The team behind Michelin-recognized Liu’s Cafe opens an ode to modern Korean favorites

Sliced zabuton steak with bone marrow on a skillet at Danbi restaurant in Koreatown.
Korean restaurant Danbi specializes in modernized classics such as charcoal-grilled, galbi-inspired zabuton with bone marrow, grilled onions and sides of kimchi.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)


A new restaurant from the hospitality group behind Liu’s Cafe is riffing on the classic Koreatown dining experience with galbi-inspired zabuton steak, seafood pancakes littered with bay scallops, and bibimbap packed with uni, marinated shrimp, ikura and edible flowers.

Danbi is the latest project from Long Hospitality, which recently earned Michelin recognition for Liu’s Cafe, its casual Taiwanese- and Hong Kong-inspired daytime spot. At nearby Danbi, they’re serving spins on iconic dishes and an all-Korean spirits list in the corner of Chapman Plaza, flipping the space that belonged to another of their restaurants, the Korean tapas spot Tokki.

“We decided to say, ‘Here’s some of our favorite things when we go out in Koreatown,’ not necessarily pocha or a bar, but in general, what do we like to eat and what do people come to Koreatown to eat too?” said partner Patrick Liu.

An overhead photo of seafood bibimbap from Danbi in Koreatown with uni, ikura, black rice and marinated shrimp.
At Danbi, bibimbap comes brimming with uni, ikura and marinated shrimp.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Danbi, which translates to “sweet rain,” symbolizes the rain after a long drought — and in the case of Long Hospitality, a refresh of the first endeavor from partners Liu, Alex Park, Yohan Park and John Kim. In February, Long Hospitality shuttered Tokki, a reimagined pocha, or Korean bar. When opening chef Sunny Jang left, the group tapped Lareine Ko to take over the kitchen.

Ko, with a fine dining background and Taiwanese roots, serves as the chef for the restaurant group. Long Hospitality pastry chef Isabell Manibusan previously created desserts for Tokki but has returned with an entirely new program. The team began conceptualizing the restaurant at the end of 2023 and in late January resolved to flip the Tokki space for an all-new menu.

“It was a really big consideration for us,” Liu said. “I mean, Tokki was our baby; it was kind of hard to just let it go.”

A vertical photo of Korean restaurant Danbi's Mont Holla dessert in a white bowl and adorned with an edible flower.
A European Mont Blanc is reimagined with Korean flavors: brown rice pudding, roasted soybean powder and mugwort cream.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

They scaled down the menu and looked to iconic Koreatown dining: soups, Korean barbecue favorites and stews. Now they’re serving mounds of rice in delicate broth draped by thinly sliced pork jowl, or crudo with pear jam in kosho vinaigrette. For dessert, Manibusan riffs on sujeonggwa with a cinnamon-forward granita and a “Mont Halla” take on the French Mont Blanc dessert, here made with brown rice pudding, mugwort cream and a chantilly with roasted soybean powder.

John Yi, also formerly of Tokki, oversees a spirits program that focuses solely on Korean makers, with some traditional but others more new-wave, such as Brooklyn’s Hana Makgeolli and Pasadena soju and makgeolli specialist Angma. Cocktails center on Korean flavors as well, with options like a kimchi mule.

“The history and the way the government has sort of allowed certain things to flourish, I think you’re starting to see that a lot with Korean alcohols these days,” Liu said. “And now you’re starting to see a little bit more here [in the U.S.] with some of these more local producers.”


Liu is Taiwanese American, but most of his partners are Korean American and see that spirit reflected in their mission with Danbi.

