There are a about a handful of exceptional restaurant-finder apps out there helping match diners with a choice place. Some use algorithms based on dining awards, food critic reviews, location, and price, while others like Yelp and Urbanspoon rely heavily on customer reviews and ratings.
Dining app LocalEats is one of the former. Well-rated, and not a new app, it’s a tried and tested, and highly rated mobile app that diners everywhere are finding helpful, especially while traveling.
One of the hardest things for trekkers to do is find great local food, especially when traveling to a locale for the first time, and even more specifically, for business. Many just don’t have time to research dining options, yet find later that it’s one of the top items of travel regret.
Dining apps are making it easier for us to find what we are looking for while on the go, practically eliminating the chance for compunction.
Meaning of Local
One of the great things about traveling is getting to know the locals through their food. Every small town in America has its own flare, flavor, and homegrown traditions. Big cities are no different.
In fact, we’ve found that one of the best things when in a big city is the ability to find all kinds of local “global” cuisine, and not just done well, but done near true to its home of origin. After all, what is true local food in America, this big melting pot of a nation? It’s everything—from all over.
Now, if you think about a Philly cheesesteak, or deep-dish pizza from Chicago, or a po’boy from New Orleans, that’s what you might associate with the term “local American.” These foods are completely a part of the scenery, where the flavors, textures, and identity of a place come together with just a bite—when you know exactly where you are by taste.
Do a search online for pizza in Chicago, and you will come up with hundreds of places, many of them so-so places not rave-worthy. And, looking at Yelp, you will find some local run-of-the-mill places on top-rated lists. But, ask a food critic from Chicago, and they can tell you no pizza is created equal, not even there. Still, so many people think that if you want to taste the best of local cuisine, ask the locals. That’s not always the outcome though.
Because there is local cuisine, and then there is world-class local cuisine.
App LocalEats has sifted through all of that noise for you. For instance, when visiting Chicago, it’s practically guaranteed that if you like pizza, you will enjoy eating pizza from a world-class pizza place.
But, if you have lots of time, that’s when you hit the pizza parlor in the neighborhood where your college friend—the one who insists “you gotta try this pizza!”—grew up. Then you’ll have time to take a look around, get a feel for the neighborhood, delving into a little bit of your friend’s history and heart.
Start in Print
Local eats began as a print guide, taking information from local newspapers, magazine reader polls, restaurant critics, including local businesses, and professionals. The guide grew to over a thousand U.S. cities and towns, helping travelers find the best in local dining experience.
LocalEats does not include any chain restaurants in their searches; the focus is on local restaurants that are what they tout, “only the best restaurants in the world.”
LocalEats mobile app contains in-app menus for over 70 percent of the restaurants it lists through a partnership with SinglePlatform, a service of Constant Contact, which allows businesses to showcase their products to any number of websites and apps. This allows for the most recent updated information given in restaurant searchers, since the restaurants control the information that goes into SinglePlatform.
Another benefit is that LocalEats is also partnered with BiteHunter, another service that provides real-time, location-based dining deals. They have over 50 thousand local dining deals across the United States.
User-friendly, and with a simple layout, the app is easy to learn and easier to use. There is the option to search for places based on GPS location, as well as for particular cities and states. You can also narrow the search down by using keywords for the type of cuisine, or food item, restaurant name, zip code, among other things.
Icons on the bottom of the app’s interface are for navigating through the app and there’s even a search by landmark, which is a cool feature that sweetens the apps appeal.
The search itself contains mostly the type of information you’d find on OpenTable, such as type of cuisine, professional description of the place, price range, features (like handicap access info), phone number and address, and many times an excerpt of a professional food review. Convenient features included are a call button that calls the number of the restaurant automatically when pressed, as well as a menu button that pulls up the most recently added menu of the place, and the ability to mark your favorite dishes.
You can also star restaurants to add to a personal favorites list, saving them for you within the app.
This app does not have an all-inclusive restaurant search. It’s a screened search, intended to bring the top rated choices they hope you will appreciate.
The iPhone version of LocalEats was used in the review process for this article. The iPhone version can be bought in iPhone’s App Store for 99 cents. The iPad version is free. For Android phones, there is a free Android version available for download on www.appszoom.com
Additional reporting by Vanessa Rios, Epoch Times Staff
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