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“A day with Dave is like hanging out with your best friend”

Famous Fat Dave's Food Tours
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Eating tours by classic Checker cab, minivan, or on foot with Famous Fat Dave himself!
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed October 1, 2012

I booked a 4-hour tour on September 26th, 2012, as a birthday/early Christmas gift for my longtime friend and former Brooklyn neighbor. Communication was outstanding with Dave as emails went back and forth of our food likes and dislikes, any allergies, and where/when we would like to tour.
Dave was very punctual picking us up in a classic 1982 Checker Marathon cab named "Sweetness". She truly can be described as the "Wheels of Steel". Car and taxi manufacturers don't make vehicles like this any longer. The cab brought back a lot of memories riding around in one as a child with my mom as we would take quick trips from Brooklyn into NYC a few times a month.
After introductions, Dave didn't waste a moment handing us a bag of chocolate from Jacques Torres. Two large chunks of both milk and dark almond bark was a decadent beginning.
Off we went to Levain Bakery for cookies. If you blinked you would miss this tiny, basement-like place with an even tinier shingle hanging outside near to the corner of Amsterdam Avenue on West 74th Street. For such a small establishment, there was quite a line waiting. Dave requested the cookies--chocolate chocolate chip and peanut butter chocolate chip--to be warmed. As Wendy and I broke off pieces of these large, baked rounds of Heaven, the chips slowly oozed and separated as the cookies reminded me more of eating warm brownies in my Grandma's kitchen. Our reaction to this confection was a loud moan, while Dave's reaction to our moaning was laughter and saying that's always the first sound he hears when anyone eats these cookies. I'm thinking anytime I begin my day with chocolate, it's going to be a good day! LOL!!
Next stop: uptown to Harlem to enjoy pan-fried chicken (on and off the rib) and cornbread at Charle's Country Fried Chicken on Frederick Douglass Blvd. Although the pieces are a little small, they are crispy without being oily. Want to know how good this pan-fried chicken is? I never, EVER eat chicken skin.....this was the first time which amazed me. Cornbread is a down-home delight and moist. Try the half lemonade/half iced tea.
Traveling even further uptown, we hit the Bronx! Last time I was in the Bronx was 1983 for a Yankee game. Dave toured us around the Bronx and City Island. He highly recommended Artie's for clams and this recommendation did not disappoint the birthday girl. He called ahead
and the clams were done by the time we got there. I wanted shrimp. With clams in hand, Dave took us to Tony's Pier Restaurant for shrimp and French fries. Peacefully next to calm waters, we ate outside on a pier with a glorious view of the Long Island Sound and the North Shore of Long Island.
Still in the Bronx, we headed to Louie and Ernie's Pizza for fried calzone on Crosby Avenue. It's actually the entire bottom floor of a corner house. A newspaper article hangs on the wall about Dave. I adore calzone and this was very good. From there, we walked all the way to Teresa's Gourmet Italian Ices.....,,,.....all of maybe 12 feet next door. LOL!!! A latte for Wendy, a small lemon ice for me and Dave picked up a chocolate covered strawberry for my son. As we sat outside Teresa's, people stopped to say hello to Dave. One gentlemen even gave him some tips to try a new place. The ice was extremely good. Lots of flavor without it being too sugary, or puckery.
OK. I will admit by now (about 2.5 hours into the tour) I was beginning to get food punch drunk and very giggly-silly, giving myself a bit of brain freeze not paying attention with a giant bite of lemon ice. That woke me up and I was readying my stomach for the next layer of food! LOL!!
From Pelham Bay to the great Arthur Avenue!!! I wish we had more time here to sample lots more Italian food. We entered the Arthur Avenue Retail Market and Dave served us a lovely tray of dry sausages and procuitto. Everything there smelled so delectable, I wondered if I could have hoisted a half steer on my shoulder and several bags on my arms of chops, loins, fowl and fish on the train without being conspicuous........ahhhh, maybe next time, after all it's New York, who would notice? LOL!!
Our final destination was walking next door to the Madonia Bakery for cannoli. This is truly one of the best cannoli I've tasted. It's made with a cream cheese blend making it a little lighter than the usual ricotta filling.
Cute, cuddly, genial, witty and accomodating, Dave is a gentleman, consummate host and raconteur. He is a wealth of knowledge, regaling us with a fascinating history of NYC and the surrounding boroughs. As proverbial "jaded" native Southern Brooklyn New Yorkers, Wendy and I thoroughly enjoy our 4 hours with Dave. We traded our own "NY war stories" with Dave and even gave him some places in Brooklyn he might enjoy eating at. He truly enjoys what he does and it shows. This is one tour you really must make time for. One thing: please check what, if any, holidays are on the day you wish to go on this tour. Didn't look on the calendar to realize it was Yom Kippur and missed out on some great deli places which were closed for the holiday.
Four hours went by much too quickly. I can't wait to take my husband and especially my son-- who is a complete foodie like I am-- on a Famous Fat Dave tour very soon.
Thanks for a great day!

6  Thank ny2pa2nj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 30, 2012 via mobile

Famous fat Dave is well worth the money. The experience was awesome. My boyfriend and I went around with Dave trough Brooklyn and Queens and ate till we couldn't move. It was well worth it. While not every place was "the best food I ever ate," it was still delish! I loved Dave's go with the flow and down to earth personality. He was willing to compromise based on what we wanted to eat and had so many suggestions on hand. We ate everything from pizza to fish tacos to deli! I would highly recommend the tour and can't wait to do it again. It's definitely expensive, but a great idea for a present.

