The 13 Best Cities for Anthony Bourdain Fans to Visit & Eat Well

As a fan of Anthony Bourdain, I won’t say that I travel to places specifically because Tony went there – but I certainly do my research when planning a trip to see if he ever visited, and where he ate that might still be open. You probably feel the same if you’ve ended up on this site; it’s a guide to everywhere Anthony Bourdain ate in the world!

If you do feel like spinning the globe though, you could do worse than picking a city that Bourdain visited often or ate at a lot of restaurants in. After watching 293 episodes and completing this site with all 250 guides on it, I thought it would be fun to look at the list of those places. Consider them the best cities for Anthony Bourdain fans, since they’re places you can find lots of restaurants where he ate!

Best Cities for Anthony Bourdain Fans Hero

This is probably not a surprise, but the top 10 cities where Anthony Bourdain visited the most restaurants were all featured on The Layover; while it was Tony’s least favorite show to film, it did showcase a large number of locations in each city. So, take that with a grain of salt: if you toss out The Layover episodes, Seattle, Chicago, and London drop off the list below and three other cities jump onto the list (I’ve numbered them #11-#13 below).

Ready to discover the 10 cities where Anthony Bourdain visited the most restaurants? Here they are, in order from most to least.

The Cities Bourdain Most Visited & Ate

CityTotal Places
(All Shows)
Places (Minus
The Layover)
NYC88 (#1)75
Los Angeles50 (#2)33
San Francisco46 (#3)21
Paris40 (#4)20
New Orleans37 (#5)16
Seattle33 (#6)12
Singapore32 (#7)19
Hong Kong31 (#8)23
Chicago25 (#9)14
London25 (#10)13
Tokyo2121 (#11*)
Las Vegas1616 (#12**)
Chiang Mai1616 (#13**)

*Would tie for #4 if The Layover is removed; **Would tie for #7 if The Layover is removed

1. New York City

It should come as no surprise that the city where Bourdain visited the most restaurants was his hometown of New York City… it’s also one of the cities where he filmed the most episodes, which obviously correlates to the total number of places he ate!

In total, Tony visited some 88 places by my count, in all five boroughs; it’s almost impossible to pick which ones I think are the most worth visiting, because it depends so much on your dining style and budget. Instead, I’ll point you to this round-up guide to the highlights of places visited by Anthony Bourdain in NYC and from there you can dive deeper into the specific boroughs you plan to visit.

2. Los Angeles

Taking the number two spot on the list of essential Bourdain city destinations, Los Angeles is a great option since Tony visited some 50 spots there during his many visits to the City of Angels.

He was the first to admit that his favorite places in L.A. had as much to do with the food and ambiance as the company he dined with at them:

I’m not so full of myself to think that I know enough about LA to do a top-10 list. The places that I like here are because people have taken me there. I have a really good experience eating here every time I come out.

And if you review my guide to all the places visited by Tony in Los Angeles, you’ll see that he does have some truly compelling dining companions during his trips. If I can provide some guidance though, pay special attention to Koreatown and the places he visits with Roy Choi – that’s a cool subculture in L.A. that’s well worth exploring if you’re hungry and want some far-flung flavors.

3. San Francisco

California is one of the biggest states in the U.S., and home to two major cities – so is it really a surprise that San Francisco rounds out the top three most-visited cities Anthony Bourdain traveled to? I’ve actually called the San Francisco Bay Area home (Berkeley, Oakland, and Sausalito, during my time), so I can attest too that it’s home to some incredible restaurants and off-beat dives and dining spots.

When it comes to following Tony’s footsteps, you’ve got a lot of choices (almost 50 in total), but if I can make a few suggestions:

  • Be sure to visit Swan’s Oyster Depot, which Bourdain visited on almost every trip.
  • Tiki culture is alive and well in SF, and the Tonga Room (SF) and Trader Vic’s (Emeryville) are essential spots; the nearby Li Po Lounge in Chinatown knocks out two birds with one stone for a different experience.
  • Speaking of other communities, don’t be afraid to cross the Bay Bridge or visit the South Bay; while most of the places Tony visited are closed now, there are a few still to choose from.

For the full list, be sure to check out my San Francisco guide to the spots Bourdain ate.

4. Paris

Jumping off the North American continent, Paris is the first international city to make the list; Bourdain visited 40 spots here in total, over the course of several trips. This is, of course, no surprise if you consider that Tony was as interested in the chef’s side of culinary travel as he was in the cultural aspects he focused on in his later shows.

In any case, Bourdain visits lots of great Paris establishments, most of which are still open a decade-plus after his last visit. Incredibly, he also doesn’t repeat many locations, so you genuinely have a ton of places to choose from, almost all of which are within Central Paris. Much like NYC, I can’t really tell you which might be most interesting to you, so be sure to check my complete Bourdain-in-Paris guide to browse and narrow your choices.

5. New Orleans

If you’ve been, I’m sure you agree: New Orleans is a really special place that almost doesn’t feel like it’s part of the United States – and there’s nowhere else like it on Earth.

Deeply influenced by French, Cajun, and Creole culture that’s alive and well today, NOLA’s culinary scene is equally diverse and compelling, so it’s no surprise that Bourdain loved eating here, and did so a lot. In total, he visited some 37 restaurants and bars – can’t forget New Orleans’ awesome drinking scene! – and it’s hard to choose which ones to recommend.

