It happens. You’re trying to get a cheap flight to Dubai, but the best connecting flight has you stuck in Rome for a day or two. Or maybe Paris. Or wherever. You have 24 hours — where do you go to make the most of it? You don’t have enough time to really take it in. Even trying to get the highlights will stress you out. So why not find the best place you can to sit down with the locals, take in some local culture, maybe some conversation and definitely some truly great food? Anthony Bourdain can help with that. And he does, with his new series The Layover, premiering on Travel Channel starting Monday, Nov. 21 at 9pm ET/PT.
“Most people who ask the concierge, ‘What’s the best restaurant in town?’ — they’re looking for something other than the place that’s what locals consider to be the best place in town,” Bourdain says with his characteristic bluntness. “Where do Romans go to eat pasta and be happy? What are the quintessentially and uniquely Roman things? What would a Roman eat in August and only in August? Where would they eat? Where are you likely to go in Rome where you are extremely unlikely to see a single other tourist? That’s the place you want to be if you’re going to Rome.”
That’s at the heart of Bourdain’s mission with The Layover. Cast from the same mold as his signature series for Travel Channel, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, the difference here is subtle, but distinctive. “It’s an extension of No Reservations with the intention to be useful, where No Reservations is more aspirational,” Bourdain explains. “It’s like No Reservations — it’s a personal essay. It’s things I like, places I like to go, the way I like to do them. But they’re all at least, hypothetically, places that, should you be lucky enough to find yourself in Rome, you could do — unlike some of the things that we do on No Reservations.”
Of course, if you’re intent on seeing and eating the world over Bourdain-style, you have to meet the experience at least halfway and be willing to take it on. “If you’re an Evangelical Christian, possibly Jumbo Clown Room in Los Angeles would not be your first stop for late-night entertainment. Coffee shops in Amsterdam — you make your own decisions. I like it. I’m saying I had a good time there, and I’m going to show it to you. Whether or not you choose to go there is up to you — just like No Reservations. You know, I assume people watching my show are grown-ups. There’s a parental advisory. You’re on your own.”
Photo: Travel Channel