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Array of colorful banchan, including kimchi, vegetables, and lotus roots.
Banchan from Soban in LA’s Koreatown.
Matthew Kang

20 Exceptional Korean Restaurants to Try in Los Angeles

Where to find Korean barbecue, soups, stews, and banchan

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Banchan from Soban in LA’s Koreatown.
| Matthew Kang

Los Angeles’s Koreatown is without question the mecca of Korean cuisine in America. The food served in this vibrant neighborhood, full of neon lights and late nights, is so stellar that even food obsessives visiting from Seoul marvel at its sheer quality and quantity. While most diners are quick to limit Korean food to all-you-can-eat barbecue feasts, there are a tremendous number of regional specialties worth seeking out in and beyond Koreatown. From knife-cut noodles swimming in seafood broths to bubbling cauldrons of spicy stews, here now are 20 essential Korean restaurants in Los Angeles.

Added: Ong Ga Nae, Mapo Dak Galbi, AB Steak by Akira Back, Yuk Dae Jang

Removed: Kinn, Daedo Sikdang, Mun Korean Steakhouse, Chunju Hanil-Kwan

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

ABSteak by Chef Akira Back

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Internationally famous chef Akira Back is on a tear, expanding from his home base of Las Vegas to open restaurants in Indonesia, Seoul, LA, and recently Dallas. But the Korean chef honors the rich barbecue scene in Los Angeles with this upscale ode to tabletop meat, with wagyu and dry-aged offerings, as well as stellar banchan and side dishes. It’s one of the city’s top Korean barbecues.

Meats, banchan, and more at ABSteak in Los Angeles.
ABSteak dishes.
ABSteak

Sun Ha Jang Restaurant

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Popular Korean duck barbecue spot Sun Ha Jang has opened up a front outdoor patio for one of LA’s most unique tabletop grill styles. After a parade of fatty, delicious duck seared on a skillet, diners get flavor-packed fried rice to end the meal.

Sun Ha Jang
Sun Ha Jang’s duck fried rice

Soban Restaurant

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Seafood staple Soban can do no wrong, starting with an amazing array of banchan to begin each meal. The menu features terrific raw crab dressed one of two ways, either in a garlicky soy sauce or thick spicy red pepper sauce, as well as pan-fried fish and spicy braised black cod (or opt for the spicy beef short ribs instead).

Soban Restaurant
Soban Restaurant
GastronomyBlog

Mapo Dak Galbi

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There’s basically only one menu item at this Koreatown classic: large cast-iron pans of spicy Korean dakgalbi, a dish that develops through the course of the meal with tender pieces of chicken thigh, rice cakes, cabbage, and a sweet-spicy sauce that reduces over time. And at the end of the meal, servers take the last portion of each serving and make an amazing seaweed-and-perilla-infused fried rice.

Dak galbi from Mapo in Koreatown in a steel pan.
Dak galbi from Mapo in Koreatown.
Matthew Kang

Chosun Galbee

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One of Los Angeles’s longest-running Korean barbecue restaurants continues to excel at two things: quality and classic flavors. With a large outdoor dining space and a solid takeout situation, Chosun has endured because of its dedicated following and impressive execution. Try the naengmyeon with a combination meat platter to impress anyone looking for great Korean barbecue.

Chosun Galbee kkotssal arrayed on a plate
Chosun Galbee kkotssal
Chosun Galbee

Han Bat Shul Lung Tang

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The cloudy bone marrow broth here is legendary, as are the tender slabs of brisket and various organ meats floating in it. The menu here is very simple — seolleongtang only. Build the meal with seasonings, kimchi, and rice, along with a dash of salt and sprinkling of green onions.

Han Bat Sullungtang

HanEuem by Chef Kang

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Chef Kang. The name pops up in restaurants around town like Sul Box, Food Truck, and Salmon Talk, but chef Wonsuk “John” Kang’s best restaurant might be HanEuem, a modern Korean drinking spot with upscale versions of classic dishes that would feel appropriate in Gangnam or Apgujeong in Seoul. The modeum jeon, a basket of various bits of battered fried meats and vegetables, is the most popular thing to order, but the stews and braised wagyu beef ribs are tasty too.

