We’re going to keep this simple - LA is overflowing with quality Korean BBQ. All it takes is one quick trip down 6th St. 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 what this guide’s for. Whether you’re looking for rare meats, something upscale, or a classic, smoke-filled party atmosphere, these are our 12 favorite spots for Korean BBQ in Los Angeles.
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.
We like Jeong Yuk Jeom for a couple of reasons. For one, even during peak hours on the weekend, 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 rib 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.
When it comes to All You Can Eat deals, the general rule is “quantity over quality.” But apparently TaeKwon 92 never got the memo. This spot in the San Gabriel Valley does three tiers of AYCE, and they don’t skimp on the high-end stuff. That means as much dry-aged ribeye and prime short rib as you can handle, plus fantastic spicy pork belly, brisket, bulgogi, shrimp, and octopus, and sides that definitely don’t feel like afterthoughts. The trade-off is that prices tend to be a bit higher (their top-of-the-line “Diamond” deal is $54), but TK92 is an equally good option for a la carte - we love the ribeye and marinated short rib. Plus, you get an (actually really good) ice cream sandwich at the end of your meal… and that’s pure class.
Koreatown is definitely 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 St. 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.
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 St. 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.
If you know one BBQ spot in Koreatown, chances are it’s Kang Ho. This legendary spot right on 6th St. (the entrance is through the back parking lot) has long been a mecca for drunk college kids, rowdy birthday parties, and every other big-group gathering in the neighborhood. And for that reason alone, wait times are counted by the hour every night of the week. Stay strong though, because their massive meat and pork combo platters make the long lines worth it. Or you can just do what we do and walk over to Toe Bang for a few rounds of soju and some kimchi pancakes until they call your table.
Not all KBBQ experiences involve giant grills filled with smoking meat. 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 (hagfish, abalone that’s still moving), but that’s part of the fun - plus, the quality is high and a meal here is always a great time. So put on the white gloves they pass out, and get ready to have one of the most unique meals in the city.
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 - an unusual cut that’s tender, flavorful, and great - and pork jowl, which is also fantastic. The banchan is fresh, bright, and plentiful, and if you’re going to add one thing on, make it the kimchi fried rice, topped with a fried egg and bacon.
With granite tabletops, koi ponds, and a huge outdoor patio that kind of feels like you’re in a rainforest, Chosun Galbee is one of the more upscale 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.
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 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.
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).