Fulfilling Foodie Tours of NYC

August 15, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Participant Lisbeth Hariksen from Norway holds cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery during a television show theme tour in 2008 in New York City. The bakery had been used in the show that was featured in the tour. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Whether you’re a New Yorker or from out of town, you’ll certainly appreciate taking a food tour through NYC. The city has many to offer, yet there are a few businesses offering some of the best around.

As a matter of fact, there isn’t an easier way to organize a trip through a borough to sample some of the tastiest eats, while getting a feel for the place and the people living there.

Food on Foot

Looking to take your time, mingle with fellow tourists, ride the subway, and get a feel for NYC life while eating some of its tastier non-gourmet fare? Food on Foot might be what you are looking for.

Brooklyn foodie Corey Taylor, a former radio guy, started Food on Foot tours after he got laid off, and now does something he knows well and enjoys very much: showing people where to eat good food.

With a variety of affordable tours available, the main experience is one of walking with a mid to large group (up to 35 people) and stopping off at surprise restaurants (no advance info is given of places). The guide will recommend dishes, but you can order whatever you like.

The cost of food is not included in the price for tours, but the company says the items are affordable, with total cost of food being $3 to $20 depending on your appetite.

Not your typical food tour, there are waiting times, as everyone lines up and buys their own food. This is where the mingling comes in.

For the rest of August, they have the Food Fast tour ($29); Ice Cream, You Scream tour; Midtown Mix Food tour ($38); International Express Food tour ($38), and World Famous Sweet Tooth tour ($39), among others.

Sports fans might like the Food for Fans Baseball & Stadium tour (from $79), only available during baseball season. It includes a food tour (food not included), stadium walkthrough, and a Grand Slam game ticket.

For a schedule and to purchase tickets visit Foodonfoottours.com.

Foods of New York

Giving tours since 1999, The Foods of New York Tours say they provide a “non-touristy” experience to those interested in feeling like native New Yorkers.

Their tours include food tastings from specialty shops, ethnic eateries, a local restaurant, as well as an off-the-beaten-path cultural look at featured neighborhoods.

One tour explores the historic West Village, visiting mom-and-pop specialty shops, and charming neighborhood restaurants. There are hidden gardens, an old Italian quarter, and the narrowest house in NYC, among other things.

The Original Greenwich Village Food and Culture Walking Tour is about three hours long, and has a max of 16 people per tour guide. There are six tastings on the go (walk and eat) and one tasting done seated in a restaurant.

Stops are at Murray’s Cheese Shop, Faicco’s Italian Specialties, Milk & Cookies, Rocco’s, Joe’s Pizza, Centro Vinoteca, and Palma Restaurant. The tour is given 7 days a week and costs $49 per person.

They also have food and culture walking tours of Chinatown, Chelsea Market/ Meatpacking District, Central Greenwich (with a bit of SoHo) and Nolita/NoHo.

Of over 11,000 Foods of New York Tours reviews on Zerve.com, 99 percent are positive. For more information visit the Foods of New York website. Foodsofny.com.

Famous Fat Dave’s

Considered a foodie must-do outing, Famous Fat Dave’s tour is pretty unique in that you get to ride around in his classic Checker cab (with A/C) while he takes you and up to four others around NYC, on a private eating tour.

Dave will put together any kind of themed tour for clients. With tours like the Pickle Tickle, The Pizza Tour, and The Boot of the Boros Tour, and Fat Dave’s Faves, among others, you’re in for a treat.

Dave knows his stuff. Even though he’s not a local, he’s lived in NYC for about 16 years, and his tour ratings rank 6th among 244 New York City tours (not just food tours) on TripAdvisor.com.

Travel Channel’s show “No Reservations” with Anthony Bourdain featured Dave in the “Outer Boroughs” episode.

On Dave, Bourdain said “aside from knowing New York City’s streets like the back of his hand, [Dave’s] got a firm grip on the underbelly of Manhattan.”

Because it’s a private, customized tour, it costs a bit more than the rest. It’s $200 the first two hours for one person, and $100 additional for each person. Each hour added is also an extra $100.

That’s for all food costs, which includes seconds and even thirds, drinks, gas, and parking. Kids 10 and under ride and eat free.

Packages range from The Chunky but Funky Monkey, which is two to three hours, with four to seven stops, and five to ten generous tastes; to the Fat Elvis, which lasts six or more hours, has 12 or more stops, and 20 or more generous tastes.

For scheduling a tour with Famous Fat Dave, visit his website FamousFatDave.com.

New York Food Tours

If you are interested in experiencing history and culture through food, tasting and cooking traditional and fusion foods, interested in all kinds of cuisines and cooking styles, and like walking, then New York Food Tours is the way to go.

Exotically themed tours are their forte. They have a variety of international and specific Asian food and culture tours, including vegetarian, that will excite and entice just about any foodie.

They break down tours by neighborhoods, like East and West Village, Chinatown, Greenwich, NoHo, Union Square, and Flatiron.

Some Asian-inspired tours are the Asian Vegetarian Food Tasting and Cultural Tour ($64), Exotic Southeast Asian Tour ($64), Taste of Chinatown ($49), and the Freakiest and Funniest Food Tour ($55), which is sure to be a daring affair.

There are also a few dessert tours for those with a prominent sweet tooth.

For more detailed information visit foodtoursofny.com.

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