Miami is a city about which basically every traveler has preconceived notions at this point; while Miami’s hopping nightlife might not be for you, there is something for everyone in the “Magic City” – and that includes Anthony Bourdain, about whom you might not picture the blazing daytime sun and flashing lights at night as the perfect fit.
Nevertheless, Anthony Bourdain visited Miami to film season 2 (episode 3, “South Florida”) of No Reservations, season 1 (episode 4) of The Layover, and season 5 (episode 2) of Parts Unknown; the only show in which he didn’t visit Miami was A Cook’s Tour, though it’s clear he had visited Miami multiple times long before his television career began.
If you’re planning a trip to Miami and want to eat well, Uncle Tony is naturally the best guide (as he is to everywhere he traveled). Using this list of the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Miami, you can try the different ethnic cuisines that represent the many immigrant groups that call the city home, savor American classics, and stay in style. Ready to see the list? Vamanos!
Want to watch the episodes where Anthony Bourdain visits Miami?
The No Reservations episode is available on Amazon, Hulu, and Apple TV,, The Layover episode is available on Amazon and Apple TV, and the 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 Seminole, Taíno, Tequesta, Miccosukee, and Mascogo peoples, among others. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present peoples of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
No Reservations (2005)
Bourdain’s first trip to Miami occurs pretty early in his career, but it’s clear he’s been to the city before – probably as part of trips down to the Caribbean (he was known for loving St. Maarten as a winter getaway from NYC early in life). Here are the spots he visited on that first on-screen trip.
The Raleigh Hotel
Tony kicks off this episode with an extended monologue about how he’s only in Florida to lay by the pool, and there’s no place he’d rather stay to do that than The Raleigh Hotel. This – like the Chateau Marmont in L.A. – is his go-to spot in Miami; before striking out to explore the city and region, he enjoys a mojito by the pool – of course.
Chef Creole Seasoned Restaurant
After watching a rousing game of dominos, Bourdain and his chef friend Michelle Lindsay from The Raleigh meet up with “Chef Creole,” Ken Pierre, who runs Chef Creole Seasoned Restaurant on 54th (as well as several other locations across the city).
The trio digs into spicy fresh conch chowder with sweet and green plantains and grilled snapper with scotch bonnet, and Tony entertains them with a quick history lesson on why spices are so popular in Caribbean food.
Meeting up with a fellow food writer from The Miami Herald, Linda, Bourdain heads a little bit out of town for a dish he has – up to this point in his career – never tried before: Nigerian Pepper Pot. This is a peppery stew of goat meat and offal that’s popular with the large population of Nigerian immigrants in the Miami area because it brings the flavor of home.
They find this dish in a dusty warehouse well off the beaten path for most Miami foodies called Specialty International, where Tony takes a tour before digging into a bowl of the signature dish.
Mac’s Club Deuce Bar
While he’s already calling it “one of my favorite places on earth,” this is Bourdain’s first on-screen visit to his favorite place in South Beach, Mac’s Club Deuce Bar. He and Michelle grab a drink before heading across the street to…
Formerly called San Loco, this is a great spot for late-night and/or post-drink bites. Bourdain digs into tacos with “Stupid sauce,” which he translates as meaning delicious and full of flavor.
La Esquina Tropical Market & Carniceria
Setting out to explore one last part of Miami’s diverse cultural scene – Calle Ocho, where you can find Cuban-American culture in its many forms – Bourdain stops by La Esquina Tropical for a quick pick-me-up of strong coffee with lots of sugar. The servings are small but the caffeine hit is disproportionate and delicioso, in Tony’s words.
El Rey De Las Fritas
At this neighborhood institution – El Rey De Las Fritas –, which “has been around pretty much forever,” Tony goes overboard and orders several classics to enjoy. These include the Frita Cubana (a sandwich of chorizo sausage and Julienne fries), the essential Cuban Sandwich (ham, roasted pork, cheese, pickles, and mustard), and an ultra-sweet Flan de Leche (flan topped with coconut), and a few shots of “rocket fuel coffee” to keep up the energy for the rest of his trip.
