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Food Travel Los Angeles

oh joy day trip: koreatown…

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K-town-100-blog

I often get asked about what to do in LA when someone is coming to visit from out of town. I have so many favorite spots in Los Angeles, that it can be hard to narrow it down. And since LA is so spread out, you really want to see the city one neighborhood at a time as it's not easy to see a ton of different spots all around the city in one day.

So today, we're starting a new series called Oh Joy Day Trip, where we'll focus on one neighborhood in Los Angeles and share a few of our favorites there. It will by no means be able to cover everything I love in that neighborhood, but it's a good starting point for a handful of spots if you're visiting for the first time. Each day trip will include a mix of food, shopping, and treats, of course! See our first one below!


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Poketo—One of our favorite Downtown Los Angeles shops has an outpost within the Line Hotel in Koreatown. From Eric Trine planters to Compartes chocolates, they support a lot of local artists and designers as well as offering both home decor, personal accessories, and other giftable pieces.

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The Cafe at The Line Hotel—Have breakfast or a snack at this cafe right down the hall from Poketo. We loved the guava pie and custard bun.

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Klat Cafe—This cafe offers a bunch of breakfast and brunch options including rib eye kimchi fried rice, waffles with berries, and bluejam ricotta toast. 

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Somisomi—Probably one of our favorite new spots in Koreatown, this soft serve spot offers a few different flavors (like chocolate, milk, and green tea flavors) in a Taiyaki fish cone which is basically like a waffle formed into a cute fish shape. In this case they use it as the cone to fill with soft serve ice cream and nutella at the very bottom. YUM!

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Daiso—There are locations of this Japanese department store all over California, and we love this location in Koreatown because it's close to other fun spots (Klat and SomiSomi) in the same shopping area. Whether you actually need to buy something or you're simply there for inspiration, it's fun to walk up and down the aisles because you see the most unique things there from fruit erasers to animals kitchen sponges. The Pocky selection is seriously legit, too.

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Naemamdu Mandu—If you're looking for one more spot off the beaten path, this dumpling spot is located inside a Zion Market grocery store. This tiny stall only makes homemade dumplings and buns by one sweet lady.

Our picks this time were all day time spots, but if you're looking for any dinner recommendations, ask me! And, if you visit Koreatown as an out-of-towner or you live here and have other favorites, please feel free to share them with us below!

*Please note: these do not include the hundreds of amazing traditional Korean restaurants that exist in Koreatown. This is just a look at a few fun spots that we like but are not meant to represent the whole area.

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester}

50 comments

  1. Everything looks so delicious. Love your food recommendations. Before we travel, I always check to see if you’ve got some restaurant picks for the cities we’re visiting. Totally remembering this post next time we’re in Koreatown!

  2. Everything looks so delicious. Love your food recommendations. Before we travel, I always check to see if you’ve got some restaurant picks for the cities we’re visiting. Totally remembering this post next time we’re in Koreatown!

  3. Everything looks so delicious. Love your food recommendations. Before we travel, I always check to see if you’ve got some restaurant picks for the cities we’re visiting. Totally remembering this post next time we’re in Koreatown!

  4. Everything looks so delicious. Love your food recommendations. Before we travel, I always check to see if you’ve got some restaurant picks for the cities we’re visiting. Totally remembering this post next time we’re in Koreatown!

  5. Everything looks so delicious. Love your food recommendations. Before we travel, I always check to see if you’ve got some restaurant picks for the cities we’re visiting. Totally remembering this post next time we’re in Koreatown!

  6. Everything looks so delicious. Love your food recommendations. Before we travel, I always check to see if you’ve got some restaurant picks for the cities we’re visiting. Totally remembering this post next time we’re in Koreatown!

  7. Everything looks so delicious. Love your food recommendations. Before we travel, I always check to see if you’ve got some restaurant picks for the cities we’re visiting. Totally remembering this post next time we’re in Koreatown!

  8. Everything looks so delicious. Love your food recommendations. Before we travel, I always check to see if you’ve got some restaurant picks for the cities we’re visiting. Totally remembering this post next time we’re in Koreatown!

  9. Everything looks so delicious. Love your food recommendations. Before we travel, I always check to see if you’ve got some restaurant picks for the cities we’re visiting. Totally remembering this post next time we’re in Koreatown!

  10. Everything looks so delicious. Love your food recommendations. Before we travel, I always check to see if you’ve got some restaurant picks for the cities we’re visiting. Totally remembering this post next time we’re in Koreatown!

  11. Love this! I often get SO overwhelmed too when giving out of town guests recommendations. Because it’s so hard to do everything if you’re spending hours in traffic!
    Love the idea of recommending visiting just a neighborhood for a day! Also, still have yet to get one of those ice cream cones. Definitely on my list!
    xoxo,
    Cortney
    A Whimsy Wonderland

  12. Love this! I often get SO overwhelmed too when giving out of town guests recommendations. Because it’s so hard to do everything if you’re spending hours in traffic!
    Love the idea of recommending visiting just a neighborhood for a day! Also, still have yet to get one of those ice cream cones. Definitely on my list!
    xoxo,
    Cortney
    A Whimsy Wonderland

  13. Love this! I often get SO overwhelmed too when giving out of town guests recommendations. Because it’s so hard to do everything if you’re spending hours in traffic!
    Love the idea of recommending visiting just a neighborhood for a day! Also, still have yet to get one of those ice cream cones. Definitely on my list!
    xoxo,
    Cortney
    A Whimsy Wonderland

