Anthony Bourdain in The Bronx: 10 Spots Where Tony Ate

The Bronx is a diverse borough that houses immigrant communities from various countries, and it’s this mix of cultures that has made the area a popular food destination that caught the attention of Anthony Bourdain; while it might be close to home for him, you can certainly taste the world if you know where to go… and Tony was keen to discover this borough in greater detail during his career.

Anthony Bourdain filmed in the Bronx in what became two different episodes: during No Reservations, he filmed here as part of what became the “Outer Boroughs” episode (season 5, episode 19) and he returned for a dedicated episode during Parts Unknown (season 4, episode 2).

Anthony Bourdain in the Bronx Hero

Whether you live somewhere in the five boroughs or are planning to visit the New York City area and want to explore beyond Manhattan, the Bronx might be the borough for you. It’s certainly less visited than some other areas in the city, and full of incredible flavors. Ready to dig into all this borough has to offer at these places visited by Anthony Bourdain in the Bronx? Hop on the Subway (B/D or 4/5/6 trains) and let’s go!

Want to watch the episode where Anthony Bourdain visits the Bronx?
The “Outer Boroughs” episode is available on Amazon and Apple TV; and “The Bronx” episode is available on Amazon and Apple TV.

In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Mohican, Wappinger, Schaghticoke, and Munsee Lenape 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 The Bronx

Before jumping into the list, I thought it would be helpful to have a map to orient you to the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in The Bronx. 

Anthony Bourdain in The Bronx Map
Click to interact with the map

Ready to learn about each one and what Tony ate there? Read on!

No Reservations (2009)

Tony’s first on-screen appearance in the Bronx occurs as part of an episode dedicated to the “Outer Boroughs” during No Reservations; it also highlights Brooklyn and Staten Island. He doesn’t spend long in the borough this time, but it clearly whets his appetite for a return trip (and dedicated episode) someday.

Sam’s Soul Food

Anthony Bourdain in the Bronx - Soul Food

For his first brief Bronx sojourn that begins on a miserable snow day, Tony partners with local food tour operator Famous Fat Dave, as they travel together to Sam’s Soul Food.

Originally from Ghana, Sam moved to New York and got to work on bringing to the Bronx some of the best Southern cuisine in the city.

In addition to the ribs, smothered pork chops, BBQ chicken, and fried chicken, Bourdain enjoys the collard greens, ox tail that literally falls off the bone, and some classic Southern-style dirty rice, made with Chicken gizzards, chicken livers, and ground pork.

Parts Unknown (2014)

Returning to the Bronx for an episode dedicated to the borough in Parts Unknown in 2014, Bourdain goes far deeper on this dedicated trip. This is the Bronx of history, the birth of hip-hop, Robert Moses, and the culturally diverse food choices one would expect from such a varied borough.

188 Bakery Cuchifrito

Anthony Bourdain in the Bronx - Morcilla

Beginning at 188 Bakery Cuchifrito, a Puerto Rican restaurant that oozes and emanates the flavor of the Bronx, Tony is joined by Baron Ambrosia, Bronx’s “culinary ambassador.”

Together they sample old-school Puerto Rican good stuff, including pig ears and tongue, chopped up and deep fried, pork shank, chicharron (fried pig skin and fat), morcilla, aka blood sausage, and plantano, which are sliced and fried bananas.

Pelham Bay Park

Anthony Bourdain in The Bronx - Hudutu
Photo courtesy of Parts Unknown

One of the two largest parks in NYC (the other being Van Cortlandt), Bourdain meets with a group of people the Garifuna community in Pelham Bay Park for a family BBQ cookout.

Garifuna Americans are a people hailing from Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize. They trace their ethnic roots back to a single slave ship that crashed off St. Vincent and whose freed Africans then mixed with Carib Indians.

