Our Critics' Picks

  • Slideshows
  • Videos
 
MORE

Kaya Restaurant

14120 Culver Dr.
Irvine, CA 92604
949-726-9424

Details

  • Sun 10am-9pm, Mon-Sat 10am-10pm
  • $$
  • Delivery, Kid Friendly, Takeout, Wheelchair accessible
  • Dinner, Lunch
  • Beer/Wine
  • Parking Lot Available
  • Reservations Accepted
There are more Korean restaurants serving sundubu jjigae in Irvine than you can count on one hand, maybe two. Three alone are clustered in a single shopping center at Culver and the 5 freeway, all plying the all-purpose winter-weather balm that can tame a cold better than mom's chicken soup: Korean soft tofu is always served in roiling, single-serving cauldrons, flanked by an army of side dishes called banchan. Bubbling up over the rest, the meal Kaya puts out is the cream of the Korean crop. The soup is thick, rich, with a broth that can be made as spicy as you like and teeming with silken bean curd, seafood and bits of meat. And then there's the rest of the menagerie: little refillable saucers of kimchi, creamy potato salad, cucumbers in chili paste, stir-fried glass noodles called jap chae and more. How well these side dishes are made demonstrates the care and quality Kaya takes with the rest of the menu. The mixed-rice dish, bibimbap, comes in a myriad of styles. The kalbi, barbecue short ribs, is luscious and not overly sweet. And the panjeon, Korean scallion pancakes, is clearly a source of familial pride. It's served hot off the frying pan and at no extra charge, like the bread at most restaurants.

Related Stories (1)

  • 10 Essential Irvine Restaurants
    Friday, December 13, 2013 at 7:30 a.m. by Edwin Goei

    For better or for worse, I do a lot of my eating in Irvine. I've probably eaten at almost all, if not 90%, of the restaurants in the city. And what I can tell you is this: contrary to what you may think, this master-planned Burg by ...

Menu

View All

More Asian Restaurants in Irvine

  • As dish-and-dine places go, this is what a Caltech graduate degree is to science: the top of the ...

    Asian
  • Whether it's your first visit to Irvine's Wheel of Life restaurant or your 30th, the welcome rema...

    Asian
  • Urban Seoul
    Critics' Pick

    Urban Seoul at Irvine's Diamond Jamboree uses proven Korean-Mexican flavor combos as a baseline. ...

    Asian
View All

More Asian Restaurants in Orange County

  • As dish-and-dine places go, this is what a Caltech graduate degree is to science: the top of the ...

    Asian
  • Cream Pan in Tustin has Japanese pastries like anpan and the eponymous cream pan. The place is al...

    Asian
  • Deciding what to eat at Bodhi Tree-there are more than 100 mock-meat choices-involves the same de...

    Asian
  • Prettier than its dowdier, older sister, Brodard Chateau is a debutante already being courted by ...

    Asian
  • Despite it's name, Ba Le is probably most famous in Little Saigon for its deli, front and center ...

    Asian
  • Mentatsu offers 22 types of its ramen, each delivered in a bowl bigger than your head and pervers...

    Asian

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >