Anthony Bourdain's Favorite LA Restaurant Was Actually A Fast Food Chain

Los Angeles is a city bursting at the seams with fantastic food. From its high-end fine dining to its ethnic enclaves filled with the diverse cuisines of many nations, L.A. is a destination worthy of any foodie's bucket list. When Anthony Bourdain was in the City of Angels in 2015 filming the cooking competition "The Taste," he spoke with Eater about his favorite L.A. restaurant. Bourdain revealed that his top spot in town wasn't any of the city's 24 Michelin-starred eateries, nor was it a hole-in-the-wall gem hidden away in Thai Town or Little Tokyo — it was actually a fast food chain: In-N-Out Burger. 

In the Eater YouTube video, Bourdain disclosed that the very first thing he would do after landing at LAX was head to In-N-Out to grab a burger. He would make a return visit on his way back out of town too. He stated, "it's the only fast-food chain that I actually like."

Bourdain was so enamored with the SoCal drive-thru that he waxed poetic about what made its burgers so great. He was impressed by its tasty buns, fresh garnishes, and declared that the "cheese-like substance is just perfect." It was the quality of the meat, however, which Bourdain described as "brilliant," explaining that the burger's two thinly pressed patties were designed to expose one's tongue to the maximum surface area of meat. He likened it to "a ballistic missile. A perfectly designed ... protein delivery system."

What animal style means on In-N-Out's secret menu

During the Eater interview, Bourdain was shown seated outside of an In-N-Out, reverently unwrapping and eating the restaurant's Double-Double. The signature burger comes served on freshly baked, toasted buns with two slices of American cheese, onions, plump tomatoes, lettuce, and "spread," which is what the brand calls its version of special sauce. While the exact specifications of the spread's recipe have not been revealed, it's a Thousand Island based combo of mayo, ketchup, and relish made from sweet pickles. Then, of course, there's the meat: two layers of beef patties, which the company proudly makes using only 100% USDA ground chuck produced without additives.

Bourdain liked his Double-Doubles animal style — a menu code that means your beef patties will be cooked in mustard, topped with pickles, grilled onions, and spread with extra sauce. Ordering from the secret menu at In-N-Out isn't all that covert anymore ... the company has caught on to fan-favorite customizations and now lists some of the most popular on its website's "Not So Secret" menu.

While downing his sauce-drenched hamburger loaded with all the fixings, Bourdain unequivocally announced on camera: "Oh yeah, there it is, my favorite restaurant in Los Angeles. A city with many fine restaurants by the way" (via Eater). Not alone in his praise of the meaty Double-Double, it's also Gordon Ramsay's all-time favorite fast food burger, who has been quoted as saying that he'd order it as his last meal — animal style.

In-N-Out raises its prices in California

In-N-Out Burger opened in 1948, with its first Southern California location in Baldwin Park. In 2023, it celebrated its 75th anniversary and marked another milestone with the opening of its 400th location in Meridian, Idaho. Originally only on the West Coast, you can now also visit an In-N-Out restaurant in eight more states, including Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Utah. Plans include more In-N-Outs opening in Southern Washington in 2025, Franklin, Tennessee in 2026, and Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2027.

Anthony Bourdain told Eater that, periodically, "Some cruel person starts a rumor ... that In-N-Out is coming to Brooklyn or to one of the boroughs." As a result, he said, "Everybody in New York ... goes insane." As for expanding to the East Coast, any such gossip is unfortunately not true. When asked about the possibility in a 2024 Today Show interview with Lynsi Snyder, the current owner and granddaughter of the company's founders, she said the likelihood was "probably never."

In regard to inflation and cutting corners, Snyder implied that the company would not be raising prices "that much" because she feels "an obligation to look out for our customers." In June 2024, however, it was announced that In-N-Out was raising its prices in California, bringing the cost of a Double-Double plus fries and a beverage to over $10 including tax. The price hike has been attributed to California's $20 minimum wage raise for fast food employees