standards. Panchan was not extensive but certainly satisfactory. Clientele on this Sunday night looked to be maybe 2/3 Korean. Anyway, it's very nice to have Korean BBQ (as distinct from Japanese-Korean BBQ ala Manpuku/Gyu Kaku)on the westside.

        Koba House BBQ
        11267 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

        2 Replies
          1. re: PayOrPlay

            A few supplemental observations about Koba, in the light of day:

            1. We were just 2 adults and one 6-year old, albeit a hungrier-than-usual one. Collectively we ate every bite of food on the table, including all the panchan. That may be testimony for the quality of the food (and the meat was indeed quite good), but also that the portions were a little small relative to that $70 price.

            2. If you don't eat red meat, the meats-for-the-grill menu doesn't have much to offer you. Cynaburst was hankering for some good marinated grilled chicken but they don't offer it--the only bird item on the grilled-meat list was a spicy chicken concoction labeled "made in kitchen." That's why she ended up with the lettuce-wrap plate, which she liked, but it obviously didn't have the savor of burning flesh. There are various non-meat selections on other parts of the menu, and they do offer grilled shrimp, pork belly (which we got) and spicy "made in kitchen" pork, but mainly it's beef. beef, beef. Not a problem for me, but if dead cow's not your thing be aware.

            3. PayOrPlay Jr. loved this place. I mention this because in my experience Korean BBQ restaurants can be a little intimidating for little kids (especially, but maybe not only, non-Korean kids), what with the stacks of plates and strange-looking appetizers and dangerously hot surfaces and scary-red chili sauces. PayOrPlay Jr. is familiar with Korean food, but it's mainly from the various K-Town food courts, and this was the first time he really seemed to enjoy a sit-down Korean restaurant meal that wasn't soon tofu. Maybe he was just hungry (and happily he's getting more adventurous as he gets older), but I noticed kids at other tables who also seemed to be enjoying themselves. So maybe Koba, less frantic and smoky than some, is a good choice for introducing Korean cuisine to kids. Once they're hooked, then you can take them somewhere more authentic like Soot Bull Jeep!

          2. i walked in and looked at the menu. the place seems fairly nice but it was pretty empty. the food is a tad more than ktown but it IS in the westside, soo...

            however, they have korean shabu shabu, aka "jingis kahn" and i am super excited to try that. their non bbq menu is fairly extensive and since i live down the street (and am korean), i'm really hoping that it's good so i can get my quick korean fixes.

            1. can't wait to try this place. i've been craving korean bbq but am too lazy to drive to Ktown. do they refill the panchan? how is their kalbi, bulgogi, etc?

              1. I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned...But Koba doesn't have a Beer/Wine license...Which means no cold beer or soju to wash down your BBQ...Which is borderline criminal if you ask me

                2 Replies
                1. re: ronnie_gaucho

                  No license--Really? Last Sunday night, they gave us a long beer/wine/soju list and although we stuck to soft drinks, most of the other tables seemed to have something alcoholic on the table.

                  1. re: PayOrPlay

                    WOW..Really? According to a good friend of mine, they didn't have beer :dunno:

                    Sorry for the misinformation

                2. This is somewhere I'd go if my car broke down and I couldn't make the 20 minute drive to ktown. They fave one strip of meat for the galbi order at $14! Sorry, but this is way too expensive for what they're serving. The portions are tiny, the lack of banchans and they said it themselves - they are catering towards non-koreans. A sign that I should definitely not go back.

                  1. heck yes. I used to live a couple of blocks from there too. and when I wanted my asian food fix I had to goto Olympic and Sawtelle. but even there, you couldn't find any authentic Korean food. I plan to go this week.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Ertragen

                      Tofu Ya is pretty decent and authentic Korean food on Sawtelle and just down the street on the SE corner of Barrington and Olympic Raku is quite excellent Korean pub style food.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        Just read this - yes, I agree! Tofu Ya is the place to go for authentic Korean food on the westside.

                    2. I was there about two months ago and was very disappointed in the food. The beef was not seasoned, just spread out on a plate to be tossed on the grill -- the end product was not very flavorable. My son had the noodle soup, it was a little bland. Altogether a forgettable experience, which is perhaps why details are a little hazy.

                      It's possible this was a function of Koba being new, but I've been to a few places in Koreatown which were far better. I hope things improve, as we don't live far away -- and we were also excited about having a cool new place nearby, since the Red Moon was not especially good either.

                      Would appreciate a follow up post from someone who tries it now, I'm not inclined to give them a second chance on my own, life is too short.....

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Iceman

                        Koba is a place you only go when you can't make it to Ktown like lawgrl stated. The food is mediocre and price is high and not enough banchan for the price. I have a rule in not frequenting any ethnic restaurant that is not patronized by it's own people. There is another Korean restaurant called Wahru (Sp??) on Lincoln and they are just about the same as Koba.

                        1. re: Eastcoast foods nob

                          Does this place by any chance serve mul neng myun (the Korean cold noodles). I love to eat this, but can't find a place on the west side that has it.

                          1. re: ming

                            It has both mul & bibim neng myun, but I can't vouch for either, not having tried them. I did like the saesak bibimbap - kind of like eating a salad rice bowl. Good summer food.

                            1. re: ming

                              I have had their mul neng myun with kalbi. Thumbs up for West LA, but you can definitely find a more delicious plate at K-town.

                        2. ok so I finally tried out the place. here's what I thought.

                          Sadly yes the food portion isn't very big at all. For the amount of money you pay you would think you would come out puking from eating too much. Even in K-town you will find that alot of restaurants will charge you up the... for the small portions they give you and I have been to a particular place in K-town that did just that. very little food but a whole lot of $$$ going out your pocket.

                          I am korean and I felt the food was indeed authentic so I approve on that. Every item in the menu are traditional korean dishes so I had no prob. I do wish however that the menu selection was wider. Not many variety of side dishes. Very sad.

                          They DO have beer and I'm sure some other things. My friend and I each had a bottle of Saporro with our dinner.

                          Customer Service:
                          Amazing. This is my fav part of the whole experience. I don't care how fancy a restaurant is, if their customer service is horrible I will never go back. This place however had very friendly waitresses and service was quite fast. The best I can say about almost any restaurant I have been in.

                          There is parking in the back. It's on national blvd, and sawtell ave. For anyone in West LA, Mar Vista, Santa Monica, this is quite convinient place to go. And yes they do accept credit cards. (who doesn't?)

                          Overall experience:
                          Mediocre. Great service, but price and lack of variety and portion makes it worth only 3 out of 5 stars for me.

                          1. koba's good for the westide if you're craving above average korean food and you don't want to drive into K-town. it's more authentic than gyenari or wharo (on the west side) but i prefer eating my kalbi at a Tofu Ya, next to asahi ramen next to the olympic collection. i will tell you that koba's pork/kimchi/tofu dish is pretty kick ass though.