Don’t you just hate traveling to a new city and not knowing where to eat? Hell, sometimes I run out of ideas in my own town. And as much as I use TripAdvisor to get ideas here and there, I really like tapping into what locals eat, places my own friends recommend and expert suggestions. Personally, I find TripAdvisor to be a little too streamlined and sometimes feels like a popularity contest. So without further ado, here’s a short list of apps for foodie travelers I’ve used to help make my culinary explorations a little easier:
the PAO app
What it does: Finds hidden gems in whatever city you’re in. Events, food & drink, lodging, seeing; if it’s unique or off the beaten path, you’ll find it here. Save your favorites, follow others and share your own hidden gems.
Best features: The Explore tab. It’s organized in a way that helps you discover things even if you don’t know what you’re looking for. From generic suggestions such as Coffee Spots to hyper-specific ones like Black-Owned Businesses to Support in Denver, there is something to uncover every time.
My rating: 4.5/5 forks. Adding locations in a new post is sometimes wonky, but otherwise I truly love this app. It’s like a food/travel-centric, simplified, ad free version of Instagram.
Website: The Pao App
What it does: Helps in finding vegan and vegetarian food wherever you go. It’s a veggie community-building space and food map all in one place, covering over 180 countries.
Best features: The map view. Offers a quick and simple view of nearby establishments, their price range, if they are currently open or not, their rating, and what category they belong to. You can also save your favorite places for offline use.
Price: 3.99 USD.
My rating: 4/5 forks. Restaurants that only have one or few vegetarian options are put into the same category with fully vegetarian ones, which really should not be the case. (Huge thanks to @reginamarie94 and @jenny.from.the.hawk for their insight!)
What it is: A collection of curated destination guides put together by local insiders, so you can experience authentic food. The guides cover everything from street food to fine dining.
Best features: The worthiness index. Such a simple thing, but it really helps clarify what you’re looking at: Neighborhood gem, detour-worthy, or bucket list-worthy. Eat-ineraries also take out a lot of the guesswork of building a trip centered around food.
Price: app is free, each guide is 19 USD for one-year access.
My rating: 4.99/5 forks. The guides are beautiful, the recommendations are rock solid, but the map is kinda useless unless you’ve purchased one of the guides.
Website: Mamakoo | Discover local foods
What it does: Rate and review food, making it easy to find dishes that are worth trying wherever you are. You get recommendations for what to actually eat at a place, not just where.
Best features: Its sheer thoroughness. There’s a restaurant view that lets you see all the dishes that have been reviewed for that location and their average rating, along with photos and general information; dish view shows all the reviews available for that dish at that location, rating, and rank within the city. Profile view has all your reviews, a map, and lists that you can customize to better organize your reviews.
My rating: 4.5/5 forks. There’s no widespread use just yet, so for many dishes its hard to find more than a single review or rating. The app in general is slooooow.
Website: Eaten – The Food Rating App
What it is: A social network to connect people who enjoy travel and unique experiences. Food, drink, or the great outdoors, you can explore based on your location or your interests.
Best feature: The rewards. From complimentary cocktails to discounts on the bill, it’s always nice to get a little extra something.
My rating: 3/5 forks. The design of the app is a bit clunky, both in terms of functionality and appearance. And half of the features are unavailable unless you login (including the whole map?!) – but you can only sign up with an invite code after applying to be selected.
to Eat list
What it does: Keeps track of the places you want to eat at in a much more organized and visual manner than just a random note on your phone. You can add friends and follow others to see what’s on their restaurant wish list. Favorite places to add a quick comment about them.
Best features: The simplicity. It’s fast, uncomplicated, and visually appealing. It automatically updates with your location to show you which places from your list are closest to you at any given time, so you don’t forget about a specific place if you’re in the vicinity. The search tab uses emojis to identify filters, which I find hilarious and 100% appropriate for this day and age.
My rating: 5/5 forks. It does what it’s supposed to and does it well.
World of Mouth
What it is: an independent restaurant guide put together by a global community of industry experts and insiders, like Ana Roš and Phil Rosenthal (❤️).
Best features: The guides themselves. There are WoM Guides, “Highly curated eating & drinking guides to the world’s most interesting culinary destinations” which are stylish, thorough, and well organized. Then there are MyGuides, “Created by the World of Mouth community and our editorial team” which are more informal but equally interesting. The library organizes your own guides, which you can keep private or share with the community.
My rating: 5/5 forks. It’s a serious app that combines the best things of some of the other apps on this list.
Are there any other apps that would be useful? Let me know in the comments!