I have lived in Los Angeles for several years with my last 4 in Koreatown. I love my neighborhood and the places I frequent. Here’s a list of places I enjoy.
Teum (Oxford Place 8th & Oxford) – This is one of my favorites. Lots of anju (side dishes) and alcohol for a great price. It’s my favorite place to get chicken gizzards and their pork belly dish is amazing.
Cafe Bleu (6th & Alexandria across from City Center) – Sports bar, decent happy hour and the best kimchi pasta in town. Also try the bacon wrapped ricecakes. You may or may not see Ktown reality people here.
Cafe Nandarang (6th & Serrano, next to Hae Jang Chon) – Another sports bar, but they play kpop and hip hop videos. Lots of beers, including those tower ones. Also, lots of fried stuff. Nandarang 5 is cool.
GAAM (6th & Alexandria; Chapman Plaza) – For complete fuckery, I love GAAM. Go after 10pm and there’s a long ass wait, but you can chill at the bar and watch Ktown unravel in front of your very eyes. Yes, it is that kind of place. I love it.
COFFEE & STUFF
HAUS by Coffee Hunter (6th & Serrano) – Admittedly, I am here ALL THE TIME. Known not only for the very attractive staff, but their Kona coffee as well. I’m kind of into their dinner dishes (curry chicken fried rice, OK?), but they also have a brunch menu. Dog friendly patio, too.
*Awesome Coffee (Wilshire & Wilton) – Nitrogen ice cream. *drops mic* Yes, there are a few places who do this, but this place has a simple presentation and ‘awesome’ taste. I recently had Lucky Charms with milk flavor and I miss it. I do. They also have a great rotation of coffees like Four Barrel and Suits & Knives.
IOTA Brew Cafe (6th & Western, near I Love Boba) – Huge and pretty, this place has food, but some great latte art. Their flavored lattes are delish! Macarons are good, too. So is that SNS screen.
Yang San Bak (6th & Normandie) Not AYCE (all you can eat), but great prices and quality on their KBBQ combos. Service is good. Certain nights the customers are more Korean and male… but don’t let that dissuade you. There’s valet and parking. And the wait on weekends is not that long. WIN WIN. Get the kimchi ring, let it cook, put it on everything.
Kang Hodong Baekjeong (6th & Alexandria; Chapman Plaza) – Also not AYCE, but the food is amazing (get the pork neck!). The wait is UNREAL. Unless you go around 4pm. Meat is superior and service is very non-Korean friendly. Not much else to say. You can go to Toe Bang across the way to pre-game.
*Quarters Korean BBQ (6th & Alexandria; Chapman Plaza) – Also operated by KHD, Quarters is new to the Ktown scene. They took over a spot in late 2014, that has seen many a KBBQ come and go, but they really upped their game. Serving quality meats and inventive cocktails, this place gets PACKED. Plan accordingly and you’re in for a delicious experience.
And while I’m not a fan of AYCE, but the basics are Castle, Hae Jang Chon and Road to Seoul. If you had to twist my arm, I’d go to Road to Seoul. Oh, and maybe Moodaepo II. And maybe bring a smart phone and a book to read while you wait.
Rosen Music Studio (8th & Serrano) – Not the best place, but they use Ziller (they have the most song selections). They cater to a lot of non-Koreans and big groups. It can get pricey, but the staff is pretty nice.
Ting Ga Ting Ga (Olympic & Kingsley) – I haven’t been to this place in a while. I usually end up here after sam-cha… and from what I remember, it was amazing.
There are SO many noraebangs, just go in one. 🙂
*The LINE Hotel (Wilshire & Normandie) – Cafe, bars, foods and stuff. LINE has taken an old hotel, upgraded and made it a part of the community. POT Lobby bar has DJs on most nights, POT & Commissary has the foods, POT Cafe has treats and coffee (ice misugaru is my personal fave) and FREE wi-fi. And if you can get in, Break Room 86 is the newest place to be.
Music Plaza (Koreatown Plaza on Western & James M Wood) – Need some KPOP, this is my favorite place. Nice staff and up to date selection. There’s another place a few blocks away, but Music Plaza is bigger and has more cute stuff in it.
Daiso (CGV/MaDang ; Wilshire/Western) – The discount dollar chain is now in Ktown. All sales final, but really, for a $1.50, is it going to bother you that much? Lots of useful and useless items.
School Food (CGV) – You like fancy kimbap? This place has it. Service can be spotty, but the rolls are very different.
Wool Um Ma (HK Super) – If you want basic kimbap, this place tucked inside the Han Kook Supermarket is one of my favorites.
All over Koreatown you’ll see Cafe Bene, Tom & Toms, Paris Baguette, a few Gallerias… check them out. Parking might be hard, but valet is CHEAP. Hit @itskandykandy up on Twitter if you need some more suggestions!