3 Best Koreatown Cafés
Caffé Concerto has the most delicious desserts.
(Credit: Roonhee Ko)

Hanging out at cafés is almost a trendy ritual for young people in L.A. In Koreatown, there are tons of cafés providing coffee and a place to chat. However, most places have similar ambiences and serve bland drinks or desserts. Campus Circle introduces you to three unique cafés in Koreatown that have authentic beverages and food.

Boba Time
When you crave for a sweet cup of boba with chewy tapioca balls, Boba Time is where you need to visit. Because of its popularity, there’s always a line of people waiting, but it’s definitely worth the wait. Boba Time’s drink menu includes typical tapioca milk teas and also shaved ice cups, smoothies, slushies and various frappes. People frequently try Tapioca Milk tea, Cookies n’ Cream with boba, Boba Coffee and Mocha Frappe.

“People who come here come again and say our boba tastes different from others. This definitely attracts people,” said the manager.

Although it’s not a typical hangout joint (there are only two or three small tables inside the café), the store is always packed with people waiting for creamy drinks. However, the service is quick and the staff members are very friendly and open to answering questions about a particular drink. On Fridays, you can call Boba Time to pre-order your drinks for pick up. Don’t forget to get a frequent customer card when you visit; you’ll get a free drink when you’ve purchased 10!
Boba Time is located on 701 S. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90005. For more information, call 213-386-2622. 

Cafe Mak
Are you preparing for finals and need a new place to study besides the libraries on campus? Come to Koreatown and visit Cafe Mak. This place isn’t a typical Koreatown café where people sit down, chat, eat and leave in an hour or two. Students come here not only because of its friendly service or delicious cakes and pastries, but also because of its unique atmosphere. It’s not weird to sit down and study for hours and hours at Cafe Mak until your work is done, because everyone does! Its spacious, free-WiFi studying environment with plenty of outlets attracts everyone. There are many separate rooms for a group of people to sit down and talk in a private setting, discuss a group project or have a conference while enjoying their drinks. Besides the calmness and quietness, another characteristic of Cafe Mak is its beautiful antique interior design; this café was even used for classic and vintage settings in various films. And don’t forget to taste the fabulous cakes and rich-flavored drinks here. Famous pastries include sweet potato cakes and Mochachino. Unlike other cafés, they refill cups of Americanos, and it has its own cake bakers (the cakes are never pre-made). Press the button on your table whenever you need something: a refill of your Americano, an extra piece of N.Y cheesecake or green tea tiramisu. In addition to drinks and cakes, Cafe Mak also serves actual food such as pork cutlets, noodles and sandwiches.
Cafe Mak is located on 612 Shatto Place Los Angeles, CA 90005. For more information, call 213-252-9898.

Caffé Concerto
Looking for an elegant European-style café in Koreatown that serves more than 20 different types of delicious, freshly baked macaroons? Caffé Concerto is a gorgeous place that can work as a romantic date spot or a fancy dessert place for a girls’ night out. It serves coffee, various decorated pastries made daily by French chefs, high-quality Italian brunch and dinner menus, wine and even cocktails. On the second-floor dining area, you can experience a great selection of authentic Italian food, including fresh seafood such as squid ink crust pizza and mussel aglio olio. Leave room for dessert because the Tahitian vanilla crème brulee, affogato (espresso served with ice cream) and valrhona chocolate soufflé are flavorful, rich and not too heavy. The staff members are very friendly and would love to answer your questions about the cake of the day or how long a dessert will take. People in their early 20s come here particularly to sit down at the classy bar (the Concerto Cocktail with lychee, vodka and vanilla syrup is popular with young people). On the first floor, there is a display of all the desserts where you can decide what to get or even try samples of macaroons; definitely get vanilla bean, matcha, milk and early grey flavored macaroons!
Caffé Concerto is located 610 S. Serrano Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90005. For more information, call 213-738-0909.