Anthony Bourdain in Alsace: Where We Know Tony Ate

Content Warning: This post contains specific references to suicide and Anthony Bourdain’s death. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, help is available. Call 1-877-SAMHSA7 or 1-800-273-TALK for 24/7 confidential support.

Fairy tale houses and flammekueche; these are two of the things that the French region of Alsace is best known for among travelers. In 2018 though, many more people became aware of it as the site where Anthony Bourdain killed himself. As someone who has visited this region, I was heartbroken: not just that Tony had died, but that he had done so in a place I knew to be so beautiful, welcoming, and full of delicious foods.

Obviously, we know now that there was far more going on in Tony’s life that led him to find a permanent solution to the temporary problems in front of him – but that doesn’t change the fact that – at least for me personally – Alsace is a special place and I would have loved to see it through his eyes.

Anthony Bourdain in Alsace Hero

You might consider this post morbid, but I decided to publish it because I encourage people to support the businesses (and style of eating) that Tony did, and the Alsatian region doesn’t deserve a black spot even though Tony killed himself there. The two places that we know were visited by Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain in Alsace are both worthy destinations for those who love food and are inspired by the places Anthony Bourdain ate.

I hope you’ll read this post in the same spirit you might read other posts on this site: with an interest in eating well and exploring the world with an open mind.

Anthony Bourdain visited the French region of Alsace just once; he died there while filming an episode of Parts Unknown. As far as we know, it was Tony’s only visit to this northeastern part of France.

Wistub La Petite Venise

One of the places we know Anthony Bourdain ate in Alsace is at Wistub La Petite Venise in Colmar, France. Tony shared an Instagram photo of his “light lunch” of cervelas sausage with Gruyère and cucumber, followed by the regional specialty of choucroute garnie (sauerkraut with sausages, other salted meats, charcuterie, and often potatoes). Tony also ordered a braised pork knuckle with horseradish sauce, and had wine.

Since his death, fans have flocked to this restaurant to eat at the same restaurant, if not the same window table where Tony and Eric dined. I haven’t eaten here, but I did take the picture above during my own visit to Colmar in 2016; apparently, past me found the scene of a bicycle in the doorframe with the restaurant sign compelling – and Tony’s local fixer obviously knew the food inside was good too.

Le Chambard’s Winstub

The only other place we know for sure that Tony ate in the Alsace region was at the hotel where he died: Le Chambard Hôtel. The hotel is home to two restaurants, and per reporting by the New York Times, Bourdain and Ripert ate several meals at The Winstub du Chambard. (To clarify, a “winstub” is a cafe, restaurant, or bar in Alsace that specializes in wine with food.)

The Winstub du Chambard actually holds a bib gourmand from the Michelin Guide, and the other restaurant at Le Chambard – La Table d’Olivier Nasti, named for head chef Olivier Nasti – has two Michelin stars. In short, you really can’t go wrong if you are drawn to visit this place to eat the same amazing food Tony did during his final days.

(Personally, I find it morbid to visit the hotel/hotel room itself and would rather eat a meal in the same places he ate, much as I recommend on the entire rest of this site.)

Unfortunately, Le Chambard’s Winstub is temporarily closed.

Food Tours in Alsace to Try

Since the point of writing this post is to encourage you to visit this incredible destination in France that Tony clearly thought was worth visiting, and there aren’t many known places that he ate, I wanted to include a few food and wine tours you might want to add to your itinerary.

I did one such wine tour myself when spending 10 days in Alsace a few years ago – it was a delightful day with too much wine, plenty of food, and the power to put Alsace in a special place in my heart. I hope you’ll consider one too, to support local restaurants and winemakers in the region.

Have any other questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Alsace, or do you know of another that people might want to visit? Let me know in the comments.

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Valerie is a travel writer currently based in Cleveland, but her favorite destinations are Alaska, London, and Jordan – only one of which Bourdain ever visited! You can find her writing on Lonely Planet, Forbes, and her travel blog, Valerie & Valise.

2 Comments

  • Raul Antonio

    Thank you for your tribute to Chef Bourdain. It is quite bittersweet. I am a big fan of the man & his travels. And he did inspire many of us to enjoy visiting places with new levels of glee & relish the culinary offerings that these destinations have to offer. We spent a few days in Colmar last month and it was a wonderful experience to be there. Again thank you for your article. God bless.

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