We’re going to keep this simple: LA is overflowing with quality Korean BBQ. All it takes is one quick trip down 6th Street in Koreatown to realize that BBQ spots are counted by the dozen here, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s hard to know where to head first. That’s why we wrote this guide. Whether you’re looking for bountiful piles of meat, something upscale, or a classic, smoke-filled party atmosphere, these are our 15 favorite spots for Korean BBQ in Los Angeles.
photo credit: AB Steak
AB Steak by Chef Akira Back
This fancy KBBQ spot/steakhouse sits on the ground floor of the Beverly Center, right next to the valet entrance on Third Street. With giant booths and gleaming golden chandeliers, AB Steak has all the glamor of a ballroom on the Vegas Strip. Expect smokeless grill tables where a server cooks your meat and a smoke-bubble-topped cocktail that pops when you touch the rim of your glass. The steak, as you might guess, is pricey and of incredible quality. A good portion is aged in-house (and displayed in a window visible from the entrance), with options that range from ribeye and sirloin to wagyu brisket and prime boneless short rib. All meat orders come with a spread of housemade banchans, but we suggest getting the spicy kimchi fried rice or japchae to round out your meal. Though you can find similar luxury KBBQ experiences in Koreatown, come here for a glitzy meal with people who love top-tier meat or appreciate being doted on by a personal chef.
Equal parts barbecue spot, drinking den, and informal nightclub, MUN is an upscale Korean steakhouse where you’ll dine on boneless short ribs, beef tartare bibimbap, and kimchi pancakes glued together with molten cheese. The energy here is fork-in-the-socket electric and the menu is a mix of home run traditional dishes and inventive takes: thick-cut steaks, truffle shrimp, Wagyu beef brisket, kimchi “bomb” noodles (an ice-cold soup akin to naengmyeon), and cheese fondue. Meals should balance premium meats (the $200 variety combo serves four people and includes flat-iron steak, honeycomb-cut pork belly, pork jowl, and short ribs) with those fun, whimsical a la carte items.
Magal strikes a great balance between the rowdiness of Ahgassi and the high-end prices of Parks. The game plan at this modern, industrial spot on 8th Street is to skip the combo platters and instead order a la carte. We’ve found that you get better cuts of meat for the same amount of money. Focus on the marinated beef options and then add in any pork dish that catches your eye. Do your best to not fill up on the banchan—it’s some of our favorite in the neighborhood.
Plain and simple, Parks BBQ is the gold standard of Korean BBQ in Los Angeles. Sure, they might not have the party-like atmosphere of other nearby spots, and you’re definitely going to spend some money here, but when it comes to the quality of meat, Parks can’t be topped. The large menu can be overwhelming, but concentrate on the combo platters (listed as P1-P3) and watch as a glorious parade of meats like bulgogi, short rib, ribeye, and all the necessary banchan starts arriving at your table. Reservations are mandatory, especially on weekends.
Koreatown is not lacking in noisy BBQ spots filled with even noisier groups gathered around the grill, but our favorite is Ahgassi Gopchang. The massive spot on 6th Street is a little tricky to find (you have to enter through a back parking lot behind a row of commercial buildings), but once you do, you’ll enter into a loud, smoke-filled celebration that rages until 2am every single night. Lines can get long at peak times, but just know that you’re waiting on some of the finest cuts of meat in the neighborhood. The skirt steak, marinated short rib, and large intestine are all must-orders.
The moment you walk into Sun Ha Jang, you’re confronted with countless photos of ducks. It’s not because they’re really into Aflac. Duck is pretty much the only thing they serve here. Our favorite is the sliced breast, brought to your table and then cooked to order and dished out by an extremely strict server. You eat it with some radish, onion, and lettuce, and once it’s all gone—and you’re already full—they’ll bring over a huge plate of rice, which they cook with kimchi in the rendered duck fat. You’ll go home extremely full on duck, which is one of the best kinds of full.
photo credit: Soh Grill House
With granite tabletops, koi ponds, and a huge outdoor patio that feels like you’re in a rainforest, Chosun Galbee is one of the more upscale KBBQ restaurants in all of Koreatown. Yes, that means prices are higher, but it also means high-quality cuts of meat and a space you could easily take your boss or an important client to. Plus, they have one of the only full bars in the area, which is ideal if you swore off soju in college. Concentrate on any of their prime combos, and if you’re looking for private dining, that’s available as well.
Not all KBBQ experiences involve giant grills filled with smoking beef and pork. Case in point: Jae Bu Do. This legendary spot swaps out red meat for seafood, and the results are tremendous. You’re definitely going to eat some things you don’t normally see in LA restaurants (abalone that’s still moving, hagfish), but that’s part of the fun. The quality of the seafood is high and cooking it yourself over a flaming grate is a thrilling act. So put on the heatproof white gloves they hand out, and get ready to have one of the most unique meals in the city.