The Layover (2011)
As one might expect, Bourdain’s Layover visit is a whirlwind: he samples a variety of diverse flavors and experiences in the city during a short span of time.
La Perrada De Edgar (CLOSED)
Located in North Miami Beach, this now-closed Colombian hot dog shop offered everything from ceviche to what Tony refers to as “mutant hot dogs.”
Bourdain starts off with “The Columbian,” a hot dog topped with mozzarella cheese, onion in a pink sauce, mayo/ketchup sauce, house sauce, mustard, and topped with nice, crispy potato sticks. He also grabs a can of Colombiana La Nuestra soda before diving into his next hot dog, “The Super Edgar.” This dog has melted cheese, pineapple jelly, whipped cream, dried strawberries, and blueberries and is finished with a drizzle of strawberry sauce.
Mac’s Club Deuce
Located near Miami Ink in South Beach sits a dive bar, Mac’s Club Deuce, that Tony hits up every time he visits Miami. This time, it is happy hour, and he gets a cold bottle of Heineken.
Miami Jai Alai
Next, Bourdain decides to swing by the Jai Alai sports complex for this once-Spanish but now solely Floridian sport with his tattoo artist, Chris Garver. They place some bets on their teams and grab a couple of beers at the cafeteria counter before watching this sport of “guys with wicker scoops attached to their arms throwing balls at each other.”
Garcia’s Seafood is a place where the name just makes sense. This fresh seafood restaurant in downtown Miami is a humble and simply decorated, but delicious place to grab some dinner. Bourdain meets owner, Luis Garcia, who inherited the restaurant from his father for some local, fresh fish dishes.
Tony and Chris sit on the deck by the river and order some Modelos and two fish to share, the hog snapper and yellowtail, with some grilled shrimp skewers dressed with old bay seasoning and herbs. This restaurant has been in the fish business for decades and even has a dock behind the restaurant where their daily catches are delivered.
S&S Diner (CLOSED)
Keeping it close to downtown, Tony stops by the S&S Diner, which has been open since the 1930s and barely touched by time (or at least it was, until they closed in 2017 and were supposed to re-open in a new location – as far as I can tell, it never re-opened, sadly!).
He sits at the counter and orders the meatloaf with sides of peas, grits, and gravy. This diner offers a “step back in time” experience with its communal, horseshoe counter and quiet atmosphere.
Located in South Miami, Tropical Park is a sort of outdoor market for food trucks. With more than 20 food trucks to choose from, Bourdain stops on the Sakaya Truck which serves Asian-inspired box meals with a pub-styled twist. He opts for the crackling duck and herb sandwich, served on a soft potato roll with ketchup and mustard and topped with black plum cilantro.
Tony also visits the “Grill Master” for a sausage sandwich topped with crispy, julienne fries and ketchup. The lineup at Tropical Park changes every night but you’re sure to find something delicious anytime you come through.
In Miami’s Design District, Bourdain stops by Michael’s Genuine which he regards as “the best restaurant in Miami right now.” He shows up after dinner service for a cocktail and luckily, some specialty bar bites from the head chef.
Tony is served pig’s ears, slow cooked in a Dutch oven, and then deep fried and crisped, with a plate of deviled eggs. After these bar snacks, he’s served some local chantarelles that have been sauteed in butter and thyme, placed on top of a scrambled guinea hen egg toast, and topped with shaved piave Vecchio cheese. The next plate is California brown turkey figs topped with hazelnuts, arugula, local honey, and gorgonzola.
The Raleigh Hotel
After a night out – as one does in Miami – Bourdain stops by the bar in his hotel at The Raleigh in South Beach for a Negroni to finish off the night.
