Friday, July 31, 2009


It all started on a Thursday night back in April 2006 inside a building on the northwest corner of Melrose Avenue and Cole Avenue, across the street from a twenty-four hour car wash in Los Angeles, California.

I read the review in the Los Angeles Times and I heard many great things about chef Michael Cimarusti, since he left Water Grill, the seafood restaurant located in downtown Los Angeles, to start this highly-anticipated restaurant at the original location of chef Joachim Splichal’s Patina.

Once I entered and got settled down at my table, I ordered the nine-course tasting menu. Yes, the courses kept coming, right through the cheese course and the dessert courses. After the meal, I got a tour of the kitchen and was introduced to Michael Cimarusti. I remember him saying to me,

“We’ve been waiting for you.”

As a member of one of the food discussion websites (eGullet), I made comments about wanting to eat at Providence. Apparently, those posts were noticed. And that four-hour dinner was amazing.

From that evening on, for the past three-plus years, I continue to dine at Providence, to the point that I would be considered a regular. To illustrate that point, I recall having dinner one night at the bar, which I usually do once every two weeks or so. I decided to have the halibut. A few minutes later, chef Michael walks out of the kitchen into the bar area, stands right in front of me and says, “Halibut? You’re not having halibut! You’re having bouillabaisse!,” and then storms back into the kitchen. I was chatting and joking with the bartender how it doesn’t matter now what I order, the chef will probably overrule me. By the way, the bouillabaisse that I had was a new addition on the menu and it was excellent.

Along with Michael, I’ve gotten to know the Providence staff, including maitre d’ Donato Poto, pastry chef Adrian Vasquez, sommelier Drew Langley, mixologist Zahra Bates, and other staff members like Martin, Bobby, Hwang, Randy, Matthew, Krisi, Diane, Ray, Armando, Sam, and Tristan, as well as many Providence alumni, like Paul, Vincenzo, Yu Min, Jared, Nadav, and Peter, among others. And of course, a few culinary notables ...

What else is there to say? Providence is my favorite restaurant in Los Angeles.

5955 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 460-4170