Anthony Bourdain during the Peabody interview for "Parts Unknown." - photo by Peabody Awards under CC BY 2.0
Anthony Bourdain during the Peabody interview for "Parts Unknown." - photo by Peabody Awards under CC BY 2.0

ANTHONY BOURDAIN’S FAVORITE COUNTRIES: INSPIRATION FOR YOUR NEXT DESTINATION

Anthony Bourdain’s favorite country? Tough call! Bourdain was the ultimate traveller. He also never shied away from expressing his opinions. Of all the places he has visited, there are certain countries – and, especially, cities – he held dear to his heart. Here are five of Anthony Bourdain’s favourite cities, including his most favourite of all.

Anthony Bourdain Favorite Country: Vietnam (all of it)

Anthony Bourdain repeated on and on that Vietnam was his absolute favourite place on Earth. Look: “I love Vietnam. I love it now. I loved it from the minute I arrived for the first time.”

Leave it to him to weave inspiring words: “Going to Vietnam the first time was life-changing for sure. Maybe because it was all so new and different to my life before and the world I grew up in. The food, culture, landscape, and smell; they’re all inseparable. It just seemed like another planet; a delicious one that sort of sucked me in and never let go.” 

It was such an influencial place for him as a traveller that the producers of all 3 of his shows (A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations and Parts Unknown) explained in an interview after Bourdain’s passing that something clicked for the team the first time they went there. ” There was something…the smell, the colors…something twisted in his head the right way”, told Chris Collins to GQ. Lydia Tenaglia, the other co-producer, added: “He came alive, because those frames of reference were starting to pop. His sudden inclination was to turn and share that with us. You could sense this excitement, like, “Holy crap, I’m actually on the ground in a location that I have studied, that I know, that I have references to.” You know, Apocalypse Now, Heart of Darkness, Graham Greene, the Vietnam War. He was percolating with an excitement that was very genuine.”

It’s no surprise that Vietnam was the subject of many episodes in his career:
– Episodes 3 and 4 of season 1 of A Cook’s Tour
– Episode 12 of season 2 of A Cook’s Tour
– Episode 4 of season 1 of No Reservations
– Episode 10 of season 5 of No Reservations
– Episode 10 of season 6 of No Reservations
Episode 5 of season 4 of Parts Unknown
Episode 2 of season 8 of Parts Unknown

Anthony Bourdain Favorite Country: Lebanon (Beirut)

No Reservations Back to Beirut

In 2006, Anthony Bourdain was slated to film a show in Beirut. However, the filming was cancelled when a violent conflict broke out in the city.In 2010, No Reservations Back to Beirut aired, with Bourdain saying: “It feels really good to be here again… For whatever reason, even with all the problems and all the terrible things that have happened here over the years, I step off the plane in Beirut and I feel strangely, inexplicably comfortable, happy, at home.”

Parts Unknown Beirut

Season Five of Parts Unknown closed with an episode on Beirut. Again, Bourdain shares “The first time I was here, it did not end well. But it made no difference to me. In spite of everything, I love it here.” He also said “I fell in love with this city under the worst possible situation.”

Some of the places he visited:

Le Chef – Beirut, Lebanon
Pierre & Friends – Batroun، Lebanon
Souk El Tayeb – Beirut Souks, Beirut, Lebanon
Tawlet – 12 Rue Naher, Beirut, Lebanon
Onno – Badaro Street, Borj Hammoud, Hamra, & Naccache, Beirut, Lebanon
Frank Würst Fine Hotdog – Beirut, Lebanon
Falafel M Sayhoun – Beirut, Lebanon
Baalbek Roman Ruins – Baalbek, Lebanon
Massaya Vineyard – Taanayel, Lebanon

Anthony Bourdain Favorite Country: France (Lyon)

Parts Unknown Lyon

Anthony Bourdain visited Lyon with Lyon native, Chef Daniel Boulud. In this episode, Bourdain wonders, “What is it exactly about this place? Over the past century, the system here, the tradition, whatever it is that took hold here, churned out a tremendous number of the world’s greatest chefs — Point, Chapel, Troisgros, Bocuse — and, as importantly, influenced nearly all the rest of them.”

Some of the places he visited:

Reynon – 13 Rue des Archers, Lyon, France
Bouchon Comptoir Abel – 25 Rue Guynemer, Lyon, France
Café Comptoir Brunet – 23 Rue Claudia, Lyon, France
Maison Troisgros – 728 Route de Villerest, Ouches, France
Paul Bocuse – 40 Rue de la Plage, Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, France

Anthony Bourdain Favorite Country: Italy (Rome)

No Reservations Rome

When Anthony Bourdain visited Rome on No Reservations, he was seen dressed in a suit and the entire episode was in black and white. He had Tagliolini Cacio e Pepe in a restaurant he refused to disclose, simply calling it “Restaurant X”, known to serve the best cacio e pepe in Rome.