Not many people know that the Bronx is a hub for the Garifuna American community and that about 200,000 Garifuna live in the city. Here, their meal represents the diversity of their roots. There is hudutu, a Garifuna coconut soup with bluefish, served with mashed plantains, and tapou, a stew made of smoked fish neck bones with banana and yucca.

Sundial Herbs & Herbal Products

A cultural institution in the Bronx, Sundial are makers of traditional herbal tonics and remedies that use a variety of plant and tree products, including mahogany bark for today’s concoction.

Outside in the yard, Bourdain enjoys some freshly roasted Jamaican coffee, with DJ Afrika Bambaataa, one of the three founding members of hip-hop (alongside DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash).

Barrys Restaurant

Tony’s guest for the next few stops on his exploration of the Bronx is Desus Nice, one-half of the podcast host duo Desus vs. Mero. They meet in Barrys Restaurant, a popular hangout for the Bronx’s Caribbean residents.

Following an aperitif of Wray and Nephew Jamaican white rum, the food on offer here today is pigtail soup, flavored with thyme, coconut milk, and fiery scotch bonnet peppers.

Lammy’s Restaurant

Anthony Bourdain in the Bronx - Curried Goat

Continuing the Caribbean theme, Lammy’s Restaurant is a corner takeout establishment located on East 233rd Street. The array of food here is perfect for that somewhat gluttonous takeout box style of meal; curried goat and stewed ox tail with rice, peas, collard greens, and mac & cheese.

Sea Shore Restaurant

Anthony Bourdain in the Bronx - Steamed Clams

When the people of the Bronx need to celebrate, City Island is where they come. Located off the East side of the Bronx, just past Pelham Bay Park, the establishments here are of the sort all too familiar to Bourdain – big catering halls, basically massive seafood factories on the shoreline. During this episode, he dives in at Sea Shore Restaurant.

A self-proclaimed sentimental fool for this kind of food, Bourdain proudly dons his shellfish bib in preparation for the meal to come – steamed clams, boiled striped bass, snow crab, and a nice cold beer.

Liebman’s Restaurant Delicatessen

Anthony Bourdain in the Bronx - Pastrami Sandwich

A definite change of pace next, as Tony is joined by Lloyd Ultan, Bronx historian, at the Bronx landmark that is Liebman’s Deli. Providing the best in deli foods and catering since 1953, Liebman’s is one of the last Jewish delis in the Bronx, the other lost to a trend of renovation and gentrification that is seen across the Five Boroughs.

Of course, a Jewish deli of this caliber has some dishes that one simply cannot ignore, and Bourdain orders just those – hot pastrami, chopped liver on toast, potato pancakes with applesauce, pickles, all washed down with a Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray (celery-flavored soda).

White Castle

Meeting with Handsome Dick Manitoba, Bronx musician from the punk pioneer band the Dictators, Bourdain indulges in perhaps one of his guiltiest food pleasures – White Castle.

Is it the best hamburger in the world? Far from it. Is it even really a burger? It’s small, square, and steamed, and can be called a “hate-yourself-in-the-morning” kind of meal.

But as far as cheeseburgers which evoke a powerful emotional response, for Bourdain and Manitoba nothing quite scratches this particular itch like White Castle.

Bronx Academy of Letters

Anthony Bourdain in the Bronx - Chopped Cheese Sandwich

Moving away from restaurants, Bourdain finishes this visit to the Bronx with an impromptu guest lecture at the Bronx Academy of Letters, where he gives local students a breakdown of his writing advice.

With his quick seminar in the books, Bourdain is then introduced to a unique and hitherto unknown to him type of sandwich – the chopped cheese.

The chopped cheese is an indigenous Bronx sandwich, comprising ground beef, cheese, and onions, served on a hero roll in bodegas across the borough (sort of a cheeseburger but sort of not).

Have any other questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in The Bronx and where to eat in the borough? Let me know in the comments.

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Matt Young is a street food fanatic and world traveler, currently splitting his time between Europe and South East Asia.

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