  14. Love this! I often get SO overwhelmed too when giving out of town guests recommendations. Because it’s so hard to do everything if you’re spending hours in traffic!
    Love the idea of recommending visiting just a neighborhood for a day! Also, still have yet to get one of those ice cream cones. Definitely on my list!
    xoxo,
    Cortney
    A Whimsy Wonderland

  15. Love this! I often get SO overwhelmed too when giving out of town guests recommendations. Because it’s so hard to do everything if you’re spending hours in traffic!
    Love the idea of recommending visiting just a neighborhood for a day! Also, still have yet to get one of those ice cream cones. Definitely on my list!
    xoxo,
    Cortney
    A Whimsy Wonderland

  16. Love this! I often get SO overwhelmed too when giving out of town guests recommendations. Because it’s so hard to do everything if you’re spending hours in traffic!
    Love the idea of recommending visiting just a neighborhood for a day! Also, still have yet to get one of those ice cream cones. Definitely on my list!
    xoxo,
    Cortney
    A Whimsy Wonderland

  17. Love this! I often get SO overwhelmed too when giving out of town guests recommendations. Because it’s so hard to do everything if you’re spending hours in traffic!
    Love the idea of recommending visiting just a neighborhood for a day! Also, still have yet to get one of those ice cream cones. Definitely on my list!
    xoxo,
    Cortney
    A Whimsy Wonderland

  18. Love this! I often get SO overwhelmed too when giving out of town guests recommendations. Because it’s so hard to do everything if you’re spending hours in traffic!
    Love the idea of recommending visiting just a neighborhood for a day! Also, still have yet to get one of those ice cream cones. Definitely on my list!
    xoxo,
    Cortney
    A Whimsy Wonderland

  19. Love this! I often get SO overwhelmed too when giving out of town guests recommendations. Because it’s so hard to do everything if you’re spending hours in traffic!
    Love the idea of recommending visiting just a neighborhood for a day! Also, still have yet to get one of those ice cream cones. Definitely on my list!
    xoxo,
    Cortney
    A Whimsy Wonderland

  20. Love this! I often get SO overwhelmed too when giving out of town guests recommendations. Because it’s so hard to do everything if you’re spending hours in traffic!
    Love the idea of recommending visiting just a neighborhood for a day! Also, still have yet to get one of those ice cream cones. Definitely on my list!
    xoxo,
    Cortney
    A Whimsy Wonderland

  21. Thank you for the recommendations. I’ve tried many of the restaurants you’ve recommended in the past and they’ve been great. I’m always eager to hear about new ones.

  22. It’s so funny you picked Japanese places (like daiso) for a koreantown trip post.
    Those are all fun “hipster” places but there are a lot of authentic Koreatown gems that a non east coast transplant could probably tell you about. Or even another local Korean American blogger. Korea also has their own type of pocky, the brand is peppers and they even have a peppers day (11/11 I believe)

  23. Sandy,
    Thank you for your comment. As I mentioned in the post, these are just a handful of spots we like. It is not meant to cover everything nor be a representation of Koreatown as a whole. My husband is Korean and we go to a lot of authentic Korean spots all the time. This was meant to be a fun guide for the types of spots I get asked about. If you would like any other specific suggestions, I am happy to tell you.
    And, I would love your suggestions too!
    Joy

  24. Great list. I am pretty crazy about Somi Somi too. Me and my girls love going to Lemon Tree kids cafe (also in the same mall) and taking our younger guests.Another random favorite is in the PARKING LOT of Grand Spa on 6th and Virgil.There is a man with a huge roaster and he sells freshly roasted gold sweet potatoes. So yummy and warm on a cold day.

  25. Thank you! This was so much fun to read. I am always looking to explore the various neighborhoods in LA. Looking forward to reading future posts on this topic.

  26. Ooooo my love affair with K-town… There are SO MANY delicious Korean BBQ spots, two of my favorites are Parks BBQ (ultimate fave) and Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong. Expect a long wait, but so worth it for the yummy food and expereince.
    Pot at the Line Hotel is also super duper delish, get the Kimchi Fried Rice. Tip though, only open on the weekend.
    Also, Honey-Me also has a location near Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong. Get the sweet cream soft serve with honeycomb.
    Love the idea of this new series!!!
    <3

  27. Koreatown has changed quite a bit since the 80’s but one place that has remained the same is Kim’s Home Center on Olympic. I know people who go straight here from the airport!!! You can find anything for your home here!!! I always get my kids’ pjs, underwear and socks from here because Korean cotton is the best!!!
    Korean hair salons are amazing!!! Atelier on Western is my go to place when I want to get a great hair cut at a reasonable price!
    We just stayed at the LINE hotel and I bought my new favorite vest at Poketo!!! Can’t wait to try Somisomi!!!

  28. Yay! I love Joy’s day trips and also plan to go to LA this year–now I’m even more excited! I need a fish ice cream cone a.s.a.p! Feel free to include any colorful mural/art pics!

  29. Great post! The timing of your blog couldn’t be more perfect. I’m moving from the east coast to LA and these kind of day activity blogs will help me massively in exploring new neighborhoods. Thank you 🙂

  30. Hi — really enjoy your blog and all these sound yummy. Hoping for lunch recommendations, if you can? I’ve got friends with two elementary-school-age kids coming by soon for lunch in Koreatown on a long layover and want to make sure to show them a good time — one of the friends is Korean and is looking forward to seeing how LA represents. I’ve never been to the area for lunch, let alone with a family. Thoughts?

  31. Hi Angela,
    So you want Korean food for sure then? And kid friendly, right?
    Most of the KBBQ places are dinner options, but let me know if they def. want Korean and I’ll think of some options!
    Joy

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