Urbanspoon

You’re at work or taking a day on the town and can’t figure out where you might enjoy eating. Urbanspoon takes the guesswork away from you, randomly selecting any restaurant from a partially-filtered list from the entire city and providing you with an arbitrary opinion on where you might like to go.

Basically: Urbanspoon compiles a list of every eatery in the cities where the service is available and uses a system similar to a slot-machine to randomly select one. Shake the iPhone to spin the slots and you can tap the first category to make them stop more quickly. You can lock the categories, which are Neighborhood, Flavor and Price Range, or you could leave them unlocked to surprise you with any type and location of restaurant. You can also Browse the most popular restaurants and search within neighborhoods, and even Search for any specific phrase or word.

Pros: The shaking system makes it feel like rolling dice and makes the surprise pleasant and interesting. The ability to lock price range keeps you from constantly getting expensive results, and knowing your location means you don’t have to travel far. Also, the ability to see user and critic reviews right in the application is extremely convenient and means that you don’t have to waste a lunch break finding out that you can’t tolerate the nearest Greek eatery. Another function that actually shocked me when I first saw it was the ability to coordinate your outings with Twitter. Urbanspoon actually allows you to tweet your personal reviews, you just have to create an account with them.

Cons: While the application is brilliantly designed and fun to use, there is a stunningly basic flaw. If you don’t live in one of the cities that it has listed (and there are few), there is no chance of you searching for anything nearby. Urbanspoon is currently taking requests for cities, but so far there haven’t been many added, just major cities.

Keeping it Real: Urbanspoon is well-executed, simple and full of features. If you are in a major city and just can’t figure out what you’re hungry for, take Urbanspoon for a spin and you can get instant directions using Google Maps. This is an amazing application, just make sure that your city is included with their current available list.

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