Exploring Los Angeles’ Koreatown

A boozy, bo ssam-y weekend in one of L.A.'s best neighborhoods.

698 Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005, USA
All my Koreatown research (aka Jonathan Gold) pointed to Kobawoo as the place to eat bo ssam. On a weekend night at around 8:30pm it was crowded and lively, full of families and groups of friends. Bo ssam is a pork belly dish; the meat is cooked simply with spices, sliced, and served with vinegary, crunchy radish pickles, kimchi, and lettuce. You wrap it all up into a delicious package, and it’s chewy, crispy, fresh, salty, and spicy.
3515 Wilshire Boulevard, 2nd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90010, USA
As the first boutique hotel in Koreatown, the Line might have been able to get away with cutting a few corners while still attracting a cool clientele. It probably didn’t need to get the hottest young Korean-American chef in L.A. on board (to run one of the most comprehensive and exciting restaurant and bar networks yet seen, by the way), nor did the Sydell Group—the arbiters of cool behind the Nomad Hotel in New York—have to put their stamp on it. The hotel would have been nice enough had the concrete midcentury building not been entirely reimagined by designer Sean Knibb, known for designing half the cool spots in L.A. and more than a few celebrities’ homes. There didn’t need to be a desert greenhouse–inspired pool deck that’s become a hangout for beautiful people at all hours, nor did the famously trendy Houston Brothers (of no Vacancy and Harvard & Stone) have to throw in a midcentury-inspired cocktail bar. Nor did the typical hotel gift shop have to be reimagined as a design and lifestyle store curated by Poketo. The rooms and suites would have been just fine had they not been turned into artsy, industrial-style lofts, outfitted with original commissioned artwork, a minibar of Korean and Western snacks, and Baxter of California toiletries. Of course, all of this did happen, and now Koreatown is home to one of the hottest hotels in L.A.
239 Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004, USA
First, you have to find the right knob... enter the building at the corner of Vermont and 3rd and you’ll be faced with a wall of knobs. The challenge is to find the one that opens the door (don’t worry, the doorman will help when you flounder). Inside, it’s a classy bar with excellent cocktails, friendly bartenders, and delicious bar snacks.
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