Apps to Guide You to Good Food

I don’t trust Yelp reviewers. I never know what I want to eat. I avoid bad meals at all costs, and I’m a bad cook. It is safe to say that I am a brat when it comes to food in New York City. I’ve spent a long time looking for an app that will help guide me to the best meal possible with the least effort.

Two apps I happened across recently looked promising. Flavour, which is fairly new, relies on its eye-catching, minimalist design. Chefs Feed gives users an insider’s view of the best destinations and dishes in the city.

Flavour’s designer, Khalid Meniri, has brought flair to the app. Backgrounds are blindingly white, text is crisp and plated dishes are so vivid you feel as if you could snatch them from your phone. (You cannot. I tested.)

The app has a powerful search tool. It lists nearly a thousand restaurants in New York, and does not seem to be biased toward expensive places or famous names. Flavour is not yet available on Android, and it is somewhat glitchy. At one point, I was looking for food in Chinatown, but the only neighborhood it would show was NoLIta. And its design, though lovely, is not always intuitive.

But my biggest problem with Flavour is the same problem I have with most food apps: It asks me to put my trust in recommendations (in this case, chosen by anonymous local experts, chefs and publications) that I’m too skeptical to embrace fully. Chefs Feed, too, demands something approaching blind faith — but I am more inclined to grant it, because recognizable chefs are the ones making the recommendations.

“There was a lot of fatigue around user-generated rabble that was dominating food dialogue online,” Rich Maggiotto, chief executive of Chefs Feed, said. “We got the initial group of chefs on board by talking to them about building a platform that was based on credible and authoritative reviews.”

The app’s appeal rests on that authority, and it has done a great job of getting notable chefs like Daniel Boulud and Mario Batali to use the platform. Many of the chefs on the app joined in when they saw peers gaining leverage through its social feature. The social element of the app also keeps them active, which means that new recommendations consistently stream in. I am certainly more inclined to trust a chef with a name (and a reputation to guard) than the anonymous grouch who gives a great cafe a low rating after having to wait five minutes for a table.

Chefs Feed features a map to let users know about restaurants in their immediate area, but it is more difficult to search by neighborhood than it should be.

It is not as attractive as Flavour (few apps are), but it, too, showcases pictures of specific dishes, so you are inundated with tasty options. It also tells you where to find those dishes nearby. For a lazybones like me, it is nearly perfect.

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