In honor of Maine’s Restaurant Week, let’s take the stress out of finding somewhere delectable (and local!) to eat by exploring our top five apps that can be used to locate restaurants catering to every palate and wallet.  Many people today indulge in the technology of smartphones. This information especially serves those of this demographic, who are already out and about and ready to receive their daily bread.  However, at the convenience of any computer, these apps are also widely available.

1.) Urbanspoon

Customer ratings generally give Urbanspoon five-stars.  This app has it all, uncomplicated layout, GPS to find restaurants, plentiful filters to find exactly what’s being hankered for, the ability to make reservations, and reviews upon reviews upon reviews … The coolest feature is that the user can shake their iPhone, and the app will use a “slot machine” technique to suggest a restaurant in a nearby area.

2.) Yelp

Like Urbanspoon, it’s free to download and has an easy-to-use layout that allows one to search for restaurants that are close by.  Since Portland generally has a pretty strong pride in its local restaurants, with many chefs gaining bragging rights by how many local and/or organic farmers they partner with, access to finding out about these places is a no-brainer with Yelp.  Searches can be as detailed or as broad as needed, including result narrowers by price, distance, cuisine and open availability.  Then there’s the bountiful amount of reviews that stream in at a near constant.  According to Allie Athearn, a Junior English major at University of Southern Maine, Yelp is a great tool for finding restaurants specifically geared towards your tastes.

“Yelp makes it easy to find places that are new and that fall in line with what I’m craving at the time,”  said Allie. “It has also encouraged me to try places that I otherwise wouldn’t have thought of trying.”

3.) LocalEats

This is the only app that has a price tag attached to it in order to be downloadable.  However, it’s well within the college budget at a mere ninety-nine cents.  It’s  quite similar to Yelp in its ease of use; however, some differences are that it cuts out searching for all businesses and limits the search to only restaurants.  Other features are being able to get driving directions, read menus, book reservations, and you can even schedule a taxi through this app to get you there and back.  Keeping with “local pride,” you won’t be able to find chain restaurants with LocalEats.


4.) Foodspotting

Feast your eyes before you satiate your hunger: this app gives the user a visual low down on nearby restaurants.  Reviewers recommend and post images of noteworthy dishes which makes it easy to pick out what to eat before even getting to the restaurant.  The only concern is that some of the reviews are a bit outdated, but this doesn’t negate this app’s validity and usefullness. It’s like having a picture menu to all the local restaurants right in your pocket.


5.) Feast on Maine

This app is designed for only Maine restaurants.  It can’t do as many of the fancy tricks as the other apps, but it’s simple, basic and locates the best local fare in Maine! The app is brought to us by the Maine Restaurant Association.



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