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Sep 27, 2011 02:50 PM

Best Korean Restarant


I'll be in LA for a long weekend soon and am looking for a place for four of us to have Korean food that's better/different from the many run-of-the-mill Korean BBQ places in Chicago (although this guy thinks a Chicago Korean restaurant is the best restaurant in the world:


The LA restaurant doesn't have to be a BBQ place and cost isn't a factor. It shouldn't be more than a 30-minute drive from Century City (Saturday evening traffic). We'd like plentiful banchan (not just 3-4 choices) but otherwise aren't wedded to any particular dishes.

What I'm hoping may be available in LA - - higher quality or fresher ingredients than I get in Chicago, a focus on fresh seafood (absent in Chicago), or food that you won't find on the average BBQ menu. The restaurant can be a hole-in-the-wall. (Things I eat often in Chicago: bossam, variety of BBQ items, yuk hwe, kimchi jiigae, dolsot bibimbop, casseroles, etc.)

I've read several Korean food threads here, and the discussion seems to focus on going to particular restaurants for particular dishes. As a visitor, I don't have the luxury of trying several and I'm having trouble selecting just one.

So, if you could pick one Korean spot that really shines to take out-of-town guests, where would it be?

And, if you've been to Korean restaurants in Chicago and think that I shouldn't bother in LA (should focus on other cuisines), please let me know. Our trip will also likely include: TBD sushi, Jitlada, Langer's, Father's Office, Fukagawa, and some dim sum and/or XLB spots.

Thanks in advance!

Father's Office
1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

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  1. you can try a korean pub (almost like a japanese tapas). smokey, dark, street food and lots of liquor. One such place is Dang suh sang (on 6th street). all kinds of soups, skewers, etc.

    best high end bbq is Parks BBQ

    1. Parks BBQ is awesome. I don't eat meat but I hear that's the place for it. I like their spicy black cod, shrimp on the grill, etc etc etc. one place i LOVE is western doma noodle but i am hesitant to suggest it only b/c the service is dismally slow-- but you'll find that at jitlada that it's slow as well as incompetent. also, LOVE soot bull jeep -- it's mainly bbq, not many kitchen items to choose from. Genwa bbq has awesome dolsot bibimbop if you wanted to give it a try. if you like soon tofu, try beverly soon tofu as well. lots of korean food options here!

      5115 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

      7 Replies
      1. re: Clyde

        I love Park's BBQ. One of the best restaurants in Los Angeles. Their cuts of meat are above most steak houses. Wonderful service. Make sure you try their Seasoned Boneless Beef Short Rib • 주물럭 and their Pancake w/ rock shrimp & green onion • 파전, You will long remember your meal at Park's.

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

        1. re: wienermobile

          I agree, but did you look at the kbbq joint the OP reviewed? seems pretty high quality

          i'm going to park's today as a matter of fact =D

            1. re: ns1

              I check out the review for the Chicago restaurant and I wish I hadn't. Looks like a good place but the blogger knows nothing about Korean food and is in no position to judge "best restaurant in the world".

              1. re: floppy fish

                can you elaborate on your position as to why you think the restaurant in that link is "not up to snuff", so to speak?

                1. re: ns1

                  I did not mean to imply that the restaurant was not up to snuff (the pictures look good though), only that the reviewer and maker of the video does not seem to have a lot of experience with Korean food (or perhaps any type of ethnic food). And I was (a little bit) offended by his language and attitude.

              2. re: ns1

                re: Park's

                $15 corkage

                had 2 bottles they only charged one. not sure if mistake or not. delicious as always, service impeccable.

          1. A-WON - hweh do bap (spicy sashimi rice bowl), al bap (fish roe rice bowl)
            Masan - live squid, large platters of sashimi, incredible uni out of the shell or mixed with rice when they have it, monkfish stew
            Park's BBQ - best kbbq ever
            kobawoo - bossam, good korean pancakes
            kyochon - korean fried chicken better than Crisp
            OB bear/Dan sung sa: old battered korean drinking places
            24 hour: mom's house: awesome blood sausage soup, spicy stir fried octopus, spicy tofu kimchi
            cold noodle soup: yu chun, soo good
            spicy tofu soup: so gong dong or beverly across the street
            spicy black goat soup: chin go gae
            potato pork neck soup and pork ribs: ham ji park (banchan sucks here but it doesn't really matter)
            and many more...

