The loss of Anthony Bourdain was felt not only in New York but around the world in general–even five years later it still seems surreal. And to this day people are still relying on Bourdain when it comes to eating good around the world.
Lucky for us, as an NYC native, Bourdain had no shortage of food options he loved around the city–from fancy, Michelin restaurants to NYC’s more questionable dirty water dogs.
So, in honor of his birthday, June 25, which was officially declared Bourdain Day in 2019, if you’re looking to eat like Bourdain, you’ll definitely want to head to the following spots:
1. Katz’s Delicatessen, LES
Katz’s Deli is one of our favorite delis in NYC, and apparently we’re doing something right because it’s one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorites as well. In a YouTube video shared by Insider Tech, Bourdain notes “we have better deli than you,” and suggests heading to Katz’s Deli, among others, for a pastrami sandwich on rye with sour pickles, a Dr. Brown’s cream soda, and a toasted bialy or good-quality bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese.
“Let’s say I’ve been away a long time eating perfectly good food in another country, but I’m not in New York. I’m going right to Russ & Daughters. I’m going to beast some Russ & Daughters,” Bourdain told Daily Beast.
📍 205 E Houston St.
2. Gray’s Papaya, UWS
Though he states we don’t have the best hot dogs in the world (for that he suggests heading to Chicago), Bourdain loved a good NYC hot dog–he even gave the infamous dirty water dog a shoutout.
In his eyes, Gray’s Papaya is a “cost-effective, nutritious snack” that “when [he] start[ed] missing New York, this is what [he] miss[ed].” And if you want to eat your hot dog like Bourdain, mustard and sauerkraut are the only toppings you should be using.
📍 2090 Broadway
3. Hop Kee, Chinatown
Featured in season 12 of Parts Unknown in the Lower East Side episode (Episode 7), Bourdain said of Hop Kee, “Places like Hop Kee still feature the never-ending tea pot, the egg rolls, and certain other classics of that day.”
Here, Bourdain ordered dishes including Pan-Fried Flounder, Sweet and Pungent Pork, Cantonese-Style Crab, and Cantonese Style Snails, among others.
📍 21 Mott St.
4. Randazzo’s Clam Bar, Sheepshead Bay
Bourdain dug into broiled salmon and chicken parm at Randazzo’s Clam Bar in an episode of No Reservations (Season 8, Episode 18), though if you really want to go all out you have to order the lobster fra diavolo, “An Italo-American mutation that’s basically lobster, shrimp, mussels, clams, and spicy marinara tossed with pasta that doesn’t even remember what al dente means, served in portions that could have once fed an entire block on the Lower East Side,” stated Bourdain.
“If you can’t find it in your heart to enjoy Randazzo’s, you’re a lost soul,” he added.
📍 2017 Emmons Ave.
5. Barney Greengrass, UWS
“Whenever I want to treat myself to breakfast in New York, in fact, the best breakfast in the universe, I go to a little place in my neighborhood… the legendary Barney Greengrass, the Sturgeon King,” Bourdain said on A Cook’s Tour.
Order the sturgeon platter, Nova eggs, and a regular coffee to start your day off just like Bourdain would.
📍 541 Amsterdam Ave.
6. Burger Joint, Midtown
Burger Joint debuted in 2002 inside the former Le Parker Meridien hotel (which has since been transformed into the Thompson Central Park), and, according to Bourdain, was one of the city’s “great incongruities.”
You’re going to want to heed Bourdain’s advice, which is to “get your sh*t together” before reaching the counter to avoid being sent to the back of the line.
📍 119 West 56th St.
7. Di Fara, Midwood
I guess you can say we have pretty good taste in pizza since one of our favorite places to grab a slice in NYC was also one of Bourdain’s favorites!
This old-school joint was opened in 1965 in Brooklyn by Italian immigrant Domenico De Marco, and it’s still family owned and operated today!
📍 1424 Ave J
8. Osteria Morini/Marea, SoHo/Midtown
“I’ll go to Morini for a bowl of pasta, or if I really want to blow it out I’ll go to Marea, but just for the pasta. Not that the fish isn’t magnificent, but I’ll go in and eat three or four different pastas. If I am carb-loading that would be a good choice,” said Bourdain.
So, naturally, if you’re looking for some good pasta in NYC, do as Bourdain would and head to Osteria Morini or Marea.
Please note: Marea is temporarily closed for the summer
📍 218 Lafayette St. / 240 Central Park S.
9. Keens Steakhouse, Midtown
“You can’t really do any better or more authentic than Keens, a place that goes right back to the old school all-male world of beefsteak parties, the political power built around beef, bloody aprons, and smoke-filled rooms,” Bourdain stated in an episode of No Reservations.
If you’re looking for a good cut of steak, let this steakhouse be your go-to as, according to Bourdain, “at Keens, it’s all about the meat.”
📍 72 W 36th St.
10. Shake Shack, Multiple Locations
Even the most seasoned of chefs can’t resist a good chain burger every once in a while, and Shake Shack was one of Bourdain’s go tos. “Chances are, the first thing I’m doing when I get back if I’ve been away for 12 days—I’m exhausted, I’ve flown from Japan or South America and I arrive at my apartment and I’m just destroyed—I’m calling Seamless to get me some Shake Shack.”
And as for what he ordered, his go-to was “a double cheeseburger naked, please. No lettuce. No tomato. No nothing. Just cheese and two burgers on a potato bun. I’ll have two of those and I’m happy.”
📍 Multiple Locations
I love New York. I’m a guy for whom a New York accent is a comforting thing. – Anthony Bourdain