Eat With Locals in Anthony Bourdain’s Fave Spots


Anthony Bourdain’s recent death on June 8th, 2018, really hit me hard. He was a truly inspiration person and he will be sadly missed by millions. I have decided to dedicate this blog post to what he loved best – traveling the world and eating with locals. Here is how you can follow in his footsteps and do what he loved most. Eat with locals in Anthony Bourdains fave spots. Please read till the end…

If you haven’t heard of Anthony Bourdain, here is a brief history – Bourdain was a celebrity chef who fell in love with food while on a childhood holiday in France. When fishing on an boat one day he tried his very first oyster.

With a snubby, rust covered oyster knife, he popped the thing open and handed it to me, everyone watching now, my little brother shrinking away from this glistening, vaguely sexual-looking object, still dripping and nearly alive. I took it in my hand, tilted the shell back into my mouth as instructed by the by now beaming Monsieur Saint-Jour, and with one bite and a slurp, wolfed it down. It tasted seawater… of brine and flesh… and somehow… of the future. I’d not only survived – I’d enjoyed. This, I knew, was the magic I had until now only dimly and spitefully aware of. I was hooked. My parents’ shudders, my little brother’s expression of unrestrained revulsion and amazement only reinforced the sense that I had, somehow, become a man. I had had an adventure, tasted forbidden fruit, and everything that followed in my life – the food, the long and often stupid and self-destructive chase for the next thing, whether it was drugs or sex or some other new sensation – would all stem from this moment. I’d learned something. Viscerally, instinctively, spiritually – even in some precursive way, sexually – and there was no turning back. The genie was out of the bottle.”

 He became immersed in food culture and knew then that would be his path in life. His father was an executive for Columbia records and his mother was a staff executive for the New York Times. He worked in a seafood restaurant for some time and eventually went on to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America. He proceeded to run various successful restaurants in his early career, including The Supper Club, Sullivan’s, One Fifth Avenue and finally became the executive chef at Brasserie des Halles in Manhattan.

Bourdain at Brasserie des Halles

Born on June 25, 1956, his grandparents were French but he only visited France a couple of times in his youth. He didn’t really start travelling until he was 44 years old, so it’s never too late to see the world people!

“For fifteen years, more or less, I’ve been travelling two hundred days a year. I make very good friends a week at a time.”

He ended up having an article published in the New Yorker titled “Don’t eat before reading this” which catapulted him into the world of culinary writing. Anthony, known as Tony by friends and family, went on to write  Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly in 2000. After that he went on to television, where he starred in 35 shows of A Cook’s Tour.

Following the success of that, he went on to do Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (2005–2012) which is where I discovered him to be a true inspiration. He travelled the world and ate with local strangers, refusing to dine at the standard restaurants but rather getting to know the people there and tasting the best of their cultural food. He especially loved street food and would seek out the opinion of the locals to find the best home cooking, by dining with them in their homes a lot of the time. He was a real people person and often mentioned that he much preferred trying out someones granny’s home cooked recipe as opposed to dining in posh restaurants.

He eventually moved to CNN to host his own documentary, travelling all over the world and eating with locals in Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Before that he did 3 seasons as a judge on The Taste.

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Funnily enough, Anthony told Wealthsimple magazine – “When Kitchen Confidential was published, I hadn’t filed taxes in about 10 years. I was seriously behind on rent.” He spent all his money on rent and marijuana when he was younger and took a big risk by leaving his regular job to pursue his television dream. Thankfully it paid off and he was said to be fanatical not owing anyone money these days.

He travelled to nearly a hundred countries and explored the food and culture of each place with gusto. Being an intriguing conversationalist and a genuinely likeable person, people warmed to him immediately so it was easy to meet and eat with locals wherever he went. This made it interesting viewing for tv at the same time and you really get a feel for the culture and cuisine of any place he visited. He inspired people to travel and more importantly to eat with locals and get to know people! That is the real culture and how you can immerse yourself properly instead of ‘just being another tourist’. He says –

“It is more about getting a sense of the rhythms and smells and flavors of a place, a task that requires patience and a willingness to explore. Going rogue.”

Here are a few more of Anthony Bourdain’s famous quotes to inspire you –

“You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together.”

“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”

“Meals make the society, hold the fabric together in lots of ways that were charming and interesting and intoxicating to me. The perfect meal, or the best meals, occur in a context that frequently has very little to do with the food itself.”

“If I’m in Rome for only 48 hours, I would consider it a sin against God to not eat cacio e pepe, the most uniquely Roman of pastas, in some crummy little joint where Romans eat. I’d much rather do that than go to the Vatican. That’s Rome to me.”

“I, personally, think there is a really danger of taking food too seriously. Food should be part of the bigger picture.”

“Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown.”

“I’m a big believer in winging it. I’m a big believer that you’re never going to find perfect city travel experience or the perfect meal without a constant willingness to experience a bad one. Letting the happy accident happen is what a lot of vacation itineraries miss, I think, and I’m always trying to push people to allow those things to happen rather than stick to some rigid itinerary.”

“The journey is part of the experience – an expression of the seriousness of one’s intent. One doesn’t take the A-train to Mecca.”

“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”

“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.”

“At the end of the day, the TV show is the best job in the world. I get to go anywhere I want, eat and drink whatever I want. As long as I just babble at the camera, other people will pay for it. It’s a gift.”

Ahh, I love his humour, honesty and profoundness and on top of that he was incredibly modest. He worked really hard to get where he was yet he believed he was never that good as a chef or an author!

