Paris means many things to many people – and Anthony Bourdain was no exception. With memories dating back to childhood, each visit Bourdain made to Paris had special importance. Perhaps that’s why he visited it so often – and ate so well during those visits.
I thought about titling this article “The Complete Guide to Following Anthony Bourdain in Paris,” as it’s by far the most comprehensive list of restaurants, bars, and hotels in any city that Tony ever visited – by my count, the only city that he visited and filmed in more was his home city of New York City. (If I’m wrong about that, please let me know!)
All this to say, you’re about to embark on a culinary journey across Paris as it changed in the first two decades of the 21st Century. While Bourdain never visited Paris as part of Parts Unknown, his three on-screen trips – twice during No Reservations and again during The Layover – to the City of Light reveal culinary trends and shifts that have disseminated across the globe since he documented them.
Ready to sink your teeth into this monster guide to following in the footsteps of Anthony Bourdain in Paris? Let’s dive in! (Note: Unlike in most posts, I have left the locations visited in each episode in the order Bourdain visited them, rather than alphabetical order.)
Want to watch the episodes where Anthony Bourdain visits Paris?
The first episode of No Reservations is available on Amazon, and Hulu; the 100th episode is also on Hulu, as well as Apple TV. The Layover episode is available on Amazon and Apple TV.
Anthony Bourdain in Paris Map
With as many restaurants and bars as Bourdain visited in Paris, it’s more helpful than ever to have a map of all the locations. If you click the link above, you’ll be taken to an interactive map, which you can save to your phone or other travel planning documents as you put together your trip to Paris.
If you notice any discrepancies with the map, please let me know in the comments.
No Reservations (2005)
Paris is officially the first destination Anthony Bourdain visits as part of filming No Reservations, and this first episode aired in 2005. In it, he visits a variety of spots, channels Hemingway (as all good writers do at some point), and shows the city’s juxtaposition of new and old – in both style and taste.
Tony starts his trip to Paris properly: with a good breakfast. He enjoys it at Le Royal, a traditional bistro and bar with sidewalk seating. There he enjoys croissants, cafe de creme, and orange juice, before setting out to explore more of Paris – and eat his way across the city.
Cantada II (CLOSED)
A bit of research shows that yes, there was a “La Cantada” restaurant/bar in Paris – though whether it is related to Cantada II is unknown. In any case, both are now permanently closed, which is unfortunate for Bourdain pilgrims who want to enjoy an absinthe fountain here, as he did. Luckily, there are a number of other great absinthe bars across the city; my favorite is the appropriately named L’Absinthe Café on Rue de Turbigo.
Unknown Private Absinthe Bar
Speaking of absinthe bars, Tony happens to end up in a private absinthe bar that’s worth mentioning – even though it is unnamed and thus not open to us in the public who might want to meet the green fairy. Apparently, though, this means you may still find a chap here and there who have a store of the old, illegal, made with literally-poisonous-wormwood absinthe he’s willing to share. All you need to do is strike up a conversation with folks at the bar – which is always a good idea anyway.
While Les Halles isn’t exactly a place where Bourdain ate, I wanted to include it since you can visit the gardens where Paris’ famous food hall once stood. Also, it shares the name of Tony’s main restaurant gig, the now-closed Brasserie Les Halles in New York City.
Getting back to food, next stop: Chez Denise. Located on the Rue des Prouvaires near Les Halles, Tony tucks into some traditional French dishes at this bistro, including escargot, blanquette de veau (veal in white sauce), and rum baba, all with red wine.
As an aside, Anthony Bourdain was notorious for not having dessert, instead of wanting to enjoy more of the main dishes or a good cheese platter – but he has dessert several times in his various Paris episodes!
Marché International de Rungis
Next, Tony heads into Paris’ new food market, the Marché International de Rungis. Here he wanders the stalls before tucking into a roast beef baguette and wine at Le Saint Hubert, a popular spot for overnight market workers to take their lunch in the early hours of each day.
Chez Robert et Louise
Back to dining during normal hours, Anthony Bourdain enjoys a meal at Chez Robert et Louise, a small, traditional, family-run restaurant of great repute. Here he has boudin noir (blood sausage), fromage de tête (head cheese), and coq de boeuf (beef rib). If you’re looking for a meal where it feels like you’re right in the kitchen, this is a spot to check out.
