The Seafood Restaurant Anthony Bourdain Called A Must-Visit In Paris

Anthony Bourdain's love affair with France was lifelong. Bourdain was himself of French descent. In his magnum opus "Kitchen Confidential," he named France as the place where he first fell in love with food as a child when he ate an oyster fished straight out of the ocean. At the time of the book's publication, he was working as the executive chef of Les Halles, a French brasserie in Manhattan. So when the chef-slash-writer said, "If there's two things you do in Paris, this would be one," foodies can be sure it's good advice.

In 2021, friend and longtime editor Laurie Woolever compiled the posthumous book "World Travel: An Irreverent Guide" from old Bourdain interviews and previous writings, and the "Paris" section is nothing short of a travel Bible. One of the top-priority "must-sees" on his list was Le Dôme, a seafood restaurant to end all seafood restaurants. Bourdain visited the joint when he went to Paris for the first episode of his second series "No Reservations," humorously titled "Why the French Don't Suck." To step into Le Dôme is to enter the quintessential upscale French bistro of your dreams. The restaurant sits on the border of the 6th and 14th arrondissements; it's white linen tablecloths and classic Parisian sidewalk seating, all scored by jazz. As Bourdain put it, "It's an old classic — and I mean classic with a capital C — brasserie in the Montparnasse district." 

There's no place like Le Dôme

Le Dôme didn't become one of Anthony Bourdain's all-time favorite restaurants on ambiance alone. It serves what Bourdain revered as "the royal deluxe version of the best shellfish tower in Paris: oysters, clams, shrimp, big f***ing crabs, and also the classic langoustine, periwinkle, and whelks" (via TimeOut). A meal at Le Dôme might be an exercise in pleasure, but physically eating it is an exercise in itself. Quoth Bourdain, "You're going to get your hands dirty doing this, by the way, okay? There ain't no way around it. They give you all the tools, but ultimately, you have to dig in, crack, skewer, and suck your way through this thing."

Today, Le Dôme's Tripadvisor description totes the intimidating "$$$$" label, but by Bourdain's estimation, the meal is well worth the price tag. Other menu highlights that have fans raving include the scallops and turbot in sauce and the smoked salmon. Le Dôme is also vegetarian-friendly (even if Bourdain himself famously wasn't).

Perhaps the aspect of Le Dôme that most attracted Bourdain was its celebration of excess and hedonism, and the way food can (and perhaps should) exist so artfully at the crossroads. In "World Travel," he prescribed the perfect way to spend a day in Paris: "Walk a little, get lost a bit, eat, catch a breakfast buzz, have a nap, try and have sex if you can, just not with a mime. Eat again."