“I wasn’t that great a chef, and I don’t think I’m that great a writer.” I think Anthony cared more about the culture, social gathering and meeting new friends than anything else. He loved eating with locals and learning about their culture. His passion fuelled his writing and it shows. He despised the idea of going on the likes of Tripadvisor or Yelp but preferred foodie sites such as Chowhound or Eat Your World, if you absolutely must get a recommendation. Even better, go with a local’s recommendation or eat with a local in their home.

anthony bourdain eating with locals in a field

He enjoyed reading wine blogs ahead of a trip where he could visit wineries. He preferred to take his time and roam around a place rather than create an itinerary, therefore he had more time to take it all in and liked going off the beaten track to find the best non-touristy spots. He dreaded the thought of travelling to foreign lands and quickly visiting famous landmarks ‘just to take selfies’ and post on Instagram.

If you haven’t seen any of his documentaries or read his books, then you should absolutely do so. He has a brilliant writing style that enchants and brings to life his experiences. He also wrote fiction so there are plenty to choose from. You might just be inspired to travel the world and eat with locals yourself! Don’t be afraid to slum it if you have to, to get started when you’re young. Here is Bourdain’s advice –

“If you’re 22, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”

The fantastic news is that you can do just that, without slumming it and follow in Anthony’s footsteps to experience the true culture of a place. Eat with locals and enjoy traditional homemade recipes with local produce while socialising with local strangers by using this site – this post contains affiliate links* >> EATWITH

I have compiled a list of suggestions based on Anthony Bourdain’s fave places to eat, where you can experience eating with locals via the Eatwith site. Feel free to check out all the available hosts in Anthony’s fave spots as there are many and varied different options with different price ranges. You also need to check the dates for availability when you are planning your visit.

Here are Anthony Bourdain’s fave places to eat –

Tokyo – “If I had to agree to live in one country, or even one city, for the rest of my life, never leaving it, I’d pick Tokyo in a second,” He likened his first Tokyo trip to his first acid trip in that afterwards “nothing was ever the same.”


Saigon – “The food, culture, landscape and smell; they’re all inseparable. It just seemed like another planet; a delicious one that sort of sucked me in and never let go.”


Barcelona – “You’d have a hard time finding anything better than Barcelona for food, as far as being a hub.” 


San Sebastian – “You’d have a hard time finding anything better than Barcelona for food, as far as being a hub. Given a choice between Barcelona and San Sebastian to die in, I’d probably want to die in San Sebastian.”


Venice –  “I’ve been to Venice only once, in 1995, and had one of the most incredible nights of my life. Walking down the street, lost and looking for somewhere to have dinner, my backpacker friend and I met a group of artists and got caught up in their impromptu dinner plans (I still remember that I had an artichoke lasagna). Hours later, at something like 3am, after lots of drunken wandering and visits to some Count’s private palace, I was drinking wine on the Rialto bridge having one of those lucky moments. So terrifcally cheesy, right? Venice just does that to you.”


Rome – “You should know a Roman. In a perfect world, we all would.”


His fave underrated places –

Medellin – Columbia

Cartagena – Columbia Montevideo – Uruguay – 



Fave restaurant – Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles

* If you make a booking with Eatwith through my site, I make a small commission. Thanks.

Explore more places and watch his videos here – Parts Unknown

Check out Anthony’s fave pubs below – 

chateau marmont restaurant la

Anthony loved afternoon drinking and especially beer. “There’s something wonderful about drinking in the afternoon. A not-too-cold pint, absolutely alone at the bar – even in a fake-ass Irish pub.”

On one of his famous expeditions he spent the afternoon in a real Irish bar. John Kavanagh, The Gravediggers, which he names as one of the top 5 on his list of favourite bars in the world.

Anthony Bourdain has never met a dive bar he didn’t like! 😀

 The Distinguished Wakamba Cocktail Lounge, New York
“It’s a remnant of another era. There’s no mixologist behind the bar. If you were to order a drink with more than two components, you’d get the dirty look.”

 Double Down Saloon, Las Vegas
“I like old-school places where they bust your balls when you walk in the door. Where a guy who’s on TV a lot can be treated with the instinctive skepticism and derision that a profession such as mine deserves.”

John Kavanagh (a k a The Gravediggers), Dublin
“It’s a wonderful place, just a perfectly poured pint of Guinness, the way it should be. No music, no bullshit, everything you want from a real Irish pub.”

Anthony bourdain at Kavanaghs, Dublin

4. Mac’s Club Deuce Bar, Miami
“Even if you hate South Beach, this place singlehandedly makes a good argument for drinking in South Beach. It’s an antidote to overgel’d, Ferrari-driving, Ed-Hardy wearing motherfuckers.”

5. The Hideout (a k a Trish’s), London
“A downstairs ‘private club’ that anybody can join for a few dollars. It’s the antidote to everything trendy.”

(This pub list was found on

Anthony Bourdain eating with people
Bourdain in Lyon, France with Chef Boulud Paul Bocuse

R.I.P Anthony Bourdain – Your beautiful memories stay with us. 

Food is everything we are. It's an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It's inseparable from those from the get-go. Here are Anthony's fave spots

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Anthony Bourdain
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Celebrity chef, author, tv personality, director, travel enthusiast, film maker, producer
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Get post alerts :
Photo ofAnthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain
Job Title
Celebrity chef, author, tv personality, director, travel enthusiast, film maker, producer
Blog News Weekly


  1. Vox
    July 2, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    I was saddened by his death, as well. He was an inspiration to both me and my husband because he got a late start in life (which let us know that realizing one’s dreams is still possible). Thanks for sharing some information that I did not know about him. He will be missed.

    • blognewser
      July 5, 2018 at 8:42 pm

      Aw thanks for this. I can’t believe I cried a few times for someone I didn’t know personally. I actually felt as though I knew him. He lived life to the full, loved greatly and inspired millions. Never to be forgotten x

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