Find restaurants, reviews with Urbanspoon app

Aug 24, 2009

It’s hard to be more endearing than Urbanspoon. This app is a basic restaurant search engine, or for more fun, use its clever slot machine style interface to see what it picks for you. If you love to discover restaurants while you’re on the road, or better yet, in your own neighborhood, this is a completely useful app.

Urbanspoon is simple to use. Lock any of the three Urbanspoon wheels–area of city, cuisine type and price point–to restrict its randomness, or just give the Urbanspoon wheel a shake and test your luck. You can keep clicking the Shake button until something suites your fancy, then click for the selected restaurant’s phone number, to read reviews and to view user ratings.

Urbanspoon will automatically sync to your location if you give it permission, and it nicely links to restaurants on a map when selected. Conveniently, you can also browse by category, which include Neighborhood, Types of Food, Talk of the Town and more. You can also set up an account and share restaurant opinions and compare notes with friends.

The Urbanspoon app has lots of user-generated content. Upload pictures, photos or menus and vote on whether you liked the restaurant or not. Information isn’t always consistent. Some will have reviews and menu previews; some are a little spotty.

The home page features editorial lists to help you find the best of the best options in your city. Selections are pulled from Eater, Urbanspoon’s own top picks, and Michelin-starred and James Beard Foundation award winners and nominees, for example.

If you don’t already have an Urbanspoon account you’ll want to register. The app now offers a wishlist feature for you to keep track of places where you mean to dine in the future. This integrates with the new maps that displays restaurants sortable by name, user rating and price. You can also filter by cuisine. The map typically uses your current location to display nearby restaurants, but you can search by name or re-drop the location anywhere you want by tapping the GPS arrow.

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Account users can also access Urbanspoon’s Dineline, a meal tracker for inputting where you ate, when you ate it and how much you spent. There’s also a place to upload photos of your food or make notes. This feature is shareable on Facebook and a nice way to keep track of your culinary history.

Regardless, it’s hard to take a spin through Urbanspoon and not find something to suit your craving.

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Tiesha Miller

Tiesha Miller is a Chicago-based writer/editor who's earned her stripes working on daily newspapers, city magazines and keeping the faith as a Kansas City Royals fan.

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