The Paris Seafood That Completely Stunned Anthony Bourdain

Travel documentarian and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain taught us how to explore new cultures and communities through their food and culinary traditions. With shows like “No Reservations,” “The Layover,” and “Parts Unknown,” he’s always been looked to as a trusted source for the best recommendations and the most worth-your-while hidden gems around the world. Even years after his death, he continues to inspire others to go seek out these experiences.

So when Anthony Bourdain raves about a particular restaurant or dish, it’s not something you want to miss out on. And that’s exactly what happened in the Paris episode of “The Layover” back in 2012 when Bourdain sat down for some wine and shellfish at a brasserie in Montparnasse.

“If there’s two things you do in Paris, this would be one,” Bourdain said of the charming seafood restaurant. Home to “the best shellfish tower in Paris” according to Bourdain, this place received high praise from America’s favorite traveling foodie. And something tells us that over ten years later, it’s still well worth a visit. Here’s everything you need to know about the Anthony Bourdain-approved Paris seafood spot that can’t be missed.

Next time you’re in Paris, dine at Le Dôme

shellfish tower at le dome in paris
Along the Boulevard du Montparnasse, bordering the 6th and 14th arrondissements, sits an elegant, art deco seafood brasserie covered in glass: Le Dôme. It’s an iconic restaurant in the City of Lights — an institution that’s shown up in the work of legendary authors like Ernest Hemingway and Henry Miller, with dishes named after the famous personalities that frequented the restaurant in the Roaring Twenties.

But the brasserie is just as popular today as it was back then, and Anthony Bourdain made it clear why. His order? The massive shellfish tower stacked with oysters, clams, shrimp, crab, langoustine, periwinkle, and whelks. It’s a meal that requires you to get your hands dirty, he advised (via Timeout): “They give you all the tools, but ultimately, you have to dig in, crack, skewer and suck your way through this thing.” Sometimes food tastes even better when you work for it.

With their own seafood market around the corner, you can expect in-season plates at Le Dôme that are as fresh as can be — so whether you order oysters, salmon, or monkfish, you really can’t go wrong. Aside from Bourdain’s favorite shellfish tower, the restaurant is also known for its bouillabaisse (or fish soup) which feeds two people and is assembled table-side, served with a perfectly crisp baguette for dipping and dunking.

More of Anthony Bourdain’s Paris favorites

exterior of le comptoir bistro in paris
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
As we all know, Paris is positively bursting at the seams with amazing food and iconic bistros; there’s no shortage of restaurants to add to your itinerary, so let’s look to more of Bourdain’s trusty recommendations. Between two of his travel shows, “The Layover” and “No Reservations,” Bourdain visited Paris three times for three different episodes that featured some of his favorite spots in the city. What are some other must-have meals besides Le Dôme?

It doesn’t get more iconic than the classic Parisian bistro that serves up exemplary traditional French food — Bistrot Paul Bert — and Bourdain considered it “one of the best.” An old-fashioned bistro in the 11th arrondissement, the 20-something-year-old restaurant offers classic dishes like andouillette, steak frites, and tarte Tatin.

Another place Anthony Bourdain raved about: L’Avant Comptoir, which he liked so much he visited twice (once in “No Reservations,” once in “The Layover”). The small, standing-room-only French wine bar is the perfect place to enjoy some delicious small plates like sliced black ham and croquettes — and even communal bread with a stick of butter — while you wait for a table at its wildly popular counterpart Le Comptoir next door.


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