Anthony Bourdain in New York City: The Complete Guide

If I asked you to name one place synonymous with Anthony Bourdain, what would it be? Maybe Vietnam, a country he loved and visited many times. Perhaps Tokyo, the first international city he visited and which cracked his mind wide open to the wonders of different cuisines and cultures. You might even guess somewhere like St. Maarten or Indonesia or London – all places he once talked about moving… if he ever left New York City, that is.

But, of course, it’s New York City that we Bourdain fans – “enthusiasts,” as I like to think of us – know was where his heart truly rested. It’s where he was born, where he made his name in the kitchen (sort of) and started his television career, and where he (and his family) called home, in between seasons. When people make pilgrimages in Tony’s honor, New York City is one of those spots.

Anthony Bourdain in New York City Hero

Over the course of his career, Anthony Bourdain filmed a lot of episodes in New York City (11 in total!), including all five boroughs – that’s more episodes than any other destination, in fact. I won’t list them all here, but have included a grey box that links to every single NYC episode at the end of this post.

However, as you’re on this post, I’ll assume you’re not here for the episodes and instead care about all the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in New York City during those many episodes. Below you’ll find all of them that are still open today; of the nearly 100 in total, almost 70 are ready to welcome you. Ready to dive in and explore the place that so captivated Tony enough that he never truly left? Let’s do it!

Brooklyn

Starting off across the East River, Brooklyn was the borough Tony visited most on-screen aside from Manhattan (along with Queens). Over time, his natural skepticism of all things hipster and foodie gave way to an acknowledgment that Brooklyn had a lot more to offer – and great food, of course.

Here’s a shortlist of the places Anthony Bourdain ate in Brooklyn that are still open today:

You can click on any restaurant above to learn more about that specific one or see the entire guide to Bourdain’s Brooklyn adventures here.

The Bronx

Next up, the much overlooked Bronx – even by New Yorkers like Tony. In fact, Bourdain was so intrigued by his first visit to this borough in his “Outer Boroughs” episode of No Reservations that he returned later (during Parts Unknown) to film an entire episode dedicated to the area. Here’s where he ate between those two on-screen visits:

Similarly, you can click on any specific restaurant above, or dive into the in-depth guide to the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in the Bronx.

Manhattan

Oh Manhattan, where do I begin? I’m not 100% sure if Anthony Bourdain was born in Manhattan (the internet is only as specific as to say “New York City”) but this was his home borough within NYC. It’s where he lived as a young man, was married to his first wife, had his most important chef’s role at Les Halles, and came back to many times to film various episodes (7 episodes in all, making it one of his top on-screen destinations).

In total, Tony featured some 50 establishments during those episodes, almost 30 of which are still open today. Instead of listing them all here, I thought I’d include some of the most iconic or beloved ones he highlighted:

This shortlist doesn’t overlap with other lists of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite places in New York City that you might see online, but I think they encapsulate the range of places Tony loved: hearty, greasy breakfasts that are perfect for whatever ails you from last night; fast, delicious food; lunch and dinner spots that represent the melange of cultures in Manhattan; and bars ranging from pure dives to casual cocktail clubs.

You can see all 50 spots Bourdain featured in the various Manhattan episodes and what he ate at each one in the recap of Tony’s Manhattan. There’s also a specific guide to the Lower East Side, since that’s where Tony’s story began and he felt it worthy of its own episode at the end of his career.

Queens

Along with Brooklyn, Queens was the borough that Bourdain next most frequently visited/filmed (aside from Manhattan, which is established as king in his mind!). Queens doesn’t draw as many visitors as other boroughs, and is in fact the most diverse of the five boroughs – it’s also said to be one of the most ethnically diverse areas/geographies in the U.S.!

As such, Tony visits a variety of ethnic restaurants that prove you can travel the entire world without leaving greater New York City:

While it’s pretty easy to see how diverse this list is, you can dive into each restaurant in greater detail in the guide to places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Queens.

Staten Island

Last, but certainly not least – okay maybe least, depending on how you slice it –, Anthony Bourdain did spend some time in Staten Island, though it was definitely where he spent the least amount of time and only filmed part of one episode. “The Rock” just didn’t draw him as some of the other boroughs did, though he might have perhaps returned someday for a dedicated episode as he did for the other four.

In any case, he visited only two spots in Staten Island:

  • Jade Island Restaurant
  • New Asha Sri Lankan Restaurant

You can read more about both of these and easily visit them as a day trip from Manhattan; here’s the guide to where Anthony Bourdain ate in Staten Island to guide you.

And there you have it: the 30,000-foot view of all the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in New York City that you can still visit today. Use this as a starting point to jump into any of the boroughs you might plan on visiting and/or eating during your time in NYC!

Have any questions about these places visited by Anthony Bourdain in NYC or corrections to this overview? Let me know in the comments.

Want to watch all the NYC episodes? Here they are:

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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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