Los Angeles has one of the most diverse vegetarian and vegan dining scenes around, but what many may not know is that there are some pretty great options tucked in the little pocket that is Koreatown. While there are little to no restaurants in Koreatown that are solely vegetarian or vegan, we’ve managed to find a wide variety of spots that are doing their part in making sure everyone at the table eats!
And the best part? You don’t even have to be a vegetarian or vegan to enjoy these dishes—but if you are, this is for you. From noodle soups, to Mediterranean food, and everything in between, here’s our list of some of the best vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Koreatown for non-meat and meat lovers alike.
© MDK Noodles
3630 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90010
Known for their knife-cut noodles, dumplings, and chewy spicy cold noodles (that are all made in-house, may we add), it’s not hard to love this carb-loaded restaurant. While they do have some meat dishes, a huge portion of their menu is vegetarian-friendly, from their spicy cold kimchi soup with green Chlorella noodles set in a refreshing and icy bath of spicy kimchi broth, to their spicy cold mixed kalguksu with knife-cut noodles mixed in a spicy chili sauce and topped with vegetables. Cold soups may not be a favorite for certain palettes, especially if you’ve never had anything like it before, but it’s worth a try on a hot summer day (or a hot fall day in our case here in LA). Another thing to keep in mind is that you can order some of their noodles hot instead, including the spicy mixed kalguksu. Still not convinced? Start with a kimchi pancake or their vegetarian bibimbap with rice over a bed of bean sprout, radish, carrot, squash, spinach, seaweed, and fried egg with a sweet and spicy chili sauce.
Open Sunday-Wednesday from 10am-9pm, and Thursday-Saturday from 10am-10pm
© Saikai Ramen Bar
Saikai Ramen Bar
209 N Western Ave Unit B, Los Angeles, CA 9000
Saikai is a modern, chef-driven ramen bar that prides itself on preparing its ramen bone broth the old-fashioned way: no shortcuts and using a blend of Japanese and Korean techniques and ingredients. Chef Jimin Kim and wife Sandy Han are committed to making everything in-house with seasonal produce, so expect unique recipes, including their vegetable miso ramen with kombu and shiitake dashi (Japanese soup stock/miso soup base), buttered corn, crimini and wood ear mushroom, bok choy, and tofu. Yes, it’s as good as it sounds, and there’s no catch. Maybe a kick though if you end up ordering the spicy version. Although you would think people only come here for the ramen, their bento boxes deserve some praise as well. Try the Egg Salad Sando bento made with chives and Japanese mayo pressed between two thick slices of milk bread, and surrounded by a farmer’s market salad with sesame vinaigrette, their pickle of the day, fruit, and your choice of edamame or croquettes. Be sure to save room for their vegan mochi ice cream. Indoor and outdoor seating is limited, so plan accordingly.
Open Monday and Wednesday-Sunday from 12pm-9pm, and closed Tuesday
© Kobawoo House
698 S Vermont Ave #109, Los Angeles, CA 90005
At Kobawoo House, it doesn’t get more vegetarian-friendly than a savory, Korean-style pancake. Kimchi pancakes (kimchi jeon) is a pretty quick and easy dish to make, but when you don’t feel like making it at home (or maybe you don’t cook at all hence why we make these lists), Kobawoo knows how to get this classic just right. Big enough to share with someone and flavorful enough to make you end up wanting it all for yourself, you can’t go wrong with this dish. They also serve potato pancakes (gamja jeon) for any of you potato lovers. In addition to pancakes, you’re going to want to try the Jangban Guksu, a large platter of cold acorn noodles, seasonal vegetables, shredded chicken (which you would take out) with red chili sauce. Mix it all together and you have a vibrant dish enough to feed two. Kobawoo even did us all a favor and posted their recipe for it here. Also, in case you forgot, we’d like to remind you that a pairing of beer or soju is definitely vegan-friendly *wink wink.*
Open Tuesday-Sunday from 11am-8pm, and closed Monday
© Colleen L/Yelp
Simply Pho You
698 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005
Vietnamese spots are known to typically have vegetarian options on their menu, and this one stands out in a predominantly Korean plaza (right next to Kobawoo House). At Simply Pho You, they keep it simple for you with your favorites, veggie-style. Some of their offerings include vegetarian pho with tofu, tofu fried rice, vegetarian spring rolls, tofu stir-fried rice noodle, and lemongrass tofu vermicelli. We think you get the gist. While their vegetarian pho has been said to be one of the best you can find around the area by a good chunk of regulars and new customers, the truth of the matter is, if tofu is your go-to meat substitute, you’ll be covered here.
