Anthony Bourdain has been one of my primary role models ever since I began watching his shows. Although I never aspired to be a chef, his outlook on life is something truly remarkable and is something I try to live by.
For those of you who don’t know who he is, Anthony Bourdain used to be a chef, but currently works as an author and also has his own television shows in which he travels around the world and eats food from various cultures. His unorthodox views have resulted in him now being known as a “bad-boy,” but have also thrusted him into the spotlight.
To Bourdain, everyone needs to take the time and travel. He doesn’t believe in vegetarianism, comfortable traveling, or playing by the rules. Although his beliefs are strong and often unconventional, there is something to be said about the way he lives his life. He never visits typical tourist locations, drinks before noon, and curses often.
Through his various television shows, Anthony Bourdain has traveled pretty much everywhere and has spoken about hundreds of restaurants along the way. I have decided to create a list of his favorite restaurants in the United States that he has shown in one of his shows, Parts Unknown, along with a tidbit about each one.
1. California: Koreatown
In Anthony Bourdain’s show Parts Unknown, he discusses various places around the world that have gotten little to no recognition in the media. Although this show is more historical than his other shows, which focus more around food, he showcases many low-key restaurants that he finds amazing. In one episode, Bourdain visited Koreatown in Los Angeles. He tried food at a restaurant called Dong Il Jang. All of the items he tried there were “ridiculously delicious.”
2. New Mexico
Anthony Bourdain also visited New Mexico in an episode of Parts Unknown. While there, his first stop was a food truck called El Taco Loco. He ordered a carne asada taco and a pastor taco and loved both, but got frustrated at the “taco spillage.”
While there, Bourdain also rode horses, learned how to shoot a gun, and tried a frito pie at a place called Five and Dime General Store, which he claimed is delicious and very American. He also went to Horseman’s Haven Cafe, which he loved as well.
While in Detroit filming Parts Unknown, Bourdain tried to alleviate the negative stereotype of Detroit. He visited many abandoned buildings and talked with locals about everything that has occurred in the place that they call home.
Despite the negatives, Bourdain tried to help improve the city’s image by showcasing all of the amazing food they offer. While in Detroit, Bourdain visited Duly’s Place, Cutter’s Bar and Grill, Guns + Butter, and even ate food cooked by Detroit’s firefighters. He loved all of the food he eats in Detroit and showed just how diverse Detroit can be.
Everyone knows Vegas is mostly known for alcohol and gambling. In this episode of Parts Unknown, Bourdain discussed how in Vegas people are “encouraged to do their worst” and said that he is drawn to the city because of its cynical nature.
While in Vegas, Bourdain managed to get into the Hadrian Villa at Caesar’s Palace Hotel. There he indulged in caviar and artichoke soup with black truffles, all created in the hotel’s kitchen by Guy Savoy. He claimed the food was “too beautiful to eat,” which is rare for Bourdain to say.
6. New York: The Bronx
Although New York City is one of the most famous cities in the world, most people are unaware of the Bronx. It’s a city with a famously bad rep — one that Anthony Bourdain worked to fight in Parts Unknown.
While in the Bronx, Anthony visited 188 Bakery Cuchifrito’s, Lammy’s Restaurant, Sea Shore Restaurant, Leibman’s Kosher Delicatessen, and even White Castle. Each restaurant was very different from the others culturally and gave Bourdain an interesting outlook on a part of New York that he was unfamiliar with before.
While in Massachusetts, Bourdain visited many of the places that he spent many years at while he struggled with drug addiction. He discussed the importance of being aware of the new drug epidemic, especially when so often it is sweeping through families. Massachusetts has become plagued with drug addiction, but that does not undermine the amazing food that it has to offer.
8. California: Bay Area
The Bay Area is a very well known area in California, but Bourdain decided to showcase the lesser known parts of the area in an episode of Parts Unknown. He decides to showcase the city’s cultural side by dining at restaurants of different backgrounds and types of cuisines.
While in the Bay Area, Bourdain visits Swan Oyster Depot, 4505 Burgers & BBQ, Coi, Trader Vic’s, Miss Ollie’s, Juhu Beach Club, and Minato. If anyone chooses to journey around the Bay Area and visit the restaurants, they will quickly discover the variety in both prices and types of cuisine that this list offers.
During this episode of Parts Unknown, Bourdain decided to shed some light on a different side of Miami. Most know Miami as a place full of partying, wealth, and beautiful weather, but Bourdain decides to display restaurants in the city that showcase its true culture.
10. New Jersey
Anthony Bourdain is from New Jersey, so it is no surprise that he decided to visit the state in an episode of the show Parts Unknown. He highlights the importance of appreciating lesser known food in all parts of the country, despite it often not being the most exquisitely plated or made with the most expensive ingredients.