Whether you're choosing a place for a dinner date, family meal, a takeout order, or a tempting tasting menu, the days of taking a chance on a restaurant are long gone. Thanks, in large part, to your smartphone.
A plethora of dining apps now offer users everything from restaurant reviews to nutritional guidance. The iPhone app store, for one, hosts well over 1,000 dining apps, while Android users can download more than 500. Some apps offer guidance for food lovers intent on finding the very best of a specific cuisine, like sushi or Thai, while others rely on user reviews, critic's ratings, or nutritional info to guide a hungry diner in the right direction.
This dining app deluge is a boon for hungry food hunters, no matter their preference. Vegetarians can find the best meat-free menus in a given city, families can tap kid-friendly spots in a snap, and procrastinating boyfriends can often score reservations mere hours before date night. Not to mention the educational potential for eaters — those watching their waistlines can find plenty of apps that offer specific breakdowns of a menu item's nutritional profile, while locavores can learn where to find the very best non-chain dining spots and food-cart fanatics can read comprehensive reviews of every taco truck in town.
But with so many apps to choose from, many of them offering similar features, it can be tough to figure out which ones will best suit your dining needs. Fortunately, we've done your work for you. Check out the following 15 must-have dining apps to turn your smartphone into a one-stop gastronomic guide.