Whether you’ve ever visited or not, you’ve got some pictures in your mind when it comes to New Orleans. Are you a strictly Bourbon Street kind of person, keen to be in the heart of it all – or do you want to experience The Big Easy as far from the maddening crowd as possible? During his many visits to the city, Anthony Bourdain does a bit of both.
Anthony Bourdain visited New Orleans to film season 2 (episode 2) of A Cook’s Tour, season 4 (episode 5) of No Reservations, and season 2 (episode 9) of The Layover. While he never made it there to film Parts Unknown, he certainly made the most of his three on-screen visits to the city with so many reputations – and reputations ruined. (He did also visit other parts of Louisiana for his final show.)
Whether you’re planning to visit NOLA soon, or are just curious about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in New Orleans, you’ve come to the right place. This guide covers it all: all the restaurants where Tony ate in the city, and everything he ate while there. Use it to plan your own trips or meals, or just to dream of those truly unique flavors that this one city packs all in. Bon Appetit!
Want to watch the episodes where Anthony Bourdain visits New Orleans?
The A Cook’s Tour episode is available for free on YouTube; the No Reservations episode is available on Amazon, Hulu, and Apple TV; and The Layover episode is available on Amazon.
In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Chahta Yakni (Choctaw) and Chitimacha 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 New Orleans
Before jumping into the list of places Tony Bourdain ate in New Orleans, 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.
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 (2002)
At the start of Anthony Bourdain’s career, almost everywhere is new to him – including New Orleans. He makes his first trip to film for the second season of A Cook’s Tour. This is pre-Katrina, but the city’s charm shines through this decades-old episode and endures through the storm for future episodes too.
As you might imagine for visiting New Orleans short sleeve season, it’s hot when Tony visits – so his first stop in the city is somewhere he can cool off, to “refrigerate my brain,” as he puts it.
To that end, he stops by Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, a NOLA institution that’s been around for over 80 years and is known for its top-notch shave ice. Tony chose to have a pink lemonade ice cup with sweetened condensed milk (the latter of which is essential if you’ve ever had a similar treat!).
New Orleans is known for its drinking culture, but did you know there’s (at least) one place you can drink and do your laundry in The Big Easy? After spending time out in the bayou, Bourdain wants to clean up a bit and get a start on his buzz, so he stops at Checkpoint Charlie’s for both. After ordering a Maker’s Mark at the bar, he heads to the back and washes his laundry (or at least appears to do so on-screen).
The Harbor Restaurant (CLOSED)
Unfortunately, the next spot Tony ate is now closed; at some point in the 20 years since his first visit, The Harbor Restaurant shuttered – another NOLA institution gone, sadly.
This spot is known for its southern Soul food, which you probably know Bourdain loves if you’ve watched many episodes of any of his shows. He orders ham hocks, black-eyed peas, collard greens, and cornbread and heads out of the restaurant to eat in the fresh air and savor the flavors.
Looking for “real” New Orleans food? Jacques-Imo’s Cafe (pronounced like “jockamos”) is the place to go – especially if you’re keen to avoid the city’s tourist traps.
Here, Tony sits down for a meal with chef Jacques Leonardi that showcases the unique flavors of the region in hearty portions. The pair enjoy alligator sausage “cheesecake” with shrimp, sauteed chicken livers, a signature fried po’ boy, soft shell crab on fried green tomatoes, and the restaurant’s “legendary” fried chicken.
Afterward, the pair head to a nearby bar for late-night drinks with fellow chefs; this spot isn’t named on camera so if you know where it is, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
I might be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure that I heard Bourdain say that his visit to Tee-Eva’s was his first jambalaya experience… ever?! Luckily, he picked a great spot. This creole restaurant (combining the flavors and dishes of French, Caribbean, and African cuisines) is another hole-in-the-wall, but a great go-to place if you want authentically made sausage jambalaya.
Verti Marte Grocery
After the weather turns on the crew and they opt against filming in the rain, Tony retires to his hotel… but room service is not on the menu (so to speak).
Instead, Bourdain orders a delivery meal from a 24-hour spot, Verti Marte Grocery. In addition to a bottle of Bourbon, he orders another essential New Orleans dish: a muffuletta sandwich (with ham, salami, Swiss, provolone, and olive salad).
Once the rain stops, Tony heads out to one more spot before the episode wraps. Vaughan’s Lounge is hopping when he arrives for late-night drinks and live music with a few tasty bites; we don’t know exactly what he ate but it looks like more local, delicious dishes.