“I love seeing these local Asian American, Korean American entrepreneurs taking what’s kind of becoming a craft revolution in Korea but also bringing that here, bringing that local vibe to it,” Liu said. “It speaks to that story of having a step in both worlds too.” Danbi is open 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday and 6 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

3465 W. 6th St., Los Angeles,

Iki Nori

A vertical closeup of a hand holding a conical hand roll bursting with fish at Iki Nori sushi bar in Hollywood.
Iki Nori serves cylindrical and conical hand rolls in addition to the “grab” hand rolls found at sibling restaurant Iki Ramen.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

A Koreatown and Hollywood ramen shop’s sushi offerings are so popular that it’s now expanding with two sushi-focused restaurants. Iki Ramen’s sushi menu — which includes chirashi, “grab” hand rolls, nigiri, sashimi and small plates such as salmon with burrata, yuzu and olive oil — quickly became a fan favorite when the ramen shop debuted in a Koreatown strip mall in 2018, and continued with a second location in Hollywood last year. Now the team has opened an intimate, 12-seat hand roll bar called Iki Nori, just down the street from Hollywood’s Iki Ramen. Partners Jeffry Undiarto, Hiroyuki Masato, Sebastian Karyadi and Andy Juliady plan to open another sushi restaurant in Arcadia later this month.

Undiarto, formerly a manager and beverage director of n/naka, primarily oversees the hand roll bar, where nigiri and sashimi also are available. Hand rolls can be ordered a la carte or in four- to six-roll sets, plus a signature premium set that includes toro, lobster, uni, Wagyu and more. The hand rolls at Iki Nori include cylindrical options in addition to Iki Ramen’s “grab” hand rolls (temaki that scoop up nigiri with rectangular sheets of nori), and come in classic options such as yellowtail, ikura, salmon or toro, as well as vegan varieties and house specialties such as Wagyu with uni, ankimo with cucumber, and black cod. Brody Permadi, who also is taking over the beverage program at Iki Ramen, oversees Iki Nori’s tipples, including dashi martinis, Japanese whiskeys and sakes. Iki Nori is open from noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday and 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

6464 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 994-9478,

A hand shaves black truffle onto salmon and rice at Iki Nori sushi bar in Hollywood.
Iki Nori serves classic and upscale nigiri, hand rolls and sashimi in options such as seared salmon with freshly shaved truffle.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Fleurs et Sel

After years of operating Fleurs et Sel as a pop-up across Los Angeles, owner-baker Lara Adekoya recently launched a bricks-and-mortar shop for her fan-favorite cookies. Now the dense and doughy cookies that often draw lines out the door and sell out of “drop” releases can be found in West Adams several days a week. The home baker began experimenting with cookie recipes during the pandemic, first giving them to friends, then selling them from her home in West Hollywood and eventually from pop-up shops on Melrose, at the Grove and beyond. As Adekoya’s cookie popularity exploded, so did her menu. Now the Fleurs et Sel bakery, which opened in late March, offers a rotation of roughly a dozen of her hits plus new flavors: the signature sea salt chocolate chip, the Earl Grey-tinged London Fog, the matcha with white chocolate, the new lavender vanilla chai and more. Fleurs et Sel is open three to four days a week between Wednesday and Saturday; hours and days of operation are still in flux. Check Instagram for each week’s schedule and flavors.

5300 W. Adams Blvd., Suite 100, Los Angeles,


Villa’s Tacos Grand Central Market

Guests ordering at the Villa's Tacos stand in Grand Central Market Los Angeles
Villa’s Tacos in Grand Central Market serves the taqueria’s signature loaded blue-corn tacos with a range of salsas, aguas frescas and a standing counter.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

One of L.A.’s most popular and Michelin-recognized taquerias recently opened a second location, bringing crispy cheese, freshly pressed blue corn tortillas, a rainbow of salsas and house-made chorizo to Grand Central Market. Villa’s Tacos, one of The Times’ 101 best restaurants, has taken over the former Belcampo Meat Co. stall and serves the same menu that can be found in Highland Park, with a standing counter in one of the country’s most famous food halls. Whereas the Highland Park restaurant is dedicated to owner Victor Villa’s grandfather, who died before he could see the first bricks-and-mortar open, the Grand Central Market stall is dedicated to the taquero’s daughters.

