Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles: 50 Spots Where Tony Ate

There are a lot of things one could say about Los Angeles, but who can say it better than Tony Bourdain?

I’m not so full of myself to think that I know enough about LA to do a top-10 list. The places that I like here are because people have taken me there. I have a really good experience eating here every time I come out.

Despite his assertion that he might not know much, Anthony Bourdain visited Los Angeles to film – deep breath – season 1 (episode 17) of A Cook’s Tour, season 3 (episode 6) of No Reservations, season 1 (episode 10) of The Layover, and both season 1 (episode 2, “Koreatown”) and season 9 (episode 2) of Parts Unknown. It is one of the most-visited cities during his many travels, and well worth exploring if you want lots of options for eating at the same places Tony did.

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles Hero

So whether you’re currently planning your first trip to L.A. or have been in the past and are looking for new places to try, this list of places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles will serve you well. Grab your napkins and work up an appetite: let’s dive into the complete list of everywhere Anthony Bourdain ate in L.A.

Want to watch the episodes where Anthony Bourdain visits Los Angeles?
The A Cook’s Tour episode is available on Amazon and Apple TV; the No Reservations episode is available on Amazon and Apple TV; The Layover episode is available on Amazon; the “Koreatown” Parts Unknown episode is available on Amazon and Apple TV; and the other L.A. Parts Unknown episode is available on Amazon and Apple TV.

In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Chumash and Tongva (Gabrieleno) peoples, among others. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.

Where Anthony Bourdain ate in Los Angeles

Before jumping into the list of places Tony Bourdain ate in L.A., I thought it might be helpful to use a map to show where all of the places are – as you can see, he ate in a variety of neighborhoods around the city.

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles Map
Click to interact with the map.

Using that map to get oriented, now let’s go through each of the places Tony ate, during each of his visits to film there.

A Cook’s Tour (2001)

Bourdain’s visits to Los Angeles date back to his earliest days on the road, filming A Cook’s Tour. This trip is rough around the edges and follows a vague theme, but still begins a late-life love affair between Tony and the City of Angels.

Tail O’ the Pup

As you’ll see, Tony’s first trip to Los Angeles had a bit of a theme; let’s just say it’s no surprise that he later famously loved “street meats” – especially sausages and hot dogs!

His first stop was at Tail O’ the Pup, a historic hot dog stand that’s been in business for more than 60 years now – that’s 20 more years than when Bourdain visited at the turn of the century. There, he had the “ultimate West Coast hot dog experience,” as he coined it – a chili cheese dog with tomatoes. Of course, there are many different hot dog styles across the country (and along the West Coast), so this is just one way to try it.

Pink’s

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles - Hot Dogs

Bourdain’s next stop was another hot dog joint; this time, it was at Pink’s, an L.A. spot with an even longer heritage, dating back to 1939! Here, he tries a sampler of hot dogs with the owner: the “Millennium dog” (jalapeno dog with guacamole and more), a chili cheese dog, a bacon-wrapped dog, and a fajita dog. Needless to say, he was nearly hot-dogged-out by this point…

Oki Dog

…But not quite, as Tony then makes one more hot dog stop, at Oki-Dog. Combining the standard hot dog with a Southern California classic – the burrito – he is not really a fan of the chili cheese dog here after trying it.

Randy’s Donuts

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles - Donuts

Other than in the movies, I didn’t realize that anyone actually ate at Randy’s Donuts until seeing Bourdain make his visit here. As if he wasn’t full enough from hot dogs and hot dog buns, he opts for a variety of donuts, including glazed, raspberry-filled, and with sprinkles. He also tries the “Texas Glazed” giant donut.

La Brea Bakery

At La Brea Bakery (and neighboring Campanile, covered next), Tony steps up his experience of Los Angeles cuisine by learning about – and trying – their artisan bread. He has a sampler of sourdough baguette, rosemary loaf, and more, before heading next door to roll up his sleeves and get back to work in the kitchen.

Campanile (CLOSED)

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles - Charcuterie

While Anthony Bourdain was always clear that he considered himself a mediocre chef, there were many times in his career when he was asked to re-don his whites and step back into the kitchen. One time was at Campanile in L.A., where he curated a menu and helped the kitchen staff bring it to light during his visit. (He also went shopping as part of this episode, to find the necessary ingredients.)

The menu itself included charcuterie followed by a main of côte de boeuf (rib-eye steak) or roast Dorade and goldeneye snapper, all served with fries.

Unfortunately, Campanile closed a little more than a decade after Tony’s visit, in 2012.

