With its mouthwatering meats marinated in a myriad of sauces, Korean BBQ has been around for centuries. But it’s not just about the food: It’s about gathering around the table with good friends – a ritual as old as eating itself. So dig into some grilled galbi, order a round of soju, and spend some time with the coolest people you know at these Korean BBQ standouts.
The Alibi Room
Lots of great restaurants can be found in Koreatown (obviously), but if you’re looking for one off the beaten track, look no further than Culver City. The warmth of the Alibi Room‘s main bar – made of oak and brass – invites everyone to linger over specialty cocktails, like the spicy, citrus-tinged tequila “breaking bad.” However, the highlight here is the food, created by the godfather of the taco truck movement himself, chef Roy Choi. Soak up stories with pals as you fill up with Alibi’s famous kogi short rib tacos and Korean-spiced fries, with some zesty Sriracha ketchup on the side. Prepare to get messy over the corn tortilla full of tender meat, sweet slaw, cilantro, and salsa. But rest assured, it’s worth it.
Dream Korean BBQ
This place may as well be a dream: You’ll leave with memories of a sumptuous feast, yet your wallet will be mysteriously untouched by the experience.
Satisfy your hungriest friends with Dream‘s all-you-can-eat menu and the best salad bar in town. You might want to have one of your friends nearby to pinch you, because you’ll get lost wandering down the vibrant expanse of fresh, unlimited portions of kimchi, sushi, noodles, and even pastas. But you did come for the BBQ, so dive into some all-you-can-eat meats. Jump into a comfy booth, choose your combo deal of choice, and enjoy as much brisket, pork belly, and bulgogi as you can handle. Most times, you’ll be eating alongside Korean locals, so you’ll know you’re in the right spot.
Hae Jang Chon
Another all-you-can-eat gem, Hae Jang Chong is the place to go with your night owl posse. The late-night crowd brings an energy that grows more festive as the clock ticks. If your companions are new to the Korean BBQ game, take control as captain of the table. Your server starts up your stone grill, and fantastic fresh meats start to arrive shortly after you order them. Throw some onions and thinly sliced strips of pork belly on there, and watch everyone’s mouths water as the fat melts off and sizzles. Wash down the delectable meats with a bottle of beer, and finish with some deliciously charred fried rice.
Genwa Korean BBQ
When you’re looking for something a little fancier, Genwa is a smart choice. It’s not all-you-can-eat, but the meats are top notch, and the service is unrivaled. Don’t be bashful about digging right into the tasty banchan – Genwa offers a huge selection of these mixed vegetable side dishes, such as kimchi and namul (a tasty poached spinach salad), seasoned with different spices and broths. Settle in at your dark wood table, and these little dishes will start arriving almost immediately – and in a continuous flow, like a waterfall. The main courses – like the juicy kot sal boneless short rib – can be cooked at your table on smokeless grills. Make sure to try everything… then slide your favorite gradually closer to you when no one’s looking.
When you roll into Park’s with your crew and notice the wall lined with photos of Korean pop stars, you know you’re going to be treated like a celebrity. The roomy dining room ensures that there will be plenty of elbow room when it comes time to dig in. Park’s meats are possibly the best in Koreatown. Be sure to order the ggot sal – it’s worth every penny. When you reverently heft this super-fatty, super-fine cut onto the grill, don’t bother with condiments. When you take you first bite of this perfectly marbled wonder, you’ll know why.