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Let's face it—these days we're virtually lost without our smartphones, especially when it comes to going out to eat. Whether it's choosing where to go, scanning a menu, ordering in, or figuring out how to tip your server, here are our top five apps that we wouldn't think about leaving home without.
We might not always agree with the reviews posted on Yelp, but the app's handy search features are indispensable when it comes to locating restaurants and bars. Being able to filter by cuisine, price, distance and opening hours takes nearly all of the work out of choosing where to eat, even if you're out of town. In the market for an inexpensive taco joint open late on Sunday in Cleveland? Yelp can help. Yelp uses unedited user reviews to generate its starred rating system that works for getting the gist of a place, but isn't necessarily as accurate as other review apps.
With all of the Flash animation and music that restaurant websites are so fond of, trying to load a simple menu can be a major pain on most smartphones. Menupages allows users to view simple, clear and current menus from restaurants without all of the bells and whistles. The mobile version of Menupages' comprehensive site features pertinent info such as location, hours, phone number, and of course, what's on the menu. Not to mention, a GPS locator finds your location and pinpoints all of the restaurants in your immediate area.
On the Menu ($1.99)
Let's say you open up a restaurant menu and see celery served with a warm bagna cauda. Say what? Instead of waving down your snooty server with help translating, you can plug the unfamiliar term into On the Menu to demystify exotic culinary terms, dishes and preparations. On the Menu will let you know that bagna cauda is "a warm Italian dip, served and consumed in a manner similar to fondue, and made with garlic, anchovies, olive oil, butter and sometimes cream." On the Menu helps save face and avoid foodie judgment.
Quick Tip (free)
Figuring out just how much to tip at the end of a meal is never fun. Seriously, is there anyone who likes to figure out what 18 percent of $57.47 is after a few glasses of wine? Luckily, there's an app for that. Quick Tip's super simple setup is as easy as keying in your check total (no need for pesky decimal points) and using a sliding bar to determine what sort of tip you'd like to leave. Depending on whether your service was stupendous or so-so, you can calculate tips anywhere from 0 to 30 percent.
Online food delivery websites have changed the way we think about eating in. Rooting around a drawer full of messy menus is no longer necessary when ordering is as simple as using the GrubHub app. Serving 13 major cities and constantly expanding, GrubHub will do the leg work for you, figuring out what restaurants in your 'hood are open and ready to deliver to your doorstep. Restaurants are rated on a star system and are searchable by cuisine, menu item and name. Whether you're craving Thai or pizza, GrubHub makes a night in easier by storing your credit card info, address and phone number for ease of ordering.