15% off Gift Certificates for the Holidays! Enter code HAPPYHOLIDAYS2017 at checkout >>

Our Team

Our job is to tell you the stories of the people behind the food with a smile and expert knowledge. But first, get to know the faces behind Avital Food Tours. We love what we do and want to share our stories with you!

  • Avital Ungar, Owner/Founder

    team_avital
    • Cocktail

      Cocktail of Choice:

      Boulevardier

    • Lookout

      Favorite Lookout Point:

      From the top of Tank Hill

    • Culinary

      Current Culinary Addiction:

      Arugula

    Avital Ungar, founder and owner of Avital Tours, first became serious about the finer points of life while living in Paris and the quaint town of Aix-en-Provence in Southern France. After drinking wine at three in the afternoon as per the cultural norm and gorging her way through the countryside, Avital returned to the United States and began reading “Wine for Dummies” with the hope of adding an academic wine approach to her informal wine education. Now, years later, Avital is a certified sommelier.

    A UCLA graduate, Avital studied Art History, French and Mandarin Chinese but wishes she could have majored in Chocolate. Returning to her hometown of San Francisco after living in Shanghai working in the Chinese Contemporary art market, she began to pursue her interest in art and food professionally. She has been leading artisan food and wine tours for the past six years. She has served as a judge at the 2011 International Chocolate Salon, the Best of the West Rib Competition and and has been featured on CNN, the Travel Channel, Travel+Leisure and more.

    Want Avital to speak at your next event? Email info@avitaltours.com.

    Read more Arrow

  • Corinne Sykes, San Francisco City Manager

    north beach food tour culinary guide - corinne sykes
    • Cocktail

      Cocktail of Choice:

      Anything with vegetables

    • Lookout

      Favorite Lookout Point:

      Kite Hill

    • Culinary

      Current Culinary Addiction:

      Pickled Beets

    Corinne came to San Francisco for the Balkan music scene, but stayed for the food! (Yes, there’s a Balkan music scene…) Her passion for community through music and food began with her first trip abroad, to Bulgaria. Because she had no shared language with the grandmothers she met in the village, she would sing for them… and they would answer with food. Thus began a beautiful linguistic exchange – especially if the Rakija came out!

    Upon returning to the U.S., her head was full of songs, but her stomach was empty – missing the cherry kompot, the chubritsa spice, the khinkali dumplings, the khach’ap’uri cheese bread, and all the new flavors she’d encountered.

    Attempts to recreate the magic included: buying a goat, raising chickens, keeping bees, and lots of gardening!  Ultimately Corinne sought more and more new flavors, and ventured into the vastness of the SF restaurant scene.

    She invites you to join her for a culinary adventure through some of her favorite neighborhoods, where she’ll introduce you to her favorite characters, new flavors, and the stories behind them.

    Read more Arrow

  • Cecilia Phillips, Culinary Guide: North Beach, Mission District, Cocktail

    20150109_CeciliaPhillips_Credit_BertJohnson_Web-2
    • Cocktail

      Cocktail of Choice:

      Vodka Soda with Lime

    • Lookout

      Favorite Lookout Point:

      The Mormon Temple at Montclair

    • Culinary

      Current Culinary Addiction:

      All Dim Sum

    Cecilia is an industry gal at heart. Having worked in restaurants for the better part of a decade and a half, she brings a unique look into the behind the scenes of eating out and the culture of the Front of House. She has done it all, having been employed  at various establishments, in a plethora of different cuisines from counter service to fine dining. She has been a hostess, busser, food runner, barback, cocktail waitress, beertendress, and a bartender, all while on the side, getting her bachelors degree, being a reporter for a major news network, hosting a weekly web series about parties and restaurant reviews and throwing cocktail competitions. It is doing food tours with Avital though, that helps her practice for her dream job of being the host of her own food television show.  You can find her in any of the neighborhoods, but her personal favorite is the cocktail experience, where she gives in depth knowledge with her years of expertise behind the bar about spirits and cocktails.