Fried jun from HanEuem in Koreatown in a wicker basket.
Fried jun from HanEuem in Koreatown.
Matthew Kang

Yerim Korean BBQ

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There’s a lot of all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue in LA, but perhaps none has stood the test of time as well as Yerim, which retains excellent overall quality for a modest price of under $50 for most menu options. The tender, flavorful meat coupled with free-flowing drinks and attentive service make this a solid pick for groups that need a lot of KBBQ in one sitting.

MDK Noodles (Myung Dong Kyoja)

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Formerly known as Myung Dong Kyoja, the easier-to-pronounce MDK has the same carb-laden menu of knife-cut noodles, pork dumplings, and chewy spicy cold noodles called jjolmyeon.

Pork dumplings from MDK Noodles in a white tray.
Pork dumplings from MDK Noodles
Matthew Kang

Mapo Kkak Doo Gee

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This classic K-Town restaurant had an ownership change in recent years, but longtime customers likely won’t be able to tell the difference on the plate. Everything from the stellar radish banchan (the restaurant’s namesake) to the seared fish tastes as it should, which is to say, just like a grandmother’s cooking. The tiny, packed dining room filled mostly with Koreans should be a key indicator that this place remains a community fixture.

Fried atka mackerel fish from Mapo Kkak Du Gee in LA’s Koreatown on a white plate.
Fried atka mackerel fish from Mapo Kkak Du Gee in LA’s Koreatown.
Matthew Kang

Hangari Kalguksu

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With some of the finest knife-cut noodles in town, Hangari regularly fields ridiculously long waits. The dumplings and boribap-style banchan starter are also terrific here. As for the noodles, both the clam and the chicken noodles are worth trying.

Sun Nong Dan

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Koreatown’s all-night galbi jjim destination serves it with tender chunks of short rib, chewy rice cakes, and tons of spice. While the soups are more than respectable, crowds wait in line for the meat festival in a stone bowl. Top the galbi jjim with cheese to take it to the next level. There’s a big new location along Western Avenue as well — in the former Sizzler building.

Surawon Tofu House

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Koreatown loves soondubu, the silken tofu stew popularized at places like BCD and Beverly Soontofu. But Surawon Tofu House makes its own tofu on the premises, resulting in a rich, almost nutty tofu with a lot more complexity. The combo deals here are fantastic too, such as the one with fried mackerel big enough to split for two.

Soontdubu and fried mackerel combo at Surawon in Koreatown.
Soontubu and fried mackerel combo at Surawon
Matthew Kang

Seong Buk Dong

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This restaurant might be on the small side, but it serves up well-crafted traditional Korean dishes with huge flavor. The braised short ribs are a table-pleaser, along with the strong pot bibimbap. The spicy-braised mackerel is the show stopper, with layers of rich flavor that go perfectly when spooned over multigrain rice.

Seong Buk Dong
Seong Buk Dong
Byron Y./Yelp

Park's Barbeque

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This is the premier Korean barbecue restaurant in Koreatown, and Park’s delivers with prime-grade meats served at the table, along with a slew of other traditional Korean dishes in a clean, smoke-free ambiance. The quality of the meat and banchan is simply unsurpassed, rivaling some of the best in Seoul itself. The front parking lot has been converted into an outdoor Korean barbecue setup for additional seating.

Raw pieces of thinly sliced beef at Park’s Barbeque on a steel tabletop grill.

Ong Ga Nae Korean BBQ Restaurant

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With a recent ownership change from Yangmani operator Jennifer Choi, this Vermont Avenue Korean barbecue spot adds to the block’s rich lineup of Park’s, Soowon, and nearby Corner Place. Ong Ga Nae does a solid Korean barbecue offering, though the seng bulgogi, a new way of serving a classic boiling, bubbling thinly sliced meat hot pot, is one of the must-order items here.

