Anthony Bourdain Dined Only Here

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It’s been a few days since the world learned that Anthony Bourdain passed away. The news hit me hard and I wrote a post on my other blog. I also posted his “No Reservations” Rome episode on this site’s Facebook page.

Beyond that, I didn’t feel like adding to the avalanche of remembrances. Until now.

Today, I am out walking around the Jewish Quarter of Rome. Bourdain dined here at Nonna Betta, where he enjoyed a carciofo alla giudea (a deep-fried artichoke).

“This artichoke is terrific.”

I had never noticed this sign and I thought that perhaps the restaurant had trotted it out following the news of Bourdain’s death.

Then I noticed another sign, attached to the wall and curling up on the sides – evidence that it had been up a while.

“Anthony Bourdain dined only here!”

As I stopped to take a photo of this sign, an elegant old lady stopped next to me. “Lui è morto,” she said in perfect Italian.

“I know.”

“He traveled the world. He even traveled to the market in my city.”

“Which city?”

“Guayaquil, Ecuador. He was a great man and he went all over the world. It’s hard to believe he would kill himself. It’s so sad.”

It is so sad. I’ve felt sadness since learning about Bourdain. But today, after that exchange, I had to stop and cry. I’m actually writing this within sight of Nonna Betta while the memory is still fresh.

*Editor’s note: Bourdain dined other places in Rome, notably at Roma Sparita in Trastevere. But this is the only place in the Jewish Quarter.

Melanie Renzulli

Melanie Renzulli

Melanie Renzulli has been writing about travel to Italy for more than 20 years.

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