LA Trip Advice

Hi LA HOs, I plan on visiting LA next week from the Bay Area, mostly for eating. I will be staying in Koreatown. I will also be working remotely a few days (~3). Looking for some critiques of my list of possible places to dine at. Particularly for a few lunches as dinners are mostly booked already. Any advice on what to add or delete would be greatly appreciated!

Workday Lunch Possibilities (~3 lunches, probably will try to stick around Koreatown)

Shorter Walking Distance aka “Down the Street”:
Surawon Tofu House
Park’s BBQ (would be a repeat visit)
Guelaguetza (would be a repeat visit)

Longer walk or short ride on the bus/rideshare:
Langer’s (would be a repeat visit) - Not quite down the street but I’m going to try to go here again!
Iki Ramen
Yuk Dae Jang - for yukgaejang
Hangari Kalguksu - for kalguksu or milymun
Sun Nong Dan - for galbijjim
MDK noodles (Myung Dong Kyoja)
Ham Ji Park - for gamjatang
Han Bat Shul Lung Tang - for Seolleongtang

Any other standouts in or around Koreatown not to be missed?

Non-workday Lunch Possibilities:
Holbox and/or Chichen Itza
Luv2Eat - for the jade noodles
DTLA taco crawl - Sonoratown → Tacos 1986 → Guisados → Villa Moreliana at GCM → cup(s) of coffee
Petit Trois - booked
Angry Egret Dinette
Gish Bac
El Ruso
Pailin - for the khao soi
Pa Ord Noodle
Guerilla Tacos
Howlin Ray’s

Dinners - these are mostly booked already
Bestia - booked
Majordomo - booked
Sushi Hide - booked
Hayato - booked
Republique - booked
Osteria Mozza - booked
Pasjoli - booked
Ruen Pair

Bhan Kanom Thai
Saffron and Rose

Tiki Ti
Dan Tana’s
The Mermaid
Tiki No
Death & Co. LA
The Normandie Club


I am so looking forward to your reports!!!


Oh boy, I’m stuffed just reading that list.



Hi @Mr_Happy,

So glad you’re able to visit LA again. :slight_smile: From the list, some suggestions / thoughts:

Workday Lunch Possibilities (~3 lunches, probably will try to stick around Koreatown)

Shorter Walking Distance aka “Down the Street”:

  • Surawon Tofu House - Solid choice. Their Black Sesame Soondubu (Tofu Clay Pot) is unique, nice spot for lunch. :slight_smile:
  • Gwang Yang BBQ - If you’ve been to Park’s BBQ already, why not give Gwang Yang BBQ a try? IMHO, their meats are better quality / taste / texture (both use USDA Prime, but it’s just a better taste / cut IMHO). But I love Park’s for their Banchan and their BBQ is still quite good.

Longer walk or short ride on the bus/rideshare:

  • Langer’s (would be a repeat visit) - Great choice. Legendary Pastrami Sandwich. If you haven’t tried, their Corn Beef & Beef Tongue Combo is great as well (you sub the Pastrami for Beef Tongue). Patty Melt is decadent. :slight_smile:

  • Iki Ramen - I would skip this. It’s been too inconsistent. I know it got a lot of hype and love, but they’ve had more failed dishes over my 8 visits than hits unfortunately. :frowning:

  • Sun Nong Dan - for galbijjim - I’d go to Soban over Sun Nong Dan for Galbijjim. Have you had Soban yet? You also get ~12 - 16 different types of (Free) Banchan (which are all amazing!) on your visit. :slight_smile:

  • Ham Ji Park - for gamjatang - SO good! Love their Gamjatang. :heart:

Non-workday Lunch Possibilities:

  • Holbox and/or Chichen Itza: If you saw my Taco roundup, Holbox is back and better than ever! :slight_smile: So a good choice.
  • DTLA taco crawl - Sonoratown → Tacos 1986 → Guisados → Villa Moreliana at GCM → cup(s) of coffee

I would drop Sonoratown (overhyped, average Carne Asada, solid Flour Tortilla) and Tacos 1986 (they are a shell of their OG street stand, having turned into franchise mode with 5+ branches and all of them executing mediocre versions of their original greats, which actually was just the Al Pastor and Mushroom Tacos, and both of those were average at best at their brick & mortar DTLA shop (I went 3 times)).