Parts Unknown Rome

Season 8 of Parts Unknown concluded with the Rome episode. He described Rome as “a city where you find the most extraordinary pleasures in the most ordinary things…” And while in Osteria dal 1931, he said, “I love this place. I want to die here already, and I might yet.”

Some of the places he visited:

Roma Sparita – Piazza di Santa Cecilia, 24, Rome, Italy
Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina – Via dei Giubbonari, 21/22, Rome, Italy
Ristorante Paris – Piazza di San Calisto 7A, Rome, Italy
Trattoria Il Timoniere Roma – Via Francesco Orazio da Pennabilli, 5, Rome, Italy
Ristorante Filippo La Mantia at Hotel Majestic – Via Vittorio Veneto, 50, Rome, Italy
Trattoria A Casa Di Rita – Via delle Ciliegie, 145, Rome, Italy
Osteria dal 1931 – Via di Donna Olimpia, 44, Roma RM, Italy
L’angolo Amici – Via Danilo Stiepovich, 271, Lido di Ostia RM, Italy
Trattoria Morgana – Via Mecenate, 21, Roma RM, Italy
Settimio al Pellegrino – Via del Pellegrino, 117, Roma RM, Italy

Anthony Bourdain Favorite Country: Spain (San Sebastian)

No Reservations Spain

San Sebastian was featured in the Spain episode of No Reservations, where Anthony Bourdain met with Chef Juan Mari Arzak and his daughter (who is also a chef), Elena.

Parts Unknown San Sebastian

First aired in 2017, Bourdain revisited San Sebastian in Season 9 Episode 3 of Parts Unknown. In this episode, he declared, “You could make the argument that there is no better place to eat in Europe than the city of San Sebastián… The love of food, the insistence on the very best ingredients, is fundamental to the culture and to life here.” He wanted to keep Basque Country pure that in the episode he told viewers: “Don’t come here.”

Some of the places he visited:

Mugaritz – Aldura Gunea Aldea, 20, Errenteria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Tamboril – Arrandegi Kalea, 2, Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Ganbara – San Jeronimo Kalea, 19, Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Elkano – Herrerieta Kalea, 2, Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Arzak – Avenida del, Alcalde J. Elosegi Hiribidea, 273, Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Casa Urola – Fermin Calbeton Kalea, 20, Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Restaurant La Ferme Ostalapia – 2621 Chemin d’Ostalapia, Ahetze, France
Etxebarri – San Juan Plaza, 1, Axpe, Bizkaia, Spain

Anthony Bourdain Favorite Country: Japan (Tokyo)

It is no secret that Tokyo was Anthony Bourdain’s most favourite city. In different interviews, he revealed that Tokyo would be the place where he would stay if he could only choose one.

No Reservations Tokyo

Anthony Bourdain begins the episode with “Japan… Tokyo… to come here, any excuse will do.”

Parts Unknown Tokyo

In this episode, Anthony Bourdain shared: “Tokyo may well be the most amazing food city in the world, with a nearly unimaginable variety of places stacked one on top of the other, tucked away on every level on densely-packed streets.”

Some of the places he visited:

Sarashina Horii – 3 Chome-11-4 Motoazabu, Minato City, Tokyo, Japan
Bar Ishinohana – 3-6-2 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Nippon Budokan – 2-3 Kitanomarukoen, Chiyoda City, Tokyo, Japan
atelier morimoto XEX – I.K.N. Roppongi Bld., 7-21-19 Roppongi, Minato-ku Tokyo, Japan
Toriki – 3 Chome-11-13 Hatanodai, Shinagawa City, Tokyo, Japan
BAR PIANO – 1 Chome-25-10 Shibuya, Shibuya City, Tokyo, Japan
Sushi Bar Yasuda – 4 Chome-2-6 Minamiaoyama, Minato City, Tokyo, Japan
Daitoryo – 6 Chome-10-14 Ueno, Taito City, Tokyo, Japan
Mienoumi Restaurant – 3f エスビル 1丁目-13-8 13 13, 13 Tomioka, Koto City, Tokyo, Japan
Mahakala – Aobadai, 1 Chome−17−5 メゾン青葉 102, Japan, Tokyo, Meguro City

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