8 Foodie Apps for Smart, Fresh, Local Eats

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Whether you are sifting through your smartphone for a recipe list or for a stellar local restaurant, there are countless apps available today for foodies everywhere and of every kind. It seems pretty likely today that when we’re in a pickle for where to eat or what to cook for dinner, we’re going to opt to use our smartphones first to tell us what to do. And app innovators tend to know this – so all these foodie apps out there aim for comprehensiveness, handiness, and helpfulness. There are even a slew of foodie apps that are targeted towards green initiatives, from eating vegetarian or vegan to buying produce that is pesticide-free. These apps come particularly in handy when a foodie is faced with a ton of restaurants, eateries, and markets to choose from, like when in New York City for example. These apps will help you to find whatever food is on your mind.

Fresh, Local, Yum

1. Foodily

Foodily is a highly-rated, free app created by Foodily Inc. This app is for the community-driven foodie who likes to try food in the kitchen rather than in a restaurant. Foodily makes it easy to find and swap delicious, healthy recipes with friends and other users. With the app you get a daily feed that features recipes from top chefs, food blogs, and food websites of your picking, so you always open up to the newest, freshest recipes from friends and experts who you follow. You can sort through recipes on Foodily by searching by ingredients or diet type, like gluten-free or ‘no cilantro,’ which means you’re getting a succinct list of recipes from over 500,000 total ones in the app catered to your foodie needs. You can also bookmark your favorite recipes along with photographs and comments of your meal that you can share via Facebook, Twitter, or email; the app will ‘Fave’ those recipes you flag and allow you to easily access their ingredient lists and email them to yourself or a pal for quick and easy shopping.

2. NRDC Eat Local, Locavore

Created by the editors of the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) Smarter Living, a website for consumer action and education, NRDC Eat Local is a free app that helps you find what is in season in your state and also helps you find nearby farmers’ markets so you can buy the freshest, healthiest, local, and seasonal ingredients you can. The app also gives you seasonal recipes so you know what do to with those once-in-a-while fruits and veggies you find at the market. Locavore is a similar app that is also a free farmers’ market locator and seasonal food guide, also with seasonal recipes in its arsenal; with the Locavore app you can also share what you do on Facebook. Both apps use GPS to accurately guide you to your freshest local produce.

Dining Out

3. Leloca

Leloca is a free, instant-deal app that finds restaurants in real-time near you with open tables and discounted meals all at once. This app is perfect for the foodie who likes to dine-out on a dime but also try new, high-profile places at the same time. Leloca works by finding an empty table at a popular, nearby restaurant and then offering the user the chance to save 30-50% off; the catch is however that the deal, which comes in the form of a code on your smartphone, must be used within 45 minutes at the restaurant you pick, so the app is best used when you’re ready to go and dine. That may seem like a short time, but Leloca lets you “live and save spontaneously” and try places you ordinarily might not without the incentive of a quick and delicious deal. The app boasts more than 200 restaurants signed up in NYC and will go nation-wide this fall.

4. Urbanspoon

Urbanspoon is a popular, free app that helps you browse for dining-out options based on a bunch of helpful search filters such as neighborhood, cuisine, price, or nearby location. It’s perfect if you’re in a new city and need a prime place to eat, or if you’re just in a big city like New York and need a leg-up. It uses GPS (or “location services” if you have an iPhone) to find restaurants near your current location and also makes a list of all close-by eateries. Through the app you can also make reservations, compare restaurant picks with your friends, and build and review a ‘dining history’ in your smartphone. You can even access ratings and reviews from newspapers, bloggers, and other eaters alike in order to pinpoint the perfect restaurant for your evening. Once you figure out what you’re in the mood for, unleash Urbanspoon and you’ll have the option of any restaurant at your fingertips. The app even has a cool feature for iPhones where, if you’re feeling spontaneous and could eat anything, you can shake your phone and the Urbanspoon ‘slot machine’ will suggest a restaurant for you – any adventurous foodie’s dream!

5. Foodspotting

Are you a foodie who lets your eyes guide what goes into your stomach? Then the Foodspotting app is for you. This app is for the visual foodie who wants to browse restaurants by their specific dishes, not just by the restaurants as a whole. Foodspotting relies on photographs and recommendations of meals from different restaurants or food blogs so you can see what looks good, and not just hear about it. This app works great if you’re a foodie with a craving for a particular meal, because Foodspotting helps you find nearby places that have the food you want and find what’s a must-try at a particular restaurant. So if you’ve got a hankering, let Foodspotting do the searching for you, foodie.

6. Chefs Feed

Featured as one of the New York Times’ “Three Apps for Overwhelmed New York Foodies,” Chefs Feed is a free restaurant guide that is fueled by the reviews and favorite dishes of the nation’s top chefs, such as Mario BataliWolfgang Puck, and Ming Tsai. The app is available in nine major cities in the US and offers the ‘locals-only’ dining secrets of the most famous American foodies themselves. Chefs Feed features thousands of dish recommendations at restaurants across the country, and unlike Yelp, the app’s recommendations aren’t anonymous but instead come from the pros. With this app, you can eat like a star-studded foodie in any city when you need to pare down the overwhelming options.

For example, I go to school in Boston and am always hearing about new restaurants in the city, but never have time to try every single one. So I just use my Chefs Feed app, switch the city from New York to Boston, and I can scroll through the favorite dishes of top chefs in Boston. If I see a dish that particularly catches my eye, like the arancini recommended by Ming Tsai, I can see his review and get the location, address, and phone number of the restaurant Dante in Boston that serves them. I can even make a reservation through the app. I’ll be eating like Ming Tsai in no time!

Food Trucks for Foodies

7. Eat St.

When you’re in New York City, or any big city for that matter, who doesn’t love a quick but specially satisfying meal from a one-of-a-kind food truck? There are so many throughout most North American cities, so it’s usually hard to navigate the street food scene besides stumbling upon a truck. That’s where the Eat St. app, created by Invoke Media and an app-version of the Cooking Channel show, comes in. Eat St. is free and aims to direct you to the best local street food dishes in your city. The carts and fares are rated by other street foodies, which means insider and realistic ratings. Apps users and local foodies can snap pictures of the food carts’ dishes, rate them, and offer eating tips for other users, tourists, and locals alike. Both the carts and the individual dishes are ranked, so a user can easily see the local must-try dish from each cart in any city. There is even an interactive map to help guide you to your next city food truck indulgence.

8. Tweat.it

Once you’ve discovered and nailed down your favorite meals on wheels, you can use the free app Tweat.it to easily track those food trucks throughout NYC so you always know where to find them. Tweat.it provides app users with a real-time map of where their food trucks of choice are and where they will be later on, so you can plan out when and where you’ll eat on the go. Through the app, which is available in the iTunes App Store, you can even see food trucks’ tweets for secret discounts and the day’s specials. No matter where you are, with Tweat.it you can locate your next street-side meal in seconds!

smartphone image via shutterstock
food truck image via shutterstock

About the author / 

Green Diva Juliette
juliette@thegreendivas.com'

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