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

            Masan Restaurant
            2851 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

            1 Reply
            1. re: peppermonkey

              i was trying to remember the name of kobawoo for the bossam. i've always found A-won's hweh do bap a bit bland for my tastes but i've not had the fish roe rice bowl yet. will try next time!

            2. There are so many Korean restaurants to choose from such as the BBQ places mentioned above. One place that may fit your description is a small seafood restaurant on 8th Street called Jun Won. They have an excellent variety of fish dishes and unique kinds of panchan. The restaurant is not the nicest looking place and is located in a rundown minimall but if atmosphere is not important to you, you should give it a try. I don't think you will find anything in Chicago that is similar. Here is a link to an LA Times article about the place:

              Jun Won
              3100 W 8th St Ste 101, Los Angeles, CA 90005

              2 Replies
              1. re: floppy fish

                I was searching for a thread that mentioned Jun Won- went there for the first time today. we ordered the pan fried yellow corvina (excellent!), the fish pollack casserole (spicy and light), and the seafood pancake which has been the best of all the ones i've tried so far. it wasn't heavy, it was very light and delish. so glad i finally tried it. Majority of items on the menu costs around $15.

                1. re: Clyde

                  Oh, yeah.. Chowhounds, I'm disappointed in you. How is it that so little has been written about this place on this board? I read about Jun Won a few weeks ago on Tasting Table of all places. Excellent place. Very down home, authentic Korean stews, casseroles, grilled fish & such... stuff you would find served on dinner tables in Korean households. Great convivial atmosphere with a been-there-forever look, nice people.... feels like something you might find in Small Town, Korea.

              2. Chicago's the 3rd biggest largest "Korean" city in America. The "explosive" migration of Koreans from North side of the city out to the NW burbs means you can pretty much get anything you want (including budae jigae, and yeum so tang @ Golden Chopsticks) in the area.

                If you're looking for SSGS type of banchan lay-out, hit up Genwa, but they're essentially the same type of restaurants. Instead, I'd go for the sleaziest, ghettoest po chang ma cha for the what-the-F-am-I-still-in-America kinda of experience. 2 fine choices would be Hanshin Pocha or DGM. The menus are extremely wide, but there's no banchan to speak of. Instead, your food pairing would just be a river of makkeoli.

                5115 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                8 Replies
                1. re: TonyC

                  po chang ma cha = "a covered, temporary eating/drinking establishment"

                  what? is this right?

                  1. re: ns1

                    Figuratively speaking, of course. There are plenty of pochas in LA (Go! Jongno). They've become simply Korean-style pubs that serve anju, soju, big sharing plates of drinking food.

                      1. re: ns1

                        Not quite. Bohemian is rather... polished.

                        Hanshin is a very good example, as is DGM. One has the fake "outdoor" feel (large smoking section, high ceiling, sparing rickety tables, corrugated metal siding), the other has the fake "country shack" feel, with lots of wood paneling, low ceiling, crowded table placement, bare wood seats, etc.).

                        IMO, pocha in LA oft translates to themed house of drinking... And hence is much more interesting than say... Ma Dang Gook Soo.

                        1. re: TonyC

                          thanks for the ktown drinking lesson

                          1. re: TonyC

                            What DGM is preferred? The one off Wilshire in the courtyard (Berendo) or the 8th St location? Are they related?

                            1. re: Grog

                              DGM on 8th has BBQ
                              DGM on Wilshire doesn't but its bossam's better than Kobawoo (IMO).

                              DGM on 8th feels like .. back alley/courtyard
                              DGM on Wilshire feels like a country shack & has "writing on the walls, the tardtastic drunken girls".

                              They're related. I like Wilshire location, but I love Hanshin for its 50% happy hour until 9pm. An aside: all the pochas are serviced by "kids", hence everyone speaks English. It's actually easier to survive these places than say... Jeon Ju.

                              Kobawoo Restaurant
                              698 S Vermont Ave Ste 109, Los Angeles, CA 90005

                    1. re: TonyC

                      I'm liking the idea of a hole-in-the-wall or the seafood focused spot. Both seem different from what I'm used to in Chicago.

                      Thanks so much to all for the good recs. Lots to ponder. Really appreciated.