I’ve made it no secret that I’m a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain: someone on Twitter tried to insult me by calling me a “Discount Anthony Bourdain” and it’s been the best compliment I’ve yet received. His ability to appreciate both haute cuisine and street food always keeps me interested, as does his love of “meat in tube form” and anything noodle-based. It is for this reason that, whenever I plan a trip, he is my first resource: find out if he did a show there, take copious notes, and then plan the ancillary activities of the trip around where we’re eating.
I’ve noticed recently that the Travel Channel website for No Reservations has become more and more sparse. There is an episode description and sometimes a few highlights, but no longer do that have a map and addresses of the places Tony has visited. There are a few websites here and there that list some eateries for some places he’s visited, but nothing I could find that was comprehensive.
This is why I have now taken it upon myself to go through and log everywhere Bourdain has been and everything he has eaten—to the greatest extent possible. There are, of course, a few hiccups:
1. Bourdain has many food experiences that you can’t get in a restaurant, or you probably couldn’t get at all. Sometimes he hangs out with local chefs who all throw a meal together in their backyard, or he goes deep into the jungle and eats at someone’s home.
2. The show doesn’t always tell you where they are. Sometimes there’s a quick shot of the front of the restaurant—if that’s the case, I try my best to pause it and jot down the name. But sometimes you don’t even get that; for example, in the first season’s Sicily episode, Tony eats watermelon gelee with the Sicilian President, but they never say or show where.
3. Some places just don’t have names. Especially in the small towns in the outskirts of developing countries, some of the places are just known to be a restaurant and that’s that.
These things can make it hard to track some places down, but with the help of the internet I am doing everything I can to be as comprehensive as possible, providing the places Bourdain ate with address, the food he had, and which episode it came from in case you’d like to check it out yourself.
Episode notations will be show name, season and episode, and year it originally aired. So, (NR1.1, 2005) would be No Reservations Season 1 Episode 1, from 2005. This will help, I think, for destinations that have been visited multiple times across multiple shows.
Keep in mind that some of these episodes aired almost 15 years ago, so some things may no longer exist, or may exist in a different capacity. In my research, if I find somewhere Bourdain went that has since closed, I will still mention it, but denote that it is no longer in business.
I’m going to go through all of the seasons of No Reservations, followed by The Layover, Parts Unknown and finally, A Cook’s Tour, which would be the most dated of Bourdain’s shows (and nearly 20 years old). I will also be using Bourdain’s books where applicable for details, and will cite any websites I use for help along the way.
This is a labor of love, so please bear with me. And if you have any updates or corrections, please let me know so I can look into it. Cheers.