Walks Of New York’s Mario Batali Greenwich Village Food Tour
Love taking tours & visiting NYC? Take the Mario Batali Walks of NY Tour!
Do you like food tours? I love food so it’s a given that I love taking food tours when I travel. When I was in New York in November of last year Walks of New York kindly invited me to their Mario Batali Greenwich Village Food Tour. It’s a bit overdue for this post but since I’m heading to New York this week I thought I would share it now. I actually didn’t think I would be able to write this post since I lost my memory card with photos from the tour but I just recently found some images on my Dropbox that I took with my iPhone. Phew! So while I don’t have all of my images, I do have a handful of hunger-inducing photos to share with you!
Here’s a little info from the Walks of New York site about the company:
At Walks of New York, we believe that the best way to travel is to walk. We believe in slow travel, no matter how long your trip. In taking the time to appreciate your surroundings and learn a little about the local history and culture – to eat as locals do and discover those hidden nooks and crannies that they proudly show to visiting friends.
We believe in discovering a city at ground level, which is why our tours focus not so much on the facts and figures, but on the stories and legends behind those – the little details that make a city, a building, a painting or even a street corner so special. On the seasonal ingredients and culture that make the food so different.
We believe in walking, not cattle herding, which is why we keep our group sizes to 12 people or fewer, so you can always interact with your guide.
I was staying with my friend in Chinatown so getting to their meeting spot was a breeze. I popped onto a subway and got off at the W 4th Street stop and it’s about a block and a half from Father Demo Square where the tour starts. I was a bit early (shocker) so I just people watched which is always amazing in NYC.
Father Demo Square
Our guide Collier showed up and we waited for a bit before heading out. I love food tours like this because it’s not only about eating; we got a bit of Greenwich Village and Mario Batali history. I’m a nerd like that so I love learning and throw in eating and I’m stoked!!!!!
We walked through the neighborhood and our first stop was actually at Faicco’s an Italian market at 260 Bleecker. We stopped and had some of their arancini or stuffed rice balls that are coated in breadcrumbs and then deep-fried. I really wish I had my photos. If you love arancini, stop here for a tray. Soooo damn good! We also walked through Murray’s Cheese Shop which I recommend visiting. They have a shop here as well as a tiny shop in Grand Central Station. If you’re a cheese lover, this is a must. It’s super awesome.
Our next stop, Pagani on Bleecker and 7th Avenue, was a sit down stop. It used to be an old accordion repair shop I think and as you can tell in the photo below there are some remnants left in the restaurant. The chef here is Mark Barrett who worked with Danny Meyer and Mario Batali before venturing off here. Before the tour, I had never heard of the restaurant but I’m a fan. It’s a nice understated neighborhood spot and it’s not too pricey!
Delicious in-house made pasta
Bresaola, prosciutto, and bruschetta
We then continued to wander through the Village to get more history of the neighborhood as well as more about Mario Batali’s career. I never watched his show much on TV but I always remembered his orange Crocs plus I’m a huge fan of his pizza spot Mozza in Los Angeles. It was interesting to hear about his career from his early days up till now.
We walked through Washington Square Park and through its arch on the way to the next stop.
Our next eatery was at Otto, one of Mario Batali’s restaurants. It’s located on the corner of East 8th and Fifth Avenue and Otto means 8! It’s one of his more casual eateries serving pizza, lots of cured meats, a huge wine selection, and more. I love the bar here! We started out with some salumi and then moved on to cheese, greens, salad, and then bruschetta.
We sampled some yummy cheese!!
After we wandered around through more of Greenwich Village and heard more about Mario’s restaurants and businesses. Our next stop for food was at Lupa, his first restaurant that is located on Thompson between Houston and Bleecker Streets. This is Mario’s first foray into the restaurant business. It specializes in Roman fare and their goal was to keep things affordable. They have a really big wine list and half of it is under $50!! We sampled several things but the most memorable item for me was the gnocchi, which was made with ricotta cheese rather than potato. Helllllooooo creamy dreamy!!!
Lupa’s ricotta gnocchi so….damn…..good
We made a stop at Raffeto’s on Houston just off of MacDougall. It’s a tiny little Italian shop that has been around for over 100 years. They make and sell pasta and sauces and as well as other food items for your next Italian dinner. They also deliver across the country. I took a video of their pasta machine going to work but sadly I lost that memory card – sad face.
Last but not least was dessert! I can never say no to sweet stuff!! We stopped in for some delicious gelato at Dolce where they make authentic artisanal gelato and sorbetti fresh daily. Yummmmm!
Delicious gelato at Dolce
And that my friends is the end!! We finished the tour by returning to our original meeting spot by Father Demo Square, which was perfect for me because I could pop into the subway to get back to my friend’s place.
- Our tour guide Collier was fantastic. She has gone to culinary school, worked for Eataly in Italy (Mario Batali’s food emporium), and lives in the tri-state area. She gets all facets of the tour…she actually lives and breathes it.
- I loved the historical aspect of both Mario Batali’s career and the neighborhood.
- Food quality of each place was excellent!
- Walking is always good.
- The tour was 3 hours long and it was a perfect enough time to walk, learn, and eat.
- I really liked that the group was relatively small. We had about 8 people in our group so lively enough while we were sitting down and eating and not too big so that were obstructing NYC sidewalks.
I definitely recommend this Walks of New York Tour Mario Batali tour. If you’re into food, it’s a really well-done. It’s also a great gift for someone who lives in NYC or is planning a trip to the city. Even though it was a complimentary experience for me, the quality of the experience is worth the price. 5 eateries with 2 of them being Mario Batali’s restaurants. Definitely worth the $65.