HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Craft Vs Providence

I'm taking my friend out for her birthday and we are both foodies. I've never been to either restaurant and want to know which one would be worth the $$$$

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. They're both expensive, but I think Craft might be more expensive. It's pretty damn expensive. But two of the two meals I had there were terrific. I looking forward to going back. Craft has a darker, more cutting edge feel to the decor. And a more casual feel.

    Providence is more formal and feels more special. I just took a friend to Providence last week. She's an old friend who had never had an elaborate tasting menu and it...well..changed her life! She told me (today) that she can't stop talking about it. She's now immersed herself in learning more about the culinary arts and is flying up to SF/Berkely just to eat at Chez Panisse.

    Of those two I would recommend Providence.

    Providence specilizes in seafood - and when it's fresh and creative and done right - well, it's pretty special. And they do it fresh and right.

    Craft, on the other hand, is more along the lines of decadent, comfort food with a sophisticated and contemporary touch. And you have to put together your own tasting menu.I don't have a problem with that, but I'd say go to Providence, don't even bother to look at the chef's menu - just order it - there's a smaller one and bigger one - I'd get the bigger one. And it will be one terrific surprise after another. More theater involved with that. And beautifully presented on the plate. (I don't remember that being very special at Craft - but hell, I'm on a damn diet and just writing about both of these places is making my mouth water. Okay, better get another piece of celery) . h

    1. I thought this thread was a philosphical debate about practiced skill versus god given talents . . . Why not try both? Eating at a restaurant is not a zero sum game where if you go to one, the next month you cannot go to the other . . .

      2 Replies
      1. re: apple7blue

        Because the OP wanted to know which place to take a friend for her birthday.

        I vote Providence.

        1. re: mrhooks

          Great gift, two restaurant trips, one even a month after her birthday, shows she really cares . . .

      2. My wife and I just ate at Providence a few weeks ago and we opted for the full tasting and I also got the wine pairing.

        Every plate was a work of art; everything precisely placed, vibrant colors, etc.

        The food was exceptional for the most part; highlights were the tuna, arctic char, grouper, veal tenderloin and the bountiful cheese plate. Two dishes were off IMO; the scallops and the lobster.

        Service and atmosphere are top notch. Haven't been to Craft and I'm not really excited to go based on the menu.

        Other options might be Spago or Sona...

        1. Providence, Providence, Providence!

          1. hi bosanova -

            never been to craft, but again, based on menu, i'd go providence. have had their chef's tasting 2x, dessert tasting 1x, and on another occasion designed our own tasting menu by ordering almost every cold and hot appetizer - in my opinion, hands down one of the best places, for the money. you won't be disappointed.

            1. Go with Providence. The only amazing thing at Craft is the gelato/sorbet tasting ...
              Otherwise menu is the same as any other Craft but not executed as well.

              I always love the tasting menu at Providence. Cheapest is $80 for 5-courses
              Food there is always very well done (although as of late I feel like the pastry chef is trying too hard to be 'innovative')


              3 Replies
              1. re: burumun

                i proposed to my fiancee at providence over the 9 course tasting menu. it was very good and there is really nothing i could complain about, but we later went to melisse for valentine's day and melisse made providence taste like cheesecake factory. ok, not quite, but melisse was quite a bit better. i'm going to try to make it craft in the next month, so i'll try to come back to answer your original question.

                1. re: USCott

                  You left us hanging on that one - did your fiancee accept?

                  I agree with you that the Melisse is the better of the two.

                2. re: burumun

                  I just had a unimpressive meal at Craft, and that kind of sums it up. Nothing seemed local, fresh, or exciting. I did love the duck and leek risotto, but that was about it.

                3. Of the two, I like Providence better. They are both good, and very different, but I think Cimarusti's cooking is more refined and generally at a higher level.

                  1. I'm not going to disagree with the direction of the prevailing opinion, but I can see two reasons for choosing Craft over Providence: First, if the friend might be uncomfortable doing a tasting menu. Pickier tastes, dietary restrictions, a smaller appetite. Almost every if not each rave about Providence refers to its tasting menus, while Craft emphasizes food to be shared and a large, flexible menu that can be shaped to fit a wide range of tastes and appetites. Second, if the friend is a big Top Chef fan or addict, as many on this website are, and hasn't had the opportunity to sample Craft in NYC or Craftsteak in Vegas, there may be a thrill in eating at Colicchio's L.A. restaurant, though most likely he will be far away.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: nosh

                      I don't know anyone who would turn down a tasting menu! BUUUUTT, A la carte a Providence is amazing, too. You can order dishes to nibble, dishes to share. Trust me, they'' pretty much bend over backwards to satisfy the paying foodie.

                      Also, with forwaring, Providence will handle dietary restrictions and allergies in the tasting menu.

                    2. Even though it's not an official menu, Craft will do a tasting menu if requested.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: NYCnowLA

                        I ate at Providence for my birthday when they first opened, and at Craft this year for it. I have to say, I was quite disappointed in Craft. It was a decent meal, but certainly not worth the price. We ordered based on the chefs recommendations at Craft and while it was good, I wasn't blown away. I loved my tasting menu at Providence, but if I remember my husband wasn't as thrilled, but we both vote for Providence over Craft. Service at both was great. And I have to say, that the atmosphere at Providence was a bit more special occasion for me.

                      2. Providence. No comparison.

                        1. Heck, I'll be at Providence in 7 Days. Friday, the 11th, wahooo! Been anticipating this for a year! Was thinking of going somewhere else, but nothing compares to Providence, especially for a special occasion.

                          Seriously, it's worth it. Talk to Donato, and you'll be set for an amazing meal worth every penny.

                          1. We (two daughters and I) had the pleasure of eating at Craft last night. We are from San Francisco and we admit fans of Top Chef-slight disclaimer for our rave review to follow. As we entered the restaurant we were impressed with the outside seating area comfortable conversational grouping of patio couches,chairs,and soft light. It looked like a terrific place to enjoy a cocktail or after dinner coffee. The dining room had a modern edge (no white tablecloths) but we found it it warm and not industrial. The only negative I could find in entering the room was an off odor of propane or some type of gas perhaps coming off the votives. Service was very good and menu broad with many choices of starters-salads, pasta and entrees including beef and fish. A surprise to us was that all items were served communal style to be shared. We ordered the beef short ribs,snapper with meyer lemon, halibut,asparagus, artichoke rissoto, and carrots. The sides were all good especially the rissoto which was creamy with I believe a fried lemon topping-not sure but it was delicious. The other winner was the beef short ribs -juicy and sweet bites of meat that made me abandon proper manners and want to mop up the juices in serving dish with my bread which by the way was great. Sea salt sprinkled sweet butter was also delicious slathered on the sourdough bread provided in baskets. The lengthy dessert menu posed so many choices it was hard to decide but we finally chose the caramel parfait with bites of peanut brittle, waffle topped with a maple bacon ice cream, and banana cream pie. The winner of this trifecta was the caramel parfait although the banana cream pie came in a close second. We would go back and tweak our order to highlight our favorites-beef short ribs and caramel parfait. I think we would also order a green salad next time. Loved the service and the food.

                            1. For what it's worth, watching Tom Colichio on Top Chef has ruined my desire to try his restaurants. And sitting among slimey CAA agents would make me itch - so I vote Providence by default.