Don't forget the app-etizer: ten food apps to help you find a restaurant, cook like a Naked Chef, and more
Do you like to cook? Do you like to visit new restaurants? There's an app for that.
Tech and food have collided. Today, there are hundreds of food-related apps available on the mobile marketplace. Urbanspoon was one of the early standouts, dazzling people with its roulette-style interface. People soon realized the potential of food apps, and now you can find or learn practically anything related to food. There are apps about oysters, recipe apps, how-to apps, and more.
Where you’re looking to dine in or eat out, here are ten food apps worth checking out.
The Foodspotting app is nothing new, having been out on the market since 2010. Like Urbanspoon, another restaurant-finding app, Foodspotting is one of those premiere apps that’s gained traction as its user base has grown. That said, it's worthy of its notoriety, and a list of food-related apps would be incomplete without its mention!
Say you're in a new place. You're hungry, and you're trying to find a restaurant to pop by for dinner. You open up Foodspotting, and you're greeted by photos of plated food and macro shots of desserts. Each photo tells a story.
Foodspotting gives you ideas of local restaurants by offering photos of your choices. Unlike Urbanspoon, you choose your restaurant by picking and choosing from user-submitted photos. You can also look for specific dishes or check out restaurant reviews.
When photos appear on Foodspotting's map interface, powered either by a user-submitted location or via the phone's GPS, you can like photos, "want" them and save them for later, or approve of the restaurant submission. Foodspotting integrates with social media like Instagram.
Foodspotting is available for both Android and iPhone.
2. Jamie's Recipes
You know that kind of scruffy-looking Brit, the one who goes to school cafeterias espousing healthy, all-natural foods to kids? The one who fancies himself a Naked Chef and has a food magazine? Well, he has an app, and it’s a beauty.
The Jamie’s Recipes app has a lovely interface, looking natural and rustic, and the included recipes are clear and easy to understand. The app is built for novice chefs in particular, and Jamie offers handholding through the more complicated dishes.
Although the content on the free app is a little sparse--ten recipes can only take you so far--the care in developing the recipes shines through. The app includes useful videos as well, including a video on knife skills.
If you really like Jamie's style, you can purchase additional recipes in themed packs for $1.99 each. Unfortunately, the Jamie’ Recipes app is only available for iPhone and iPad, but those with Android devices can still get his 20-Minute Meals app.
If you're hungry and lazy, it can feel like a chore to hunt down takeout menus. With this app, it's easy to find local takeout choices. Eat24 aggregates thousands of menus across the U.S., and thanks to it being a phone app, it's a no-brainer to dial the restaurant and place an order. Be warned that you'll still have to get up off the couch to answer the door.
A similar app, Seamless, has less coverage but is a feast for the eyes. If you live in a major city, it's worth checking out.
Eat24 is available for free on all mobile devices.
4. Giada's Daily Bite
Giada de Laurentiis, queen of Italian food television in the States, has released an app featuring a smattering of recipes for Italian dishes. Recipes are presented with a nice, clean interface, and offered dishes include appetizers and dinner staples.
As a funny aside, included on the app are sound bites of Giada pronouncing words in Italian. Now you too can feel confident as you order prosciutto at La Villa--or just use it while making something at home.
The app is free and available for the Nook and for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.
For those who enjoy the finer things in life, OpenTable is an app that helps you make restaurant reservations. An extension of the OpenTable website, the OpenTable app is available for pretty much every mobile device, including Android phones, iPhones, iPad, and Kindle Fire.
Connecting to over 15,000 restaurants, OpenTable showcases menus, seating availability, and contact info. Seat availability is displayed in real-time, and once a reservation is confirmed, you can invite other dinners via the app. Restaurants can be sorted via price and location, and you can search for places to eat either by name or through OpenTable’s interactive map.
This app, a mobile version of the Happy Cow website, is a godsend for vegetarians and vegans who love to eat out but hate to navigate the landmines of finding meatless options on menus. Once known as VegOut, HappyCow lists local restaurants who serve vegetarian and vegan food, linking to menus and user reviews.
HappyCow allows users to find vegetarian options in over 150 countries. Users can search either by address or geolocation, and from the app, they can write reviews, upload pictures, and connect with other users.
HappyCow is available for all devices. The HappyCow mobile link also provides links to other vegetarian-friendly apps.
7. Evernote Food
Evernote is an incredibly popular note-taking app. It allows users to clip bits and pieces from blogs, save photos, organize notes, and notate websites in an intuitive, user-friendly way. In 2013, they released a newer, more specific app: Evernote Food.
Evernote Food is a way of organizing recipes, tasting notes, food journals, and more. It approaches food and memory in a new way, allowing users to really exploring the experience of cooking and eating. Like the original Evernote, notes and clipped articles are saved on the cloud, so what you clip on your phone can be accessed on your tablet while you're whipping up a new recipe in the kitchen.
Although there a few issues with saving recipes and other miscellaneous bugs, the overall impression of Evernote Food is that it’s worth getting if you’re a foodie who likes organizing information. For recipe developers, it can be a great way of storing step-by-step photos and recipe iterations. For those wanting to keep a food journal, it’s an intuitive way of connecting pictures with text with menus.
Evernote Food is available for both Android and iPhone.
8. Martha Stewart Cookies
Have you ever felt jealous at seeing someone bring in a tray of meticulously decorated cookies that taste as amazing as they look? No more. Martha Stewart is no stranger to using technology to spread her form-and-function message of domestic bliss, and she's released several apps featuring recipes and ideas from her various cookbooks. This app is specifically about cookies, something that Martha particularly excels at.
Martha Stewart Cookies offers over 90 recipes, and more recipes can be purchased as add-ons. As with all of Martha Stewart’s publications, this app is a treat to look at, with richly photographed recipes and lots of useful information.
Alas, this free app is only for iPhones and iPads, so those with Android devices will have to stick with the Christmas issues of Martha Stewart Living--or steal a friend's iDevice.
DinnerSpinner is the mobile app version of the Allrecipes site, a huge aggregate site of recipes from across the world. The DinnerSpinner app was awarded a Top 50 award by TIME Magazine.
With DinnerSpinner, you can scan items at the grocery store to make shopping lists; read shopping lists from your phone; search through recipes by nutrition, ingredient, or name; and bookmark recipes that pique your interest. Because it runs through the Allrecipes site, DinnerSpinner gives you access to thousands of recipes.
The DinnerSpinner app is free, but there’s a pro version you can buy that grants additional features and removes ads. It is available for all devices and some tablets, including Kindle Fire.
10. Pizza delivery apps
This is more a category of apps than a single app to download. Everyone has their favorite fast-food pizza, and I wanted to list the broadest range possible. For example, I wouldn't touch Domino's with a stick because it would come back covered in grease. But Pizza Hut? Heck yeah, gimme some thin crust pizza!
For the most part, all of the apps allow you to order from your mobile device. Some offer additional features such as the ability to pay through the app or interactive pizza tracking. Supported devices differ from app to app.