We went on the Greenwich village food tour last weekend, and it was, in a word, disappointing. I really enjoy walking tours, and find it to be a great way to get insight into neighborhoods familiar and not. Considering the fantastic reviews posted here, as well as the not-cheap price, we were very disappointed with our tour, which was disjointed, not that well-paced, and frankly, somewhat boring.
When it comes to a walking tour, let's be honest - it depends almost 100% on the quality of the tour guide. So it's entirely possible that other guides are fantastic. Unfortunately, our guide, on that day, failed to deliver (I've forgotten her name, which isn't all that helpful, but she was young with a slight accent).
Disjointed: our tour guide made a habit of interrupting herself - she would start with a story, get distracted, come back to the story (sometimes), repeating herself, and often adding in, "this isn't a true story, but..." Ok, so we get it, not all legends are based in fact. You could give us that disclaimer once, and get on with it! It was hard to follow her vignettes, and she failed to weave her stories together in a way that held my attention.
Poor presentation: so, our first food stop was presented like this, "they don't have the best chocolate, but they're a neighborhood institution". Another stop along the way, the tour guide basically told us, "oh these shop owners are already so rich that they don't care, they don't even want to stay open." So this is where you bring us*? At yet another stop, "Oh, every time I come here, I'm surprised they're still open, and not out of business" ?!? Way to put a downer on everything....How about telling us the interesting back story of this particular new trendy food spot, rather than how shocked you are that they still exist?
Pacing: this was a food tour, yet in the first fifty minutes, all we got were some hunks of chocolate and an egg cream. So when the tour guide asked if anyone was hungry almost an hour in, my friend replied, "Yes!" Apparently that was the wrong answer, because then the guide proceeded to make her feel bad about it, saying things like, "Oh, well, we have soooo much to see but because SHE's hungry, we'll have to backtrack. I hope we have time to see everything". Way to make your guests feel good. Well, guess what, when we got to the pizza stop, EVERYBODY seemed hungry, and eagerly scarfed down a slice. Some time later, all of a sudden, we had food stop after food stop, with nary five minutes between items - so - a long stretch with no food, then too much - surely in a neighborhood as densely packed as this, the pacing of the tastings could have been staggered better?
Overall: like I said, I generally enjoy walking tours, and food tours, all the better. I have had some AMAZING tours over the years, so when one charges as much as this one, garners such fabulous reviews, and fails to live up to them so epically, well, it makes me grumpy.
*Another thing: several of these food stops were clearly on the well-worn tour group track, as we waited alongside other groups while our guide went in to collect our samples (which she neglected to pre-order). It certainly didn't give the feel of being led to some lesser known neighborhood favorite.