Open Tuesday-Sunday from 11am-8:45pm, and closed Monday
© Falafel Corner
698 Irolo St Ste 103, Los Angeles, CA 90005
This mom-and-pop shop is serving Greek and Lebanese fast food, and they know their shish (kabob). The prices are unmatched compared to a lot of other similar restaurants, and you also can’t beat the portions. With only about eight or so items on their menu, you’ll find their vegetarian offerings pretty easily. They only have one vegetarian plate, but it is loaded to the point where you don’t really need anything else. It comes with hummus, baba ganoush, taboule (a salad made up of mostly finely-chopped parsley), rice pilaf, eggplant mix, sarma (stuffed grape leaves), a falafel, and pita bread, so definitely a mouthful. If you want something on the lighter side, opt for the Greek salad.
Open Monday-Friday from 10am-8pm, Saturday from 11am-5pm, and closed Sunday
© Surawon Tofu House
Surawon Tofu House
2833 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006
There are countless good soon tofu restaurants in Koreatown, but Surawon really takes the gold with their housemade tofu, made from organic, non-GMO soybeans. As if that already wasn’t enough to make them stand out, they offer tofu made from either the standard yellow soybeans, or from black soybeans. Bet you didn’t know there’s more than one way to make tofu, or is that common knowledge? Anyways, no matter what you go for, expect the silkiest and softest tofu, with banchan for days. You also have the option to request a specifically vegetarian broth, so there’s really no reason you shouldn’t be planning your first or next visit here ASAP. Just think about that sizzling hot pot arriving at your table, you cracking an egg, taking a spoonful of purple rice, and letting it submerge in the stew.
Open Sunday-Tuesday from 10am-10pm, Thursday from 10am-10pm, Friday-Saturday from 10am-11pm, and closed Wednesday
© Wiches on Wilshire/Postmates
Wiches on Wilshire
3800 Wilshire Blvd Ste 110B, Los Angeles, CA 90010
When you’re looking for something on the go, Wiches On Wilshire is where you make a stop. It’s right across The Wiltern, on the corner of Western and Wilshire, so you can’t miss it. They got everything you can fit in your hand, from wraps and Brooklyn bagels , to burritos and, of course, sandwiches. With classics and more unique items on the menu, this is a solid breakfast and lunch spot, so come on in and try their vegetarian breakfast burrito on a spinach tortilla, sun-dried tomato bagel sandwich, or black bean burger. Better yet, plan several visits here to try it all. Some notable sandwiches on their exclusively vegetarian menu include the Green Monster with avocado, hummus, alfalfa sprouts, tomato, onion, arugula, spinach, and pesto and fresh mozzarella and tomato with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Also because we love you and want to make sure you don’t miss it, make sure to redeem $1 off any lunch sandwich on Yelp.
© Kimbap Paradise/Postmates
401 S Vermont Ave Ste 1&2, Los Angeles, CA 90020
The name says it all. If you have a weak spot for kimbap, you’re in the right place. Kimbap is a Korean dish made from rice and other ingredients such as vegetables, fish, or meats, rolled in seaweed, and served in bite-sized slices. No, but seriously, you can eat so much of this in one sitting, you’ll forget how many you had. Don’t get it twisted though, it’s not sushi just because it’s wrapped in seaweed. Kimbap Paradise has a variety of different kimbap to choose from, including their vegetarian options like kimchi with vegetables and pickled jalapeño with vegetables, making it easy for those looking for meat alternatives. Kimbap may be their specialty here, but don’t sleep on the spicy rice cakes (take out the dumplings), buckwheat noodles, bibimbap, and mixed vegetable tempura.