Fred 62

After a long day eating and exploring L.A., Bourdain ends his visit with a late night bite at Fred 62. This chef’s-favorite spot is perfect for burgers and fries to end the night after a long shift serving dinner to everyone else.

No Reservations (2007)

A few years later, Anthony Bourdain returned to Los Angeles to film No Reservations; this time, he dug deeper into different cuisines, cultures, and sub-cultures. In some ways, this episode feels a bit like a precursor to his style on Parts Unknown.

Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘N Waffles

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles - Chicken & Waffles

First up, a decidedly different starter than hot dogs: chicken and waffles! Tony heads to Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘N Waffles for their namesake dish. He also tries “Stymies Choice,” which includes grits, eggs, and a fluffy hot biscuit served with chicken liver or giblets (don’t know which he chose!).

Philippe’s

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles - French Dipped Sandwich

Next, Bourdain spends some time learning about roller derby, a sport that he knows nothing about and is ill-equipped to try – he actually falls before even getting on the rink, and gives it up to spend time watching the girls race and crash.

Following the session, he and several of the “Derby Dolls” head to Philippe’s, a popular spot for casual sandwiches that dates back to 1908. There, he opts for the lamb version of their “French Dipped Sandwich” with gravy, and a beer on the side to wash it down.

Birreria Chalio

No trip to L.A. is complete without sampling some local Chicano food; Tony visits Birreria Chalio to get his fix during this visit. Here he digs into “old style” roasted goat tacos – not something you’ll find at Taco Bell!

Bangkok Market in Thai Town (CLOSED)

Bourdain’s next stop is Bangkok Market in L.A.’s Thai Town district; this neighborhood institution unfortunately closed back in 2019. Here, he’s shopping for what he calls the “Thai trinity:” lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, and galangal – three essential flavors in delicious Thai food.

Bhan Kanom Thai

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles - Khanom Tokyo

While in the same area, Tony hits up a Thai bakery – I’m guessing it’s Bhan Kanom Thai based on a bit of research (let me know if I’m wrong).

There he indulges in a unique sweet treat, trying Khanom Tokyo, or Thai creps with pandan cream. If you’re not familiar, pandan is a herbaceous tropical plant you can find across Southeast Asia and which has a grassy, at times coconut-y flavor.

Sapp Coffee Shop

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles - Thai boat noodles

Why leave Thai Town when the food is so good? Bourdain sees no need, next visiting Sapp Coffee Shop in the same neighborhood. Here he is joined by “The Noodle Whore,” a food blogger/journalist who is unfortunately no longer active. The pair enjoy Thai boat noodles as a finale to this chapter of Tony’s L.A. travels.

Acosta Tacos (CLOSED)

Showing off another side of Los Angeles – at least from the perspective of his companions –, Bourdain next heads to Acosta Tacos (“Los Tacos Acosta” in Google), which has unfortunately closed since his visit. Here, he’s joined by the gang cops from neighboring Hawthorne for tacos and burritos.

Prime Selection

Last but certainly not least, Tony’s final stop on this L.A. trip is at Prime Selection. His primary goal here is to reconnect with “Sam the Meat Man,” an old friend from back east and learn about life on the best – I mean West – coast.

The Layover (2012)

Compared to some episodes of The Layover, Bourdain’s visit to Los Angeles during this show was relatively mellow. He certainly makes the most of it, but doesn’t push quite as hard as in other cities. Instead, it’s clear by this point that he knows what he likes and recommends, and slips in and out of the city comfortably.

In-N-Out

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles - Double-Double Animal Style

Tony’s first stop on this trip is one many a visitor and Californian have made: to In-N-Out burgers for cheap and delicious post-flight fuel. At In-N-Out, he has a “double-double animal style” (a double cheeseburger with the restaurant’s signature sauce) and a chocolate shake. Perfect before heading out to explore the city.

LudoTruck’s Guerrilla Fried Chicken (CLOSED)

Next up, Bourdain visits LudoTruck; here, he meets up with Chef Ludo Lefebvre, with whom he was working on the reality TV show The Taste (it’s actually pretty good!).

There he digs into a variety of chicken dishes: wings, strips, and “balls” (not nuggets), with honey lavender “classic biscuits,” followed by a crispy chicken sandwich with red wine vinaigrette coleslaw and bearnaise sauce – fancy but simply delicious.

