Philly’s Best Food Tours Even Locals Will Enjoy

Whether you're new to the city or a lifer, these guided excursions are delicious.

Visitors exploring Fishtown’s food scene with Jen Carroll’s and Billy Riddle’s Fishtown Food Journey. / Photograph by Kerri Sitrin

When was the last time you went to Reading Terminal Market or tried something new in the Italian Market? The longer we live here, the fewer touristy things we tend to do. Liberty Bell? Saw it in elementary school. That City Hall Tower Tour always sounded cool. Eh, we’ll do it someday. Consider this an intervention, at least when it comes to food.

Locals probably think of food tours as something for visitors, but let’s think about it. An expert plans out a thoughtful itinerary, and you just show up to eat. You get to experience new places and revisit standbys. The best part? No lines. Restaurants and businesses are ready with food when your group shows up. You eat, you chat and you keep moving.

Here are our favorite Philly food tours, from the Italian Market to Fishtown to Reading Terminal and beyond.

Fishtown Food Journey

Innovative chefs Jen Carroll and Billy Riddle are always up to something new and cool. The couple’s latest offering is the Fishtown Food Journey, a food tour of their own neighborhood. Jen, known for her frequent Top Chef appearances, leads these monthly three-hour events. You’ll be stopping for bites at her favorite places, like Gilda, Pizza Shackamaxon and Goldie. It’s only a half-mile or so of walking, and you’ll get to bring home a tote bag filled with Side Project Jerky and other Philly-made snacks. The chef will also talk up her neighborhood’s history, art and characters. To book, sign up for the Carroll Couture Cuisine newsletter or get early access by joining the chef’s Patreon. $135 per person.

StrEATS of Philly Food Tours

Jacqueline Peccina-Kelly, who goes by Chef Jacquie, grew up bouncing between the Italian Market neighborhood and Italy with her family. It’s safe to say that she’s been a food lover since birth. Today, the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College grad leads four food tours in South Philly.

Her long-running Italian Market tour hits six hot spots, including Isgro Pastries, DiBruno Bros., and Biederman’s. Meanwhile, her BYOB Italian Dinner tour will make all of your red-sauce dreams come true. On East Passyunk Avenue, you’ll start at Laurel and stop at a few more of this bustling street’s hot spots, including Le Virtù. (And that tour comes with cocktails.) Chef Jacquie’s Multicultural Tasting Tour starts at Le Viet and winds through Puebladelphia, Little Saigon, and Bella Vista with a promised lamb taco at South Philly Barbacoa. $75-$225 per person.

Maddy Sweitzer-Lammé offering rugelach from Essen on her Tiny Tables tour. / Photograph by Courtney Apple

Tiny Table Tours

As one of the top food experts in town — and a frequent contributor to Philadelphia magazine and Foobooz — Maddy Sweitzer-Lammé has the inside scoop. In 2023, she launched Tiny Table Tours to share favorite South Philly spots with locals and visitors. On her three-hour Beyond the Italian Market tour, you’ll make stops at Essen Bakery, Ba Le Bakery and Plaza Garibaldi before heading into the market itself for a few more bites. It’s a real insider’s take on the neighborhood. Sweitzer-Lammé built the two-mile itinerary around stories that she gathered personally in interviews with local business owners and chefs. She also covers the history of the neighborhood and the city overall through the waves of immigrants who have shaped it over the last two centuries. You’ll wrap up with a glass of wine or non-alcoholic drink at 9th Street Bottle Shop, a perfect opportunity to plan your next meal. $95 per person.

A Taste of History

On a Founding Footsteps tour, fun is the name of the game. These BYOB trolley escapades enliven history with comedy, stories, and booze. The company has just launched a new food tour called A Taste of History. These three-hour tours combine a lot of eating with mini lessons about Philly’s food history. You’ll start at La Colombe Coffee and visit Old City, the Italian Market, Chinatown and Reading Terminal Market. A tour guide takes the group on a short walk through each neighborhood with a few food stops before hopping back on the trolley. Rumor has it, you’ll get to try a dozen different bites from local businesses, including Di Bruno Bros., Dim Sum Garden, Campo’s, South Philly Barbacoa, Isgro Pastries, John’s Water Ice and Federal Donuts. Prepare to be full and happy. $99 per person.

City Food Tours / Photograph by Sarah Maiellano

City Food Tours

Matt Schillizzi has been leading food tours around Philly for almost a decade and now has about a dozen guides working with his company. City Food Tours center on a neighborhood and theme. Flavors of Philly is a journey of cheesesteaks, tomato pie, soft pretzels, and the like, starting in Rittenhouse. The Locals’ Favorites tour starts at Reading Terminal Market and stops at Di Bruno Bros. The Old City tour offers a cocktail add-on as you visit a few classics for happy hour, with a sweet finale at Shane Confectionery. In East Passyunk, the tour hits Pizzata, Barcelona Wine Bar, and Mike’s BBQ, among others, and wraps up just in time for dinner on the Avenue (for anyone who is still hungry). Schillizzi recently went all-in at Reading Terminal Market with a 45-minute, twice-daily tour that gives an overview, plus a buttery pretzel and whoopie pie. He also takes small groups on private tours of the market with one of these themes: Iconic Great Five, Global Eats, or Sweet & Savory Hidden Gems. $25-$75 per person.