To help narrow it down as you review my full guide to the places visited by Tony Bourdain in NOLA, I’d start by looking in and near the French Quarter and CBD (Central Business District); that’s where most travelers spend time and it’s a good framework to start planning your meals no matter how long you have to visit.

6. Seattle

Seattle is another special city for me personally: it’s another one I’ve called home, and where I met my husband! While you might not think that Seattle is a culinary destination, it’s got plenty to offer with a dash of distinct Pacific Northwestern style – from ingredients to the broadly casual approach to excellent dining opportunities.

Tony visited 33 spots in Seattle by my count, so you’ve got a lot to choose from. If it’s your first trip, yes, Pike Place Market is worth it (and he ate several places in the market), and a trip up to Ballard (once its own community but now within the Greater Seattle area) will reward you with incredible fresh seafood. Also, though I haven’t (yet) been, Canlis is still considered one of the best restaurants in the city – and it’s on my bucket list for that reason.

7. Singapore

Thanks to its incredible markets and street food choices, we all know that Singapore is a foodie destination – though, admittedly, Bourdain hated that term and did not identify as such. Nevertheless, he did eat a lot in Singapore during his visits, and I mapped 32 places in total in my guide to where he ate in the island nation.

While you can obviously find lots of great Asian flavors and dishes at the various spots he went, be sure to review the guide for diversity – there are some other fun cuisines you can try too, if you’re flying all the way to Singapore just to eat at the same places Tony did (and hopefully discover some favorite ones of your own!).

8. Hong Kong

As a city where East meets West in a distinctive way (thanks, British Empire!… not!), Hong Kong will always be unique for visitors – especially those who love to eat well. Bourdain understood this, making several trips to the city and eating at over 30 places during those trips.

As you might expect from a list that extensive, you’ve got plenty to choose from if you want to visit. From hand-made noodles to Asian-style barbecue, you can find all of the flavors of the Mainland and the continent as a whole in Hong Kong.

9. Chicago

I was pleasantly surprised to see Chicago make this list of the top cities for Anthony Bourdain fans based on the places he ate; I feel like Chicago is overlooked for its dining scene (among many things it’s overlooked for), but clearly Tony did not overlook it!

From the South Side to the Gold Coast and all throughout the West Loop (and other places too), Bourdain visited some 25 places during his Chicago trips, and many are still open for you to enjoy today. What I love most about his list is that it samples the cuisines of different immigrant groups that give Chicago its unique diversity (much like Houston)… whether you want street meats, deep dish, or to finally try Malört (bleh!), it’s all here.

10. London

While I haven’t lived everywhere, I obviously love cities that Bourdain also enjoyed visiting; London is the third city on the list that I’ve called home during my time – and it makes me so happy to watch the episodes when he visits because he clearly “gets” this city I love so much and shows it off the way I’d want prospective visitors to see it.

On my most recent trip, I made the trek to several restaurants Bourdain visited in London (of which there were 25 in total), and all were still incredible. You really can’t go wrong, but I highly recommend Sweeting’s in The City for lunch, St. John for dinner, and The Two Chairmen for a pint literally any ol’ time.

11. Tokyo

As the first major international city that Anthony Bourdain visited, I expected Tokyo to be much higher on this list – after all, I certainly remember him talking a lot about how much he loved Tokyo/Japan and enjoyed eating there. Nevertheless, Tony didn’t film The Layover there (probably didn’t want to ruin it for himself!) and thus didn’t eat at as many places in Tokyo as other cities, so it’s a bonus/runner-up on the list.

Don’t let that fool you though: there are still over 20 places where Anthony Bourdain ate in Tokyo to choose from, and the comments on my guide suggest there are a few others I might have missed. Whether you’re craving yakitori, want mind-blowingly fresh sushi, or need a nightcap after a long day of sightseeing, Tokyo has it all.

12. Las Vegas

Las Vegas gets a lot of shit among “real travelers,” but I have come to love it through my own visits: there is no pretense to Las Vegas. The city embraces you as you are, and it asks that you experience it as it is in return. Yeah, there are all kinds of fake “global” experiences that seem cringe-worthy, but there are also world-class restaurants by some of the top chefs on the planet – all on one road!

Bourdain didn’t eat as many places in Vegas as others on this list (since he didn’t film an episode of The Layover here), but you still have 16 spots to choose from, including on- and off-the-strip options.

While you can’t go wrong with the ones he (or his location scouts and companions chose), I’ll add one extra to the list: The Golden Tiki is an off-strip tiki bar known as a late-night hangout for restaurant industry folks; it’s exactly the place you can picture Tony popping in after a shift during his earlier days, had he been working one of those celebrity restaurants in Las Vegas at the time.

13. Chiang Mai

To be honest, Chiang Mai is probably the most surprising city on this list to me personally; it doesn’t strike me as a place that Anthony Bourdain visited much – just twice, actually – but he packed a lot into those two visits so you can certainly eat well and at many places if you’re planning to visit this Thai city.

Perhaps the most famous place that Tony ate in Chiang Mai where you still can eat is with the Cowboy Hat Woman Vendor. I regularly see folks in the Anthony Bourdain subreddit who have dined with her and rave about the experience, so make sure that’s on your list in addition to any other places that catch your eye from my guide.

Have any questions about these top cities for Anthony Bourdain fans where you have plenty of places to choose from? Or are you curious how other cities that didn’t make the list stack up? 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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