Kogi Truck

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles - Kogi Tacos

Next Tony heads to Kogi Truck; it’s his first on-screen visit – but not his last! (Spoilers…?) Chef Roy Choi’s groundbreaking Kogi barbeque Mexican-style Korean tacos made huge waves in the food world, and were well worth the journey. In addition to that iconic dish, he also tries the spicy pineapple tortas and blackjack quesadilla spicy pork with cheddar jack cheese and salsa verde.

Having eaten at other Roy Choi restaurants, I can only imagine how insanely good and unique this first outpost was.

Ham Ji Park

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles - Samgyeopsal

Joined by Chef Choi himself, Bourdain next heads to Ham Ji Park (the one on West 6th, I think) to eat more traditional Korean dishes. There, the pair dig into banchan (“side dishes,” aka all the awesome veggies and kimchis), as well as samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly), daeji galbi (pork spare ribs), and gamjatang (pork neck stew).

Dan Sung Sa

Marching through more Korean flavors (you can see where he was later inspired to film an entire episode about this culture within the city!), Dan Sung Sa for more. This Pojangmacha-style wooden restaurant and bar is known for its small plates of Korean (and Korean-inspired) dishes. There, Tony tries chicken gizzard and spicy octopus, paired with Makgeolli, a fermented rice drink.

Tacos Villa Carona

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles - Papas Breakfast Burrito

By this point in The Layover – aka after a late night of indulgences –, Bourdain needs to keep it simple with one of the dishes L.A. is best known for: Chicano cuisine. He hits up Tacos Villa Carona, which is a family-run hole-in-the-wall taco and burrito shop where Tony starts out with tiny tacos: one chicken and one steak. Not quite satiated, he then goes big with the papas breakfast burrito with chorizo.

Animal (CLOSED)

Restored and ready for more, the next on-screen stop for our relentless host is Animal, which unfortunately closed in mid-2023. At this “carna-whole” centric restaurant, Bourdain is joined by owners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo for a rich and rewarding meal.

They dig into marrow with chimichurri and caramelized onions on brioche toast; chicken hearts, hamachi tostada, coconut sweetbreads, pigtails, and crispy rabbit legs; and foie gras loco moco – normally a breakfast food, but here, good any time of day.

Jumbo’s Clown Room

Wrapping things up, Tony ends his night at Jumbo’s Clown Room; don’t be fooled by the name: this is an adult entertainment establishment. Here he toasts another successful L.A. trip over beer with the guys from Animal while the “burlesque” show happens in the background.

Other Places Tony Recommends

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles - Fish Tacos

Per usual for episodes of The Layover, Tony also provides some other recommendations for where to eat. He doesn’t visit them on-screen, but you might want to try them anyway:

  • Senor Fish – Famous for their Ensenada-style fish tacos on corn tortillas with guacamole.
  • Yuchun – The house special is chic naengmyeon, a cold black noodle soup with sesame oil, kimchi, cucumber, boiled beef, egg, and cold broth.
  • The Prince – Korean owners took over in the 1970s, kept the style, and paired Korean-style fried chicken and sides, meant to be enjoyed wrapped in rice flour wraps, with a beer.
  • Philippe’s – Famous for French dipped sandwiches and cake donuts, if you need carbs to soak up the night before.
  • King Eddy Saloon (CLOSED) – If you want to continue the night before, this spot in Skid Row used to start pouring at 6am.
  • Mexican Fruit Stand – Plastic bags of fresh fruit with salt, chile, and lime to snack on
  • Kokekokko (CLOSED) – Once known for izakaya with yakitori over white charcoal with an off-menu set of specials, this spot is now closed.
  • Red Medicine (CLOSED) – Now also closed, this restaurant was once good for modern French & Vietnamese with creative herbs and flowers.
  • The Varnish – A speakeasy hidden in the back of Cole’s French Dip restaurant, with bespoke spirits, fresh ingredients, and incredible cocktails – opt for the Bartender’s choice if you’re stuck on the menu.

Parts Unknown (2013)

In 2013, Tony made a trip back to Los Angeles, as part of launching his brand new show, Parts Unknown. Episode 2 of season 1 was focused entirely on a single neighborhood he thought beautifully represented L.A.’s unique culinary scene: Koreatown.

I have an entirely separate guide to the places Bourdain ate in Koreatown, but here’s the list in brief:

As you can see, a few of the spots Bourdain visited are no longer open now a decade later – but there are still lots of spots to choose from in this neighborhood alone.

Parts Unknown (2017)

Tony’s last trip to Los Angeles was late in his career, as part of Parts Unknown‘s season 9. This time, he focused on a different ethnic group in L.A., their impact on the city, and their future in it; he explored Chicano/Chicana community, mostly in the Boyle Heights neighborhood.