Seng bulgogi at Ong Ga Nae.
Seng bulgogi at Ong Ga Nae.
Matthew Kang

Kobawoo House

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Though lunchtime crowds go for the bossam, a Korean specialty featuring pork belly slices and accoutrements, it’s worth trying the traditional dishes as well. The hulking seafood pajeon is a classic, as well as the kimchi stew in a stone pot. The classic, dimly lit dining room is now open again.

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Kobawoo House
Irving B./Yelp

Yuk Dae Jang

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With a number of outlets spread throughout Los Angeles, this reliable purveyor of deeply beefy soup specializes in Korean yuk gae jang, a spicy noodle soup chock full of alliums, stringy brisket, and a choice of noodles. The classic sweet potato vermicelli is the go-to, while Yuk Dae Jang offers wavy alkaline ramen noodles or thicker starchy hand-cut noodles. Other dishes are fantastic too, like the shareable budae jjigae and mandu.

Yuk gae jang with handmade pasta at Yuk Dae Jang in San Gabriel.
Korean dishes from Yuk Dae Jang.
Cathy Chaplin

Olympic Restaurant

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Nestled into a strip mall in Koreatown, this old-school gem has the kind of food a Korean grandma only cooks for her favorite people. Koreans call this Olympic Cheonggukjang, calling out the ultra-fermented soybean paste stew that has an incredibly rich, deep umami flavor. The fried fish and spicy grilled pork are also excellent.

Spread at Olympic Cheonggukjang
Olympioc Cheonggukjang
Matthew Kang

Eighth Street Soondae

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This sundae (not the ice cream) specialist does the Korean blood sausage right, with the classic sliced preparation that makes a great snack or good hangover cure. It can also be ordered in a large soup or stir-fry that’s good for sharing. It’s probably the best place for sundae on the West Coast, if not America. (Yes, the Korean government prefers we spell the dish like the ice cream dessert.)

Eighth Street Soondae
Eighth Street Soondae
Angiel T./Yelp

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ABSteak by Chef Akira Back

Meats, banchan, and more at ABSteak in Los Angeles.
ABSteak dishes.
ABSteak

Internationally famous chef Akira Back is on a tear, expanding from his home base of Las Vegas to open restaurants in Indonesia, Seoul, LA, and recently Dallas. But the Korean chef honors the rich barbecue scene in Los Angeles with this upscale ode to tabletop meat, with wagyu and dry-aged offerings, as well as stellar banchan and side dishes. It’s one of the city’s top Korean barbecues.

Meats, banchan, and more at ABSteak in Los Angeles.
ABSteak dishes.
ABSteak

Sun Ha Jang Restaurant

Sun Ha Jang
Sun Ha Jang’s duck fried rice

Popular Korean duck barbecue spot Sun Ha Jang has opened up a front outdoor patio for one of LA’s most unique tabletop grill styles. After a parade of fatty, delicious duck seared on a skillet, diners get flavor-packed fried rice to end the meal.

Sun Ha Jang
Sun Ha Jang’s duck fried rice

Soban Restaurant

Soban Restaurant
Soban Restaurant
GastronomyBlog

Seafood staple Soban can do no wrong, starting with an amazing array of banchan to begin each meal. The menu features terrific raw crab dressed one of two ways, either in a garlicky soy sauce or thick spicy red pepper sauce, as well as pan-fried fish and spicy braised black cod (or opt for the spicy beef short ribs instead).

Soban Restaurant
Soban Restaurant
GastronomyBlog

Mapo Dak Galbi

Dak galbi from Mapo in Koreatown in a steel pan.
Dak galbi from Mapo in Koreatown.
Matthew Kang

There’s basically only one menu item at this Koreatown classic: large cast-iron pans of spicy Korean dakgalbi, a dish that develops through the course of the meal with tender pieces of chicken thigh, rice cakes, cabbage, and a sweet-spicy sauce that reduces over time. And at the end of the meal, servers take the last portion of each serving and make an amazing seaweed-and-perilla-infused fried rice.