But you can and definitely should visit Villa Moreliana! :slight_smile: Get there before 12 Noon to ensure you get the best cuts (on the weekends. If it’s a weekday, you’re OK by 12). Don’t forget their best cut is not listed on the menu: Costillas Carnitas (Stewed Pork Ribs), and they let you mix & match 2 types of Carnitas cuts per Taco! :slight_smile: So ask for 2 flavors to mix at once. I recommend the @A5KOBE special of Maciza (Stewed Pork Shoulder) + Cueritos (Stewed Pork Skin). :heart: Then get another with Costillas (Stewed Pork Ribs) + Orejas (Stewed Pork Ears).

If you want other “Tacos” to hit during the crawl, Angry Egret Dinette is only like 8 - 10 minutes from Villa Moreliana, and Chef Wes usually has at least 1 Taco on special these days (mostly other items now).

  • Angry Egret Dinette - Worth a visit. Make sure to try the Breakfast Burrito “Hey Porky’s” at least. Chef Wes Avila is rotating out the menu a lot more frequently these days, but that’s a mainstay. You can check my thread on Angry Egret for pics / ideas for other items if it helps. :slight_smile:

  • El Ruso - Highly overrated. Hyped by the Eater PR machine, and I have no agenda. We’ve been 4 times and it’s just… OK at best. If you want great Carne Asada there are much better choices.

  • Guerilla Tacos - This is a shell of its former shell. With Chef-Owner Wes Avila leaving Guerrilla, it’s not the same IMHO. Just go to Angry Egret Dinette, where Chef Wes is at these days.

  • Howlin Ray’s - Not open. :frowning: They are doing Deliver Only via Postmates app, and only 2 items on their menu. Skip it for now sadly.

  • Gjusta - Love this place. If you haven’t been yet, I think you’ll enjoy it. Try and book a table, or they allow some walk-ins, but be prepared to wait a long time if you go at prime lunch hour. They have the best Smoked Seafood deli counter in the city (Cold-Smoked Kanpachi, Smoked Salmon Belly!, any of their 5 types of Smoked Salmon / Gravlax, Lox, etc., Oil Cured Smoked Octopus, Smoked Sardines, etc.). Their Prime Rib Butcher Sandwich is almost back to normal now (medium rare), make sure you tell them you want it that way just in case. And many more ideas there.

Dinners - these are mostly booked already

  • Hayato - booked - CONGRATULATIONS! :blush: So happy you got a rare reservation! I think you’ll be very happy with the dinner.


  • Death & Co. LA - @Mr_Happy, I would implore you to skip this place. They put out the worst cocktails I’ve had over the last… 5+ years, easily. :frowning: I was shocked. Our whole party was shocked at how bad they were, and you get the “privilege” of paying ~$20 per cocktail for that. Awful.

My friends who’ve been to the OG Death & Co. NYC were stunned and upset as well.

  • The Normandie Club - They’re pretty mediocre, IMHO, but better than Death & Co. LA. Sadly, with Bar Maestro Julian Cox’ return to LA broken up (license issues), the Cocktail scene is… not so good for actually great tasting Cocktails.

I’d recommend hitting up Ototo Sake Bar for a good selection of Japanese Sake to try (by the glass or carafe) for a fun night out, or Shibumi Downtown LA as they have a good Sake & Whisky bar area (but check if you’re able to only have drinks or get some of their Kappo style small plates).

If you are craving great Yakitori & Kyoto-style Oden, you might consider Torihei (Torrance). As I wrote in a previous thread, the OG Chef-Owners are back cooking in the kitchen! :slight_smile: Just call ahead to make sure Sasaki-san (at the very least) is cooking that night. He’s usually cooking Friday & Saturdays, sometimes Sundays, but call ahead to make sure.