Gish Bac

Bourdain starts the culinary counterpart to his exploration of Chicano culture at Gish Bac, a family-run restaurant that specializes in Oaxacan cuisine from the city of Tlacolula de Matamoros.

There he dines with Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda; over mole on chips and soft tortillas, the pair discuss California’s Mexican heritage, Mexican immigrants’ role in the economic prosperity of the U.S. as a whole, and the ridiculousness of the idea of removing immigrants from California.

Lorena on East 7th (Food Stand)

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles - Mulitas

Next, Tony heads to a food stand, “Lorena on East 7th.” (I’m not sure if this is the right name, so if you can confirm or correct me, please do in the comments below!)

He meets up with portrait photographer Esteban Oriole and tattoo artist Mr. Cartoon. Over mulitas – “more of a taco sandwich” – they ponder the question, “How Mexican is L.A.?”

Cielito Lindo

Seeking other perspectives, Bourdain then meets up with a few more companions over traditional Mexican food. At Cielito Lindo, he sits down with comedian Al Madrigal and Gustavo Orellano, editor of OC Weekly, to talk about what it means to be Mexican – or Mexican enough.

The trio dine on burritos and taquitos, the house specialty, smothered in avocado sauce.

Trejo’s Cantina Hollywood

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles - Jidori Chicken

During this visit, it just so happens that actor Dany Trejo’s restaurant, Trejo’s Cantina – Hollywood, was about to have its grand opening. Through the magic that was Bourdain and team during this time, he’s able to sit down in the restaurant for a meal with Danny, showcasing the new dishes and how they surprise Tony.

Over Jidori chicken with chipotle cream sauce, fried Branzino with summer squash and sauteed poblano peppers, and crispy pork tacos with garlic mole and uni, the two men talk about Mexican cuisine and how good-for-you food can taste good too.

Mariscos Chente

Next, Tony meets up with mixed martial artists Gilbert Melendez, and brothers (as well as MMA fighters) Nate and Nick Diaz for a meal at Mariscos Chente. The group digs into a simple but awesome meal of Camarones Borrachos, “drunken shrimp,” followed by tequila.

Broken Spanish (CLOSED)

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles - Tamales Carnitas

Unfortunately, Bourdain’s next stop is no longer an option – a true shame as it looks like that perfect blend of Chicano culture with L.A.’s trendy dining scene. Chef Ray Garcia’s Broken Spanish didn’t survive the pandemic, which is a real shame considering how awesome the menu looked during Tony’s visit.

Joined by Chef Eddie Ruiz and Robin Chorka from the Alta California-style gastro pub Corazon Y Miel (also closed!), he dines on a series of delicious dishes that push the boundaries of Mexican cuisine: tamales with carnitas; chicharron sous vide and deep fried with elephant garlic mojo and sprouts, tamales with lamb neck, oyster mushrooms, and queso Oaxaca; Camolte (Mexican sweet potato filled with pork ears, nose, and snout); and Para Diaz foie gras piloncillo.

Caña Rum Bar

Changing course completely, the next place we find Bourdain is at Caña Rum Bar, a “members only” spot that looks like the perfect quiet watering hole. (Membership can be purchased at the door.) There he drinks with a former L.A. cop, talking about police corruption, brutality, and abuse, and what it will take to improve.

Tacos Indianas Street Cart

Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles - Tacos Lengua

Last but not least, Tony pulls together all the threads, showing how people in the local communities across Los Angeles are binding together to preserve the city they love.

At Tacos Indianas Street Cart (the one on Indiana Street, I think), he meets with members of the Boyle Heights Running Clu to talk about gentrification in the neighborhood and what the Mexican-American community might face as its future… and the Chicano obsession with Morrissey. The group digs into Carne Asada tacos and burritos, tacos lengua (one of Tony’s favorites), and tacos al pastor (one of my favorites!)

Where to Stay in Los Angeles – Bourdain Style

Bourdain was well known for his love of certain hotels in Los Angeles, and he made several recommendations over the course of his visits.

The first and most well-known is of course the Chateau Marmont, which became his go-to spot to stay in L.A. His favorite room included a private entrance, which I’m sure enchanted him more as his celebrity grew over the years.

He also recommended both the Hotel Shangri-La (closed and now a Sonder property, The Beacon) and the Custom Hotel (also closed and now the Hotel June) at various times; all three were certainly splurge-worthy, but only one remains the test of time if you want to stay as Tony did.

Have any other questions about these many places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Los Angeles? Let me know in the comments below!

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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.

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