    Read more Arrow

  • Renee Novak, Operations Assistant and Customer Service

    Pic-155x185
    • Cocktail

      Cocktail of Choice:

      Mint Julep

    • Lookout

      Favorite Lookout Point:

      Golden Gate Heights Mosaic Stairway

    • Culinary

      Current Culinary Addiction:

      Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

  • Hana Nobel, Culinary Guide: North Beach

    North Beach Food tour culinary guide - hana nobel
    • Cocktail

      Cocktail of Choice:

      Oatmeal Stout Beer at Cellarmaker

    • Lookout

      Favorite Lookout Point:

      Top of Mt. Tamalpais

    • Culinary

      Current Culinary Addiction:

      XLB at Kingdom of Dumpling

    Hana was raised on the East Coast until the realized that California offered two things she was missing: snow-free winters and real Mexican food. Now she is happier watching the snowstorms on the Weather Channel and eating late night burritos in the Mission.

    Before landing in the Golden State, Hana lived in the Garden State (New Jersey) where she learned to love Bruce Springsteen and a good hoagie, Boston where she realized that two hours is a worthwhile drive for a Maine lobster roll, and Hawaii where she did not learn to surf but did learn about the joys of ahi tuna poke.

    Hana’s parents always knew she was food-obsessed, since she ran down the aisle of the grocery store asking for pâté at age 3 and claiming her favorite food was dim sum at age 5. She maintains that obsession by spending most of her time in the food world. When she’s not on a tour, Hana is writing about food, or eating, or both (which is why her keyboard has its fair share of soy sauce stains and crumbs).

    Read more Arrow

  • Leila N’Amara, Culinary Guide: North Beach, Haight Ashbury

    north beach food tour culinary guide leila amara
    • Cocktail

      Cocktail of Choice:

      Southern Exposure

    • Lookout

      Favorite Lookout Point:

      Fort Funston

    • Culinary

      Current Culinary Addiction:

      Cheddar Scallion Scone at Andytown Coffee

    Leila is a  fifth generation San Franciscan! Native San Franciscan’s are so rare they are practically unicorns. After riding in the short-lived Pony Express, her great-great-great grandfather came out West and settled into Spanish Dry Diggins in search for gold—a real cowboy! After the Gold Rush he followed the migration of people into San Francisco and lived right off of Market St.

    Leila’s mom passed down this love of big hearty cowboy-style meals to her in the form of Saturday breakfasts. She’d get us up early to head to diners for mile-high stacks of pancakes, plump juicy sausages and hand-grated potatoes for the best hashbrowns. Nowadays, Leila and her mom hit the road in search for the best All- American diners. Their favorite road-trip destination is up into the San Bernardino Mountains to Apple Annie’s where you’ll find Annie serving tables alongside her daughter and grandchildren. Her favorite thing about Apple Annie’s? That would be the signs that litter the walls stating, “If you’re still hungry, the second meal is on us!”

    Read more Arrow

  • Margherita Ventura, Culinary Guide: North Beach

    north beach food tour culinary guide - margherita
    • Cocktail

      Cocktail of Choice:

      Pisco Punch

    • Lookout

      Favorite Lookout Point:

      Eagle's Point

    • Culinary

      Current Culinary Addiction:

      Smoked Potatoes at Bar Tartine

    Margherita grew up in Florence, Italy, the land of olive oil, lots of wild game and Chianti wine. But it’s also the place where gelato was invented. Margherita loves sweets and even invented one of Florence’s most popular gelato flavors – wild strawberry with white chocolate and mint.

    Though it may not look like she eats much dessert from her tiny figure, she created an experiential dessert business crafting beautiful delicious sweets for weddings and events that was featured in numerous European lifestyle magazines.

    Now living in San Francisco, she’s excited to be surrounded by other chefs making amazing desserts and enjoys touring everything from traditional chocolatiers to innovative pastry masters.

    Read more Arrow