Mobile Apps for the Discriminating Palate – or the Ordinary one

When you’re on the go or  not in the mood to cook, finding a good meal may be difficult, especially if you are unfamiliar with the location in which you are trying to find a restaurant. Luckily, there are several smartphone applications designed to point out the best eateries in the area. From comfort food to fine dining, these programs are sure to satisfy your palate.

LocalEats

LocalEats lists the top 100 restaurants in dozens of cities across the United States and provides menus for most of them. You can even make reservations or call for a taxi to ferry you to your destination within the application. This app is available for free on Android devices, but costs $0.99 for Apple customers and $2.99 for Blackberry users.

Urbanspoon

Urbanspoon is a popular and free dining app that lets you shake your way to a delicious meal if you are unsure what you’d like to eat. Urbanspoon allows you to independently select cuisine type and price, so you are able to find just what you are craving. Urbanspoon has GPS integration that maps your destination with Google Maps, so you can easily navigate to your next meal. You can read reviews from other Urbanspoon users and make reservations with your Apple or Android or Blackberry smartphone, as well.

BiteHunter

If you crave a deal with your meal, BiteHunter is the app for you. More than 50,000 restaurant deals from across the nation are displayed in real time, along with reviews, photographs and menus from many of the restaurants featured. Additionally, BiteHunter links directly to your Groupon account, allowing you to purchase offers from the site from within the app. BiteHunter is available exclusively for Apple users and is completely free.

Chef’s Feed

Have you ever wondered where world-class chefs eat? Find the gourmet hot spots in nine major cities across the United States. More than 295 chefs, including Mario Batali and Wolfgang Puck, weigh in with their favorite restaurants, and their favorite dishes, from five-star fare to diner delicacies. The app is free for both Apple and Android smartphone users.

VegOut

If you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, chances are you know someone who is. Sometimes, finding a place where you can share a meal with your herbivore pals can be difficult. With this app, it’s easy to locate a nearby restaurant that caters to either diet. The mobile application ranges in price across platforms, but it is available to Apple, Android, Windows, Symbiam and Palm Pre smartphone customers.

Tipulator

Once you’ve found and enjoyed your meal, let your mobile phone help you calculate your tip. Tipulator takes the sometimes-difficult calculation out of tipping by allowing you to select the percentage you wish to tip and providing you with a prompt figure. You can round up or down with the app, and it also allows you to figure out totals for splitting checks between friends. Tipulator is available in the Android Play Store for free, but Apple users must pay $0.99 to access the software.

Jaye Ryan is a freelance writer who loves food, restaurants and mobile phone apps and writing about them for MobilePhones.org.uk.