The Best Los Angeles Restaurants for Hot Pot

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot in Pasadena

Photo: Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot, Facebook


Hot pot is sometimes described as “Chinese fondue,” however fondue is actually "European hot pot." Hot potting, where ingredients are cooked in a steaming bowl of broth, dates back thousands of years. Some say it originated in Mongolia, others maintain it comes from China. Regardless of the pedigree, it’s an extremely popular practice that spread across Asia and now the world. The Japanese call it shabu-shabu, the Vietnamese call it lẩu or lao, and in Korea porridge is cooked in the pot after the broth is finished. Hot pot is an easy feast to put together and is commonly enjoyed in East Asian households during the holidays. For those who prefer eating out, discover a list of the best restaurant hot pots in Los Angeles.

Lobster Hot Pot at 7Fusion

Lobster Hot Pot at 7Fusion

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

7Fusion



Soccer pro Edu Obasi and his wife debuted 7Fusion in May 2018, drawing on global flavors from their travels to deliver fun interactive experiences in a fashionable Sherman Oaks space. Fresh Bazaar is a play on Mongolian BBQ that may include exotic meats like alligator and camel. Hot Pot is a more approachable tabletop treat featuring a choice of three broths: vegetable, “fresh beef bone” or “citrus lime” with beef, ginger, and lemongrass. Combo platters center on beef, mushrooms, and seafood that cook in bubbling liquid. Lobster hot pot is their most luxurious package, teaming two lobster tails with cuttlefish, shrimp, Manila clams, and scallops. Cook and dip in savory sauces.

House Special at Boiling Point

House Special at Boiling Point | Photo: Clarissa Wei

Boiling Point - San Gabriel



Boiling Point is one of the darlings of the Los Angeles hot pot scene. Since they opened their doors in 2004, a number of copycats have opened across town. Boiling Point has expanded across California to Washington State, Canada and China. Their success is the envy of the industry and the company seems to be conscious of this - their pot was patented in 2013. Although they’ve already been around for nearly 15 years, lines are still consistently long and it boils down to the simplicity of their menu. All you do is choose a flavor and a well-portioned pot is brought out to you with the ingredients already cooked and ready to eat. The House Special is built on an earthy broth and fortified with pork intestines, blood cubes, quail eggs, fish balls and Napa cabbage.

Double Combo at HaiDiLao Hot Pot

Double Combo at HaiDiLao Hot Pot | Photo: HaiDiLao Hot Pot, Yelp

Hai Di Lao Hot Pot



This is a hot pot chain straight from the Sichuan province in China. HaiDiLao Hot Pot is a luxury hot pot restaurant located in Westfield Santa Anita, and is well-known for their high caliber of service. All ordering is done via tablet and each table is assigned a waiter (a rare practice in Chinese restaurants) who hovers to ensure your pot is filled with water and that your ingredients are added promptly. While this seems standard to Western audiences, HaiDiLao also attracts a solid clientele of native Chinese who are looking for a taste of home. They are perhaps best known for their “noodle dancers.” For $4, a dancer in white will come over to your table and whirl a ten-foot piece of dough right into your bowl.

Hot Pot Hot Pot in Monterey Park

Hot Pot Hot Pot in Monterey Park

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Hot Pot Hot Pot



Hot Pot Hot Pot proprietors Barry Hin Chiang and Chi San Chiang hail from Hong Kong, and they clearly have a handle on tabletop cooking. Subdivided cauldrons feature two broths: mild chicken, and a spicy broth flavored with ginger, jujubes, wolfberries, star anise, and scallions. Swish-ready ingredients include tender pork stomach strips, firm pork kidney flaps, and supple pork intestine. Vegetables counterbalance offal’s richness. Consider crispy Napa cabbage, baby bok choy with leafy greens, and fibrous chayote squash. Colorful Hokkigai clam is firm and chewy, and rosy flounder is relatively mild.

KaGaYa Hot Pot

Photo: KaGaYa

KaGaYa



At KaGaYa in Little Tokyo, the priority is really on the meat quality, which seems to be a recurring theme in Japanese-style cooking. That quality comes at a price - the cheapest hot pot menu option is $45 and comes with three appetizers, ten pieces of prime rib beef, vegetables and a dessert. If you have the money to spare, go for their top billed item, the Wagyu beef. Imported directly from Miyazaki in Japan, it’s perhaps one of the best cuts of cow you can get in Los Angeles and given the quality, can practically be eaten raw. The price is $128 per person.

