Koreatown guide: The best Korean BBQ restaurants

Check out our Koreatown guide to LA’s best Korean BBQ restaurants for grill-it-yourself meats and a smoke-filled barbecue experience.

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Kalbi at Soot Bull Jeep

Kalbi at Soot Bull Jeep Photograph: Sara L


Koreatown may not be LA's destination for its many around-the-clock coffee shops or dive bars (diamonds in the rough, if you ask us). But while K-town's unsung gems are have yet to be discovered by Angelenos, the neighborhood's Korean BBQ is known the city over. DIY, grill-your-own meat is as much part of the experience as brute waitresses and smoke-filled dining rooms that range from posh to straight hole-in-a-wall. Grill up varying meats from pork belly to marinated short rib, but beer is a staple. The best part? This group-friendly dining is a meal deal, leaving plenty more change in your pocket to explore the rest of the 'hood.  

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Park's BBQ

  • Price band: 3/4

Angelenos may be divided on their favorite Korean barbecue spot in this city, but Park's seems to be the one unifying constant. The quality meat and tried-and-true flavors always hit the spot. The vibe is more upscale with bright, modern furnishings and lines are never too bad with a sprawling bi-level dining room. And for novices, English is the norm here, while parking is never dreaded with convenient, on-site valet.

  1. 955 S Vermont Ave
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Chung Ki Wa

  • Price band: 2/4

The sign says "Korean Black Angus" and that's just what you should order at Chung Ki Wa. Order up rib-eye marinated, sliced or bone-in; either way, carnivores can get their fill. Prices are reasonable, especially considering the full spread of banchan and attentive, friendly service. Cook on the flat top, but if you must, the kitchen can also do the cooking for you. And to pair, do as the regulars do: Pair your beef order with nengmyun, cold buckwheat noodles.

  1. 3545 W Olympic Blvd
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Chosun Galbee

  • Price band: 3/4

If Park's is where locals go, then Chosun Galbee is where to bring the parents and out-of-towners. This Koreatown spot offers an upscale setting with outdoor seating and—gasp—smokeless grills. With the more modern vibe, the food leans on the less traditional side with less-is-more approach to food and array of side banchan dishes. Wine by the glass and bottle add to the posh dining experience, while private rooms can be booked ahead for large parties.

  1. 3330 W Olympic Blvd
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Kang Hodong Baekjeong

  • Price band: 3/4

Chapman Plaza is buzzing and lines of people are waiting to get into this celeb-owned Korean BBQ spot. Named after Korean comedian Kang Hodong, this casual eatery doesn't disappoint with top-notch barbecue beef and a raging (as in don't expect to have quiet banter with your date) good time. Groups file in around the open grill that's outfitted with side pockets of roasting corn, kimchi and egg. Start with the house specialty: the lunch box is a kimchi rice mix served in a tin box to share. It's all about group dining here so get into the spirit and fire it up.

  1. 3465 W 6th St
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Palsaik Samgyupsal

  • Price band: 2/4

Forget the usual Korean BBQ joints. For those suffering from kalbi fatigue can fill up on samgyupsal aka pork belly. And if that wasn't enough, eight different marinades—hence the restaurant's name meaning "eight colors"—give enough variety to tired tastebuds. Original and miso paste to curry and wine-flavored swine is cooked on the flat top alongside a seafood soup. The meal ends with kimchi fried rice cooked directly in the soup bowl, making this a three-in-one meal.

  1. 863 S Western Ave
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