“I want to give a special thanks and shout-out to everybody who has been rocking with us from Day 1 in my grandma’s front yard, to York Boulevard, to Highland Park, to now Grand Central Market,” Villa told The Times. “I’m grateful for it all. I’m thankful for everybody who takes the time out of their schedule to get to know Villa’s Tacos a little bit better.”

Villa hopes to open additional Villa’s Tacos, each with its own unique signature item. These items for Highland Park and downtown are set to be announced in the coming weeks. Villa’s Tacos is open from noon to 9 p.m. in Grand Central Market Tuesday to Sunday.

317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, (818) 741-8011,

Owner Victor Villa mans the grill, cooking fresh chorizo, at Villa's Tacos in Grand Central Market.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Coucou West Hollywood

Venice’s popular French bistro Coucou has expanded east, with an expanded menu in its second location from husband-and-wife team Jesse and Hayley Feldman. Some of Coucou’s signature items can be found in West Hollywood, including the daily oysters, fried olives, a fan-favorite soft-serve sundae, the Burger Americaine — one of the top burgers in L.A. — and the pork sausage dripping with cheese fondue and pepperoncini, also known as L’Haute Dog. But roughly a third of this Coucou’s menu is new: a buttery flatbread topped with escargots, smoked bacon and lemon; rigatoni in a crab pomodoro sauce; mussels in a merguez-and-saffron broth; and chocolate mousse.


It also serves brunch, unique to this location, with options such as brûléed crêpes, Niçoise salad, chevre-and-bacon egg sandwiches and coconut yogurt parfaits. Much of the cocktail menu is new as well, conceptualized by Isabel Hales of Healdsburg’s Michelin-starred Barndiva. Coucou West Hollywood offers roughly 80 seats across its dining room, bar and bistro-inspired patio, and is open 5 to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Sunday; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; and 5 p.m. to midnight Saturday.

9045 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood,

A white bowl of crab rigatoni pomodoro with saffron rouille and microgreens at Coucou West Hollywood
Venice bistro Coucou expanded to West Hollywood with a second location and new dishes such as crab rigatoni pomodoro with saffron rouille.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

La ’Croque

One of the driving forces behind bakery, cafe and community staple Happy Cow Kitchen recently flipped the Long Beach space to a casual new sandwich shop called La ’Croque. In late March Claudette Pentz debuted her new operation, which sells a range of meaty, vegetarian and vegan sandwiches on fresh bread, such as the Capretzel, which layers heirloom tomato with sheep’s milk cheese on pretzel bread; French-leaning ficelles with brie, prosciutto and orange marmalade; and the house special, a ’Croque Monsieur with jam and gruyere on sourdough. Pentz also is whipping up a rotation of fresh pastries, including strudels, cookies and croissants. La ’Croque is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday to Monday.

371 Redondo Ave., Long Beach,

Kaminari Gyoza Bar

A vertical overhead of a line of six fried gyoza in a bento box at Kaminari Gyoza Bar in Little Tokyo
Kaminari Gyoza Bar in Little Tokyo specializes in fried and boiled dumplings in ode to Japan’s unofficial dumpling capital, Utsonomiya.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

During the pandemic, chef-restaurateur Shigemitsu Fujii quietly transformed his Little Tokyo fried chicken shop, Kabuto, into a takeout-only gyoza spot. This year he’s fully opened Kaminari Gyoza Bar with indoor dining, sake and beer, all an ode to his hometown of Utsonomiya, Japan’s gyoza capital. A window to the kitchen allows a peek at Fujii’s dumpling process, wherein he and his team fold paper-thin wrappers around pork, shrimp, chicken or vegetable fillings, then sear, deep-fry or boil them in soup to order. Enjoy the gyoza a la carte or in bento boxes, and with nearly a dozen dipping sauces such as cilantro chile, yuzu kosho and ponzu. Kaminari Gyoza Bar is open 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. weekdays; noon to 9 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

323 E. 1st St., Los Angeles, (213) 265-7351,