Pâtisserie Pinaud Pascal
Throughout his many Paris visits, Tony’s always chasing the best pastries. On this first visit, he tucks into baguettes and pain aux raisin from Pâtisserie Pinaud Pascal on the Rue Monge. This pastry shop is still open and likely making its bread and sweets the same way it did when Tony visited almost 20 years ago.
No Reservations (2011)
After kicking off No Reservations with a trip to Paris, the team decided that to celebrate the show’s 100th episode, it was time for a return. This time, Bourdain turns up with Chef Eric Ripert, whose name is well known to those who’ve followed Tony’s career and his untimely death. In any case, it’s Ripert’s first visit to Paris in a while, and Bourdain spends much of the episode showing him how Paris’ culinary scene is both traditional and modern. Here’s where they ate.
La Tête Dans Les Olives
Though it seems to have changed somewhat in the decade since Tony visited, La Tête Dans Les Olives is still a small specialty shop for delicious ingredients. On their visit, Bourdain and Ripert discuss the value of the Michelin star system with a few Parisian food writers over small plates and wine; I’m not sure if they serve food in any sit-down capacity today though.
After visiting a Boucherie (butcher) that Ripert used to frequent during his time as a chef in Paris, he and Bourdain are escorted to nearby Je Thé…Me on the Rue d’Alleray, for a meal of the offal cuts that Bourdain loves so much. He enjoys Rognons de Veau aux Champignons (kidneys with mushrooms and pepper).
Next up, Tony and Eric tuck into a meal with chefs Christian Constant and Thierry Marx at Constant’s restaurant, Les Cocoettes. They also discuss the future of French cooking while enjoying a few dishes including ravioli with Mousseron mushrooms – and Bourdain has another dessert! There must be something special about Parisian dessert for him to indulge in.
Since they’ve been discussing the new wave of French cooking, their first sampling of this style happens at Frenchie. This restaurant offers a single seating for a prix fixe menu that changes daily based on ingredients, so you likely won’t be able to order exactly what Bourdain and Ripert enjoyed.
(In case you’re curious though, their menu included smoked mackerel with wild asparagus; beets, raspberry, hazelnut, and shaved pork belly; hake with spring vegetable ragout; and beef sirloin on a base of pureed black rice.)
La Table d’Hugo Desnoyer
At La Table d’Hugo Desnoyer, the butchery restaurant on the Rue du Docteur, Tony and Eric kick off the day with a “butcher’s breakfast,” which they actually enjoy next door at…
Le Jeu de Quilles
Here, they sit down to enjoy some of Desnoyer’s best cuts with a breakfast of eggs, prosciutto, fresh sausage, and pata negra (Iberico ham) with white wine. Bourdain follows it up with a dish of calf sweetbreads (pancreas), chanterelle mushrooms, and wild asparagus. Seems like a hearty start to the day!
Next, Bourdain and Ripert are joined by Eric’s old mentor, Chef Joël Robuchon, for a stroll around Rue Mouffetard. Part of this street becomes an open-air market, which the three chefs enjoy perusing on their way to a meal at…
At Le Papillion, Ripert, Bourdain, and Robuchon have lunch consisting of fresh oysters with white wine, followed by Pieds Paquets (tripe and pig foot) – which earns Bourdain a vote of approval from the proudly French Robuchon – and an indulgent cheese course, naturally.
(If you’re confused when researching, this restaurant is located at 129 Rue Mouffetard in the 5e Arrondissement, not the “Cafe Le Papillion” that shows up #1 on Google.)
Swinging the pendulum back from traditional to modern, Ripert and Bourdain next head to Le Châteaubriand which was – even in 2011 – making waves as one of the best restaurants in Paris (and has since been named among the world’s 50 best restaurants).
Chef Iñaki Aizpitarte proceeds to blow their minds, with his seasonal prix fixe menu that consists of amuse-bouche of beef with fava, green peas, and anchovies; a “Rouget dish” of red mullet with carrots; an intermission dish of fresh almonds and mâche; and a white dish of sea bream with white asparagus, mascarpone, and brown butter with elderflower.
What’s most fun about this scene is watching the two chefs at the table unpack the flavors and ingredients they’re enjoying – rather than knowing them before they sit down.
Taking a break from food, Tony heads to La Quincave, a small wine shop on Rue Bréa. There, he meets chef Yves Camdeborde, who runs Le Comptoir – which Ripert describes as “the perfect bistro.”
Even Anthony Bourdain has trouble getting a table at this chef’s popular restaurant, which is part of the impetus for their meeting over a few glasses of wine to discuss the state of French cooking in the French capital.
