Anthony Bourdain in Provincetown: 4 Spots Where Tony Ate

For Anthony Bourdain fans – or enthusiasts, as I like to call us –, there are few more sacred sites to pilgrimage than Provincetown, Massachusetts, where it all began. It was here that Tony first started washing dishes, and here that he first joined the line. It was here too that his own battle with drug addiction began, which defined his character and created the man whose worldview we all admired.

Anthony Bourdain visited Provincetown to film season 1 (episode 20) of A Cook’s Tour as well as season 4 (episode 7) of Parts Unknown. These were his only two visits on-screen, but – as we Bourdain fans well know – he has deep roots in this small Massachusetts community.

Anthony Bourdain in Provincetown Hero

If you’re planning a trip out to P-Town (as some call it), you might be curious about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Provincetown during his television career (nothing to say about all the places he went when he lived there!). Below you’ll find a quick guide to those spots, as well as what to eat when you visit. Ready to dig in?

Want to watch the episodes where Anthony Bourdain visits Provincetown?
The A Cook’s Tour episode is available for free on YouTube, and you can find the Parts Unknown episode on Amazon and Apple TV.

In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Nauset and Wôpanâak (Wampanoag) 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.

A Cook’s Tour (2001)

As part of an episode titled “My Life as a Cook,” Bourdain takes viewers through a day in the life during his time working at Les Halles; he also visits some restaurants that were seminal for his origins and growth as a cook, including a stop at one particular spot in Provincetown.

Ciro & Sal’s Restaurant

Anthony Bourdain in Provincetown Hero

During his first return visit to his roots, Tony visits just one place in Provincetown: Ciro & Sal’s Restaurant.

I don’t personally love “institutional” Italian restaurants in most cases because they’re usually a bit sleepy, but this one has to have a special place in the heart of any Bourdain fan: it’s where it all began. Tony started out as a dishwasher here, progressing to line cook, and that eventually led him to attend CIA and work in restaurants in New York City… and we all know what happened after that!

Still open today – some 50 years after Bourdain first joined the line –, they serve Italian classics plus seafood dishes in the Italian style. If you want to dine here exactly as Tony did, opt for the veal marsala.

Parts Unknown (2014)

Almost 15 years later, Bourdain returned to Provincetown to film Parts Unknown; as was always the case with this show, he uses his background and food as a springboard to dive into deeper issues – specifically, drug use and its impact on Massachusetts as a whole (which I cover more over in the Massachusetts restaurant list).

The Lobster Pot

Anthony Bourdain in Provincetown - Portuguese Kale Soup

It must be hard for Tony to choose where to start on a return visit to P-town, but he decides to sit down with John Yingling from Spiritus Pizza (another town institution) at The Lobster Pot.

This restaurant dates back to both men’s early days in town, and they tuck into beer and a few of the restaurant’s classics and Tony’s faves: Portuguese kale soup (a Massachusetts version of the Azorean Caldo Verde) and stuffed cod with Portuguese sausage, scallops, and crab.

The pair, of course, spend plenty of time reminiscing about their origin days, and how much time has passed.

The Atlantic House (“The A-House”)

Next, the pair tuck into The Atlantic House, America’s oldest operating gay bar (dating back to 1798), where they chat with the current proprietor about more memories and drinks.

Old Colony Tap

Anthony Bourdain in Provincetown - Wellfleet Oysters

After heading out into the Bay for a bit of fishing – not catching – Tony is next joined by a crew of multi-generational fishermen at Old Colony Tap for rounds of beer and Wellfleet oysters and scallops – plus a few rounds of what I’m guessing are Bourbon shots. This scene, aside from showing off the incredible freshness of seafood in the area, also honors Provincetown’s nautical history in a way that Parts Unknown was always able to do so seamlessly.

From there, Tony heads inland to explore some other spots in Massachusetts; I recommend reading that section too as the narrative of this episode is less about Bourdain’s past and nostalgia than the real issues facing people – including those who make food and love food – in a state he once called home.

Have any questions about these places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Provincetown? 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.

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