Anthony Bourdain in Mexico: The Complete Country Guide

It’s easy to forget sometimes: while we just call it “Mexico,” the country is formally named the “Estados Unidos Mexicanos.” The United States of Mexico. To say that any one region represents them all is a gross simplification, just as it would be to say that any one dish served in one part of the U.S.A. represents all of American cuisine and culture.

Mexico is a diverse country despite its one-dimensional presentation in pop culture; unsurprisingly, through the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Mexico, we come to see this. He visited a number of different cities and states, fearlessly trying everything from Tex-Mex classics you’ll recognize to less common dishes made with offal and bugs.

Anthony Bourdain in Mexico Hero

If you’re curious about all the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Mexico, you’ve found the guide. Below is a breakdown of each city or state Tony visited and where he went. Where applicable, there are also links to more detailed guides here on Eat Like Bourdain that will give you all the info you need to visit and, well, eat like Bourdain too.

Ready to dive in and sample the incredible range of flavors in Mexico? ¡Buen provecho!

This post was originally published in August 2023, and was updated in February 2024.

Baja

Often overlooked and the youngest of the Estados Unidos in Mexico, the Baja peninsula is one of my personal favorite areas. Bourdain visited it too, spending time primarily in Baja California (the northern state of the two on the peninsula). Here’s where he ate during his visit:

If you’re going to Baja – lucky you – you can find more detail on exactly what he ate at each spot and how to find them, in my guide to the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Baja.

Mexico City 

Mexico City was – unsurprisingly – the place that Anthony Bourdain visited the most in Mexico. The capital city is as diverse as Washington D.C., sampling the best of the whole country and showing it off. Here’s where he ate during his two visits:

If you want more detail, be sure to check out my guide to all the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Mexico City.

Oaxaca

Oaxaca was the second most visited place that Bourdain spent time in Mexico; it’s known as the foodie capital of the country, so this is also perhaps unsurprising. During his two visits (the first season of A Cook’s Tour and 13 years later for Parts Unknown), here’s where he ate.

As usual, I have a guide going into much greater detail on all the places Tony ate in Oaxaca if you’re curious and/or planning a trip.

Puebla

In one early episode of his television career, Tony went way off the tourist track to visit Puebla – he called it “Where the Cooks are From” and was guided there by one of his own sous chefs from Les Halles (yep, that’s how early it was in his career!). During that trip, he ate at only one named restaurant, the Hotel de San Francisco.

You can read more about what he ate, and the other unnamed places he enjoyed local flavors, in my guide to Tony’s travels in Puebla.

Texas/Mexico Border Towns

Rather than detailing each small town specifically, I thought I’d round up the places Tony visited during a trip across the border to film his “US/Mexico Border” episode of No Reservations. Unfortunately, he didn’t visit many spots – and named even fewer of them. Here’s what we do know:

  • Corona Club – On the other side of the border, Tony stops in Ciudad Acuña to visit the Corona Club, the exact same bar where the movie El Mariachi was filmed. He enjoys a well-deserved sweaty cerveza Corona and a few tequila shots to prepare for the rest of the journey.
  • Los Tacos del Sur – When crossing the Mexican side of the border, Bourdain passes by Piedras Negras, a little city known as La Puerta de México or “the door to Mexico.” This city is one of the busiest crossing points along the border and has great street food. He stops by a carrito (food cart), Los Tacos del Sur, and gets traditional Mexican tacos. They’re prepared with chopped steaks seasoned with cilantro and salsa verde and wrapped in a freshly made corn tortilla.
  • Unnamed Carrito – I can’t put my finger down on this carrito’s name. But if my eyes don’t lie, this carrito is named La Comarca. Tony tries here the lonche, a sandwich prepared with fried meat of your choice with freshly smashed avocado, sliced onions, tomato, chiles, and put in some local bread.
  • El Mexico de Ayer – During his visit to West Texas, Bourdain crosses the border to visit Ojinaga in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. He meets with Presidio Mayor John Ferguson to discuss politics and border attitudes on an often nationally divisive issue. At Mexico de Ayer, the pair dive into a serving platter of grilled carne asada, served whole rather than sliced, together with an assortment of grilled vegetables, shrimp, and black blood morcilla. This is washed down with a few shots of tequila, to celebrate love and family.

Special thanks to Pedro who confirmed in the comments one of the two taco carritos in this section. If you know the name of the others for sure, please let me know!

And that covers all of the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Mexico! Have any questions? 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.

2 Comments

  • Pedro

    Hi Valerie,

    I live in Eagle Pass, the US border town across from Piedras Negras. I was reading your article about the places Anthony Bourdain visited in Mexico and to comment if we knew the name of the taco carrito where he ate. The tacos are called “Los Tacos del Sur” and are still in the same location. The video was shot in 2006 and I’m writing to you in 2023, the setup is still pretty similar with the red tables along the steeet and sidewalk, you order in front of the carrito with space for a few people to eat on a wooden bar, and the taste has not changed from what I remember growing up. I wanted to share this with you as well as sharing that I started traveling the world because of him. I was a little kid when that episode aired and remember seeing him in other parts of the world and it made me curious of him being in other countries since he had just been in my town. I grew up wanting to share my culture through food as well as exploring other cultures’ food.

    Pedro ✌️