Three Spots for Korean
BBQ in the 818
Three family-friendly spots sure to satisfy BBQ and banchan cravings—without the drive to Koreatown.
CategoryEat & Drink
Written byKaren Young
AboveO Tofu & Pankko
Korean BBQ meets pinball wizard at this Van Nuys all-you-can-eat affair where an Atlas-esque globe is perched on the rooftop. The major arcade action lives in the back speakeasy and is for adults only, but the entrance holds a few machines for the under-21 set.
Marinated meats, which diners cook themselves on table grills, are the go-to choice here. The banchan is slim and available upon request. Specialties include ramen, tofu soup, steamed eggs and hot stone bibimbap (pretty much a must everywhere).
A small, complimentary frozen yogurt is served at the end of the meal. For those with a sweet tooth, there are also deep-fried Oreos—not Korean, but go for it anyway. A decent-sized drink list features wine, soju cocktails and craft beer.
They don’t take reservations, but there is a wait list via Yelp. The menu offers all-you-can-eat lunch for $21.95; a $15.95 express lunch served with rice, salad and gyoza; and dinner includes it all for $26.95 (children 10 and under are $10 less).
Hollywood trivia: The Kardashian clan visited with matching jackets and filmed a segment a couple years back for Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
House of Galbi Korean BBQ & Bar
Those looking for a bit more of a dining experience may want to check out this Encino hot spot located in the former Islands Restaurant. A sprawling booth-filled space with 251-seats, there are grills aplenty to cook your proteins and veggies.
“Galbi” means rib in Korean, so it makes sense that the massive menu boasts such options as prime rib, beef ribs, short ribs and pork ribs. All-you-can-eat choices range from $19.99 at lunch to $30.99 and $52.99 for dinner. The upper price includes prime cuts of beef and seafood.
There are also a slew of interesting à la carte options including stews, such as spicy monkfish and kimchi, and lunch specials from $12 to $28. Kids ages 4 to 8 are half-price (plus a special menu), while those under 3 are free.
A full bar includes a nice selection of whiskey and scotch, tap takeovers from SoCal breweries, plus a well-priced daily happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. Wrap it up with banana with ice cream, or mille-feuille with cherry mousse, ice cream and blackberry sauce.
O Tofu & Pankko
There is no AYCE option at this casual Granada Hills Korean BBQ destination, nor do you grill your own proteins. But portions are plentiful, and they do offer complimentary banchan including raw squid. Most dishes are served in large hot stone or ceramic pots.
The highlight here is organic tofu, which is served every which way in soups and dishes with various proteins, soba, udon or alone. Korean BBQ features such specialties as galbi, beef bulgogi and bibimbap. Select Japanese influences are mixed into the menu, including tonkatsu—a pork cutlet rolled in house-made panko (breadcrumbs without butter or sugar). Chicken and fish katsu versions are also available.
Combination plates run $15.99 for lunch to $21.99 for dinner. Tofu dishes average $11.95. The beverage menu includes a short list of beer, soju and wine. Cap off your
meal with macaron ice cream.