seoul tofu

west LA’s default soondubu

I’m not one who strives to become a regular at any place. For one, I like to maintain some level of anonymity when I move through space. But mostly it’s because there are so many places to explore, who has time to frequent the same place often enough to become a regular? (Side note: how often do you have to go to a place to become a regular? Once a week? Once a month?)

That being said, Seoul Tofu is an exception. Throughout my college years, when I wasn’t ordering mediocre Thai food from the trusty Westwood establishment, Mr. Noodle (at once point I had the delivery guy’s number saved on my phone), Seoul Tofu was the default dinner. Half the time I went to Sawtelle (which was on average… maybe twice a week?), I had Seoul Tofu. It hit the point where the waiters would recognize me and my friends because we were there once a week. Since moving out of my west LA bubble, Koreatown has become more accessible, and trips to Sawtelle reserved for ramen appointments (honestly, the escalating parking nightmare has upped the threshold for visits). But to this day, there’s still something so comforting and nostalgic about sitting down to a bubbling bowl of spicy soup and a spread of banchan that for some reason includes potato or macaroni salad and blanched broccoli (pro-tip: put the broccoli in your soup as soon as it comes).

Is this the best soondubu in LA, probably not. But sometimes you just can’t be bothered to haul yourself over to K-town, so the convenience points win out.

the details

Address 2101 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
Hours 11am to 11pm every day
Price $$ – all soondubus are $11
Aesthetic generic Korean tofu house aesthetic… if that makes sense?

good to know

Go here for: satisfying your soondubu craving west of the 405

Order this: your usual soondubu order

Amount of time to spend: dining time? probably 30 minutes (their service is pretty fast), especially because half the people order as they’re seated lmao. Waiting time? During dinner hours… probably tack on another 30. 

When to come: avoid dinner time in general, pretty much every day from 7-10pm it gets pretty crazy. Lunch hours usually aren’t too bad. 

Parking: the lot is valet only, and gets a little crazy. As for street parking. During peak dining hours it’s near impossible to snag a meter on Sawtelle. The neighboring residential streets have over the years tightened restrictions, so there are few available within appropriate walking distance. Don’t bother trying to park in the strip mall thing across the street, they check. So, your best bet is probably to try going further north on Beloit or one of the cross streets (ie: La Grange, Missouri, etc).

Other things to note: 

  • They don’t take reservations, and don’t have a Yelp waitlist, so unless you show up at a random time, plan for a wait.
  • Their spice levels aren’t very consistent. Sometimes spicy is pretty spicy, sometimes it’s not. So just go with the flow.

Last visited: NOVEMBER 2018

Last updated: APRIL 2019

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