Koreatown is a special place in LA. It’s sprawling, full of culture, feels so different from other parts of the city, and so much more enveloping than Koreatowns in other cities. And in the heart of Koreatown and the heart of LA lies a little restaurant and cocktail bar that captures the essence of not just the ever evolving neighborhood, but of the patchwork city itself and translates it to a creative menu of sharable bites in a loungey and cozy setting. Here’s Looking At You, aka HLAY, opened in 2016 and has been a trendy destination for social foodies ever since.
It’s easy to see how HLAY is a hit. The interiors ooze “cool” with perfectly haphazard decor thrown together in a way that just feels effortlessly cultured. The cocktail bar and intimate dining space (it’s small, for LA standards) make you feel like you’re in a cool kid dinner club. Their menu is filled with food and drinks that take inspiration from cuisines and cultures that emulate the diversity of the city it calls home and in such an alluringly modern way. Think brisket tartare with miso or frog’s legs with salsa negra for dinner. Okonomiyaki or Jerusalem bagel with smoked salmon roe for brunch. And the tiki-ish cocktail menu changes throughout the year so you’ll always be sipping on something in-season. The vibe is fun, energetic, innovative and so quintessentially LA in a way that non-Angelenos (aka the ones who think we brunch in WeHo) would never understand. And that’s why we love it.
Update: As of July 2020, HLAY has closed services (yet another victim of the pandemic) until further notice. All Day Baby is still operating.
Go here for: a fun dinner and drinks with friends, or a casual cool brunch
Order this: you can’t go wrong with anything tbh, so bring some friends and order and share everything
Amount of time to spend: give yourself at least 1-2 hours, it’s a good spot for a lengthy meal to remember
When to come: weeknights are easier, otherwise be sure to make a reservation to avoid a wait
Parking: can be a bit of a nightmare.. it always is in Ktown. Your best bet would probably be on one of the cross streets north of 6th, but be prepared to circle.
Other things to note:
Last visited: February 2020
Last updated: December 2020