Where to eat, drink and relax in the most exciting neighborhood in LA!
Koreatown is famously known for it’s savory K-BBQ, nightclubs, mega-spas and affordable rents. Located central to just about everything in Los Angeles, this bustling culture grid is the closest thing you can get to hopping a flight to Seoul.
After three years of residing in the neighborhood for the preferred proximity to shiatsu massages, hand cut noodles and hot-pot-soups, I’ve narrowed down some of my favorite places to eat, drink, dessert, coffee and spa. What else do you need?
- Samra Acupuncture Clinic: treating the Duchess of Sussex herself, Dr. Chung is a fifth generation practitioner of Oriental Medicine and utilizes traditional Korean Acupuncture according to your body’s constitution.
- Spa LA: One of my favorite ladies spa in Koreatown for clean facilities and a variety of mineral rooms. From salt room, herbal dry room, steam, sauna and negative ion room, this spa is the best for the price and the peace of mind it brings. Scrubs, massage and Yoni-steams are offered.
- Wi Spa: Not my favorite solo day spa, but if you’re with friends or a partner, this mega-spa is a great gathering place to enjoy the co-ed spaces together.
- Olympic Spa: Ladies spa offering herbal whirl-pools, saunas and bodywork treatments in a spacious and clean atmosphere.
- Dream Bodyworks: When you find a great massage therapist, you stick with them! Get the 90 minutes deep tissue for a strong shiatsu with the addition of hot stones.
- KoKo Foot Massage: I started coming here for reflexology but now I get the 60 minute back and leg treatments. They are always consistent and at a fair price.
- Bumsan Organic Milk Bar: Skip the fancy cones and come here for creamy matcha goodness or purple taro ice cream that is just the right amount of sweet and savory.
- 85 Degrees: The Strawberry Tiramisu cake will be the highlight of the evening at any dinner party or birthday celebration.
- Holy Roly: Order the Ferror Rochet or Earl Grey. Out of town friends will say damn, “I wish we had one of these back home.”
- Somi Somi: Come here for a special Korean dessert called “Ah-Boong”, a fish-shaped waffle cone filled with your choice of filling and topped with soft serve ice cream.
- Honeyme: Matcha game is strong, so is the honey milk ice cream. Love me some Honeyme!
- Ubatuba Acai: Superfood Acai bowls with toppings like hemp seeds, cacao, mango, kiwi and more.
Ramen/Hot Pot Soups
- Iki Ramen: Simple, elegant and minimal atmosphere serving flavor-packed dishes. Let this be your new go-to take-out spot. Order the Burnt Garlic Tonkatsu on repeat!
- Saikai Ramen Bar: Delicious ramen and rice bowls. Order the Gyukotsu, a 36-hour beef bone broth with shiitake and green onion.
- Ten Ramen: Low-key ramen spot offering Japanese soups and fried rice. Order the Spicy Miso Ramen and Chicken Karaage.
- Hangari: Traditional Korean Kalguksu soup served with a 1/2 chicken and jujube. These hand cut noodles upped my noodle game. Delicious!
- My Thai: Another of my frequent take out spots, order the Khao Soi, Spicy Noodle Soup or the Papaya Salad.
- Sun Nong Dan: Featured in the LA times for “Bubbling cauldrons of goodness”, come here for traditional hot pot soups served with turnip kimchi, spicy chives and sweet onions.
- Michindak: I have one very real addiction, fried chicken from Michindak! Order the Honey Orange Chicken Sandwich with extra pickles, if that’s your jam.
- Café Concerto: Korean-Italian fare with a lively outdoor space. I had the Mushroom Truffle Oil Pizza and a variety of macaroons for dessert.
- Hae Ha Heng: New favorite Thai spot with a roof top patio and traditional dishes. Order the Green Curry lunch special with the Papaya salad.
- Kyochon Chicken: Come here for the honey fried chicken and a side dish of pickled radish.
- The Carving Board: The Sweet November sandwich with a side salad and nothing else.
- Open Air: Green-house patio with Californian-culinary fare. Come here for brunch in a beautiful outdoor atmosphere and order the Cinnamon Roll with the Eggs Benedict.
- Cassell’s Hamburgers: located inside Hotel Normandie, this American style diner offers classic breakfast, lunch and dinner. Order the Cheeseburger with a side of Truffle fries.
- Double Trouble Union: Korean-American comfort food with a twist. Order the Reuben or the Protein Packed Cobb Salad.
- Quarters BBQ at Chapman Market: Come here for a lively courtyard atmosphere but get here before 7pm if you want to beat the crowds. There is always a crowd.
- Woo Hyang Woo: Sit outside and order The Tamahawk, a pitcher of beer and you’re all set.
- Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong: Come with a group of people and order the Spicy Pork Belly, Bulgogi and Banchan. Keep the Soju and Hite coming!
- Ahgassi Gopchang: Known for their gopchang aka cow intestines, try something new or order the Short Rib and the Brisket.
- Jjukku Jjukku BBQ: Come here for three things–The charcoal grill, lunch special and Marinated Beef Bulgogi.
- Alchemist: Serving Onyx Coffee (my personal favorite) order the Duo Latte or a Stormy Weather pour-over.
- Heyri: One of my favorite patio’s in Koreatown. Order the Tiramisu and Hongsam-cha tea.
- One More: The Matcha Einspanner is made to perfection here, and their Buratta is the best mid-summers-day bite. Oh, and the upstairs patio! Divine.
- Balcony coffee and tea: Cute cafe with a verdant patio, perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up.
- Alfred: Located inside the Line Hotel, Alfred is a cult favorite coffee spot in Los Angeles and Japan.
- Rose and Blanc Tea Room: Fancy and chic high-tea room serving cakes and finger sandwiches in a bright and whimsical atmosphere.
- The Normandie Club: Craft cocktails with a vintage and moody ambience, this hotel bar attracts out-of-towners and Los Angelenos.
- The Prince: Pink lamps and red leather booths light up this old-school hideaway. Hollywood loves this bar for TV shows like New Girl and Mad Men.
- HMS Bounty: A Nostalgic feel with a nautical theme and lively Christmas decorations make this bar a cozy holiday gem.
- Dan Sung Sa: Authentic Korean pub with a waiting list. Come here for a drink or late night bites. Offering small plates and soju drinks, I recommend the chicken Yakitori, Hot Pot Udon and Tofu Kimchi to soak up the night.
- Lock and Key: Speakeasy on the edge of K-town with great cocktails and an outdoor dance floor. It’s a vibe. The pizza spot next door serves two styles; Sicilian or New York.
- Star Night: Attracting a stylish and upscale crowd, this restaurant and bar serves traditional Korean dishes and drinks. The outdoor space here is amazing to relax, kick back and have cocktails with friends.
- Break Room 86: Cocktails, Karaoke and Michael Jackson impersonations. Enter the secret passageway for an 80’s analog atmosphere.
- Escala: Colombian bar and restaurant inside Chapman Market with funky gramophone chandeliers and Latin dishes. Come here for drinks and small plates. Order the Empanadas and the Loaded Yucca Fries.
With so many hidden gems packed into this eclectic urban landscape, K-Town continues to grow and demand attention for it’s incredible culinary scene, nightlife and relaxing day spas. Of all the places and pockets of Los Angeles, I really do feel the most at home in my neighborhood, Koreatown.
Do you have a favorite spot that didn’t make it on my list? Put it in a comment below!