Enjoy your trip!


I’m impressed you scored a seat at Hayato!

How 'bout a round of gopchang?

Gonjiam does a great budaejigae

Sul & Beans for Injeolmi Bingsoo


Wow, thanks for all the advice!

Cool, will keep that in mind if I do the KBBQ

Ah, thanks for the feedback, you gave it a lot of chances! Will take it off the list.

Haven’t been, thanks for the rec.

Thanks for this and the order recs for Villa Moreliana! I definitely want to try get some tacos in one of the best taco towns in the country, maybe I will attempt a mini crawl of Angry Egret Dinette (looks good from your thread which was how I found out about it) + Villa Moreliana and then maybe a nap. Also will take Guerrilla Tacos and El Ruso and Howlin Ray’s off the list.

Cool will try to squeeze that in somewhere if I can.

Ah that’s a bummer. I’ve used their cocktail recipe book a lot. Will take it off the list and try to visit the NYC original whenever I get back to NYC. Also will take off the Normandie Club and will take a look at Ototo.

Thanks, this was on the radar thanks to your report, it would be an expensive (and long) Uber/Lyft ride though. Forgot to mention that I won’t have a car.


Thanks for the recs! I think I’ve only had beef intestine in menudo (which was a little too funky for me) and also grilled on a skewer (at Raku in Vegas) which was pretty good IIRC (edit: n/m I think it was pork intestine there). Sul & Beans looks like a nice place for dessert/snack.

Yeah I was on a waitlist on Tock, I guess someone cancelled.


Hi @Mr_Happy,

Glad to help! :slight_smile: A couple other Drinks spots I just thought of:

  • Seven Grand / Bar Jackalope (Downtown LA): They are primarily a Whisky Bar but make a variety of cocktails as well. Bar Jackalope is a hidden speakeasy (neat), much quieter hidden within Seven Grand (yah, a bar within a bar). :slight_smile: Bar Jackalope specializes in rare whiskies (Scotch, Japanese, World, American, Irish, etc.), and make just 2 cocktails IIRC (an excellent Japanese Highball and an Old Fashioned).

  • Alexander’s Steakhouse (Pasadena): I found out about this place from @ipsedixit. Their Bar (you can just walk into that area, but call ahead if you want to see if you can book a couple seats) is more laid back, they have an excellent Whisky selection (Scotch, American Bourbons, Japanese) and some rarer bottles as well. Solid cocktails, friendly staff.

Oh and for Villa Moreliana - They give you 2 tortillas per Taco. Just use 1 tortilla for maximum stomach space if you’re doing a crawl. :wink:

Feel free to ask if you have more questions. :slight_smile:


Korean gopchang prep leans more into the crispy spectrum with their hot plate like frying technique. It’s great when you feel like a long night of greasy eats washed down with lots of booze. Guilty pleasure.

As the article noted, raw material prep is meticulous for those with an aversion to barn-yardy notes.
“Gopchang undergoes a rigorous cleaning process involving the use of water, wheat flour, salt, and some type of alcohol, usually soju.”


Villa Moreliana and Tire Shop Taqueria are a must for tacos.

The tacos are Villa Moreliana are pretty large. 2-3 is a good amount of anyone. I was just at Tire Shop this week and it was just as good as before. Stick with the carne asada and chorizo. I get a mulita de asada y chorizo and a bunch of tacos. I kill the tacos then eat as much of the mulita as I possibly can and eat the rest the next day. Bring cash.

Skip Night + Market, that place was a salt bomb. Luv2Eat and Hoy Ka are damn tasty and better options. Sapp Coffee Shop is another place that I would look at for jade noodles although I do like Luv2Eat slightly more.

Also, if you have the chance, Los Dorados does some of the most amazing flautas. They are going to be at Smorgasburg LA this Sunday, check their instagram for locations throughout the week. Maybe swing by after Majordomo if they are in the Arts District that night. The chorizo con papa and the barbacoa were my favorites.

