There’s no question that a key ingredient for restaurant success these days is moderating rent, as can seen by the lines at not-so primely located restaurants like Sqirl, Baroo, and, to some extent, Destroyer and Gjusta. Taking a cue from this playbook is Nabi, a fast-casual Korean restaurant at the back of East Hollywood’s Union Discount Swapmeet on Santa Monica Boulevard.
Even more exciting is that this swapmeet storefront is helmed by none other than Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee, a James Beard-nominated cookbook author. Hae-Jin Lee, an LA Times contributor and author of both Korean and Mexican cookbooks, is now taking her passion for introducing Korean cuisine to the masses on a more direct route by opening her first restaurant.
Nabi, which translates to butterfly in Korean, offers a seasonal menu of both Korean traditional dishes and more experimental fusion fare. That means traditionalists can enjoy customizable bibimbap bowls and ddeokbokgi, spicy rice cakes, or try a variety of Korean-Mexican fusion tortas. And with the Vermont/Santa Monica Metro station being right across the street, there’s little reason not to get your affordable Korean fix.
Nabi is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., but is closed on Tuesdays.
4632 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 16