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot in Pasadena

Photo: Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot, Facebook

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot - Pasadena



Little Sheep’s Mongolian broth is so renowned that at one point, they were selling it in packs. They specialize in Mongolian-style hot pot - the broth is dark, earthy and enhanced with spices including cumin, soy beans, Sichuan peppercorn, cloves and of course, MSG. The restaurant is set up so that each table gets their individual pot. You order ingredients a la carte - we recommend the lamb shoulder, which is imported from New Zealand and sliced paper thin.

Shabu-shabu at Mizu 212

Shabu-shabu at Mizu 212

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

MIZU 212



Mizu 212 is a corner shabu-shabu bar in Sawtelle Japantown that’s named for the temperature at which water boils. The airy space features a serpentine green bar, bold red painting of a skulking Felix the cat, and a steaming induction burner pot in front of each stool. The menu features organic ingredients From the Sea, From the Land, and From the Ground. Premium ingredients include Prime buffalo ribeye and Kobe-style Wagyu beef “uber grade,” but Mizu 212 customers don’t have to spend so much to enjoy a meal here. Top choices include silky ocean trout, fat-rimmed “natural” Berkshire pork Kurobuta and “natural” lamb. Combos let customers pair a half portion of seafood with a half portion of meat. COMBINATION features a half-portion of seafood and a half-portion of meat. Whatever you choose, cook in boiling broth with udon noodles or glass noodles, tofu, and vegetables like baby bok choy, shimeji and shiitake mushrooms, and snow peas.

Fish hot pot at O Young's Rock Pot in Gardena

Fish hot pot at O Young's Rock Pot in Gardena

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

O’Young’s Rock Pot



The name might sound Irish, but O’Young’s Rock Pot specializes in bubbling Chinese-style hot pots in Gardena’s Pacific Square strip mall. The space features mauve and wood block walls, faux wood tables, and grey and orange chairs. O’Young’s serves sizzling rock pots geared toward individual diners. Seasonal fish hot pot is a personal favorite starring bony black cod with tofu in murky broth with scallions, cilantro and ginger. Bullfrog, blue crab, and beef short ribs are also available with custom accompaniments.

Osawa Special Shabu Shabu

Osawa Special Shabu Shabu

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Osawa Shabu Shabu & Sushi



Sayuri Tachibe, wife of longtime Chaya executive chef Shigefumi Tachibe, opened Osawa in Old Pasadena. The space features art-lined walls, an open kitchen, and counter seats sporting built-in shabu pots. Osawa’s counter-only shabu showcases proteins like Wagyu beef from Saga Prefecture, “silver” tonkotsu pork, and King salmon in spicy miso broth. Each order comes with a basket of udon noodles, shungiku (garland chrysanthemum) leaves, Napa cabbage, scallions, and tofu slabs that cook with your chosen meat and broth. Dip the results in both tangy ponzu and nutty sesame sauce.

Paper Pot Shabu Hot Pot

Paper Pot Shabu | Photo: Clarissa Wei

Paper Pot Shabu



Paper Pot Shabu's version of hot pot will make you think the restaurant is pulling some sort of magic trick. The soup is cooked in a pot made entirely out of paper, a special grade called "washi" in Japanese. The secret: the paper is chemically coated to become durable against heat and water. The set menu features prime cuts of meat that are served with assortments of vegetables and noodles.

Seoul Garden hot pot

Seoul Garden hot pot | Photo by Clarissa Wei

Seoul Garden Restaurant



Seoul Garden is a hot pot veteran located on Olympic Boulevard in Westlake. They’ve been around for over 30 years and have always specialized in one thing: Korean-style hot pot with a chicken soup base. It’s a family-style affair, though you pay per person. The meal can get pricey - it starts at around $28 per head, but it’s well worth the price point. The order comes with unlimited banchan - the spicy pickled raw squid and radish is addictive. At the end of the meal, you get a large portion of udon noodles to cook in your broth and then a massive pot of porridge.

Prime Beef, Seafood & Mushroom combo at Shabu Hyang

Prime Beef, Seafood & Mushroom combo at Shabu Hyang

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Shabu Hyang



Shabu Hyang is located less than one block from The Wiltern Theatre. The space touts grey and brick walls, blue cushioned banquettes, light wood tables, and a spacious back patio. Reclaimed wood hoods inhale vapors from divided hot pots that cook on induction burners. One option is an even split of medium and spicy broth. Possible key ingredients include Prime ribeye, baby octopus, and lamb shoulder. We recommend the Prime Beef, Seafood & Mushroom combo, which comes with vegetables, rice noodles, rice paper wrappers, and three dipping sauces: peanut, soy, and spicy. Enjoy porridge to finish made with residual broth, white rice, diced white onion, nori, squash, and a squeeze bottle of scrambled egg and sesame oil. The porridge thickens up quickly in the pot.