Also to note, El Ruso has moved to Silverlake near All Day Baby which does an excellent bacon, egg, cheese biscuit sandwich with strawberry jam. And Gemini Bakeshop in Silverlake has been pumping out breakfast as well and everything I have had from them has been excellent.

And if you find yourself in Inglewood/Lennox, definitely go to 106 Underground Seafood. Grab an order of marlin tacos, scallop, shrimp and octopus ceviche marinero. Those marlin tacos are so succulent and smokey, just perfection. They also serve Pacifico and Modelo on a hot summer day, the backyard set up is super chill too.

Chosun Galbee is also another great option, although I find myself always going back to Park’s for the overall experience. Park’s banchan, meats, and kimchee is the total package for me.

And happy eating, your list looks well thought out already!


Hi @Sgee,

I have had Korean gopchang at a couple places in K-town over the past few years, and each time they fail to end up crispy. :frowning: They are seared, but never crisped up, and it ends up being super chewy.

Which places do you recommend to try for extra crisped gopchang?

I still haven’t found anything as good as Aburiya Raku’s legendary Pork Intestine Skewer. Thanks. :slight_smile:

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Looks good, thanks for the heads up :cocktail:

There’s actually a few Alexander’s up here as well, though I haven’t been to one yet.


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Yeah in the beef intestine I’ve had in menudo I remember it sometimes being pretty mellow with a slight funk, and in one other time way too funky. Makes sense that the salt and alcohol etc. along with rinsing thoroughly would get rid of more of that.

Thanks for all the recs!

Ah thanks didn’t know about the Tire Shop. We don’t really have mulitas up here (at least I don’t see them on menus).

Will take off Night+Market from the list. Def. want to try to get some jade noodles and looks like Luv2Eat might be it. I did go to Sapp Coffee Shop in a previous trip but had the (excellent) boat noodles there that time.

Cool, looks like the market will be open Sunday afternoon. Those are some good looking flautas.


The gold standard is probably Ahgassi Gopchang, but in the rush to turn over tables, they start the heat way too high, don’t give you enough time to properly crisp up the gopchang, and prematurely start the process for the fried rice, which includes adding moisture to the pan to deglaze. If you go at non-peak hours (to be polite) and monitor the temp, stop them when you see the squeeze bottle come out, and say you want to crisp your gopchang some more, you’ll have a much better experience. Your server might be annoyed that you are disrupting their rote routine, but that’s the price we pay for crispy intestines. (And of course it doesn’t hurt to point out that it’s non-peak and to add a little bit extra in gratuity.)


Definitely add Tire Shop Taqueria they are imo some of the best tacos in LA. This should be a priority!

How about Needle and Pearl River Deli? While the Bay Area has the best dim sum scene in the country, Needle/PRD bring some of the best HK/Canto food on a casual level.

I agree with adding Soban to your list.

Consider Northern Thai Food Club and Holy Basil. These are some of the 2 best Thai restaurants that came out in the past few years. Northern Thai Food Club makes the best Khao Soi in LA. Holy Basil is doing some of the best Bangkok/Central style Thai food.

Ruen Pair! Make sure you do it right and order the Thai-Chiu Chow dishes.

Maybe on a another visit check out Bavel.


@Chowseeker1999 what @pomsmoms wrote :+1: ! Although if you’re comparing vs Raku, some residual chew is part of the appeal I believe. At least for me…

I’ve actually haven’t dined at a gopchang specialist in LA yet. Discovered it when I was in NYC.


+1 tire shop taqueria. It’s freakin awesome


Hi @pomsmoms,

Welcome! :slight_smile: And thanks for the tip on navigating Ahgassi Gopchang and how to get crisped intestines. :slight_smile: Now that you mention it, it did seem (at the 2 other places we tried a few years back) that the servers were kind of in a routine / rushed and that’s probably why it didn’t turn out crisped at all.

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Thanks for the recs!

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