Food, food, glorious food. From the finest dining experience to the most satisfying of burgers, we all crave one type or another. And when that craving hits – where to go? What type — Chinese, Italian, Mediterranean? I don’t want to spend time debating the issue — I WANT TO EAT!! How about just the local pub? I don’t care – I JUST WANT TO EAT!
Enter Zagat ToGo (mobile.zagat.com/iphone.htm), which costs US$9.99.
“The most trusted guide to restaurants comes to the iPhone and WiFi iPod touch with over 45 Guides of Restaurant Reviews and Ratings for less than the price of 1 guide! Whether a cheap bite or a posh dinner, Zagat has shown the way for 30 years! Our Nightlife, Hotel and Shopping coverage also included where available.”
A getaway weekend all planned in seconds with only your fingertips? Let’s see.
Zagat is a restaurant, travel and night life review guide started in 1979 by Tim and Nina Zagat as a way to collect and correlate the ratings of restaurants by diners. For their first guide, covering New York City, the Zagats surveyed their friends. Today, Zagats covers over 70 major metropolitan areas, but also has a very good handle on burbs like my South Jersey area.
You can choose from restaurants, nightlife and hotels (plus, occasionally shopping). After your experience at any of the listed establishments, you are asked to review your experience and rate such items as service, decor, promptness, etc. These reviews are then added to others of the establishment to give them an aggregate rating. Plus you can add any additional observations to your experience.
Additional functions are:
° You can use Zagat ToGo offline after syncing via Wi-Fi;
° GPS: Find nearby restaurants automatically;
° Recommendations: A digital concierge tells you where to take dates, clients, friends and more;
° Advanced search: You can mix and match by any criteria;
° Top rated lists: Find the “Best of” in your city like Best Buys, Best Burgers, Most Romantic & more.;
° Reservations: Reserve tables instantly;
° Sort: Filter by food, décor, service or costs;
° Email reviews, add to contacts and full photos.
As I had mentioned earlier, I put Zagat ToGo through its paces in my sleepy little hamlet. And I have to say that all of the reviews were spot on! Places were I had bad experiences were brought back to mind after reading of patrons suffering the very same nightmares or pleasantries that I had. I found the various ratings of decor and such to also to be extremely accurate.
The maps to the location, as well as the single page with the phone number, gastronomic scores and reservation button, make for an extremely easy booking experience
I did find a few restaurants that no longer exist, but when you think of the sheer number of establishments that are covered in this app, that’s more than understandable.
If you’re just a couple looking for a good weekend out in a major city or just trying to pick from your local haunts, Zagat ToGo is worth every single penny. Doesn’t even rate a second thought. This is the kind of app that makes the iPhone indispensable.
In fact, it is too good, in one way. It is not diet friendly.
Rating: 10 of 10
— Frank Petrie