Restaurant apps for smart phones, RN First Bite with Jennifer Lam from I Ate My Way Through

I was recently invited by ABC Radio’s Michael Mackenzie to talk about mobile apps on the RN First Bite program! This was broadcasted live across Australia a few weeks ago on October 26.

Since the day smart phones were introduced, my iPhone has essentially become an extension of me. More specifically with food and travel, there are apps that makes cooking conversions and translations easier, apps that enhance lighting and contrast so my Instagram photos look even more alluring, and apps that facilitate the social discovery of new places to eat at. It is this latter topic that I was asked to talk about.

I grouped these apps into three categories:

Finding Restaurants

  • Urbanspoon
    Great for discovering popular restaurants at most major cities around Australia, Urbanspoon is handy in that it features both user reviews and blogger reviews and offers a quick snapshot of restaurants in the area based on percentage-based ratings, cuisine and price.
  • Yelp
    Yelp goes beyond just finding restaurants, cafes and bars and touches on other local businesses too; the reviews are more detailed than Urbanspoon and ‘Elite Yelp reviewers’ help make the content slightly more insightful.
  • FoodSpotting
    Scan for places to eat via recommended dishes. FoodSpotting is all about the visuals, perfect for people who like to see exactly what they’ll be served!
  • FourSquare
    A location-based social network, Foursquare is fun for keeping up with friends on the go and discovering tips for nearby best food, nightlight and entertainment. Plus some restaurants offer specials for check-ins and bonuses for ‘mayors’.

Food Ordering and Delivery

  • Menulog
    For when you’re too lazy to even pickup takeaway, Menulog has over 2000 restaurants on their database who are ready to deliver, with many offering discounts for first-time customers and loyalty specials on repeat orders.
  • EatNow
    Part of the Catch of the Day Group, EatNow has a good database of local restaurants around Australia offering easy online ordering and delivery. They accept cash on delivery, credit card payments and even Paypal.

Booking Restaurants

  • Book a Restaurant
    Linking directly to the reservations system of all featured restaurants, you can search for real-time table availability and book instantly.
  • Dimmi
    With over 2500 restaurants nationwide and dozens of affiliates including Google, TripAdvisor, Gourmet Traveller, and Fairfax’s Good Food Guide, Dimmi’s restaurant booking system seems to be integrated everywhere!
  • Lime & Tonic
    This new app offers personalised recommendations and dining experiences based on data you provide in your profile settings!

What are your favourite restaurant discovery apps?

[box_light]You can listen to this program on the ABC website:[/box_light]

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.

I can vouch for FoodSpotting, it's AMAZING for when you're in a new city trying to find your way around. Here's a more in-depth review of it from the Telegraph : in case anyone wants to read a bit more, I found it useful. It reminds me a little bit of, the way they help you find the best things. I really don't have time to waste, so apps like these are really helpful.