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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: http://www.chicagogluttons.com/the-gr...


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: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...

              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.

                    2. How about On Dal2? For spicy crab soup? This is one of those places that always seem to be forgotten..

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: monkey

                        ate at On Dal2 3 days ago and the quality is still there.
                        i certainly haven't forgotten about it!

                      2. so, im from chicago and i eat tons of korean food - whenever im home (in chicago) i eat at sansoogapsan and chosunoak, and i even head to the hourglass which is kind of fun, for the fried chicken and the dukbokki

                        that said, chicago korean bbq is not as good as LA korean bbq. i feel almost disloyal saying that but its true.

                        first of all, LA korean bbq, a lot of these places mentioned - like parks - are focused more on the quality of the beef and the complex flavorings. this is a little different from sansoogapsan which is all about quantity for price (still pretty good, but mostly its about the bargain - so much food!).

                        also, LA korean bbq has something which chicago doesnt have - the only other place ive had it was in nyc - the dduk bossam. those are the thin rice papers which you wrap your meat in after is been cooked. its really delicious and i recommend it highly.

                        thirdly, LA has so much variety in terms of korean food its just ridiculous. want a place that specializes in pork neck bone soup? ham ji park. galbijim? seungbokdong. kimchi dumplings with standout naengmyun? yu chun. even the food courts in the malls here are amazing - check out city center on 6th - after eating in the food court, you can head down to the grocery store on the first floor and have some of the best kimbap ever, along with some of the best jinbang mandoo.

                        chicago does have amazing food. but in terms of korean food youre limited - for chinese korean its basically great seas or chef ping. you know what i mean.

                        i hope you enjoy your visit out here!! youve picked some other great choices and it sounds like your weekends going to be filled with delicious food. (fathers office has the greatest burger, in my opinion.) i hope youll try the korean food here though - i dont think youll be disappointed, and glad you did! im moving back to chicago in july... i plan to eat as much korean food as possible between now and then. and then its back to sansoogapsan, great seas, chosunoak, etc etc :)

                        btw, i really disliked the video - i hope it doesnt turn people off from sansoogapsan.

                        1. Check out Mapo House on 6th...great home made banchan and food. Dough Flake soup is wonderful.

                          1. Father's Office would be a miss for me, the best XLB and dim sum will be a good ways away in the San Gabriel Valley, but good sushi will be very close by. Look at Sushi Zo, Kiriko and Mori Sushi.

                            As to Korean, Park's BBQ is great, but I really like Soot Bull Jeep because they use real charcoal to cook, not gas. Genwa Korean BBQ is good too, OB Bear is a semi-dive bar, like being in Seoul, Dansungsa is another good one.

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

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

                            Sushi Zo
                            9824 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

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

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

                            Mori Sushi
                            34320 Pacific Coast Hwy Ste B, Dana Point, CA 92629

                            5115 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036