No Reservations (2007)
A few years later, Bourdain returns to New Orleans – after Hurricane Katrina has ravaged the city. Luckily, NOLA’s will to survive is strong, and he still finds plenty of delicious dishes, watering holes, and classic Southern hospitality
One of the few storefronts to survive the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, this Po’ Boy shop and bar still stands where it has been operating for nearly a century. DomiLise’s offers all the classic Po’ Boy fillings, shrimp, roast beef, and oysters.
Tony tries the “off-the-menu special,” which is a Po’ boy consisting of deep-fried shrimp, Swiss cheese, and roast beef gravy. Anthony also orders an Abita Amber Ale, a crisp and refreshing regional beer to help wash down that Po’ boy.
Antoine’s, in Jackson Square, New Orleans, has been serving higher-end Cajun dishes dating back to the mid-1800s. Covered in gaudy, Mardi Gras décor, Antoine’s offers private dining rooms, and outdoor balcony seating as well.
Bourdain starts off his meal with Oysters Foch, deep-fried oysters in a sauce consisting of Hollandaise and sherry, served atop a piece of toast with a foie gras pate. Next, he has a seafood plate of jumbo crab smothered in clarified butter and flattop seared pompano fish.
Tony classifies this restaurant as “old-style” and would surely be worth visiting for a historic, sentimental dinner in New Orleans.
This restaurant is a non-profit that focuses on taking in at-risk people in the community and teaching them how to cook and how to work in the food industry in general.
Bourdain has visited Café Reconcile multiple times before (off-screen, obviously) and this time decides to have the shrimp and white bean bowl, cornbread and collared greens, and roasted bone-in chicken. The restaurant serves classic creole staples and is worth visiting if you are on the hunt for a glimpse of New Orleans culture and to support a non-profit organization during your visit.
Anyone who’s a fan of Bourdain knows that he has talked mad trash about Emeril and any other TV Chef personality, but he decides to pay a visit to Emeril’s New Orleans restaurant to see if all the Emeril hype is true.
Tony and Emeril have a Creole-tasting plate. First is a root beer braised pork belly, barbecued shrimp, and a seafood andouille sausage gumbo. Following this course, Tony has the redfish court-bouillon, a dish of fresh redfish and tomato-based gravy. The chefs complete their course with country-fried chicken breast on top of a southern cassoulet or slowly stewed rice.
Vic’s Kangaroo Café
Located in the Warehouse District of New Orleans, Vic’s Kangaroo Café is a local favorite among kitchen workers and chefs as a place to wind down after a hard day’s work. Bourdain meets up here with bartender and stand-up comedian, Bill Dykes, for a shot of Jägermeister and a bottle of beer.
The Layover (2011)
Bourdain makes his final on-screen trip to New Orleans a few years later, as part of his whirlwind show The Layover. Per usual for this show, he visits a lot of spots in a short time, and recommends many others too.
The Crab Trap
Bourdain stops by The Crab Trap for some freshly caught seafood, straight out of the lake in La Place, Louisiana. Although this restaurant that he visited has since relocated, it still serves as a great option for fresh Creole seafood.
Tony has the barbecue shrimp, which is a bowl of fresh gulf shrimp covered in butter, black pepper, Worcestershire, and creole spices. He also has the fresh crab, prepared the same way with simple ingredients and creole herbs.
Note: The Crab Trap has both closed and re-opened since Bourdain’s visit.
Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel
Bourdain next heads down to the CBD (Central Business District) of New Orleans for a drink with friend Davis Rogan. Sazerac Bar is known for its namesake drink that the bar is named after. It is a cocktail served with ice and has absinthe, rye whiskey, bitters, and a sugar cube, garnished with lemon peel.
Cochon is one of the many restaurants owned and operated by chef Daniel Link, who Tony cannot recommend enough when visiting New Orleans.
He has a starter plate of Boudin, sausage made from varying pork parts, and a side of mustard. Next is a plate of breaded pork cheeks on a bed of grits and a side of macaroni and cheese casserole. The stand out dish for him, though, is the ham hock served with red beans, charred radish, and chicken hearts.
If you’re looking for live music, Bourdain recommends Maple Leaf Bar for a drink and classic New Orleans jazz. He drops in for a drink and to see one his favorite New Orleans staples, the Rebirth Brass Band that plays at Maple Leaf Bar every Tuesday.
Pho Tau Bay
If you’re visiting New Orleans and somehow get burnt out on the delicious Cajun cuisine, Pho Tau Bay could be a nice change of pace. It’s no surprise that Tony found this spot as he had already visited – and fallen in love with – Vietnam several times.
