Avital Food Tour: Koreatown
I decided to go to a Korean food tour for two reasons; I could visit new restaurants and meet new people who loved Korean food. I booked Avital Tours after a quick google search of Korean food tours in Los Angeles.
I choose Avital because they make exceptions for food allergies (I have a shellfish allergy) and I could learn more about Koreatown while enjoying good food. The tour consisted of four courses over the span of three hours and provides a culinary experience with a segment of Koreatown’s history.
Before the tour date I received a follow-up email with necessary tour information; such as meeting location, parking (metro optional) and tour guide contact information.
From past experiences, I know the parking situation is a little hectic in Koreatown. One of the advantages of the tour is that we were meeting on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. which meant we were after the lunch crowd but before dinner diners.
We were instructed to meet in front of a popular bar on Wilshire Blvd. Our tour guide Penny politely greeted each attendee and steered our initial conversation. After all, parties were in attendance Penny told us a brief history about the 24-acre Ambassador Hotel complex and the hotel’s famous Cocoanut Grove theatre.
To read more about the Ambassador Hotel history check out KCET page: Los Angeles In Buildings: The Ambassador Hotel. We set off for the entree course at a nearby Korean BBQ restaurant.
Gwang Yang BBQ
Address: 3435 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 123, Los Angeles, CA 90010.
Phone: (213) 385 – 5600
Immediately entering the restaurant you see a wall of Korean celebrities who have visited the restaurant. Some of my favorites pictures were of Korean singers Eric Nam and Minzy (2NE1). The restaurant has a contemporary vibe with an elegant seating area.
Part of the food tour included VIP room seating for the six of us. After taking our seats our preset entree was served which included: Gwang Yang Bulgogi, white rice, hot tea, and various banchan side dishes. The waitress was gracious enough to cook our bulgogi for us.
As we waited our conversation quickly turned to Korean dramas. *Fun fact: Our tour guide Penny had a small role in a Korean drama as a ghost. I worked on my ongoing chopstick mastery as we discussed the places we’ve traveled and must-see documentaries on Netflix.
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It didn’t feel crowded with the table setting and there was enough seating to accommodate a large gathering. The meat was perfectly cooked over a metal mesh wire with an open flame. My favorite banchan sides dishes were the pink pickled radish and the pasta salad.
Read more about Gwang Yang BBQ and it’s food selections at Gwang Yang BBQ
After we finished our entree we moved to the next location. While we walked to The Prince restaurant our tour guide Penny told us information about the Robert F. Kennedy Community School. In front of the school, there is a beautiful memorial wall with a famous quote from Robert F. Kennedy.
The Prince Restaurant
Address: 3198 W. 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90005
Phone: (213) 389 – 1586
After a quick two block walk, we stood in front of The Prince restaurant and bar. On the outside, it reminded me of the old New York brick buildings.
The inside decor has a flapper, 1970’s vibe with dark lighting and velvet walls.
*Fun fact: Mad Men and New Girls have both recorded episodes at this restaurant. If you’re looking for a restaurant for Halloween themed party then this is a great place to go.
Our pre-ordered entree included spicy chicken wings with rice cakes. Chicken and beer (Chimaek 치맥) was my second favorite dish on the food tour and a must for anyone who visits this restaurant.
The chicken wings were spicy and the rice cakes were sticky. The rice cake was spicier as the rice cake soaked up the chicken sauce. The chicken was more on the spicer side, but not too spicy. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being spicy I would give it a 7 on the spicy scale. *Tour tip: Beverages including alcohol is an additional charge and is not included with the regular tour trip.
Read more about The Prince Restaurant on their Facebook page.
We walked back to the main street of Wilshire and down one street to 6th Avenue. *Tip: Take a look around the buildings as you walk and you may see the MBC building located here in Los Angeles.
It was only a little past five p.m. and the plaza was already busy with people. *Fun fact: The Historic Chapman Plaza is one of the first places to have a drive-in for cars in the Western United States. For more information visit Chapman Plaza on the Los Angeles Conservancy page.
Address: 3451 W. 6th Street., Los Angeles, CA 90020
Phone: (213) 387 – 1113
EscaLa is a Colombian-Korean fusion restaurant; that has a lively atmosphere where LA artist socializes. There was a beautiful portrait of a woman and also a colorful mural of a young Michael Jackson. * I couldn’t get a picture of the Michael Jackson mural because there was a couple sitting in the booth.
Inside the restaurant, the music was playing a little too loud for my liking. However, the restaurant is great for birthday parties and patrons who want to listen to good music and let loose after a long work week.
Our pre-ordered menu item is called K-town Rice Con Pollo, which consisted of kimchi, coconut rice, chicken, peas, spicy tomato sauce, and a sunny side up egg.
The rice was not spicy but leaned toward the sweet side. If you plan on ordering this dish I would recommend ordering an additional entree as the K-town Rice Con Pollo serving size can be shared.
Visit EscaLA Town website to find more information on their restaurant & happy hour specials.
Next, we walked around the Chapman Market Plaza and noticed the 1929 details of the building. Within the plaza, there’s a Starbucks, a famous BBQ restaurant (the restaurant looked really busy if you decide to go there expect a brief wait), Snow Monster and other eateries.
Lastly, we moved onto the dessert portion of the K-town food tour and we grabbed dessert at Snow Monster.
Address: 3465 W. 6th Street, Suite #120, Los Angeles, CA 90020
Phone: (714) 582 – 6023
Snow Monster is known for their boba tea and has a fun, and playful atmosphere. Our preset dessert item: a giant macaron cookie with vanilla ice cream.
The vanilla ice cream perfectly blended with the soft macaron that had a chocolate and caramel drizzle coated with nuts. A member of our tour group liked the ice cream sandwich so much that she went back for seconds and said the Colombian coffee ice cream tasted really good.
Read more about Snow Monster (eat dessert, be a monster) here.
Overall, Avital Tours really shows off a great selection of K-town’s cuisine and historic past. I would recommend this food tour for locals and tourist who want to sample Korean cuisine while enjoying a well-planned and informative tour of Koreatown.
To book the Korean food tour or see a list of Avital additional tours in Los Angeles check out Avital Tours.
If you like this blog post check out similar posts:
- 24 Hours in L.A.’s Koreatown
- Oo-kook Korean BBQ and Coffee
- Kogi BBQ Tacos Review
- Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles
- Maangchi: Korean Grocery Store Blog
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