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I’ll let you into a little secret. I love food. I love good food.
I love fresh, good food that leaves a lasting impression, long after the taste buds have dined out on a new sensation.
And when I travel, that doesn’t change. I’m always on the hunt for something new, delicious and exciting to tantalise my taste buds.
New York City is well-known for its culinary scene. From world-class restaurants to $1 hot dogs from street carts, everyone knows that New Yorkers love food.
But for tourists visiting the city it can be overwhelming knowing where to eat, what to eat, and how much it’s going to cost you.
So to get yourself acquainted with the cuisine in the big NY, I recommend taking a food tour of New York City.
There are so many food tours to choose from – from Little Italy food tours, Chinatown food tours, street food tours and more.
To help you decide which is right for you, we’ve prepared this guide on the best food tours in NYC so you can satisfy your hunger quicker.
Food Tours in NYC
Whether you’re sitting down to a seven-course degustation menu in a Michelin-starred restaurant or biting into a fresh mozzarella ball wrapped in prosciutto at America’s oldest Italian cheese store – learning about NYC’s food can be the ultimate souvenir of a trip away.
Little Italy & China Town Food Tour
Now, let’s talk about those mozzarella balls, shall we?
My holiday in New York may be over but if I close my eyes I can still taste that mozzarella that had only been made that morning.
Cheese that my mouth would never have bitten into except for joining this New York walking food tour of Little Italy and Chinatown.
That first stop on the tour at Alleva Dairy set the foodie scene for the following three hours as we walked through the eldest streets of Little Italy and Chinatown.
Before setting out I had a pretty good idea that we’d be sampling some amazing NYC food. What I hadn’t anticipated were the historical and cultural lessons learned along the way.
These two neighbourhoods in New York are steeped in history and have grown personalities indicative of their immigrant beginnings.
With food being so much a part of each of these cultures, it’s no wonder it’s impossible to talk about one without the other.
And that’s just what our NYC food tours guide Laura did.
Her enthusiasm for this area of New York City is infectious.
Whether describing the original way the traditional Sicilian dessert, Cannolis, were rolled (using a broomstick!) or explaining how a New York park is like a living room for the families living in small tenements – it’s this intertwining of food and history that made each of the little mom and pop shops we visited all the sweeter.
To be honest, as a mom travelling with a seven-year-old, we might not have even attempted negotiating our way around Little Italy and Chinatown without this insider knowledge.
You certainly cannot judge a potentially good dining experience by its cover.
By day, a rusting roller door on a shopfront gives no clue to the fact that it’s an uber cool nighttime cocktail bar.
Want to take a peek at some of the other yummies that went in our bellies?
Food porn alert ahead.
If you’re into food and heading to the Big Apple, I’d recommend doing this NYC food tour early on in your trip.
It’s three hours well spent – yes you’re on your feet for most of that time (there’s a 30-minute stop at Pongrsi Thai Restaurant) – but you’re not covering a massive area.
Wear comfortable shoes (Ha! You should see my New York blisters … I call them badges of honour!); and bring a hat or raincoat depending on the weather.
Oh, and don’t eat too much for breakfast beforehand … you won’t end the tour bloated and feeling like you’ve visited Sizzler for a buffet but you will be full.
As for what you’ll see and find out?
Not only will you visit places you will want to come back to – to dine in or takeout – but you’ll also be given a list of dining recommendations that you can work your way through during your stay.
It’s this insider foodie knowledge that can’t always be found in a guidebook – the type of knowledge that can create food memories which last a lifetime.
2. Greenwich Village Food Tour
Perhaps the biggest foodie neighborhood in NYC for locals is Greenwich Village, which is famous for its top-notch restaurants and eateries, serving tasty treats from bagels to artisan chocolate.
If you’re looking for the best pizza in NYC, then you’re going to want to check out this NYC food tour as it has three pizza stops!
The tour begins at Molly’s Cupcakes, an award-winning cupcake shop that’s also known for its quirky interior styling. Grab a few selfies with your cupcakes before moving on to the best falafel in NYC!
Mamoun’s Falafel is a New Yorker’s favorite falafel shop in Manhattan and has been operating in NYC since 1971, making it the longest Middle Eastern restaurant in the city.
After trying falafel, head over to Artichoke Basille’s Pizza who serve up some of the best pizza in the city! Have a slice of pizza with double-crust and artichoke – the namesake pizza that makes this place famous.
Leave room though, because it’s on to Pommes Frites for some incredible authentic Belgian fries, double cooked and topped with one of 30 sauces to choose from.
If that’s not enough, it’s back to another top-rated pizza shop, Bleecker Street Pizza!
The tour also passes by the Friends Apartment used to film the iconic TV series, and some other notable landmarks.
The final stop is Faicco’s Italian Specialties, where you can sample their arancini (rice ball) and sopressata (salami) or order a
A walking tour of Greenwich with cupcakes was one of our teens’ favorite things to do in NYC.
3. New York City Food Cart Walking Tour
New York may be famous for its pizza joints and rooftop bars, but if you’re strapped for cash or just want something quick, then a visit to one of NYC’s food carts is the best way to eat cheaply and quickly.
On this food tour, you’ll discover the best food carts for those looking for delicious food on the go. The most famous street food in Manhattan is the basic hot dog which can cost as little as $1 in some places, and let’s not forget the pretzel carts scattered across the city.
