Why This Koreatown Restaurant Is So Important For Film And Food Lovers

At first glance, The Prince is just a restaurant occupying the first floor of a Tudor apartment building on the corner of seventh and Catalina in Koreatown, L.A. (per says Curbed: Los Angeles). The Korean-style fried chicken joint only carries a 3 ½ star rating on Yelp. But, after stepping inside, the restaurant opens up onto a much different scene. Harry Medved (former Fandango writer and co-author of So-Cal film memoir "Hollywood Escapes") recalls The Prince as being full of all the old Hollywood charm and impossible glamor that its reputation boasts. "I remember the first time I walked in there, it was like I had just traveled in a time machine to LA's glorious past for a day," Medved says, via Curbed: Los Angeles. "If those red leather booths could talk, you could imagine hearing tales of the heated, private conversations of Hollywood players from decades ago."

Secret Los Angeles describes the restaurant as a place of faithful star-studded fashion: wallpaper adorned with red and gold filigree, stained glass windows, framed paintings, circular booths, and vintage low-lit lamps. These atmospheric accouterments not only make The Prince a charming hangout — they've also made the Koreatown establishment a muse for an impressive lineup of big screen blockbusters.

A Hollywood haunt through the ages

The Prince serves as the backdrop for an intense scene in Roman Polanski's Oscar-winning "Chinatown" (1974) between Hollywood legends Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. It's the setting for a crucial plot point in Jason Reitman's dark comedy "Thank You For Smoking" (2005). The Prince isn't just for the film world, either. The Koreatown joint can be seen in two separate episodes of "Mad Men," and is featured in the pilot episode of "New Girl" as one of the main characters' place of business. 

The Prince carries a long history of high fashion and A-list popularity. It originally opened as "The Windsor" in 1949, says Collider, opposite L.A.'s Ambassador Hotel and its iconic Cocoanut Grove nightclub, famed haunt of celebrities and former U.S. presidents. The restaurant became The Prince in 1991 after being purchased by new owners, who turned the establishment into a Korean eatery but kept most of the building's celebrated interior the same. The even kept the baby grand piano. If you're hungry to check out the big screen spot for yourself, The Prince is open seven days a week from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., says Secret Los Angeles. Talk about a feast for the eyes — literally.