Koreatown Restaurants

Restaurant neighborhood
913 Vermont Ave., Koreatown
The soup known as al tang embodies so much of what we love about Korean food: hot and spicy; packed with paengi beoseot (long, delicate bunches of white mushrooms), tofu, daikon, generous heaps of fish eggs; and punched up with chili powder and garlic. The best version in Los Angeles is at A-Won, a low-key spot that also specializes in hwe dup bap (the Korean version of sashimi), which is really more like a poke bowl. It’s mixed with seaweed, watercress, sliced cucumber and carrots over rice, along with plenty of chili paste.
Beverly Soon Tofu
2717 W. Olympic Blvd., Koreatown
One of the beauties of Koreatown is the number of restaurants that do one thing and do it really well. For over three decades, the masters of soondubu (a spicy, fire-engine-red soup) at Beverly Soon Tofu have perfected their take on this Korean staple. The menu offers ten soondubu flavors, including barbecued galbi, bulgogi, spicy chicken, squid, and tofu steak, but dress lightly—they all come in a stone pot with veggies and a chili-flavored broth that’s almost guaranteed to make you sweat.
Eighth Street Soondae
2703 W. 8th St., Koreatown
Soondae isn’t for everyone. It’s a type of Korean sausage that’s a mixture of cow’s blood, sweet potato glass noodles, ground beef, and various vegetables, sliced and served with a side of offal (tongue, liver, and heart being the most popular). Eighth Street Soondae is the king of soondae in LA, and for those who are ready to take their next step in the world of Korean cuisine, this is the place to come. Like so many spots in the neighborhood, the strip mall location and bare-bones interior aren’t much to look at, but when you come here, you’re guaranteed to try something you haven’t before.
3014 W. Olympic Blvd., Koreatown
Guelaguetza is the most authentic Oaxacan food you’ll find outside of Mexico. There, we said it. And it’s all thanks to its owners, Fernando Lopez and Maria Monterrubio, who brought their family recipes with them to LA—and have been faithful to those recipes since they opened their restaurant in 1994. Today, the couple’s children run the place, but the menu remains unchanged and includes Oaxacan classics like enmoladas (black mole chicken enchiladas served with queso fresco) and salsa de carne frita (pork ribs fried in a spicy tomato sauce served with rice and beans).
Gwang Yang
3435 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown
Bulgogi is one of the most ordered dishes by visitors who come to eat in Koreatown, and Gwang Yang serves a version that’s been three generations in the making. A family-owned restaurant founded in Korea, this is the only US location. The marinated, thin, barbecued slices of beef are perfectly smoky and tender and usually accompanied by a variety of side dishes, like bibim naengmyeon (Korean cold noodles in a chilled beef broth) and crisp kimchi pancakes.
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