L’Avant Comptoir/Le Comptoir
Here, Tony eats a series of incredible dishes, including charcuterie with bread and butter while waiting for his reservation; an amuse-bouche of foie gras; crab, flying fish eggs, and spring veggies in a foie gras jelly sauce; ravioli of blood sausage with infused broth; an entree of roasted veal loin with salted butter, sauteed chanterelle, shallots, and chives with almond and rhubarb jus; and – of course – a grand cheese plate to cap the meal.
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon (CLOSED)
This second trip to Paris ends with Ripert rejoining Bourdain to dine at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, the now-closed domain of Chef Robuchon until his death in 2018. Here, the renowned chef oversees as his team serves a multi-course meal of gazpacho, Sole Meunière pan-fried on the bone with butter, served with brown butter and lemon; famous Robuchon mashed potatoes; and jámon with wine.
(As an aside, you can still find L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon restaurants in other parts of the world, including New York, Miami, and Las Vegas.)
The Layover (2012)
The final time Anthony Bourdain visits Paris on-screen – though he undoubtedly visited for pleasure other times in the final six years of his life – was for The Layover, his short-lived TV show on the Travel Channel. (Back when the Travel Channel actually had travel content – ha!)
In this visit, Bourdain visits a lot of places – but also mentions an alternative to every place he visits. I’ve listed them all, so this part of the list is less “where Tony ate” than “where Tony recommends.”
Le Pure Café
At La Pure Café, Bourdain tucks into a coffee while starting his day; he enjoys espresso and people-watching while discussing how this is a critical part of the morning routine for many Parisians and an activity most visitors miss.
Au Petit Fer à Cheval
Along with La Pure Café, Bourdain recommends Au Petit Fer à Cheval for a similar experience around the café’s famous horseshoe-shaped marble counter – which is how the place got its name (“The Little Horseshoe”).
Next, Bourdain meets food writer Louis Daboussy at Au Passage to eat and discuss the state of French cooking. Much like in the 100th episode of No Reservations, they chat about traditional vs modern culinary sensibilities and styles in the kitchen. They do this over whelk and potato salad, a fish or veal entree, cheese plate, and dessert – again, Bourdain has dessert!
Tony loves the market streets in Paris, having highlighted them during all three visits; this time it’s Rue Montorgueil in the 2e Arrondissement. Here he wanders past shops – stopping at a boulangerie, fromagerie, and charcuterie to stock up on ingredients for a small picnic.
Apparently, Bourdain loved his dinner at L’Avant Comptoir and its sister restaurant so much that he insisted on a return visit! Here he meets actor and director Franz-Rudolf Lang for small plates at the now-standing-only spot. They enjoy sliced jambon noir de bigorre (Black ham), croquette of pied cochon (pig foot croquettes), seared veal with tuna pate, and macaron de boudin noir (blood sausage sandwich).
Au Deux Amis
For an alternative to L’Avant Comptoir which is popular and difficult to get into, Tony recommends Au Deux Amis on the Left Bank. This restaurant also focuses on small plates but offers sit-down service and is far less crowded.
Bistrot Paul Bert
Moving on to more formal dining, Bourdain next visits Bistrot Paul Bert for a meal of seasonal ingredients and classic dishes. He starts off with an asparagus and mushroom omelet – not just for breakfast! – followed by steak au poivre, steamed fresh asparagus, and seared veal with in-season vegetables.
For an alternative to Bistrot Paul Bert, consider Septime. This restaurant offers tasting menus for lunch and dinner with wine pairings that will give you another example of the hybrid traditional and modern style of French dining right now.
Du Pain et des Idées
Kicking off his second day in Paris (part of the whole schtick in The Layover was that Bourdain only had two days in a city), he heads to meet baker Christophe Vasseur at his bread shop, Du Pain et des Idées. I’m not exactly sure what he orders – at one point he mentions escargot? – but we know he enjoys both a cerise-pistache (cherry-pistachio) roll, and the pain des amies that this bread shop is famous for.
For a backup option, Bourdain recommends Coquelicot, where you can enjoy a huge latte while noshing on traditionally French pastries like madelienes, financiers, and macaroons. Sounds like the perfect way to start a day!
Le Camion Food Truck (CLOSED?)
Next up, from left field, Bourdain throws a curve ball in the form of food trucks. Yes, it seems unlikely in a city like Paris where food is held in high regard – but even Paris can’t hold back the tide of convenience and delicious cheap food that food trucks heralded in the late 00s and early 2010s.
