Visitors to New York can expect an onslaught of incredible restaurants, trendy food trucks, obscure farmers markets and plenty of hot dog stands. But for many, the question of "where to begin?" seems almost impossible to answer. With so many hidden gems combined with a seemingly endless list of famous eateries, the food scene in NYC can be overwhelming. For gastronomically motivated tourists, then, an advisable first port of call is a food tour. A succinct overview of the city's foodie hot spots from locals in the know gives restaurant enthusiasts a chance to streamline their dining choices while immersing themselves in the culinary and cultural history of the city. Of course, even the range of food tours on offer in the city can be baffling so we've selected five of the best food tours in New York to help guide food lovers through the Big Apple.
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The Chinatown and Little Italy Food Fest tour is an eclectic tasting tour, with six stops throughout two of NYC's most vibrant culinary environments. The friendly, informative tour takes tour guests on foot around long-standing, family-run establishments, giving both visitors and locals a feel for the authentic, rich culture of the districts. Tasters including fresh Italian cheeses, homemade dumplings and Chinese pastries are often a satisfactory meal itself.
Greenwich Village is one of the most richly historic culinary spots in the city, and as such choosing where to eat here can be a battle. The Foods of New York tour of the Village is an ideal way to get an insider's view of the best places to eat while getting informed on the history of the district. This tour is renowned for its friendly and passionate guides, who'll bring you to some of the best, most obscure Italian eateries. For $50 you'll have 7 hefty samples over the space of 3 hours while learning about the area and enjoying the sights and sounds of this charming part of the city.
The Foods of New York tour of Brooklyn is an enlightening - and delicious - cultural experience. Local guides take their groups on foot through the historical area of Brooklyn, where visitors learn about the influence of immigration on the district's multi-cultural food scene. While Brooklyn has become more of a hipster haven in recent years, this tour consolidates the trendy and the historical to give foodies a comprehensive overview of the new and the old culinary and cultural traditions.
The Chelsea Market and Meatpacking District are typically so busy that many food lovers might be put off by the challenge involved in simply grabbing a bite at one of the many highly recommended restaurants or epiceries. The Foods of New York food tour, however, makes the whole thing less of a challenge and more of a pleasure, while introducing newbies to the unique background and development of the district. The tour focuses heavily on the historic market, and provides an informative overview of the best spots while allowing hungry guests to sample some of the unique sweet and savory delicacies. As with all the Foods of New York tours, the animated, passionate tour guides make this tour that bit more special.
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The Food on Foot tour (free to New York Pass holders, around $50 otherwise) takes you through some of NYC's favorite culinary neighborhoods and food types, including an Ice Cream You Scream Tour, Midtown Winter Food Tour, an East Village Block Party Food tour and an impressive many others, all via foot and subway. Walking through the neighborhoods means visitors can easily retrace their steps later to rediscover favorite spots, and the walk - typically guided by an informal, knowledgeable local - gives each newcomer a chance to soak up the city's food culture like a true New Yorker. This tour frequents smaller, more obscure and less expensive establishments than many others and while there are no samples offered you have the option of purchasing your favorite dishes at each stop.