While we love cooking up all sorts of goodies here at Brit HQ, some of the best culinary inspiration and experiences come from dining out. Whether you’re on the search for the juiciest burger or are dying to try the new banh mi joint, here are 13 mobile apps to help you find the perfect dining experience.
1. LocalEats (iPhone): When you’re in a new city, you’ve gotta trust the locals. This app serves up the top 100 restaurants in 50 major cities, as selected by professional foodies. It’s a great way to avoid tourist traps and to get a more authentic meal wherever you are. And as a former New Yorker, I can attest that Adrienne’s Pizzabar is solid. ;)
2. Foodivide (iPhone): Dining out with friends is great, but figuring out the bill at the end can be a real hassle. So and so ate a bite of this, and so and so only had one glass of wine but it was from the expensive bottle, and so on. It can take forever to settle up! Foodivide makes is oodles easier to split things up. Set your table, type in prices and drag them into plates for each person. Easy peasy! At $0.99, this app pays for itself.
3. Oysterpedia (iPhone): Obsessed with oysters much? If you love oysters like crazy but don’t really know anything about them, this app is for you. Mark oysters you’ve tried so you can remember them later, and learn the differences between west coast and east coast varieties.
4. Foursquare (iPhone and Android): We love using foursquare to figure out what to order at a given restaurant. Check out your friend’s tips and tips left by strangers, and unlock deals at restaurants that have an AMEX partnership. Since this is a check-in tool, this is especially great for keeping track of the good, the bad, and the most delicious dishes around.
5. Urbanspoon (iPhone and Android): We remember when Urbanspoon came out and was one of the first to ask users to actually shake their iPhone to find new places to eat. Urbanspoon utilizes your phone’s GPS to find restaurants near you, lets you filter by neighborhood, cuisine, and price, and even lets you make reservations directly from the app. Though it’s not nearly as social as foursquare or Yelp, you can check in and create a dining history of your favorite spots.
6. Foodspotting (iPhone and Android): Foodspotting is a more visual search engine than the others. It’s all about snapping pics of food you love and recommending it to friends and fellow foodies. Use it as a guide when you’re not suer what you want but know you’re hungry. Vote up dishes you love and keep track of everything you try. Plus, the app offers up specials and deals powered by ScoutMob.
7. OpenTable (iPhone and Android): The goodness of OpenTable is just as convenient when your’e on-the-go. The OpenTable mobile app lets you do exactly what you’d expect: Search for restaurants by location and cuisine, and make reservations. No bells, no whistles, and that’s why it’s worth keeping in your food folder.
8. Yelp (iPhone and Android): Good old Yelp. This is definitely our go-to for finding restaurant hours, reviews, and locations wherever we might be wandering. While we don’t always agree with the professional Yelpers’ reviews, it’s definitely our most-used app for dining app. The app lets you narrow your search by neighborhood, distance, price, and what’s open now, lets you find local deals, and ties check-ins to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. And you can make OpenTable reservations without leaving the app!
9. Zagat (iPhone and Android): Zagat keeps things fancy, and their mobile app is no exception. If you’re an Apple person, pay $9.99 to get the app for your iPhone and iPad and get access to restaurant ratings and reviews from over 30,000 restaurants, for way less than the price of one guide. On Android, you get the first 30 days free and then can choose to subscribe. Our favorite thing about this app is definitely the offline mode, allowing you to browse even if your service is spotty.
10. Restaurant Nutrition (iPhone): If chain restaurants and fast foods are your jam, then it’s important for you to know exactly what you’re eating. Most chains actually have nutrition facts on hand but this app makes it easy to find facts on the most popular dishes right in the palm of your hand.
11. Tipulator (iPhone): Trouble calculating tips? Time for the Tipulator (yes, we are singing that to the tune of “Time for da perculator“). It’s easy to split the check among several people and calculate a tip based on the service received, rather than on what’s easiest to calculate in your head. And the peppermint is really cute.
12. Wine Ratings Guide (iPhone): Perfect for the budding sommelier, this app claims to be the biggest wine rating database in the world. It’s great for those times when you’re in the wine store and have no idea what to get, or when you’re dining out and want a little more info on the wine list. The app is $3.99 but just might save you the agony of picking the wrong bottle of wine.
13. VegOut (iPhone): Trying to eat more vegetarian these days? We all are. This app lets you search restaurants that are vegan, vegetarian, and vegetarian-friendly wherever you are. While we like the concept, reviews are pretty dismal, especially when it costs $2.99. Look for an update in the near future.
What are your favorite apps for finding new and interesting places to dine? Let us know your picks in the comments below or say hi on Twitter.