1  Thank Stefanie9786
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2012

First of all, Famous Fat Dave is NOT fat, but what he is, is a genial, gracious, funny host bursting with facts, history and lore of his city. The man knows his stuff—food and facts.

From the minute I contacted Dave he went out of his way to show us a good time. He accommodated me at the last minute when I stumbled upon his website the week before our trip. Not only did he fit my family of five in for a 4-1/2 hour tour, he sent detailed emails giving us many itinerary options in terms of food and borough locations. I left the tour up to Dave, knowing it was most likely the best way to go, but I also gave him the challenge of one vegetarian and a few big carnivores. He was up to the challenge. Everyone was satisfied and really full by the end of our tour. And when we asked if he could pick us up at our hotel in Battery Park, he didn't hesitate to say yes.

From the minute he picked us up, Dave kept us enthralled with the kind of native NYC stories you'll never read in a book. His beautiful cab was incredibly roomy. There were six of us, total, in the cab including Dave and we could even stretch out our legs. Dave informed us that the Classic Checker Cab is like a ghost sighting on the streets of the city. Most native New Yorkers have actually never seen one of these famous cabs that used to be a mainstay and sure enough, everywhere we went, "Sweetness" would generate a lot of excitement and photographs.

Dave chose Brooklyn for us and it was absolutely perfect. He started the tour off by dropping us off at a little park that had the most incredible scenic view of NYC's skyline, while he rushed to go grab us some blueberry blintzes and meat pirogies that he had pre-ordered. The food was incredible.

He then brought us down to the docks to DeFonte's Sandwich Shop where we had Potato and Egg Heros with ham. (No ham on the vegetarian's part of the sandwich.) The men who've worked there their whole lives, (sorry, I can't remember their names) were delightful and when they heard we were from the South, they set sweet tea down in front of us, asking us if theirs was as good as southern sweet tea. And it was! They charmed my daughters and their sandwich was all three of my girls' favorite of our stops.

We then went to Brooklyn's Chinatown where we had Vietnamese food, BBQ Pork Banh Mi sandwiches that were out of this world (my favorite) and Avocado shakes. Hard to believe, but the avocado shakes were delicious.

Next stop was the famous original Nathan's hot dogs, Coney Island. The hot dogs and cheese fries were delish. Dave's telling of Nathan's history was one of the more fascinating stories of the trip. And Coney Island and its "beach" were memorable, to say the least.

I had requested pizza and Dave delivered, taking us to a pizza place in Bensonhurst where all the locals go, some of those locals who were quite entertaining to watch. The pizza was fabulous.

We ended our trip having two different styles of lobster rolls, per my husband's request. And once again, the rolls were delicious.

When I booked the trip with Dave, I have to say, my family went begrudgingly. My teenage daughters weren't too thrilled about a food tour and my husband is not really a tour kind of guy. An adventurer, he'd rather discover things on his own. We did a lot of fun things during our 8 days in NYC and my entire family all agreed that Dave's tour was, hands down, the best part of our trip. We have been telling everybody about it.

Dave's tour was at the beginning of our vacation and Dave generously offered to steer us to some of his favorite restaurants during the week. He gave my husband his cell phone and my husband texted and called Dave several times during the week asking about different restaurants. Dave was always gracious and generous with his tips, no matter how many times we called him.

Dave followed up our trip with an email, listing all the foods we ate and links to the restaurants.

For those who might balk at taking the tour because of its expense, trust me, this tour is worth absolutely every penny. You'll never have another experience like this thanks to fabulous—not fat—Dave and his checkered cab.

5  Thank floridajo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2012

My wife, 11 year old daughter and I spent a great day (8/2/12) with Dave touring Brooklyn. The food choices Dave suggested were outstanding as expected, but the tour is so much more. Dave was extremely knowledgable in Brooklyn history and kept my daughter involved and interested. We can't wait for our next family tour in Dave's cab "Sweetness", probably to the Bronx/Harlem next time around. Highly recommended!!!

Thank BBandB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2012

My wife and I took Dave's Tour on Monday, August 27th for our anniversary. There was another couple from England with us. The tour was the most fun we have had in NYC. We are from the try-state area. Although we now live in Connecticut, we both had worked in the city for numerous years. I loved everything about the tour... the old style cab was awesome and reminded me of being a kid in Jersey traveling around in my parents' giant station wagon. What I liked most about the cab was that it had personality....it wasn't pristine, but old school New York, and like my parents' station wagon, there were rules to follow... such as being careful closing the doors so the rear windows would operate, or having to go a certain speed for the air conditioning to fully operate.. (my parents' car had no air conditioning)-
We left it up to Dave to take us to some of his favorite spots in Brooklyn. Our tour was four hours, and I think we travelled to nine locations. Every place we stopped was a cultural as well as a sensory adventure. I worked in NY for eight years in federal law enforcement and thought I was pretty city savvy. Dave took us to a Brooklyn I didn't know existed. I can't say we liked one thing more than the next...each food was fantastic. Dave has such a passion for his patrons to enjoy each bite of food or drink. You don't get the feeling that what he is saying is rehearsed. Everything he describes seems organic and natural. My only criticism of the tour would be the parking in NYC sucks and we would have enjoyed Dave eating with us more... but unfortunately the thing that makes this tour special, "NYC" has tow trucks and Dave would sometimes have to remain with his cab so we could enjoy the delicious cuisine in the restaurant or enjoy a breath taking view.
Thanks again for the tremendous food, conversation, and fun. We are hopefully going to do another tour with some friends soon. My wife asked Dave about broccoli rabe....and Dave described a place in the Bronx....so I guess we will be doing the Bronx next!

3  Thank Chris2626CMCM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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