Anthony Bourdain Once Said This Restaurant in Paris Was a Must-Visit, Second Only to the Eiffel Tower

When the late chef and tv host visited Paris for the first episode of 'No Reservations,' he declared this restaurant his favorite. We visited to see if it still lived up to the hype.

Anthony Bourdain

Sean Flynn

Anthony Bourdain needs no introduction. The late celebrity chef and host of some of the most celebrated travel shows has long been a household name. His recommendations were — and still are — considered gospel for those looking to get the best food and drink experiences across the globe. His takes were refreshingly honest, and he offered a perspective beyond surface level, delving into the communities that turned out phenomenal dishes and what made these bites so unique.

So when Bourdain visited Paris for the first episode of No Reservations, comically named Why the French Don't Suck, he bounced around town eating at a litany of great spots. But one restaurant got surprising praise from the chef, with Bourdain saying, "If there [are two things you do in Paris, this would be one. It's an old classic, and I mean classic with a capital C, brasserie in the Montparnasse district."

Bourdain didn't often offer praise this high, so nearly 20 years after Bourdain's visit, I made a point to check out this legendary spot to see if it still lived up to the hype.

Anthony Bourdain

Sean Flynn

Le Dome Café, an upscale bistro on the border of the 6th and 14th arrondissement along the Boulevard du Montparnasse, specializes in fresh seafood within a posh atmosphere. Tables are covered in white linen, soft jazz echoes throughout, and picturesque bistro tables line the streets where guests can sit and people watch in style. While the setting was everything you'd want in a Parisian bistro, the meal outshined the rest.

I made a reservation for one and stopped in for dinner on the early side, around 6 p.m. The restaurant was pretty empty, but over the course of my meal, seats filled up fast — to the point where guests were waiting for tables to open up within an hour. I ordered the Le Dôme platter, a meal that could have easily fed two. The server came to the table with a tower decorated with prawns, oysters, crab claws, cockles, and smaller grey shrimp. I spent the next hour proudly making my way through the meal, finishing off nearly everything offered.

The restaurant itself only garnered a short, fleeting mention on Bourdain's show before he jumped off to another spot. But as a seafood lover, it grabbed my attention, and I'm happy to say that it lived up to every expectation. I left full and happy.

Among the other restaurants the chef visited during his trip were mainstays like Le Baratin, a bistro on the border of the 19th and 20th Arrondissement with a robust wine list and small bites, and the 100-year-old Chez Denise for traditional French dishes. Cantada II, a heavy metal bar that served traditional absinthe, was another stop that Bourdain made, but unfortunately, has since closed.

I spent the next few days visiting some of Bourdain's highlighted spots and new favorites shared by friends. But I kept coming back to this meal. The service was attentive, the ambiance quintessentially French, and the food a true feast to remember.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles