Best apps for finding restaurants
You're hungry, but you don't feel like cooking and you want to go try someplace new. Whether you're traveling in a new city or you're searching for a new go-to spot at home, there's always something out there that you should be discovering. But where do you start when there are so many possible options?
Fortunately, we have iOS devices and there's no shortage of great apps out there to help us find the next hot spot to eat at. We've rounded up some of the best options here for you, so let's dive in!
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This one's a no-brainer, but always worth a mention. Yelp is the go-to app for finding any business, whether it's a restaurant, store, or even a service.
With Yelp, you can search for restaurants, fast food, coffee & tea, or whatever else your heart desires at the moment. There are quick categories that pull up the best results near your current location, or you can search for something specific, like a type of cuisine you're craving. Results appear in order of what's closest to you, and you can view by the default list or a map.
When you find something that sounds good to you, just tap it to get more details and user reviews. Yelp does a great job of showing you price ranges, menus, and user-submitted photos. Some places even allow you to order takeout or delivery right through Yelp or make reservations.
Yelp is a must on every iOS device.
Foursquare's another popular option if you're yearning for something new.
Like Yelp, Foursquare allows you to search for specific restaurants, cuisines, or other businesses. It also gives you some simple categories to search in right on the main screen, like Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
As you find places that sound interesting to you, tap on them to view information like user ratings, photos, and tips left by other users. The only thing about Foursquare that makes it not as good as Yelp is the fact that menus aren't as abundant as Yelp. So you'll need to do some digging around to find a place with a menu in Foursquare, as opposed to Yelp.
Foursquare also integrates with your Swarm account, which is the social app that you use to "check-in" to places. Foursquare displays all of your check-in histories, making it easy for you to leave tips for others.
If you prefer making reservations ahead of time before you dine, then OpenTable is a must.
OpenTable allows users to check out what restaurants are nearby, and there are curated recommendations for you based on your dining history. You can also search for specific restaurants by name or just go by cuisine type or atmosphere.
Viewing a restaurant in OpenTable lets you check the price range, view the overall rating from users, see the menu, read user reviews, and more. The main feature, though, is that you can see what time slots are open for a reservation and book yours directly within the app. If you have an OpenTable account, doing this nets you points, which can be traded in for rewards (dining rewards, Amazon gift cards, etc.) once you've earned enough.
Zomato focuses entirely on social, so you'll have no problems finding something that's tasty and trendy at the same time.
With Zomato, users can search for restaurants, cafes, pubs, or whatever just by typing in a cuisine or location. As you find a place that piques your interest, just select it to view an overview, which includes hours, photos, payment type, menus, and user reviews. All restaurants in Zomato also have a rating, which is between 1-5.
Zomato definitely focuses more on the social aspect, asking you to rate places you've been, and a lot of the places it shows me would fall under the "hot and trendy" category. If that's more of your thing, then Zomato is a good addition.
When you think of the best restaurants, they probably have a high rating on Zagat, which was an annual survey of restaurant reviews since the 1980s. But now it's another useful and informative app for your phone, and it doesn't cost anything to use like the old guides used to be.
Zagat differentiates itself from the other apps though, by only having ratings and reviews that are curated by Zagat editors, rather than anyone. This means you're getting the best of the best when searching in Zagat, rather than just any old place in town.
However, Zagat still pulls in user reviews from Google, in case the editor's comments aren't enough to convince you, or if you prefer the opinion of other everyday people like you and me.
You'll get all of the necessary information when viewing a restaurant in Zagat, such as address, hours, menu, rating, and price ranges. And the best part about the Zagat app is that it's free for anyone to use.
Are you vegetarian or vegan? Then HappyCow is the app you'll need in your arsenal for finding restaurants.
With HappyCow, you can search for vegan-friendly places that are near you right now or by specific location. There are three settings to searching in HappyCow too: Vegetarian, Vegan, or Vegan-Options, just in case you're dining with some omnivores or carnivores in the party. The search categories are vast and include pretty much anything you desire, whether it's restaurants, fast food, juice bars, gluten-free, and more.
If you're planning on traveling, HappyCow allows you to store favorites and even reference them offline. The app also provides you with user reviews and ratings of restaurants, photos, and menus along with generic info.
Seriously, if you're vegetarian or vegan and struggle with finding good eating-out options, HappyCow makes your life much easier.
Now go grab some tasty grub!
Are you hungry yet? It's hard not to be after reading about apps that help you find restaurants, right? These are some of the best apps we've found, and personally, I can't live without Yelp! It's the app I always turn to whenever I'm looking for new places to try with my husband or even just friends and family.
What are your favorite apps for finding new restaurants? Sound off in the comments below!
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Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.