Korean barbecue has become an integral part of Southern California’s culinary and cultural fabric. There's something appealingly primal about the experience — grilling rosy-red slabs of impossibly well-marbled beef atop hissing coals. Add to that the beer- and soju-fueled conviviality that’s characteristic of the cuisine, and it's easy to see why Korean barbecue has become an enduring part of the region’s lifestyle. Here now are 12 Korean barbecue restaurants in LA offering outdoor grilling.
Removed: Morangak, Sookdal, Oo Kook, Soot Bull Jeep, Soh Grill House
Added: Chosun Galbee, Jeong Yuk Jeom, Yangmani, Soowon Galbi, Chadolpoong
A number of LA restaurants have resumed outdoor dining service. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns for all involved. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the Los Angeles Public Health website.
Sun Ha Jang Restaurant
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Sun Ha Jang is still the ideal change-of-pace play for seasoned Korean barbecue vets. Specializing in both spicy and unmarinated oree (duck) that’s grilled over an iron pan, the fried rice with buchu, or flat garlic chives, that comes after is a masterstroke. For a neat hack, make sure to add in all the raw garlic into the grill with the rendering duck fat. The area in front of the restaurant is currently a covered outdoor dining patio.
The original classy Korean barbecue establishment, Chosun Galbee endures with excellent service and a commitment to quality meats, including the gorgeous kkotsal laid out on a tray. The space has always had a semi-outdoor dining area. Don’t forget to order the cold Korean naengmyeon noodles.
Yellow Cow Korean BBQ
Gardena, CA 90247
Gardena’s popular Korean barbecue spot has a sizeable covered outdoor dining room in its parking lot that can accommodate plenty of diners. The angle here is more on the high end, with everything from entire prime cuts of ribeye steak to boneless short ribs.
Jeong Yuk Jeom Korean BBQ
One of the newer Korean barbecue players in LA, this impressive restaurant focuses on expensive cuts of premium beef served in sampler trays. It’s one of the few Korean spots to offer aged prime beef along with offal meats.
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Magal is still serving up cuts competitive with Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong and Soh Grill House — and the kkotsal joomooleok (marbled, lightly marinated short rib) is the tastiest cut between the three places, hands down. Don’t forget the pork skin with the bean powder and the volcano kimchi fried rice. Currently only offering outdoor seating.
Tenraku is a high-end Korean barbecue spot that has taken over its front parking lot with covered tables and camp stoves for comfortable outdoor grilling. Combo meals are good for two to four people.
Chadolpoong is one of the newer wave of Korean barbecue spots that like to focus more on offal and intestines than standard steak cuts. While the situation here isn’t quite traditional Korean barbecue, it’s still very much seared, grilled cuts of intestines served mostly cooked on a hot stone platter. The ddukgalbi, or marinated patty, is another approach to Korean “barbecue” here.
Kang Ho-Dong Baekjeong
If Korean barbecue is simply meat, a couple sides, and a steady stream of somek (a combination of Korean beer and soju), Kang Ho Dong is the minimalist’s mecca. Snappy hanjungsal (pork jowl), thick slabs of samgyeopsal and that marinated beef short rib are really all anyone needs to get the soju flowing. Kang Ho-Dong Baekjeong grills the meat in kitchen and brings it out for those dining-in.
For the most significant Korean barbecue restaurant in LA, it’s hard to argue with Park’s BBQ. From the deft execution of Korean cuisines standbys like kimchi jjigae and galbitang, to that perfectly snappy ohgyeopsal paired with the just-sour-enough amber-colored grilling kimchi, even the supporting cast is worthy of top billing. As for the star of the show, the marinated Park’s galbi is ever the balanced trinity of sweet crushed pear, salty soy sauce, and fatty beef rib — the best rendition likely available in the United States. There’s outdoor seating in front of the restaurant.
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Now a bona fide K-Town classic, Soowon Galbi has adapted with a handy outdoor dining area in its parking lot, offering high-end cuts of short rib and other beef that would impress anyone from the KBBQ veteran to the first-timer.
Los Angeles, CA 90006
One of Koreatown’s most reliable barbecue spots, Yangmani has an expansive outdoor tented area for quality beef, pork, and offal cuts that younger diners tend to prefer in the neighborhood.
TK92 Korean BBQ
This high-end Korean barbecue is one of the most talked-about spots in SGV, with a massive outdoor area that feels like a streetside party in Seoul. Previously an all-you-can-eat situation, the menu is now combination oriented with different cuts of expensive beef and pork portioned out for groups.