This Vietnamese restaurant has been operating since 1982 and offers daily-made Pho broth with their dishes. Tony starts with a summer roll, Nem Nuong Cuon, stuffed with barbecued pork, carrots, lettuce, and rice noodles and served with a side of Vietnamese peanut dipping sauce. For his Pho dish, he orders Bun Bo Hue which is a spicy pork and beef pho, served in fish stock with large rice noodles and topped with fresh basil and bean sprouts.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris
Although New Orleans offers their signature Daiquiris almost every few feet throughout the city, this little place in Uptown offers over 15 varying flavors at a cheap price when you’re looking for that nice, easy-to-drink Daiquiri buzz.
Bourdain orders the house special, which is 190-proof liquor, pineapple juice, rum, and orange juice. Anthony warns that you will “not want be operating any power tools” after drinking one of these treats.
R Bar at Royal Street Inn
Located in the Marigny neighborhood of the French Quarter sits R Bar, short for Royal Street Bar. Tony orders himself a tall watermelon cocktail; no power tools, indeed.
R&O’s in Bucktown
On the hunt for another New Orleans staple, the Po’ Boy, Anthony stops by R&O’s on the Coast of New Orleans for a roast beef Po’ boy: a French roll dressed in mayo, lettuce, tomato, and roast beef and thick brown gravy and a huge basket of onion rings. If roast beef isn’t your thing, there are plenty of different types of Po’ Boys that R&O’s has to offer (shrimp is another popular option).
Snake & Jake’s
One of Anthony’s favorite New Orleans Bars, located in Uptown, Tony stops by Snake and Jake’s where “it’s Christmas every night of the year.” He gets a bottle of beer and a Jäegermeister shot.
For another nightcap – can you have more than one?? –, Bourdain next heads over to the Kingpin bar that offers a full bar, TVS, and shuffleboard tables. Anthony sticks to a cold pint here, and vows to “walk out in a state of verticality.”
Taceaux Loceaux (CLOSED)
Although this food truck is now closed, Taceaux Loceaux was a “superbly awesome” taco truck owned by chef Alex del Castillo that was ranked in the top 20 food trucks in America.
Tony orders himself the “south in your mouth” tacos, pork belly, makers mark chipotle, charred jalapeños, and a habanero hot sauce if you want some extra heat. he also tries their breakfast tacos made with chorizo, eggs, and Oaxaca cheese crumbles, and the “messin’ with Texas” tacos which are shredded brisket, fresh cabbage, sliced radish and cilantro.
Other Places Bourdain Recommends in New Orleans
As always in an episode of The Layover, there are a number of spots Tony mentions but doesn’t visit on screen. Here’s the list for New Orleans:
- Loa – This is the lobby bar at the International House Hotel, which he recommends.
- Cochon Butcher – Sister to the restaurant of the same name, the Muffaletta sandwich here is essential.
- Dooky Chase’s – If you want Creole classics like shrimp Clemenceau, jambalaya, and red beans and rice, this is the spot.
- French 75 Bar in Arnaud’s Restaurant – NOLA has some great classic cocktails, and here’s where you should go to try the French 75 at its origin.
- Boucherie – Here, Tony recommends the blackened shrimp with grit cakes and bread pudding.
- Satsuma Cafe – Need a bit of a detox during your visit? Head here for juices and slightly less artery-clogging breakfast sandwiches.
- Atchafalaya – Another shrimp and grits spot Bourdain recommends.
- Le Bon Tempe Roulet – If you want to start your night out in NOLA with oysters and drinks, a place called “good times rolling” seems like the right spot.
- Walker’s BBQ – Step up your po’ boy experience with their cochon d’lait po’ boy.
- Clover Grill – Head here for night-ending, hangover-reducing burgers and other late-night eats.
Note that I only included the ones that are still open today, as these are additions to the places we know were visited by Anthony Bourdain in New Orleans.
Where to Stay in New Orleans
As part of The Layover episode, Bourdain recommends a few spots you can stay in The Big Easy, depending on your budget:
- The Ritz-Carlton – Feeling splurgy or visiting NOLA for a special occasion? This is the place to pick.
- Loft 523 – For a stylish stay in the center of it all, this design-forward hotel is a great option.
- International House Hotel – Budget-friendly but still channeling the city’s charm, this is another good spot if you don’t want to break the bank.
New Orleans Food Tours to Try
Food tours aren’t for everyone, but they are a great way to try a lot in a short time – unless you want to run yourself ragged, The Layover style, that is. There are lots of great food tours in New Orleans, but here are a few that look awesome and tie into some of the same themes Tony explored during his visits:
Have any other questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in New Orleans, or what he ate there? Let me know in the comments below!