Dining table in San Francisco

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June 4, 2015

Apps For Finding the Perfect Meal in San Francisco

San Francisco is home to some of the best restaurants in the world. Whether you’re looking for a fantastic burger or some Burmese food, the city has an assortment of amazing options available. With so many restaurants to choose from, it can be hard to decide where to eat, and more importantly, what dish you should try first once you get there.

Your smartphone can be a powerful tool in your search for the perfect meal in San Francsico. There are apps that provide recommendations from professional chefs, as well as some that can help you discover the local hideaways that you won’t find listed in any guidebooks. Here are a few of our favorites:

Open Table
San Francisco’s best restaurants have one big thing in common: it’s hard to get a table. Open Table’s app can help you find restaurants around you that might have a table available for dinner, and allows you to make a last-minute reservation as well as reserve a table in advance for a special night out. 

Want to know what the coconut seafood soup looks like at Dosa, or what you can expect from the meatloaf at Blue Plate? Dishero is packed with professional photos of some of the most popular food in town. Along with each picture is a link to the full menu at the restaurant. From there you can share the dish with a friend, “Like” it so you can remember to try it later on, or book a table through Open Table so you can try it out tonight.

Tablehopper’s Top Late-Night Eats in SF
Unlike some other larger cities, quite a few of San Francisco’s restaurants close their doors by 10 p.m. If you’re out late and looking for somewhere to eat, the Tablehopper’s Top Late-Night Eats app will be your new best friend. The app offers suggestions on where to go grab a late meal, including details about the restaurant’s ambiance and what to order when you get there.

Chef’s Feed
Who better to offer a restaurant recommendation than an actual chef? Chef's Feed offers restaurant recommendations around San Francisco, with dish reviews written by actual chefs. Chefs suggest where you should go and the town, and what you should order when you get there. Food is organized within the app by dishes nearby, featured dishes in town, and  featured chefs in the area. You can also browse through a number of curated lists to discover things like the best burrito sushi, or oysters in town based on chef’’s recommendations.

7x7 Big Eat
Each year, San Francisco Magazine 7x7 compiles a list of “100 things to eat in San Francisco before you die.”  The app compiles the lists from the past three years, and helps you discover what dishes are around you waiting to be tried right now.  Restaurants are plotted out on a map, so you can plan your dining opportunities throughout your vacation, and each entry includes a photo of the dish in question, the restaurant’s hours, and directions on how to get there from where you are right now.  If you find yourself in San Francisco often, you can also use the app to track your progress toward trying all 100 and compete with friends.

Not sure what you’re in the mood for? Check out what’s available around you with Foodspotting. Unlike other restaurant apps that curate suggestions based on lengthy reviews, the app focuses entirely on images. Sort of a cross between Yelp and Instagram, the only way to rate something is to simply love the photo.You can view pictures of food that’s available nearby where you are right now, or browse through images based on what dishes have been shared recently or loved the most on the service. Like Instagram, you can follow Foodspotters who have a similar taste to your own and upload pictures of dishes you’ve particularly enjoyed. You can also create a “Wanted” and “Tried” list within the app, as well as find a place to eat using one of the Guides created by Tastemakers.

Yelp can be particularly useful in San Francisco when you’re looking for somewhere to eat. The app allows you to search for food based just on restaurants near you, or narrow down that search to a specific type of food, say sushi, in the nearby area. Restaurants often include a significant number of photos and reviews from previous guests, as well as information about the average cost of a meal, what types of groups the restaurant is good for, and even small details like whether or not it accepts credit cards or has parking available.

Forget to make a reservation at a hot restaurant? That doesn’t mean you can’t still dine there tonight. Table8 is a fee-based restaurant reservation app that can score you a  last-minute spot at restaurants that typically require reservations weeks or even months in advance. The service looks and feels a lot like Open Table, except there’s a cost involved. Reservations can be made for couples or small groups, and are typically priced around $25.


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