By now, you should already know what “boba” is. Otherwise known as bubble tea, it’s a chewy tapioca ball that sinks to the bottom of your favorite beverage, offering a fun and addictive “eat-while-you-drink” experience.
Best Boba in Koreatown, CA
While the best boba drinks are often found in the San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles offers its own impressive and growing number of options for when a trip out east is a little too daunting for you. Here are some of our favorite places to go when we’re in dire need of a boba fix:
Kung Fu Tea
From the moment you step into the store, you’re embraced with that freshly-made boba aroma. Kung Fu Tea has a wide variety of drinks that are consistently great, and the boba itself is always chewy and sweet. They also have a check-in offer (on Yelp) and an app to rack up points for free drinks. If you visit, we recommend their Wintermelon Tea Cap.
Parking: There is a small lot in this strip mall, but spaces are hard to come by on busy days. 5-10 min walk from Wilshire/Western Metro station (Purple Line).
One of the great hallmarks of Gong Cha (aside from its omnipresence in Asia and So-Cal) is its limitless options to customize your drink. You’ll make a decent hole in your wallet trying all the possible ways to have your boba. There’s also a FiveStar Rewards program to put your boba addiction spending towards some free drinks. Hard to pick a favorite, but we recommend the Brown Sugar Milk Tea.
Parking: Garage lot in the back (enter on Oxford), you get 1-hour free with validation. Right outside the Wilshire/Western Metro station (Purple Line).
I Love Boba
This little shop holds a special place in our hearts because it’s one of the few boba places where you can actually sit and work due to its relaxed ambience and roominess. The drinks are no-frills, but the boba quality is definitely not bad either. Ask for a stamp card and get a free drink after 9 stamps. Try their Taro Smoothie, it’s one of our go-to’s.
Parking: Large parking lot, but can get crowded as this mall is packed with great restaurants. In the evenings, you can valet for $2. 5-10 min walk from Wilshire/Western Metro station (Purple Line).
It’s Boba Time
Some might consider It’s Boba Time the reigning king of boba in Koreatown – it’s been there for so long now that it’s become a default boba go-to for many folks out there. If consistency and variety are important to you, you may find yourself at home here. We like to order one of their classics – Jasmine Green Tea.
Parking: There’s a small lot right outside where you can typically valet for $1-2, but if you let them know you won’t be long to pick up a drink, you can park for free. 5 min walk from Wilshire/Normandie Metro station (Purple Line).
Tan-Cha is another boba success story, with humble beginnings opening its first store in Rowland Heights back in 2017. Today, you’ll find a number of locations throughout California, one of which sits in the heart of Koreatown! And for a shop that boasts specialties in tiramisu milk tea and cheese foam drinks, you should do yourself a favor and give one or the other a try.
Parking: Street parking is your primary option here. 5-10 min walk from Wilshire/Normandie or Wilshire/Vermont Metro Stations (Purple/Red Line).
If you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy boba shop, you’ve found it in Snow Monster! Drinks can be upgraded into reusable glass jars in novelty shapes that make the experience a whole lot more “grammable”. But it doesn’t stop at boba – they’ve got ice cream and cotton candy to have every sweet tooth covered. We recommend their Thai Milk Tea, and if you’re in the mood, a scoop of that taro ice cream, too!
Parking: There’s a free lot in the back (enter through Alexandria or Kenmore), but later turns into valet parking after 4pm. 5 min walk from Wilshire/Normandie Metro Station (Purple Line).
With two prime locations and ample menu items to boast, Mr. Boba is a homerun for those sudden cravings, a quick pit stop after eating with friends, or after a late-night show at the Wiltern. With plenty of seating, board games, and a loyalty stamp card, you can bet we’ve been here more times than we’re willing to admit! Our personal favorites are their smoothies and juices – definitely consider ordering one if you’re stopping in.
Parking: Free parking in a gated, private lot. 5 min walk from Wilshire/Western Metro Station (Purple Line).
A cozy little cafe located at the edge of K-Town, we are fans for the atmosphere alone. Sweetea Bar offers a simple and natural selection of teas that truly upgrade your boba-drinking experience and always come out tasting fantastic. Their Rose Petal Milk Tea has got us hooked, it’s a must-try when visiting this quaint spot.
Parking: Free private parking lot. 5 min walk from Wilshire/Vermont Metro Station (Purple Line).
Honorable Boba Mention
Boy, are we a sucker for Boba Guys. Originally from the Bay Area, this hip shop made its way down south and opened up two locations here in Los Angeles. (Lucky us!) While it’s technically not within the confines of Koreatown, we’re willing to stretch the boundaries a bit because we love the creative specialty drinks here. They’ve perfected the art of making boba down to a science, and we’re all the more grateful for it. If you can’t decide on what to get here, the Strawberry Matcha Latte (with Oat Milk) is a favorite we can’t get away from.
Parking: Street parking is the way to go here. Not exactly close to a Metro station, so an Uber/Lyft or a bus ride would be your best option!