As you walk through Midtown Manhattan and the Financial District, your local foodie guide will point out the best curbside carts and allow you to taste multicultural dishes.
You can try more than just pretzels and hot dogs, there’s falafel, Korean short ribs, souvlaki, Pakistani curry, Belgian waffles, and even Mexican chocolate brownies.
Come hungry! You’ll want to try all the dishes on this tour.
4. The High Line, Chelsea Market, and Meatpacking District Food Tour
When it comes to hip places to eat in New York City, you will find the trendiest places in these districts. On this small-group tour, you will wander the High Line park, be introduced to artisanal specialities at Chelsea Market, and find secret gems in the Meatpacking District.
The tour begins in Chelsea Market, an old residential and market area that has now been transformed into a place full of boutique bars and hipster joints, but there are still a few classic eateries in the area that you can enjoy.
You’ll be taken to a Sicilian-style pizza place, Las Delicias Patisserie for top-class pastries, Doughnuttery doughnut for iconic NYC donuts, Fat Witch Bakery and many more hot spots.
You’ll also meet with a hot sauce “sommelier” to see how hot you can go! This is a fun and all-round food tour in NYC showcasing some of the finer places to eat.
5. Lower East Side Food Tour
The Lower East Side of Manhattan has some of the oldest and most famous places to eat in all of NYC.
Those who are looking for a combination of food with culture tour should definitely consider taking the Lower East Side food tour, which is a part food part historical tour that takes you through the tenements of Lower East Side NYC and tells of how immigrants shaped the culinary scene of NYC.
Whether you’re looking to try a classic cream cheese bagel at Kossar’s or you want to have a world-famous pastrami sandwich from Katz’s Deli, this tour will take you to all the hop spots – as well as a few hidden gems.
On this small-group walking tour, your knowledgable tour guides will take you to markets, bakeries, and restaurants, where you can sample the cuisine of NYC’s most diverse neighborhoods.
On top of that, you’ll also visit the African Burial Ground National Monument, the New York City Supreme Court, Columbus Park, Chinatown, Little Italy, Nolita, St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, Sara D Roosevelt Park, M’Finda Kalunga Garden and end near the Tenement Museum.
This tour aims to be as informative and educational as it is delicious!
6. West Village Food Tour
Another foodie neighborhood to check out is West Village. This food tour takes you to six top-rated eateries in the neighborhood, where you can sample the cultural diversity of New York’s foodie scene – from trying Middle Eastern falafels to Italian cannoli.
As you walk, you’ll learn about the history of West Village’s artistic legacy, and wander past Bob Dylan’s former home. You’ll also get to try delicious pizza, bagels, rice balls, Thai food, cupcakes and tacos!
The tour lasts around 3 hours and is on foot, so dress appropriately. You’ll want to come hungry and wear your most elasticated waste-band for this tour!
7. Brooklyn Food Tour; Flavors of Williamsburg
On this 3-hour food tour, you’ll be taken through the foodie neighborhood of Williamsburg. The tour covers about 2-miles so make sure to wear comfy shoes!
This tour features some of the best culinary delights of Brooklyn, where you’ll not only sample some of the tastiest food but learn about the areas rich culinary history.
You’ll visit the Northside Bakery Step, a traditional Polish bakery as well as Mable’s Smokehouse & Banquet Hall where you can sample delicious Oklahoma style BBQ.
After that, head over to the former auto body shop, Tacombi for excellent corn esquires and sandia (watermelon aqua fresca), before heading to Vice Munchies, to meet Frank Pinello, the owner of this award-winning pizza joint.
Round things off at Kahkow Taste, a chocolate company known for their bean to bar chocolate factory!
8. Hell’s Kitchen Food Tour
Last but not least, uncover the secrets of New York’s Central Park on a four-hour walking food tour. You’ll begin at L’ybane restaurant where your local foodie guide will be waiting to point out all the top food, culture and nightlife places to enjoy in the Big Apple.
The tour takes you to snack on hush puppies, sample baba ghanoush and try a doughnut and ice cream sandwich.
While you eat yourself until you’re full, you can burn it all off with a stroll around Central Park. The tour covers around 3 miles so wear comfy shoes!
Final Word on NYC Food Tours
One of the best ways to experience the history and culture of New York is on a food tour.
By taking a food tour of NYC you not only get to hear about the culinary history of the city’s cuisines, but you also get to learn about the best eateries and restaurants, explore the quieter neighborhoods and marvel at the architecture, and stroll through places you wouldn’t normally see.
Gift yourself with a unique experience in NYC, we have no doubt that a food tour will be the highlight of anyone’s trip!
Bio: Nikki Parkinson is a fashion and beauty blogger, blogging over at Styling You, a blog that offers real-world advice for busy women wanting to look and feel their best. You can also follow her love of all things fashion, foodie and travel via Instagram.
Note: Nikki joined the New York City Little Italy and Chinatown food tour as a guest and on behalf of y travel blog.
More Food Tours of NYC:
More New York Travel Tips?
Are you in need of more NYC travel ideas and tips? Then these resources may be useful!
- How to Save Money on NYC Attractions: New York Sightseeing Pass
- Things to do in NYC at Christmas
- 10 places to eat in NYC for iconic New York food
- 3 Day NYC Itinerary to Experience the Best New York Attractions
- 19 Coffee shops in NYC the locals love!
- How to save time and money in New York
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Have you ever been on a New York City food tour? Let us know about your experience in the comments!