First up, he visits Le Camion Food Truck; as far as I can tell this truck is no longer a truck… it might be a restaurant now, but I’m not sure. (If you know, please comment below!) Here, Tony tries what he asserts might be the best burger in Paris.
Californie Cantine (CLOSED)
Tony also recommends another food truck, another now-defunct food truck that once rolled the streets of Paris. Their menu consisted of hamburgers, Mexican tacos, and cupcakes – while Bourdain disparaged the cupcake trend, he asserted that Californie Cantine might have had the best Mexican food in Paris at the time.
Berthillon Ice Cream
When it comes to ice cream, there’s no alternative necessary to recommend; Bourdain makes a bee-line to Berthillon on the Ilê Saint-Louis for two separate cones: cherry and salted caramel cream. On a hot Paris day, one can imagine the line is long for this delicious, cool treat.
Le Dôme Café
What better way to pass an afternoon in Paris than… more food?! Next, Bourdain heads to Le Dôme Café, a seafood restaurant known for its shellfish tower. Armed with a nice bottle of wine, Tony proceeds to dive into the pile of oysters, clams, shrimp, crabs, langoustine, periwinkle, and whelks… It was good to see him make a bit of mess since it shows he eats food like the rest of us and occasionally ruins a shirt as a result! (Watch out for clam juice!)
Brasserie La Welper
For an alternative to Le Dôme Café, Bourdain recommends Brasserie La Welper on the border between the Montmartre and Pigalle neighborhoods. This is Paris’ largest oyster house and the perfect place to enjoy a few on the half-shell.
Deviating from strictly French cuisine, Tony decides to then show off the many other ethnic cuisines you can find in Paris thanks to its strong immigrant communities. He meets up with restauranteurs Pierre Jancou & David Benichou from Restaurant Vivant at Urfa Dürüm; this Kurdish shop makes traditional rolled sandwiches. The three chefs try all three types: lamb kebab, beef, and lamb liver.
Marché des Enfants Rouges
If you’re intrigued by the idea of trying other cuisines in Paris, then a visit to Marché des Enfants Rouges is a must. This covered market has a number of vendors with different cuisines – Moroccan, Japanese, cheesemongers, and grocers. You order what you like then sit in the open air to enjoy whatever you’ve chosen.
For a light bite before dinner, Bourdain heads to La Palette with Executive Chef Maurice Guillouet. While this bistro offers a full menu, the two instead enjoy a small meal of rosé and guillotine, which is thinly sliced bread with equally thinly sliced cheese and meat.
For his final dinner during the “layover,” Bourdain is joined again by restauranteurs Pierre Jancou & David Benichou at Le Baratin. While this restaurant is well outside the central part of the city on the Rue Jouye-Rouve in the 20e Arrondissement, it has become a beloved institution.
There, the three men enjoy the restaurant’s menu of biodynamic, organic wines, as well as squid in its own ink, beef with anchovies, veal sweetbreads, beef cheeks, and chicken.
Le Verre Vole
As an alternative to Le Baratin, which is popular enough to be hard to get into at times, Bourdain recommends Le Verre Vole. This wine shop is known for its wide selection but also serves food.
Where Anthony Bourdain Stayed in Paris
In addition to the 40 restaurants listed above, I thought it was worth noting the three hotels where Bourdain reported staying in his various shows. You know, just in case you want to go all-in and also stay where he stayed – in addition to eating where he ate.
- L’Hotel (Saint Germain-de-Pres) – Famously known as the hotel where Oscar Wilde died, this hotel is now quite posh, as the neighborhood has come up from its bohemian history. Rooms start from $318 per night; book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
- Hotel Particulier (Montmartre) – Where Bourdain stays during The Layover, this hotel is in the heart of Montmartre and is easy walking distance from the area’s top sights. Rooms start from $872 per night; book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
- Hotel Amour (10e) – This is the alternative hotel Bourdain recommends during The Layover. He claims it’s in the 10th, but their website reports they’re in the 9th. Rooms start from $184 per night; book directly.
Paris Food Tours
Since it’s pretty much impossible to eat at every location listed above, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. In that case, consider taking a food tour instead! I had a hard time narrowing down the many delicious options, but here are some Paris food tours that will allow you to sample the city’s incredible flavors like Bourdain did, even if you can’t eat at the same restaurants.
And there you have it – the complete guide to Anthony Bourdain in Paris! Do you have any questions about these Paris restaurants where Bourdain ate? Or an update about them? Let me know in the comments!