One of the more challenging aspects of travel is finding food in a foreign country. Sure, there’s food everywhere, but how do you know if it’s good? Or what if you don’t feel like noodles, but would rather a pizza and beer?
That’s when food apps come to the rescue – and these five free food finders will keep you fed no matter where you are in the world.
I’ve listed my go-to food apps, and will share a couple that come highly regarded, although I can’t personally ‘guarantee’ them. Still, that’s what app reviews are for!
I used Foursquare throughout the United States and back home, and it has never steered me wrong. It works pretty much everywhere, and it covers food and restaurants, nightlife, pubs, shopping, local activities, events and fun stuff. It’s why it’s probably the preferred app for many regular travellers. You can tell the app your favourite places and it will only suggest similar places to you, so you won’t have to scroll through endless irrelevant lists. Some places will even reward you for using Foursquare, especially if you post reviews. It’s also a great tool for finding new places to eat nearby, with a ‘Best Nearby’ feature that, again, will send you relevant food choices near you (i.e., vegetarian or favourite foods, such as burgers, seafood, etc). Read restaurant reviews that cover all aspects from the décor to dishes ordered and follow users whose tastes you trust so their tips and advice on what to eat appear first. Once you find a restaurant or café you like, click on the map and the app will estimate the cost of food, as well as how long it will take to walk, drive or take public transport there.
Foursquare really simplifies the process of finding food, fun and must-see sites anywhere on the planet.
2. Zomato (formerly UrbanSpoon)
Offering information on over one million restaurants from more than 10,000 cities, Zomato has quite a reputation as a food finding gem. You can browse the seemingly endless reviews of restaurants, cafés, pubs and bars near you, or use Zomato’s search filters to find what you’d like to eat or drink, and let the app take you there, using the handy map feature.
You can book a table and eat in, take away or order delivery. Save your favourites for better search results the next time you use Zomato. Create collections among friends and share reviews, photos and favourite food moments with your friends and other Zomato users.
Finding restaurants for 21 million diners each month, 850,000 of whom go on to contribute reviews, OpenTable is a powerful force in the dining community. The app seats more than one billion diners at tables each year at over 43,000 restaurants and, according to tech Gizmodo, ‘OpenTable is secretly the best thing on the internet’. Use the app’s filters to find your type of food, search for restaurants nearby or far away, write reviews and share meal tips, photos and book tables straight from your device. OpenTable also works on a cool points-based system which, when saved up, can get you future meals for less or for free. OpenTable is also quite the ‘benefactor’, supporting the No Kid Hungry campaign which encourages diners to put their points towards feeding hungry children.
Yelp is another ripper app that is great for finding food, and for locating businesses, retail outlets, medical facilities, activities, even great local deals – and every business is rated. Yelp’s savvy search filters narrow your results to what you want to see, and you can narrow your selections down to budget, distance and ratings. There are around 50 million reviews on Yelp, so you’ll not be short of information about food and which places Yelpers think you should go. Or, if you feel like a night in your suite, you can even use Yelp to order delivered food. And when you’re back home, you can use it to find a handyman or most other types of contractors.
5. The Fork
I haven’t used this one, but I hear good things. It’s set up to cover just 10 countries – France, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Denmark, Italy and Brazil – although more are on the way. The Fork can help you find the best restaurants in town and will also find you great budget eats. The app’s partner eateries also offer big discounts for users, some as high as 50 per cent off. It also uses a rewards system where you earn points each time you book a table through the app.
Zagat – Apple/Android
Featuring concise reviews of restaurants and bars, the usual filters and a scoring system that rates food, decor and service separately. Zagat’s expert selections cover mostly any occasion, mood or craving.
Restaurant Finder – Android
A simple, easy, fast and fun food finder that works worldwide, but best in the USA, UK, Ireland, Canada, Europe, India, Australia, Brazil, Malaysia and Thailand. Simply named, Restaurant Finder finds food places near your location, and offers reviews for them all, ensuring you can always find somewhere tasty to eat locally. And if there aren’t any convenient restaurants or bars nearby, it will suggest grocery stores and bottle shops.
Do you have a favourite food app? Why not share it with our members?