Urbanspoon for iPhone review

Tired of eating in the same old places over and over again? Try your luck with the Urbanspoon iPhone app. This quirky program, derived from the Urbanspoon Web site aggregates restaurant reviews from newspapers, bloggers, and diners – and puts a slot machine spin on selecting a nearby eatery.

Launch Urbanspoon and wait a moment while the program pinpoints your current location. Here in the UK the only location available is London.

The next screen resembles a slot machine with three spinning wheels: one filled with nearby areas, another with food categories, and a third with prices ranging from one to four dollar signs. (The more dollar signs, the pricier the menu items.)

Now comes the fun part. Gently shake your iPhone and the wheels start spinning. (There’s also a Shake button to tap if you’re too weakened by hunger pangs to exert the effort.) When the wheels stop, you’ll be given the name of a recommended restaurant that fits the selected criteria. Don’t like the result? Shake again. Tap on the blue arrow to the right of the restaurant’s name to get the phone number, address, and the percentage of Urbanspoon reviewers who gave it a positive review. Tapping on the address brings it up in the Maps program. Tapping on More Info brings up the restaurant’s Urbanspoon web page so you can read individual reviews. You can also email the restaurant’s info to yourself or a friend.

OUR VERDICT

Urbanspoon is a great idea for adventurous diners and a lot of fun to play with. Unfortunately, it’s focus is on America; it only recognises London outside the US and even then doesn’t swap the dollar signs for pounds, and we wish there were a way to turn off the slot-machine sound effects.

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