Food & Drink

The Westside's 9 best Korean BBQ spots

Published On 05/21/2014 Published On 05/21/2014
Bibigo

K-Town may have a stranglehold on the best Korean BBQ in LA, but let's be honest: in LA, often the "best" is less important than "the best that doesn't involve an hour of traffic on the 10". So, West-of-La Cienega friends, take note: here're the top nine Korean BBQ spots in your neck of the woods.

Tiffany Tse
Tofu Ya (click here for address and info)

West LA
This traditional joint's a little smaller and older than Seoul House (which is just down the block), but its bill will set you back a little less, and its meat (think succulent cuts of Kalbi served on a sizzling hot plate over a bed of sliced onions) is no less tasty.

Tiffany Tse
Gushi (click here for address and info)

Westwood
If you're willing to put up with the occasional long line of people wearing baby blue, this cash-only stand just down from In-N-Out serves perfectly charred pork belly, bulgogi, Kalbi, and chicken, as well as hefty portions of stir-fried japchae (Korean glass noodles).

Tiffany Tse
Galbi King (click here for address and info)

West LA
Tabletop grills? Check. Generous banchan portions? Check. All-you-can-eat heaping plates of meat? Chizzeck. For $17, this strip-mall joint (that used to be Tofuya Korean BBQ & Grill) serves up all the savory, tender bulgogi, pork belly, and beef tongue your stomach can handle. Bonus points for ample parking and being the only AYCE spot on the Westside.

Bibigo
Bibigo (click here for address and info)

Westwood & Century City
Think of Bibigo as the Chipotle of Korean cuisine. But instead of carnitas, they've got char-grilled bulgogi and braised short rib. And instead of tailor-made burritos and bowls, they've got customizable bibimbap (a traditional rice dish topped with veggies, egg, and chili paste) with the option to swap out plain rice for the chewy, nutty, insanely delicious black rice.

Tiffany Tse
Wharo Korean BBQ (click here for address and info)

Marina Del Rey
An actual date-friendly Westside KBBQ spot, Wharo uses charcoal instead of gas tabletop grills, which adds to the rich, smoky flavor of its prime chuck Kalbi and thin-sliced brisket. If you have cash to burn, get the kobe combo: a platter of marbled, fatty beef shipped from a ranch in Idaho.

Tiffany Tse
Santa Monica Lee's Grill (click here for address and info)

West LA
This little stand on Santa Monica Blvd isn't about upholding tradition. Though its three BBQ plates are hearty and flavorful, if you like your bulgogi on-the-go, they'll serve it in a substantial burrito jammed with rice and cabbage. Also worth hitting? The spicy, tangy kimchi fried rice.

Tiffany Tse
Seoul House of Tofu (click here for address and info)

West LA
Ignore the absolutely terrifying name; when you've got a craving for BBQ, this Sawtelle establishment will hit the spot. Try its spicy pork 'gogi, which tastes like it's been marinating in slightly sweet chili paste for days, and wash it down with a glass(es) of the light Korean beer, Hite.

Tiffany Tse
Garden Barbeque (click here for address and info)

Santa Monica
Leave cloth napkins and Wagyu beef to schmancy Eastsiders. This hole-in-the-wall across the street from SMC is a great find for a grab-and-go lunch. It's run by a friendly, old husband and wife who speak just enough English to take your order, which won't cost you an arm and a leg... unless your arm/leg cost eight bucks. The eight spot will get you a massive plate of juicy chicken bulgogi with a fried egg and miso soup.

 Asian-Ya (click here for address and info)

West LA
This rare, open-past-midnight Westside spot'll satisfy your post-Arsenal Kalbi craving, with thin slices of the BBQ meat coming a la carte or over a bowl of rice. If, for some dumb reason, that's not what you want, they've also got a slew of other dishes from all over Asia. Although, let's be honest, after-midnight geography's not your strong suit.

Tiffany Tse is a freelance writer who occasionally leaves the Westside for great food and concerts. Find her on Twitter at @twinksy or Instagram at @twinksy.

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1. Bibigo 1091 Broxton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024 (Westwood)

One of multiple locations, Bibigo is a quality spot for Korean BBQ with such items as char-grilled bulgogi, braised short rib, and classic bibimbap.

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2. Wharo Korean BBQ 4029 Lincoln Blvd, Marina del Rey, CA 90292 (Marina Del Rey)

This Marina Del Rey spot is a date-friendly Korean BBQ, and it uses charcoal instead of gas tabletop grills, which adds to the rich, smoky flavor of their prime chuck kalbi and thin-sliced brisket, among many other options.

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3. Galbi King 11267 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064 (West La)

For $17, this strip mall Korean BBQ joint in West LA serves up all the savory, tender bulgogi, pork belly, and beef tongue your stomach can handle.

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4. Asian-Ya 11660 Gateway Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064 (West La)

Before looking at this ramen shop's menu order the tan tan men. If it's not going to be enough to fill you, get the jalepeno fried rice and maybe even pick out one of the 30 or so ramen options, but the servings are pretty generous here, so the tan tan men should do you just fine. Best part? It all goes good with beer.

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5. Garden Barbeque 1707 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405 (Santa Monica)

Though you're likely going to head towards the BBQ at this fast-food asian restaurant -- and deservedly so as it's one of the most popularly ordered dishes here -- we urge you to try out the rice dishes. Kimchi fried rice with it's runny egg on top, or even a host stone pot bimbimap(rice with vegetables and a little bit of beef) are silent strengths here.

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6. Santa Monica Bar and Grill 3321 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90025 (West La)

Hit this strip mall Korean BBQ spot for kimchi fried rice. If that's not really your speed, there's a variety of pan-asian fare, and we hear it's not a bad idea to hone your eyes in on the sushi.

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7. Seoul - House of Tofu 2101 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025 (West La)

10+ varieties of tofu stew plus classics like bimbop and bulgogi make this mini-mall located Korean shop a nice lunch spot. If you're headed here for dinner on the weekend, expect a bit of a crowd.

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8. Gushi 978 Gayley Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024 (Westwood)

This Korean BBQ spot is one for the books -- head in for some authentic bulgogi, Kalbi, or Wagyu beef, and indulge in one of their many brews on hand.

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9. Tofu Ya 2021 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025 (West La)

Tofu Ya, West LA's serious contender for the best Korean BBQ in LA, has some of the greatest Kalbi, best-cooked bulgogi, and serious other meat options.

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