We like Jeong Yuk Jeom for a couple of reasons. For one, even during peak weekend hours, you can almost always find a table in their massive, two-story space off Western. Secondly, their selection of dry-aged cuts and prime-grade short ribs are both tremendous. If you’re rolling in with a large group, you’ll be tempted to get one of the “Butcher’s Pride” combination platters, but they don’t fully showcase the prime dry-aged beef, so we recommend just ordering a couple of the prime cuts a la carte. Fill out your meal with a few seafood pancakes and the accompanying banchan, and you’re set for a true feast.
One of the only barbecue spots in Koreatown that still cooks with charcoal, Soot Bull Jeep specializes in marinated baby back ribs that are sweet, tender, and not too fatty. The old-school grills give the meat a distinctly smoky richness—as oils and fats drip onto the fire, they sizzle back up into your food, adding another layer of flavor. The spicy pork and beef short ribs are also good bets, and the banchan spread (especially the bean sprouts) goes great with the charred meat. Soot Bull Jeep is one of the more laid-back KBBQ restaurants in town, packed with families and neighborhood regulars, but keep in mind it gets pretty smoky here, so know that you’re going to walk out smelling like a campfire.
Kang Ho Dong Baek Jeong
Kang Ho Dong Baekjong took a straightforward premise—unfussy, high-quality KBBQ—and turned it into a mini chain, complete with its own trademark (yes, they own the phrase “We Meat Again”). Nowadays, you can find Baekjongs in Torrance, Rowland Heights, and Irvine, but when we’re in the mood for massive meat and pork combo platters, we usually head to their flagship location in Koreatown. This rowdy spot on 6th Street (the entrance is through the back parking lot) has long been a home for drunk college kids, birthday parties, and every other kind of big-group gathering. And for that reason alone, wait times often balloon. Stay strong though, because their gorgeous displays of cast-iron prime ribeye and boneless short ribs make the lines worth it. Or, you can just do what we do and walk over to Toe Bang for a few rounds of soju until they call your name.
When it comes to Korean BBQ, you usually have to pick two: short wait times, a party atmosphere, or great food. But Soowon Galbi is that rare place where you can have all three. Come on any random night, and you’ll see people in suits hosting meetings next to UCLA kids who are clearly using fake IDs to buy their Hite pitchers. Everyone’s having fun, and there are some great combinations: the best deal is Combo B, which has enough beef and pork to feed four (even if the menu only says two).
Jin Ju’s speciality is marinated pork ribs: hefty slabs marinated in a slick, glossy sauce sweetened with pear juice (it’s a family recipe that’s been passed down through three generations). The owner’s parents opened the first Jin Ju in South Korea and now you can find the same homey dishes in a Koreatown strip mall. The interior here is cute: cartoon farm animals frolic in pearls on the restaurant’s signage and drive a getaway car in the dining room. For something unique, try the “special,” an $89.99 feast that comes with juicy sirloin steak, a big curl of kielbasa, and chopped vegetables, all cooked tableside and followed by a kimchi fried rice finish. It’s quite a show. The two sisters who run the place take turns at the grill, carefully slicing and dicing the steak, then sautéing the bell peppers and mushrooms and onions and potatoes until the whole room smells like sizzling fajitas at a Mexican restaurant.
This is the first—and only—US location of Daedo Sikdang, a legendary Seoul steakhouse with an outpost in Koreatown. You’ll find the restaurant in a huge, sleek building on 6th Street (trust us, there will not be parking) filled with rows of identical light wood tables and glistening metal grills. The menu is short, with a focus on premium cuts like marinated angus beef, dry-aged strips, and the ribeye roll, a super tender cut of alternating layers of lean meat and marbled fat. Things can get carnivorous fast, so we recommend ordering a few sides to go with your meal. Go for the crispy orange kkakdooki fried rice and yolmu cold noodle soup, which comes with thin rice noodles and blocks of ice right in the bowl.
Soh is a Korean BBQ spot built for Pasadena, which means it’s all very easy and accessible. There’s plenty of parking, you can make a reservation, and they’ve got a full section of sorbets on the menu. But Soh is also very good. Order one of the combinations (for two, four, or six people, although each can feed more). They all include our two favorite cuts: beef belly—a lesser-seen cut that’s tender and rich—and pork jowl, which is equally fatty and flavorful. The banchan is fresh, bright, and plentiful, and if you’re going to add one thing, make it the kimchi fried rice, topped with a fried egg and bacon.