Parts Unknown (2015)
Bourdain’s final trip to Miami includes a return trip to one of his favorite spots, as well as exploring a bunch of new places too.
At Islas Canarias, Bourdain meets up with Chef Michelle Bernstein for some Cuban espresso, served on top of the milk as opposed to under it, as well as some breakfast pastries.
If you’re looking for something a little more savory, Tony gets the medianoche, a variant of the Cubano sandwich still keeping with the pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard; however, a typical medianoche is served on a sweeter style of bread to contrast the saltiness of the pork and the acidity of the pickles.
Mac’s Club Deuce
Unsurprisingly, Tony revisits one of his Miami staples, Mac’s Club Deuce, a bar that houses the local scene and provides insight into what makes Miami special. He meets up with then 100-year-old owner, Matt Klein, and has a couple of bottles of Heineken.
Captain Jim’s Seafood
Next, Bourdain visits the North Miami seafood joint, Captain Jim’s Seafood, for some Wynwood Brewing draft beer and some in-season Stone Crab, pre-hammered and ready to eat; these crustaceans are typically available – and most delicious – in the winter season.
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Meeting up with the famed drummer for The Roots, Questlove sits down with Tony at Yardbird, a bourbon and southern-style comfort food bar, for their meal.
Bourdain orders the deviled eggs with fresh dill and trout roe, and topped with champagne vinegar. Next up is a plate of fried green tomatoes and pork belly, topped with frisée, tomato jam, and lemon vinaigrette. As if this wasn’t enough, Tony gets the chocolate chip pancakes with bourbon maple syrup, banana compote, and peanut butter.
Next is a plate of Yardbird’s signature dish, their fried chicken with chilled and spiced watermelon, hot honey, and cheddar cheese waffles on the side. To top it off, Anthony orders a side of shrimp and grits, a “southern classic,” served with Virginia ham and stoneground South Carolina grits. Feeling full yet?
MLK Restaurant is a soul-food restaurant located in Liberty Square; it offers classic diner-fare and southern-style cooking. Here, Tony orders a bowl of Bahamian fish and grits and an iced tea, which sounds like a flavorful and refreshing option after the previous feast he’s been having.
As you might expect for a city in South Florida which has strong influences from the Caribbean, there are lots of great places to savor those flavors across Miami; one such place is B&M Market.
This little bodega is primarily a market but has a little four-seat café in the back if you dine in. Bourdain gets the jerk chicken, curried goat, roti, and cow-foot soup that he praises as some “next-level stuff.”
V II Sports Club
While it might not look like much from the outside, there’s a lot of soul and character in V II Sports Club. Tony visits this small, club joint with singer and songwriter Willie Clarke to discuss the history of South Floridian music over some pork ribs and pie slices.
Pepito’s Plaza is a Venezuelan hamburger joint that offers everything from tacos to barbecue but their big people-pleasers are their burgers.
Here, Bourdain orders the Doralzuela, a burger with beef, chicken, and pork, as is the Venezuelan way. Next, the Doralzeula is dressed with six different types of sauce, crispy potato stix, avocado, egg, sliced ham, and American cheese.
Bourdain did enjoy his “mutant” burger but recommends that it is a more appropriate late-night meal, and Pepito’s does stay open until 4am in case you need a spot after a night out in Miami.
Oolite Restaurant and Bar (CLOSED)
This restaurant is now closed, but it offered some healthy classic American fare. At Oolite Restaurant and Bar, Tony meets up with music legend, Iggy Pop, for some white wine and food. Bourdain orders the roast pork topped with drippings and onions, served alongside house-made potato chips. While it does sound heavy to partner with white wine, the pair have a great time all the same.
Miami Food Tours to Try
While there are obviously plenty of choices on this list, there are still lots of other flavors and foods to try in Miami. Food tours can be a great way to sample a lot in a short time; here are a few tasty-looking food tours to try:
Have any questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Miami? Let me know in the comments below!