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Feb 1, 2012 10:39 PM

Birthday party (dol) in Koreatown

Hello Chowhounders!

I am a chinese mom, tasked with throwing my daughter a traditional korean first birthday party called a dol. We live in the Bay Area but are from LA, and most of our family is there, so we'll be traveling in for a weekend to throw the party. I need help with a venue for the event.

Does anyone know of any interesting koreatown locations that have a patio or some other space we could do the party in? Someplace modern or beautiful would be amazing. I thought Beer Belly would be fun, but it's not big enough for us to throw a party there. I'd like to make this event a little funky and fun -- I'm trying not to go the typical banquet room, fancy dol.

We are on a budget
We like to eat
The party will be a Sunday afternoon in late April
Food doesn't have to be korean per se, but it should make sense for a korean/chinese/american event (ie, oaxacan would really bake my mother in law's gourd)

Our k-town haunts were Han Bat, Soot, Beverly Soon Tofu, Shik do Rak, etc. -- none of which are kid & party friendly.

Thanks so much for your help, I'm at my wits end.

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  1. Lots of the BBQ places have rooms available for parties: ChoSun Galbee, Tahoe Galbi, Dang Il Jang, probably many others.

    Non-BBQ options would include Kang Nam and Youngsusan.

    1. Second Younsusan, but this may be more traditional and expensive than what you're looking for. The Dragon has private rooms and is popular for its Chinese/Korean food.

      MaDang 621 is somewhat fancy with an outdoor area and easy parking, and the food was good when we ate there in December. But for what it's worth, the reviews on Yelp are all over the board, and you might want to have a local friend check it out first.

      I don't want to dissuade you, but think you might have a hard time finding something that fits the bill for fun with good food, and that satisfies the importance associated with the first birthday party in Korean culture.

      1. Thanks, these are all great options. I was hoping to find someplace a little unexpected and unique. I actually wanted to throw it in the patio at Ogamdo, but they are now closed. The Prince would be fun if it was more child appropriate. But anywhere with character would be terrific.

        Ogamdo Cafe
        842 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

        2 Replies
        1. re: aielee

          Can you do Orange county? I recently went to a dol at Little Prince in Fullerton. There is a playroom for all the kids to play while the adults can sit, eat, and mingle in the restaurant area. The food was really good, it was basically catered Korean food but really delicious! If you can't do OC, then I'm sure there are places similar to this in LA are. Yelp it for more info!

          1. re: saucequeen

            That's a little far, but it sounds terrific. I'll look it up! Thanks.

        2. If Beer Belly is too small, why not Biergarten? They're totally toddler friendly, but they will forcibly take the beer away from a 3rd tri preggos.

          Beyond that, the other choice is Yellow House or Cafe Sanjang, but both suffer from massive smoke clouds with Sanjang serving food that's only a bit better than Yellow House, which is to say: both have mediocre Korean bar food.

          We're in the same boat, and I refuse to pay for/eat Chinese/Korean dol food. Everyone's being sent to a dimsum house's banquet room.

          3 Replies
          1. re: TonyC

            Good for you! My favorite recent Dol was in a Cuban Nightclub (Mexi-rean twins... LOL!)


            1. re: TonyC

              These are some great suggestions! I've never been to any of them, but I just sent a friend to Yellow House to scope the scene. The garden looks lovely.

              I feel you on the chinese korean banquet food, I wish we could do a dim sum dol too!

              Thank you!

              1. re: TonyC

                Oh, Cafe Sanjang looks terrific too. And they speak English! Awesome.

              2. I am also looking for a venue for dol with similar things (on a budget, outdoor space/patio) - did you end up finding a venue that suit your needs?

                2 Replies
                1. re: cryptoworld

                  Hey there. We threw the dol at Cafe Sanjang. The space was lovely, and the food was decent enough, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it. When we arrived to set up, there was only one waitress on staff for the entire place, and she had no idea that we had a party planned -- despite the fact that I had called weeks prior to plan the event and order all of the food. Then she told me they had a "no children after 6:00 policy" or something of the sort. My family had to serve all of the food and beverages and take orders since the waitress was too overwhelmed to be able to serve us and the rest of the restaurant. The owner showed up just in time to present us with a bill that they had tacked a 20% gratuity onto -- despite the fact that we did everything except for cook the food. It was kind of a nightmare

                  I just had another baby and will need to do this all over again for his birthday. Let me know if you find someplace good!

                  1. re: cryptoworld

                    Yellow House Cafe? The food is a bit gross and overpriced, but what Korean cafe isn't? I mean, as long as they serve booze... The service is a bit better than Sanjang, and during day time it isn't as smoky as Sanjang.