While it’s bittersweet to watch now, there’s something very special about the friendship that Anthony Bourdain had with fellow chef Eric Ripert. The two of them traveled many times together, including at the time of Bourdain’s death – and one of the most enjoyable trips we got to watch is when they visited Marseille, France together.
If you are planning a visit to Southern France and want to follow in the footsteps of Anthony Bourdain in Marseille, you might be curious about where Bourdain and Ripert ate, and which of those restaurants are still open. Thankfully most of them are still in operation, and you can enjoy many great meals at the same places Bourdain did.
Bourdain visited Marseille to film season 6, episode 3 of Parts Unknown (2015); it was the only time he filmed in Marseille, though he and Ripert joked about retiring there someday. Unfortunately, this didn’t come to pass, but it seems like they had a great time there with the time they had.
Ready to see specifically where Ripert and Bourdain ate in Marseille – and what dishes they enjoyed? The rest of this post covers all the places to add to your culinary itinerary for Marseille.
Where Anthony Bourdain Ate in Marseille
Above, you can see a map of all the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Marseille; as you can see, the majority of them are still open and in relatively close proximity to one another. For this reason, I’ll probably be designing a walking tour guide (similar to the ones I have for Lisbon, Porto, Paris, and other cities) soon. If you’d like me to do that, please comment on this post and I’ll prioritize it!
La Petit Nice Passedat
What better way to start a visit to Marseille than with a meal at one of its best restaurants. At three-Michelin-star Le Petit Nice Passedat, Bourdain and Ripert tuck into a classic coastal French dish in a new way; chef Gérald Passedat serves them a deconstructed four-course bouillabaisse that looks fantastic.
The first course is a shellfish carpaccio of raw mussels and clams, followed by lightly seared slipper lobster, weaver, angler, and red gurnard. Next, a course of Dorade steamed over seaweed water, with saffron potatoes, and finally the brown broth course that finishes the whole dish.
Instead of dessert, they enjoy a cheese course overlaid with, well, adult movie sounds, and frankly – I’m here for it. It looks delicious.
Restaurant La Femina
Next, Bourdain meets up with writer Cédrick Fabre for a meal that shows the influence of North African cultures in the Mediterranean port of Marseille. At Restaurant La Femina, they have a generous meal of couscous with vegetables, chickpeas, merguez sausage, chicken, lamb, and meatballs. This meal represents how Marseille is a culinary melting pot for all of the traders and immigrants who’ve passed through and settled in the city over the centuries.
While it might surprise you – or maybe not if you’ve seen the episode – the Marseillais love their pizza. What better way to earn a slice than by making a few, right? Ripert and Bourdain put in a few hours slinging dough in Pizza JD, a popular pizza truck.
While they don’t necessarily master the skill of chef Jean-Denis Martinez who operates the truck, Bourdain does note that pizza in Marseille is way more than pepperoni and mozzarella – popular toppings include Crème fraîche, figs, Figatelli sausage, and more.
Chez Georgiana (CLOSED)
Recognizing that the vast majority of chefs in Marseille are men, Bourdain and Ripert decide to take a meal with the women chefs of the city in one of their own restaurants. Chef Georgiana Viou is head chef at Chez Georgiana, and treats her guests to a meal of incredible fresh seafood tartare, followed by what Bourdain says is one of his favorite dishes from the region: pieds paquets. This dish is sheep’s tripe stuffed with onions, parsley, garlic, and salt pork, then stewed in a sauce of white wine, tomatoes, bacon, onion, and carrots along with tenderized meat of sheep’s foot.
U Mio Paese Epicerie Corse
As part of experiencing different aspects of Marseille’s culture and history, Bourdain and Ripert experience a bit of the Corsican influence that remains in the city. In particular, they visit U Mio Paese for charcuterie, cheese, and wine, and sit out on the sidewalk for an incredible meal al fresco.
Cours Julien (Neighborhood)
While I don’t normally include neighborhoods on the list of places Tony visits, I thought mentioning Marseille’s “hipster” neighborhood – his word, not mine – was worth including since Bourdain and Ripert visit several spots while enjoying a few glasses of pastis and watching Olympique de Marseille, the local and beloved football (soccer) team.
Two of the spots we know they visit are:
But there are plenty of other bars in the area if you find yourself out for a nightcap and a match is on.
Other Marseille Food Experiences Tony Has
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that Bourdain and Rippert had a few other food experiences worth mentioning. They head to Lourmarin to shop the local market, then have a picnic near a church followed by playing petanque.
In classic Bourdain style, they also have a local lunch of panisse (fried chickpea fritters) with aioli; murex (Meditteranean sea snails) simmered in wine, wild fennel, and orange peel; lightly marinated sardines with olive oil and lemon; and octopus stew (slow-cooked in wine with onions, star anise, dried orange peel, garlic, and tomato) over pasta.
While I obviously can’t point you to specific locations for these dishes, you could try them if you find them on the menu while eating elsewhere in Marseille.
Marseille Food Tours to Consider
If these dishes and dining spots all sound good, but you’d rather sample a lot in a short time, consider doing a food tour in Marseille instead. Here are some great ones to consider:
Planning to explore other parts of France during your trip? Don’t miss out on the spots that Bourdain ate in Provence and Burgundy. Have any other questions about following in the footsteps of Anthony Bourdain in Marseille? Let me know in the comments!