A Look Back At No Reservations – The Best From Season 1

By September 3, 2012

Monday September 3rd marks the beginning of the end for Anthony Bourdain No Reservations… I’m very sad about this. Seriously, the first time I saw the commercial advertising “The Final Tour” I almost cried. What a jackhole!

Since my Anthony Bourdain discovery in 2009, I’ve seen every episode of No Reservations, I’ve read Kitchen Confidential, The Nasty Bits and am currently getting my kicks while listening to the audiobook for Medium Raw while working out at the gym. I’ve seen every episode of The Layover and recently finished Mr. Bourdain’s first foray into the comic book world with his fantastic dystopian Get Jiro. And now, here I am starting back at the beginning. Okay well not really, but I can’t find much of his short lived show Food Network show A Cook’s Tour anywhere.


So now, with his hugely successful Travel Channel show coming to an end, I felt it my duty to start from the beginning and highlight the best moments from each season. And besides, we shouldn’t be too sad. The man, along with his Emmy winning production team Zero Point Zero will be making their return to television in 2013 with a brand new program for CNN. But until then, let’s take a look back, shall we?

Episode 1France: Why The French Don’t Suck” brought an artistic and somewhat twisted vision to the small screen. In 2005, there wasn’t anything else like this on TV. There could have been but The Food Network kicked Bourdain out for more American friendly programming. Sucks to be them. Opening with an aesthetic that seems like an homage to classic French films, the first episode takes some interesting and rather dark turns. The dude got to stay in the hotel room where Oscar Wilde died. Not only that, he took too much absinthe and proceeded to trip major balls. And this is only the during the first 15 minutes!


Another highlight here is watching Mr. Bourdain up at the ass crack of dawn hanging out with a bunch of meat vendors at a huge meat market adorned with beheaded reindeer and furry wild boars strewn about. And what was he doing there? Eating breakfast! And what was the breakfast everyone was partaking in at 7 am? Why roast beef sandwiches and red wine of course!

Finally, I know this might be weird for some of you, but I find this below clip hypnotizing. If there were every a show just about making bread, I’d have that shit on repeat and probably never leave the couch. I guess what I’m saying is, I like bread!


Episode 2 “Iceland: Hello Darkness, My Old Friend” is a somewhat sad excuse for an episode. I mean, it’s kind of a joke. But yes, it’s made my list because it’s simply worth the time to watch just to see Anthony Bourdain as uncomfortable and miserable as he was through the entire duration of the episode.


Episode 4 – “Vietnam: The Island Of Mr. Sang” – In this episode, Bourdain gives a nod to James Bond while visiting Hanoi, Mai Chau and Tuan Chau, Vietnam. Hanging out with his friend Linh, Tony makes it very well known his love for this country and has gone on record several times that this is indeed his home away from home.

See that face? That’s the face of a man who’s about to wash down his delicious porcupine meal with an unappetizing drink concoction made from rice whiskey infused with the stomach of a bamboo eating deer mouse.

What does one do to work off the weird shit one puts in their stomach?

Why, get drunk and take part in some interesting looking Vietnamese folk dancing, of course!

And we conclude the episode as Tony becomes the guest of honor to a feast on The Island Of Dr. No…err I mean….”Mr. Sang”.


Episode 5 – “Malaysia: Into The Jungle” – Here, Tony gets to explore the cultures that seem to mish mash together into the melting pot that is Malaysia. He is accompanied here by flamboyant Chef Wan. He also takes part in a traditional Hindu offering at some ancient caves as he takes on the persona of George Harrison.


In this episode, Mr. Bourdain references the Heart Of Darkness while doing his best to channel Kurtz. That’s great and all….but…..LEECHES!


Episode 7Las Vegas” – On assignment from a food magazine to showcase food culture in Las Vegas, Raoul Duke …uh….I mean Anthony Bourdain delves into Sin City for four days. It’s a given, rather quickly, that Bourdain HATES this city. However, he soon learns how Las Vegas has some good attributes and is quickly transforming into a mecca for chefs and food culture.


This is one of my favorite episodes from the Season as it references Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas” with his buddy Michael Ruhlman playing the attorney to Bourdain’s Duke.

They play paintball, visit Sammy Davis Jr. at the 3 acre sign graveyard known as The Neon Museum Boneyard and they get to go to what looks like a pretty awesome tiki bar.

I want to go to a tiki bar!

Episode 8Uzbekistan” – Okay folks, here it is, my favorite episode from Season 1. Honestly, you can’t mention No Reservations without mentioning Zamir Gotta.

The dude’s a character, to say the least.

In the second to last episode of the season, Tony explores the 2000 year old city of Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital. Him and Zamir get their novelty drink on at a night club/restaurant where the dancers interchanged between belly dancing and Russian folk dancing.

Him and Zamir crash a local’s wedding. Zamir takes Anthony to take part in some martial arts, Oh and let us not forget the horrifying full body massage Mr. Bourdain endures at a creepy looking Samarkan spa while Zamir just looks on from the sidelines! (Ahem, Anthony….this would have been a perfect place to implement that karate you learned.)

Note to self: if I ever find myself in a Turkish bath house, I will NOT go through the little red door!

I think I’ve seen this movie. Dude, this would be the perfect time to excuse yourself and climb through that light source you’re staring at!

Sweep the leg, Tony!

Oh Geez….


Fucking Zamir….!


Well there you have it, my picks for the best moments from Season 1. As you can see, the show has definitely come a long way from such humbling beginnings. Seriously, do you see the sunglasses Anthony Bourdain has been wearing throughout this Season? Yeah, motherfucker sports Persol now!

In the spirit of tonight’s new episode in Austin, I hope you enjoyed this look back. Every episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Season 1 can currently be streamed on Netflix Instant. Be sure to stay tuned kiddies, my best of season 2 extravaganza will be comin’ atcha soon to lovingly run its hands all over your face!


Watch full episodes of No Reservations on HULU.

The following two tabs change content below.
Aside from throwing words onto your screen here, he has written for the likes of FEARnet, Examiner, Dread Central and MTV Movies Blog. And yes, he was Percy on VR Troopers.