To find New York City's best bagels, pizza and pickles, just ask the cab driver known as "Famous Fat Dave."
Ever since he started driving a New York City cab in 2001, David Freedenberg has asked his passengers where they like to eat--especially when he drops them off in a neighborhood he doesn't know well. He now has a list that Zagat would envy of 400 restaurants and shops, a book in the works, and a tour called Famous Fat Dave's Five-Borough Eating Tour on the Wheels of Steel. "I get a real kick out of showing someone a hand-piped cannoli," he says. The tours are private and customizable, and cost $100 per hour for up to four passengers, though there's a four-hour minimum (famousfatdave.com). The price covers samplings from about a dozen restaurants and shops in five or more neighborhoods. Pace yourself, as there's no walking it off. After all, Freedenberg's motto is "You do the gorging, I do the driving."
Some of Fat Dave's Faves
Ess-a-Bagel: "The perfect example of a real New York bagel, often fresh out of the oven." 359 First Ave., Manhattan, 212/260-2252, 70¢
Denino's Pizzeria Tavern: "The mozzarella sticks may actually be better than the pizza." 524 Port Richmond Ave., Staten Island, 718/442-9401, $5.50
Guss' Pickles: "They sell on the sidewalk--the way it's been done for 100 years. The 'new' pickles are where it's at. Five or six of them make a great lunch." 87 Orchard St., Manhattan, 212/334-3616, 70¢
Fratelli's Pizza Café: "The fresh broccoli rabe is just the slightest bit bitter, and so tasty it can carry an entire foot-long hero." 404 Hunts Point Ave., Bronx, 718/542-7340, from $7
Roll-n-Roaster: "Their cheesesteak is best with Cheez Whiz and onions. It rivals any from Philadelphia." 2901 Emmons Ave., Brooklyn, 718/769-6000, from $6
San Hai Jin Mi: "They only speak Korean, but who cares when the beef is marinated for two days before it hits the barbecue?" 36-24 Union St., Queens, 718/539-3274, $10