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HELP! PROVIDENCE or ANIMAL for a special meal??!

I know that they're totally different restaurants, but I wanted to get Chowhound opinions on these 2 restaurants.

I know people swoon over PROVIDENCE, but often the tasting menus are just too much food for me. If I were just to pick one main entree and one appetizer, what would you recommend at Providence? (Just a note: I don't eat lamb, squid, octopus or veal. Everything else goes! Oh, and I LOVE foie gras!!!)

Regarding ANIMAL: People seem to speak highly of it.

Thanks for your help!!!

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  1. Anyone?! Anyone with a strong opinion on Providence and/or Animal...

    1. A lot depends on what sort of atmosphere you're looking for. They both have fantastic - although very different - food.

      Providence is more classic, quiet, romantic, with super refined service and beautiful presentations. The food is impeccable, although I've always been especially partial to their seafood dishes. Other than the top of the line tasting menu, I have always left the place feeling satisfied but not stuffed.

      Animal is a lot more casual, rustic, noisy with excellent but more informal service. The presentations are attractive, but nothing that's going to make you think you can hardly stand to break it up to eat it. Their meat dishes are the real standouts and a lot of them are quite rich. I always leave Animal feeling somewhat stuffed - although I could, I suppose, exhibit some self-restraint and not eat so much.

      For a special occasion with just one other person, I'd probably prefer Providence. For a special occasion with a group of more people, I'd probably prefer Animal.

      1 Reply
      1. re: estone888

        estone888: Thank you! You've summed that up quite nicely!

      2. I think the way to do Providence is through a tasting menu. If you're not doing one, then I would definitely vote Animal.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mollyomormon

          Hi Molly,

          Have you done the 5-course or 9-course tasting menu at Providence? Thanks!

          1. re: Liquid Sky

            I've done the 9 course tasting menu. It was stellar for the most part, but there were still a few plates that missed the mark. Considering the price, that shouldn't happen.

            Oddly enough, it was a veal dish that was the best of the night and I still dream about the cheese cart.

            1. re: vinosnob

              Maybe I'll go for the 5-course. 9 seems a bit intense for me! Thank you, vino!

        2. hi liquid sky,

          yes - i have very strong opinions about both. love them. have enjoyed the full chef's tasting at providence, and between our family of 4, we ordered about 2/3 of the entire menu at animal a month ago, basically doing our own tasting menu.

          i agree about going the tasting menu to enjoy providence, and going with animal if you would rather pick and choose.

          foie gras - if you LOVE it, do call chef cimarusti at providence. for our anniversary last year, i requested him to do a foie tasting. and only because we had a last minute schedule change that forced us to make our providence dinner a day earlier, the chef had to cut it down from 6 to 5. it was all foie, paired with amazing sides, and every serving was not tiny. certainly insane in the calorie count, but it was one of the best meals we've ever had. unctuous decadence at its best!

          2 Replies
          1. re: jacknhedy

            Jack,

            Do you have photos of your foie tasting menu? That sounds amazing!

            I heard their use of truffles is pretty great too.

            Cheers!

          2. Good Q! I was considering these two and a couple others for a nice meal...and I'm going w/Providence.

            6 Replies
            1. re: OCAnn

              Hi OCAnn,

              Nice! :) If you can, you should do Providence's Chef's Menu, where you can really see Chef Cimarusti let loose and be creative. If you have any specific item / protein / vegetable you really want, you can also let them to incorporate it somewhere in the meal. I can't wait to hear your report. :)

              1. re: exilekiss

                Actually, I was looking at the Full Tasting menu, as I was concerned the Chef's Menu might be too much food. Your thoughts? BTW, this won't be until another 6 weeks.

                1. re: OCAnn

                  Hi OCAnn,

                  The Chef's Menu is proportioned fairly well (smaller portions per dish than the 5 or 9 course, but with more courses so that you're still quite full by the end ;). It was a little too much food, but we were so thrilled with what Chef Cimarusti came up with, we didn't mind. :)

                  That being said the Full Tasting is also quite nice. Enjoy~ :)

                2. re: exilekiss

                  So, we went this past weekend and went with the full tasting (9-course) menu; but with a trio of amuse bouche, it's more like a 10-course meal. He really shines with the seafood courses, esp the kanpachi & salmon, while I thought the scallop & halibut were very good (but were outshined by the other dishes). I also adored the cheese course (they had a selection of 23 types of which we chose 4!) and the melon soup, but the yuzu course was too tart for me after two bites.

                  All in all, I really, really enjoyed my meal. If the opportunity arose, I would do the Chef's Menu in a heartbeat next time!

                  1. re: OCAnn

                    Hi OCAnn,

                    I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit to Providence. :) I really enjoy Chef Cimarusti's creations whenever I go. Yes, next time, try the Chef's Menu and feel free to let them know ahead of time if you feel like anything in particular and they'll craft some dishes around your requests. :)

              2. I really like Animal and some servers even great us by handshake by now but if you want one of the best meals in LA I would go for Providence for the full tasting menu. We had it a few times and everytime we had about 14-17 courses over 5-6 hours and it is an incredible restaurant with outstanding service. And we are often more stuffed after a great meal at Animal than after Providence

                1 Reply
                1. re: honkman

                  14-17 courses??!! (my hair standing up...)