Food tours are one of my favorite tourist activities while traveling. I’ve had great food tours in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Siem Reap, Mexico City, and more. At the end of a business trip, I had one day in New York, so of course, I wanted to incorporate a food tour into my schedule. There are hundreds, if not thousands of food tasting tours in New York City, and wouldn’t I love to try them all! With limited time, I chose a Chelsea Market food tour that included New York’s famous Highline as well as a walking tour of Chelsea Market.
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The building that houses the Chelsea Market dates back to the late 19th century and was originally the National Biscuit Company, also known as Nabisco. As part of New York’s Meatpacking District, the area was largely industrial until the 1990s when a revival began. New York’s Highline Park was completed in 2009 and is a great place for walking tours of this hip neighborhood. The High Line tracks run right through the Chelsea Market building, as the line was originally built to facilitate the shipping of products from the factory. In 2019, another 12,000 square feet of space was added to accommodate additional vendors in Chelsea Market.
Chelsea Market Food Tour
The reservation process is quick and easy, and detailed instructions were emailed and texted to me well in advance of the trip. The New York weather went from 60 to 30 and snowing overnight, so the Chelsea Market food tour was perfect because we were indoors most of the day. We met up with our guide, Curt, who was quite possibly the best tour guide I’ve ever had! If ever there was a perfect person for their job, Curt has found his calling! His hilarious stories and witty observations kept us entertained while we stuffed our faces with way too much New York food.
Prefer to DIY a New York City food tour on a budget? Passport Voyager has 20 Cheap Places to Eat in New York City!
Chelsea Market Restaurants
The Chelsea Market food tour includes nearly ten stops at various Chelsea Market restaurants and shops over the course of a couple of hours. Our first stop was at Creamline, a “farm to tray” spot with classic American food. Our tasting here was a deep-fried Oreo with delicious whipped cream. As the former home of Nabisco, the Oreo cookie was actually invented right here, so it’s a great way to kick off your tour! Nothing like starting your lunch with a big fried ball of dough! Not gonna lie, I’d totally buy these again.
Next up was Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, a butcher shop in Chelsea Market offering artisanal meats and house-made charcuterie. Our tasting here was steak tartare, made from home-schooled bi-curious cows, according to Curt. If you told me I would eat steak tartare, I would have said you were crazy. But, the power of not wanting to look like a child is strong. It was served with potato chips, and I took a teeny-tiny bit. It was good, and I was soon diving in for seconds and thirds.
Read about the time I ate horse meat on a food tour in Iceland!
We then strolled over to Lobster Place, where Curt reminded us several times this wasn’t a tasting stop, although we did get a small sample of their lobster bisque. This stop was mostly for a photo opp with a big lobster. I would have loved to try the lobster rolls here but was too stuffed by the end of the tour.
After torturing this poor lobster for photo ops, we headed over to Cappone’s Salumeria where we sampled a hero sandwich. I was already starting to feel full at this point, so the sandwich was good, but I wanted to save room for everything else that was yet to come.
Buon Italia was next on our stroll. This was more of a grocery store than a restaurant and had so many varieties of cheese, pasta, and meats. Definitely, a fun place to come if you have a dinner party to plan! Here we had a slice of delicious frittata.
For me, the sleeper surprise of the tour was the meat pies and kale salad at Tuck Shop. Oh my, I would definitely love to come back here for lunch! So, this is two times in my life that I have enjoyed kale, for anyone who is keeping track…Mom!
Chelsea Market Baskets is not specifically a food stop, but a gift shop. We were offered a sampling of different salts, although served on cucumber sticks, so I passed on this portion. Not a fan of cucumber, unless it’s in a lotion or facial mask!
Just when I thought I might burst, we headed to Sarabeth’s Bakery. There’s no way I’m skipping a bakery sample, so I sucked it up and tried the biscuits and jam. SaraBeth has a pretty cool story that evolves from making jam in her kitchen to building a food empire, and her bakery is walled with glass windows so you can watch all the action. We saw bakers applying a crumble to pies and SaraBeth herself rolling up rugelach.
Can you believe we’re still eating? Me neither!!!
Our last Chelsea Market food stop was at L’Arte Del Gelato where we chose from all their flavors for a tiny cone of gelato. I was super full, but there’s always room for gelato, right?
Still hungry after your New York food tour? Check out these Instagrammable places to eat in NYC!
Before we headed outside, we made a quick stop at Morimoto. No, we weren’t sampling any of their famous food, we were just there to check out the crazy Japanese toilets. You know when you sit down after someone in a meeting room or restaurant and the seat is warm, which is kind of weird? That’s how I felt about a heated toilet seat. Anyhow, Morimoto looked super cool and chic, and like someplace I would be totally out of place in. More fried Oreos, please!
New York Highline Park
After all the Chelsea Market food stops, we headed outdoors for a short stroll on the snowy Highline and then up to the swanky roof of the Gansevoort Hotel, where our tour concluded. At the beginning of the tour, we were given a booklet with a map and an overview of all the shops, as well as coupons for some of the shops in Chelsea Market. After the tour, we headed back to the market for a bit of quick shopping before heading back to our hotel.
Check out these awesome coffee stops on the High Line!
I’m now writing this from my home in Chicago and my mouth is literally watering as I remember all this amazing food. My waistline is also suffering the aftermath of this food extravaganza, but YOLO, amirite? Do you have more time in New York? Check out this Local’s Guide to NYC in 24 Hours!
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I paid full-price ($54) for this tour and was not compensated in any way for this review.