Dak galbi from Mapo in Koreatown in a steel pan.
Dak galbi from Mapo in Koreatown.
Matthew Kang

Chosun Galbee

Chosun Galbee kkotssal arrayed on a plate
Chosun Galbee kkotssal
Chosun Galbee

One of Los Angeles’s longest-running Korean barbecue restaurants continues to excel at two things: quality and classic flavors. With a large outdoor dining space and a solid takeout situation, Chosun has endured because of its dedicated following and impressive execution. Try the naengmyeon with a combination meat platter to impress anyone looking for great Korean barbecue.

Chosun Galbee kkotssal arrayed on a plate
Chosun Galbee kkotssal
Chosun Galbee

Han Bat Shul Lung Tang

Han Bat Sullungtang

The cloudy bone marrow broth here is legendary, as are the tender slabs of brisket and various organ meats floating in it. The menu here is very simple — seolleongtang only. Build the meal with seasonings, kimchi, and rice, along with a dash of salt and sprinkling of green onions.

Han Bat Sullungtang

HanEuem by Chef Kang

Fried jun from HanEuem in Koreatown in a wicker basket.
Fried jun from HanEuem in Koreatown.
Matthew Kang

Chef Kang. The name pops up in restaurants around town like Sul Box, Food Truck, and Salmon Talk, but chef Wonsuk “John” Kang’s best restaurant might be HanEuem, a modern Korean drinking spot with upscale versions of classic dishes that would feel appropriate in Gangnam or Apgujeong in Seoul. The modeum jeon, a basket of various bits of battered fried meats and vegetables, is the most popular thing to order, but the stews and braised wagyu beef ribs are tasty too.

Fried jun from HanEuem in Koreatown in a wicker basket.
Fried jun from HanEuem in Koreatown.
Matthew Kang

Yerim Korean BBQ

There’s a lot of all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue in LA, but perhaps none has stood the test of time as well as Yerim, which retains excellent overall quality for a modest price of under $50 for most menu options. The tender, flavorful meat coupled with free-flowing drinks and attentive service make this a solid pick for groups that need a lot of KBBQ in one sitting.

MDK Noodles (Myung Dong Kyoja)

Pork dumplings from MDK Noodles in a white tray.
Pork dumplings from MDK Noodles
Matthew Kang

Formerly known as Myung Dong Kyoja, the easier-to-pronounce MDK has the same carb-laden menu of knife-cut noodles, pork dumplings, and chewy spicy cold noodles called jjolmyeon.

Pork dumplings from MDK Noodles in a white tray.
Pork dumplings from MDK Noodles
Matthew Kang

Mapo Kkak Doo Gee

Fried atka mackerel fish from Mapo Kkak Du Gee in LA’s Koreatown on a white plate.
Fried atka mackerel fish from Mapo Kkak Du Gee in LA’s Koreatown.
Matthew Kang

This classic K-Town restaurant had an ownership change in recent years, but longtime customers likely won’t be able to tell the difference on the plate. Everything from the stellar radish banchan (the restaurant’s namesake) to the seared fish tastes as it should, which is to say, just like a grandmother’s cooking. The tiny, packed dining room filled mostly with Koreans should be a key indicator that this place remains a community fixture.

Fried atka mackerel fish from Mapo Kkak Du Gee in LA’s Koreatown on a white plate.
Fried atka mackerel fish from Mapo Kkak Du Gee in LA’s Koreatown.
Matthew Kang

Hangari Kalguksu

With some of the finest knife-cut noodles in town, Hangari regularly fields ridiculously long waits. The dumplings and boribap-style banchan starter are also terrific here. As for the noodles, both the clam and the chicken noodles are worth trying.

Sun Nong Dan