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Sep 20, 2010 06:01 AM

Inexpensive Japanese and Korean Must-Trys in LA area

I'm a med student from Houston visiting the LA area for 4 weeks and would like suggestions on some of the best Japanese and Korean restaurants in the area. I'm on a budget because of school, but I'm willing to try anything up to $100 per meal. (the better the deal, the more places I can try)

Thanks in advance!

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  1. For Korean you can't do better than Park's BBQ. You'll find some of the best meats in Los Angeles including their wonderful short ribs . Dinner should run you around $40-$50 a person and a little less at lunch and you will eat very very well.

    Park's BBQ
    955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

    3 Replies
    1. re: wienermobile

      I spent 90 after tax/tip/booze this weekend @ Parks but ate VERY well

      (for 2)
      - Marinated Gal bi (33 or so)
      - Sea bass (25)
      - Spicy Buckwheat Noodle (5 for small bowl, 9 for large)

      spicy buckwheat noodle is a must.

      Would rather eat at Parks once vs AYCE 3 times.

      1. re: ns1


        Try Don Dae Gam. Better than Park's esp. if you like pork. Same owners as Parks.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          I like pork but when I eat kbbq I pretty much exclusively eat beef.

          i LOVE pork belly but I feel so guilty afterwards :(

          As a bonus, Park's had RICE PAPER this weekend! Really, banchan was phenomenal over the weekend.

    2. Izakaya Bincho for Japanese / izakaya.

      Soot Bull Jeep for Korean BBQ

      And hunt down a couple of food trucks like Kogi for Korean BBQ.

      Soot Bull Jeep
      3136 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005

      Izakaya Bincho
      112 N International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

      Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, CA

      5 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        where's izakaya bincho? thanks.

        1. re: kevin

          in the redondo beach pier.
          has a funny schedule, so be careful to be SURE that they will be open when you go.

          1. re: westsidegal

            cool, if it's closed i'll just have to set up shop at Naja's place.

            1. re: westsidegal

              Hmm, what's so funny about Izakaya Bincho's schedule?

              Closed Mondays, otherwise open for dinner.

              Oh, and let's not forget it's closed every last Tuesday of the month. I guess that's pretty hilarious ....

              Izakaya Bincho
              112 N International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

              1. re: westsidegal

                Perhaps a slightly pedantic point, but Izakaya Bincho is actually on the Redondo Beach "international boardwalk", which is just north of the pier itself. By car, it's best entered from the north on Catalina rather than from the main pier entrance. (Parking's easier that way, too.)

                It's just a few doors down from Naja's, which is a great place to drink but not eat, and also a few doors from Gambrinus, which can be a great place to drink AND eat, if you order carefully. The fresh seafood bar is close, too, but I have yet to find any place on the pier itself that's worthwhile.

                Izakaya Bincho
                112 N International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

                136 Internatl Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

          2. Gaja-moc for cool do-it-yourself okonomiyaki. Like $20 a person.

            Various ramen places in the South Bay like Santouka, Asa, the new Mottainai. Figure $10-$15 per person.

            Ichimi-ann for awesome fresh soba and udon(only open for lunch). Like $10 if you get a little side thingy, too.

            If you're serious about Japanese food, you'll need to spend some time in the South Bay area.

            2 Replies
            1. re: huaqiao

              huaqiao-I LOVE soba so Ichimi-ann sounds amazing. Thanks!

              1. re: gelato2005

                No discussion of Japanese food in LA is really complete without a link to exilekiss' blog:


                Poke around the blog to see some very detailed reviews of some of the Japanese jewels you can find here in LA.

                There's a high end-ish tempura place in the South Bay with a tasting menu if you like tempura:


              1. re: Servorg

                GOTTA do daikokuya. Or if you're out in Torrance, Santouka.

                I find it kind of interesting that you're looking for inexpensive, but also say you would be willing to spend up to $100/meal. If $100 is in ur budget, i would go to Kiyokawa.

                3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                1. re: andytseng

                  There's a Santouka in the Mitsuwa Marketplace in West LA/Culver City area on Centinela. Also, Wakasan has an omakase course of Japanese food (a take on kaiseki style meal - traditional Japanese course meal) for ~$35. I agree with andytseng and second Kiyokawa. You can also try Kiriko for sushi and Yakitoriya or Nanbankan for yakitori, all three are in West LA. Shabu shabu house in jtown is delicious, but the wait can be killer. Kushi shabu (dtla) takes reservations and has AYCE shabu shabu sets. Honda-ya on Alameda is a great izakaya place to eat and drink.

                  For Korean, if you want something else besides KBBQ, you can try Jae Bu Do for seafood grill, Ma Dang Gook Soo for noodles, So Kong Soon Doo Boo for Tofu, Yong Su San for Korean food in courses. if you want bar food with soju and beer, try Dwit Gol Mok and Dan Sung Sa. For spicy Korean crab stew, check out Ondal 2.

                  11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 102, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                  Ondal 2
                  4566 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016

                  1929 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                  11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 101, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                  3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                  Yong Su San Restaurant
                  950 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                  Centinela Cafe
                  4800 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                  1. re: nelehelen

                    be aware that omakase at kiriko will cost more than $100/pp

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      you can always tell them how much you want to spend on omakase and they will cap it at that...

                      you can also try echigo for omakase (~$50), but it's not very filling. FYI - sushi zo omakase is around $200, give and take and depends on how much you eat. I also agree that K-Zo is good. Sushi Masu on Westwood is also a nice place for sushi, their portions are big and omakase is usually around $50.

                      Sushi Masu
                      1911 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                      9240 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                      1. re: nelehelen

                        sushi masu is the poor man's omakase. not the best, but a fantastic value.

                  2. re: andytseng

                    andytseng- $100 does sound like a generous budget for "inexpensive", but since I was looking for Japanese and I know some Japanese places can be pricey, I did not want to set the limit too low. (Urasawa would be unfortunately out of budget). I guess since I'm Asian, I am willing to pay more for a good deal.

                2. For a Korean old-time pub, you can't go wrong with Dan Sung Sa. It's where I go to take visitors to LA. I like the rustic graffiti-covered shack feel, the food is good, and not too pricey. Perfect for students.

                  Must go!

                  Dan Sung SA
                  3317 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: munchabout

                    muchabout-I was reading that Dan Sung Sa is very traditional and that English speaking is limited. I'm not Korean, would that be a problem?

                    1. re: gelato2005

                      It is fun as hell, and not inaccessible at all.

                      1. re: gelato2005

                        "I was reading that Dan Sung Sa is very traditional and that English speaking is limited. I'm not Korean, would that be a problem?"

                        Can you muster up enough "Korean-ness" to order some soju? Get the proper ratio of soju to body fluids in your system and you'll be ordering with the best of the natives there.

                        Ok, kidding aside, they have English menus upon request. So rest assured, you can get punch drunk and fed silly just like everybody else.

                        건 배!

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Nice! Sounds like my kind of place. Now to find some drinking buddies...

                        2. re: gelato2005

                          You're lucky. They have English menus now. When I heard about the place I had to look at what other diners were eating.

                          "That looks good, I'll have some of that."

                          Now it's all fun.

                          Until the people next to you start smoking. :)

                        3. re: munchabout

                          Agreed, and if you want something a little classier than Dan Sung Sa (but still well within your budget), Seongbukdong is in the same little mini-mall. Don't miss the braised mackerel and the short ribs. The banchan is (are?) also first-rate, especially anything pickled.