Photo Courtesy of Tanveer Badal
The Koreatown Guide
There are three square miles west of Downtown LA known as Koreatown, and this relatively small pocket of the city manages to pack in so many restaurants, karaoke lounges, cafés, and day spas that it feels like we could be there all day every day and still find new treasures. While the neighborhood is rightly famous for its food (you’ve probably heard of the BBQ—it lives up to the hype), there are also great new hotels, shops, and markets right next to the old-school spots we’ve loved for years. Spend a day, spend a weekend, or move in for good—you’ll understand why K-Town is LA’s best-kept-but-wide-open secret.
The Line3515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010 | 213.381.7411
As much a neighborhood hangout as a place to spend the night, the Line is home to some of K-town’s coolest spots, all under one roof. There’s Commissary, a sun-soaked, greenhouse-inspired restaurant famous for its weekend brunch buffet (shout-out to the prime rib carving station); Pot Lobby Bar for happy hour Moscow mules and old-fashioneds; and Break Room 86 for karaoke and dancing. The guest rooms, meanwhile, are unlike anything else in LA. Imagine cement walls with bursts of bright orange on pillows and furnishings (orange is thought of as a happy color in Korea), Mexican upholstered chairs, and floor-to-ceiling windows—it’s an industrial-cool vibe with a bright, cheerful atmosphere. Book a north-facing room for cinematic views of the Hollywood Hills.
Hotel Normandie605 S. Normandie Ave., Koreatown | 800.617.4071
The Renaissance-revival exterior of Hotel Normandie is the first sign that this hotel is from another era—the era known as 1926. The hotel underwent an extensive renovation in 2010, and the result was updated guest rooms and common areas, and the restoration of a lot of the original Spanish colonial details: the heavy wood beams, fireplaces, and patterned tiles. The in-house diner, Cassell, is rightly revered for its hamburgers, and Comptoir, the more formal of the hotel’s two restaurants, has an intimate dining room with only ten seats and is the genius of French Laundry alum Gary Menes (reservations are essential). After dinner, treat yourself to an after-dinner drink at the Normandie Club, a moody, dark cocktail den, or the Walker Inn, the hotel’s speakeasy-style lounge.