In a historical strip mall on Wilshire Blvd in Koreatown LA, there is a Korean bar that is truly a hidden gem. BoolieYa specializes in Korean bar foods that pay homage to Korean culture while blending in the new. BoolieYa is one of the best Korean bars in Southern California.
BoolieYa is a perfect place to start off your weekend after a long day. It has taken the spot of a once-famous Korean pub called Hue. The new owner Sam, who is fluent in both Korean and English, is very kind and welcoming to everyone. He and his staff are customer service oriented and ensure a great experience for everyone.
The moment you walk inside BoolieYa, you’ll see a large, rustic square counter adorned with colorful soju bottles. The restaurant and bar itself is much more spacious than it seems from the outside, which makes a perfect place for groups.
One thing amazing about this place is that they have a patio-style indoor space, which is actually a hooded area so you can breathe in the fresh air without having to sit in a parking lot. The outdoor string lights add a charming aesthetic creating and overall laid-back vibe, quintessential of Korean pocha (soju bar).
There is also a small zone decked out with hundreds of little lights right in front of the ladies’ room, which makes anyone that enters the restroom feel like they’ve become a fairy in the woods.
There is nothing we enjoy more than spending time with a good company in a comfortable and an accommodating place. In that sense, BoolieYa is nothing short of remarkable as it is an ideal spot for some small talk, a late night grab, and tons of fun. It is a unique place where you can feel ‘Jung’(정; a special kind of Korean love and a shared sense of community and connection) from the friendly, playful staff. If you want to spend time catching up with friends or just have a casual night-out with delectable dishes, we suggest you give BoolieYa a chance. Trust us, it is as good as it gets.
When we went, we ordered Combo A, which comes with one whole fried chicken and small fries, a bottle of beer or soju, and two dishes of our choice. For the dishes, we ordered a spicy Jokbal (pig trotter) and a basket of sweet potato fries. In addition to that, we also ordered Rose Buldak Tteokbokki (spicy chicken with rice cakes in a creamy sauce) which was a new dish on the menu.
In less than 5 minutes, we were served a pitcher of beer and a basket full of sweet potato fries. To my surprise, they were pleasantly thin. The sweet potato fries reminded me of a go-to snack from my youth, Baby Star ramen. Taking a bite was an incredible crunch, just enough to get my appetite started. They are great with beer as a snack.
Just when I was about to take a second bite, a series of dishes were coming along the way. Food came out quickly so we were able to enjoy the feast while the dishes were still hot.
The next one to try was Rose Buldak Tteokbokki, which was confidently recommended by the owner. The creamy rose sauce unraveling in the mouth and the boneless chicken with subtle but strong spiciness were breathtakingly good. What’s more, the rice cake and the udon noodles had an al dente texture, making a perfect combination when covered in rose sauce. It was easily the best dish that everyone could certainly groove on.
Shortly after tasting the Rose Buldak Tteokbokki dish, Sam came up to our table with a huge Jokbal dish with four rice balls. Then he started a fire show with to add some crispiness and texture to the dish, which was quite entertaining to watch.
In all seriousness, however, the dish was not playing around with spiciness. Even for someone from Korea who has a high spice tolerance, it was hot enough to feel the upswing in body temperature. The pig trotter dish with an extra smokiness and a chewy texture was quite flavorful. Sam hinted that normally customers get to choose among three levels of spiciness, so if you are not good with spicy foods we recommend to just go with level 1.
Last but not least, the fried chicken plate with a small portion of fries and salad was quite satisfying. The spiciness of the other dishes we ordered were balanced out perfectly with the fried chicken plate finale.
We highly recommend anyone who is looking for good drinks, great Korean bar food, and a laid back ambiance in Koreatown LA to check out Boolieya. Since they are pretty new, Boolieya still remains as one of the best hidden gems in Koreatown LA.
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