Shabu Shabu House in Little Tokyo

Shabu Shabu House in Little Tokyo

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Shabu Shabu House



Try to get to Shabu Shabu House early because this Little Tokyo mainstay in Japanese Village Plaza tends to get mobbed at lunch. Masako Maruyama presides over his horseshoe-shaped counter and leaves very few decisions to his customers. Just choose how much sliced-to-order 100% Angus ribeye to drop into boiling water and dip in either ponzu or sesame sauces. An A Set yields 10 slices, and the B Set brings 15, which is plenty, especially when combined with cabbage, seaweed, tofu, and udon noodles.

Hot pot at Shabuya in Westlake

Hot pot at Shabuya in Westlake

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Shabuya



Shabuya has proven popular for premium all you can eat shabu-shabu in Westlake, at three other California locations, and at Honolulu’s Ala Moana Center. The Korean-run outpost near DTLA features a massive space with a pagoda-like facade, open kitchen with butchers shaving meat constantly, central buffet for raw ingredients and sauces to complement your meats, and a surrounding sea of blue cushioned banquettes. Shabuya offers a choice of seven different soup bases. Their Original House Soup Base is a clear broth crafted with dried fish flakes, kombu, vegetables, and secrets. Other options include a vegetable broth with red and white miso and a Chinese Hot Pot “HuoGuo” that incorporates herbs and spices. AYCE fillings normally cost $28.99 per person, but lunch runs $18.99 for six selections and $24.99 for a more “premium” 10. Highlights include boneless “Triple S R” short rib, fat-rimmed Prime beef belly, and rosy thin-shaved lamb leg. Bear in mind that any leftover meat results in supplemental charges, whether you cook and take it home or not, so order judiciously unless you’re a massive eater. Swing by the central bar for fibrous lotus root, sweet corn on the cob, shrimp, clams, baby bok choy, quail eggs, enoki mushrooms, ramen noodles, and more. Shabuya’s sauce bar yields options like goma (sesame), red chile sauce with vinegar, and spicy yuzu ponzu.

Prime beef flap meat at Shin-Sen-Gumi Shabu-Shabu in Gardena

Prime beef flap meat at Shin-Sen-Gumi Shabu-Shabu

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Shin-Sen-Gumi Shabu-Shabu



Shin-Sen-Gumi Shabu-Shabu is part of a popular Japanese chain that primarily specializes in ramen and yakitori. This Gardena Marketplace outpost dates to 1994 and features canary yellow walls, a long speckled counter, and place settings with induction burners. Staffers pay close attention to proteins like Prime beef flap meat, Kobe ribeye, and free-range chicken breast. During the meal, my server skimmed beef fat from the top of the pot, a nice touch. For shabu-shabu, sukiyaki, and motsu-nabe, customers can add shrimp, scallops, squid legs, gyoza, shrimp wontons, or pork wontons. Dip results in ponzu and sesame sauces. Condiments like yuzu kosho, chile sauce, and shichimi togarashi are also on tables. Finish with udon or porridge cooked in the same beef stock.

Wagyu beef shabu-shabu at Washoku of L.A.

Wagyu beef shabu-shabu at Washoku of L.A.

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Washoku of L.A.



Chef Katsuya Uechi and Katsu-Ya Group add to their Studio City portfolio with Washoku of L.A., a higher end concept that replaced Quick by Katsu-Ya. The menu features sushi, sashimi, tempura, and shabu-shabu. Better yet, combine all of the above and more in Omakase Kaiseki, which starts at $28 and rises to $98 for “chef’s surprise.” Starting at the $48 level, customers receive a donabe starring thin-shaved Wagyu ribeye in bubbling water flavored with kombu that cooks on an Iwatani stovetop. Accompaniments include tofu and vegetables like Tokyo negi, three types of mushrooms (shiitake, homeji and enoki), Napa cabbage, spinach, carrot flower, rice noodles, and wakame. Dip the results in creamier, sweeter sesame dipping sauce and lighter, tangier ponzu sauce. They can either serve a bowl of rice before sushi or take the shabu-shabu remains to the kitchen to cook as post-sushi, risotto-like porridge with egg, rice, soy sauce, and mirin. Go with porridge, and mix with ponzu and ichimi before eating.