Book dinner reservations across the globe with OpenTable for iPad

Jun 28, 2010
Shine

The free OpenTable for iPad app offers an intuitive experience for making dinner reservations, just like its iPhone predecessor. This app’s content display, however, allows users to expand their palettes. This iPad app’s ‘Welcome’ screen greets a logged-in user with a colorful photo of an empty, high-end-looking restaurant. The user conducts his or her search […]

The free OpenTable for iPad app offers an intuitive experience for making dinner reservations, just like its iPhone predecessor. This app’s content display, however, allows users to expand their palettes.

This iPad app’s ‘Welcome’ screen greets a logged-in user with a colorful photo of an empty, high-end-looking restaurant. The user conducts his or her search using the right rail navigation, which provides search options: Use Current Location, Search by Restaurant Name, Recent Locations or by Featured Metros. OpenTable added more countries and cities–Hong Kong, Mexico City, Dubai, Amsterdam, to name a few–that are international destinations.

An OpenTable account is required in order to reap the benefits of this app, because it keeps record of your total Dining Points, Favorites, Recent Activity and Upcoming Reservations. The standard Favorites feature comes in handy for quick recall instead of needlessly searching the app’s database of restaurants.

During your search, which operates at lightning speed, you can access user reviews and menus of the restaurants under consideration. When holding the iPad in its traditional vertical postures, the reviews are very helpful. In looking up a handful of local restaurants, I ran into menus in PDF form and OpenTable pages utilizing their website’s functionality.

I booked a dinner reservation at Green Zebra, a gourmet vegetarian restaurant located just west of Chicago’s Loop in Ukrainian Village. The process for doing so is seamless. Once you pinpoint the desired establishment, select the date and time, party size, then click ‘Find A Table.’ Once you follow these steps, select a more specific time depending on seat availability, then book it. I received an e-mail notification confirming my reservations within five minutes.

The only real negative of this app is the display of its user reviews and diner rating–a composite star rating out of five based on food quality, ambiance, service and noise level–is not apparent in landscape mode. The text changes from roughly 11 to 14-size font which is slightly disorienting and reduces the visibility of the the information. Despite this slight indigestion, this app is certainly worth downloading.

Another solid feature that crossed over from the iPhone incarnation is the ability to search a city by neighborhood, which is necessary for narrowing down the local options. This way, you can experiment with new eateries and expand your worldview as a foodie.

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Stephen Danos

Stephen Danos is the Associate Editor for appoLearning.com, AndroidApps.com, and Appolicious. He has contributed to articles published on TechCrunchThe Chicago Sun TimesThe Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere.

He received his BA in English from the University of Iowa and MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Playhouse State (H_NGM_N Books, 2012) and Gravitational (The New Megaphone, forthcoming).

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