The sign outside of the Koreatown Galleria proclaims that it has “the best food court.” Who wouldn’t be intrigued? Based on physical location alone, the Galleria food court on the top floor has windows to the outside and an outdoor patio, significantly nicer than the fluorescent-lit basement food court over at Koreatown Plaza.
If you’re not Korean (I’m not), you won’t recognize a single vendor here as they are all Korean stalls, not even a Bibigo in sight. My daughter, who finds Korean food a little too challenging, searched for something that looked familiar and found it at Mannaria. No, it wasn’t the hamburger (which they do have on their menu), but udon noodles, a safe choice.
My husband, who loves spicy food, gravitated to the kimchi fried rice plate. The portion was huge for around $8 – the entire plate was covered with a mound or rice and topped with a fried egg and obligatory salad. The rice wasn’t as spicy as it looked and also had some small bits of meat in there for flavor – so if you don’t eat meat, you’ve been warned.
There were a couple of sides – pickled radishes and kimchi (just in case you haven’t had enough).
My knowledge of Korean food is pretty much limited to bulgogi and bimbap, so I asked my daughter’s Korean friend (who frequents the mall) for a recommendation. Her suggestion, Seo Kang Myung Oak, had a sign written in Korean characters. I ordered both of us her usual, mandoo guk aka dumpling soup. The dumplings were rather bland – although the sides – potatoes, beans sprouts and the ubiquitous kimchi – were better.
To my surprise, my daughter’s friend pulled a fast one, canceling her dumpling soup (wise choice) and ordering the naeng myun (Korean cold buckwheat noodles) instead. The portion was very generous, with a huge tangle of noodles, beef and cucumbers. It also happened to be the most expensive item on the menu, which explained why my bill wound up being 50% more than I expected.
I’m not sure which irritated me more – that she ordered the most expensive dish on the menu or that I was eating something I could have made myself while she enjoyed something else. (I lie. It’s definitely the former.) While I may regret my lunch choice, I’ll definitely give the Koreatown Galleria food court another chance to prove that it’s the best in town.
Location: 3250 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles 90006
Website – http://koreatowngalleria.com/index.html
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Pesco-Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes