Food and travel go together like grilled lamb chops and fresh mint jelly, like broiled lobster tail and filet
mignon and/or like jasmine rice and stewed black beans, or is that just my thinking? I have never been on a trip in
the last 20 years that has not been food focused. Research shows I’m not alone. It’s what we all do now when we fly away,
cruise, or take a road-trip. We eat the best foods we can afford while we travel.
Lucky for us, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of food apps out there to connect us to all kinds of eateries. They’re literally just a touch away on our phones. It has never been easier connecting hungry people to great-tasting food than right
now. However, all food apps for travelers are not created equal. Lucky for you, I will present you my favorite, tried and true
food apps that are currently on my phone, some, if not all, I use every time I travel.
Just for the record, I have never called myself a Food Critic. I prefer to be called a Food Connoisseur, a Food Lover or a
Foodie. I’ve conducted about 50 Gastro-Tours (not food tours) with great chefs in the last 20 years before it was a thing. But
now it seems, everyone with a phone believes themselves to be a food critic. If I have an amazing culinary experience
when I travel, I want everyone to know about it. If it’s a subpar experience for me, I just don’t write about it. I know that
restaurants and chefs can have a bad day. Maybe the wait staff is off their service game, or perhaps a meal wasn’t seasoned
to my satisfaction the one time I ate somewhere new. I only share great culinary experiences and I believe that’s why you should trust me. Some of the apps you’re about to learn about have helped me to not only enjoy great-tasting food, but also meet extraordinary chefs and other traveling foodies. These apps have been great, and in some cases, lifesaving (ever been to a foreign country with no clue where to eat?) The culinary experiences I have had with these apps are well worth sharing.
The restaurant reviews on Tripadvisor are one of the best on the internet. You’ll get real reviews from real travelers. What’s also exciting about their free app is that it has gone social. I was asked to be a part of the beta team to help out with the kinks and explore the exciting new features (www.tripadvisor.com/Profile/HLuiz). The social component on Tripadvisor has made it easier to connect to other travelling foodies and see trips that include restaurant experiences. Now, you can setup your account and see my favorite places to eat in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and in the United States, whether it be New York City, Las Vegas or Miami Beach. You can ask me direct questions via messaging about a specific restaurant as well. You can also see what others are saying about restaurants around the world. Just enter the restaurant’s name and you’ll see
reviews, pictures, and even videos from travelers you trust. The app also provides the address, phone number and website of the restaurants so you can make a reservation. (Free / Area: Cities Worldwide / Available on Apple IOS devices. www.tripadvisor.com)
This app is prominently displayed on my mobile phone because it’s fun, not to mention that some of my favorite chefs are featured there. On ChefsFeed you can watch amazing videos from chefs, cooks, and even bartenders. You can find great finds for food and great cocktails with their geotracker, or search recommendations by food experts. The platform also enables culinary professionals and the world’s best brands to discover innovative ways to work together to bring us the best culinary experience. I’ve conducted many Gastro-Tours by collaborating with chefs via this app. These Chefs are showing us their favorite places to eat after they get off work. The common mistake is that most people think that Chefs eat at high-end restaurants only. Not true. They go where the food is good. Now there’s an app to show exactly where those spots are. However, use caution: you do not want to watch ChefsFeed videos while hungry unless you’re ready to head
out for dinner in the next 5 minutes. The San Francisco based company was started by brothers and former food publicists
Jared and Steve Rivera. Although ChefsFeed even won Apple’s App of the Year. And now you can get it on Android as well. (Free / Area: United States, Canada and United Kingdom / Available on iPhone and Android. www.chefsfeed.com)
I didn’t forget about all of you Vegetarians and Vegans out there! There are many apps to choose from specifically designed
with you in mind. About 30% of my friends are Vegetarians (12% Vegans) and even the meals I prepare at home are at
least 20% vegetarian. That’s why the HappyCow has a spot on my phone. When my Partner and I travel, we want at least one vegetarian or vegan dinner. HappyCow let’s you see food options as well as gluten-free menu items. They also give you reviews, directions, opening hours, and an interactive map showing all available options when you travel. They even have farm stands, plant-based food trucks, and grocery stores in their listings as well. The HappyCow App really worked out well for me while vacationing in Santo Domingo. There are currently 54 listings of Vegan / Vegetarian eateries in the Dominican Republic with 29 of them in Santo Domingo. I wanted to surprise my friend, who happens to be a strict vegan, for his birthday. I was able to locate a plant-based restaurant near my Guest House with great reviews on their baked goods. During the surprise party, my friend sadly whispered to me that he could not eat the delicious looking cake. I laughed and told him that he could! I saw his review on the HappyCow App of how great the cakes are from the very same restaurant I bought the cake from. We didn’t tell the meat-eaters in our group and they were none the wiser! ($3.99 on IOS, Free on Android / Area: 180 Countries / Available on iPhone and Android. www.happycow.net/mobile)
If you are traveling to the United States and want to eat great tasting seafood, while playing your part as an eco-conscious
consumer, then Seafood Watch is the app for you. Produced by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the app makes it easy to find ocean-friendly seafood restaurants. You can search for a particular type of seafood, view sushi listings in your area based on both English and Japanese names, and access educational resources on sustainable seafood. Now we can eat seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean. Seafood Watch offers the best seafood choices, other alternatives, and maybe more importantly, seafood places you should avoid. I use the Seafood Watch app frequently. If your favorite seafood restaurant is not listed in the app, let the restaurant owners/ managers know about it. They in turn may make better purchasing options of seafood to serve eco-conscious consumers and keep customers coming back. (Free / United States / Available on IOS Devices and Android. www.seafoodwatch.org)
If you’re travelling to Southeast Asia, then this is the app to have. It’s very exciting to eat delicious food up to 50% off with
EATIGO’s timed specials–almost like a Foodie Gameshow! Here’s how it works. If an amazing restaurant is busy for lunch
(typically 12 to 3 P.M.) then EATIGO may offer you 10-50% off to eat the same food at the same restaurant but at 3:30
P.M. You must book your reservation within the app (you’ll receive a confirmation) since you can only get the discounts
through EATIGO. What also makes the app fun is that you can book restaurants based upon categories such as Date
Night, Sushi Mania, or Wine Bars, among others. The best discounts are offered under the category ‘Trending’. Like the
other apps, you can check out menus and see reviews. Unlike other apps, you can book up to one month in advance.
(Free / Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines, and Indonesia / Available on IOS and Android.
This app is a little bit different from the others. It’s for those who want something off the beaten path or maybe some hidden gem only locals know about. Think food tours, outdoor food vendors, tucked away food trucks, market places, and great restaurants thrown in for good measure. You can select bookings to join small groups or have a personalized experience. We booked ourselves to join a small group for tapas in Lisbon only to find that 6 out of 8 of us were all Foodies from the United States. That was such a fun experience in Portugal that we all decided to book another trip together 2 days later with the app. WithLocals, as the name states, also allows you to communicate and interact with locals. You can message them questions, join them for a cocktail, or even for dinner in their home! These hosts are verified through
the app and rely on positive reviews to stay within the app’s good standing. Team members from Withlocals pay regular
visits to hosts and to the city to make sure that the quality standards meet the expectation of guests. Of course, you should read all reviews and proceed with cautionionary measures before entering anyone’s home, app or no app. (Free / Europe and Asia / Available on IOS and Android. www.withlocals.com)
There are a lot of food apps to choose from, but some of the restaurants listed in those apps do not have a liquor license. Most of those same restaurants allow you to bring your own bottle (BYOB), usually just wine. Some also give you glasses, an ice bucket for white wines, and charge you an uncorking fee. But what if you find yourself in one of these restaurants without your own bottle of wine? In comes Drizly to the rescue. This app can deliver a bottle of wine to your door(s). Now you don’t have to waste your time looking for a liquor store and carrying bottles of wine with you to your restaurant destination. Drizly is really an online beverage distributor with built in delivery service in their app. You can get wines, spirits, beers, mixers and even garnishes delivered. Just be sure that the restaurant your visiting accepts the alcohol Drizly is delivering (some don’t accept beer or grain alcohol.) I remember one year in South Beach, a group of friends were coming over to my hotel to hang out. I hadn’t seen this particular group of gorgeous guys in about two years. Why not have a quick impromptu party? I called down to my hotel bar and found that everything was so overpriced. Then I thought about my Drizly app! I’ve bought bottles of red wine and some apple cider beers. They were delivered to the hotel lobby within 30 minutes. It came complete with wine glasses and beer cups and they threw in a canister of spicy mixed nuts too. The hotel sent up 2 Pizza Marguerites and we all had a great time! Thank you Drizly. (Free / 100 US Cities / Available on iPhone and Android. www.drizly.com)
Jetzy is the perfect mix of a social app, travel app and a Food app. It asks you upon sign-in to choose your interests such as LGBT, Fashionista, Culture Lover, or Beach Bum, just to name a few. What separates this app from others is that you can see who’s around you, check out profiles, meet those with similar interests, and even earn reward points for doing so. Friends can suggest restaurants and even join you for dinner or a cocktail. You can post pictures (called moments) and tag your friends. As mentioned, you can earn reward points towards dinner, travel and activities. Anything from hotel stays, dinners for two, spa vouchers, and even airline tickets can be earned just for using the app! You get 1,000 points just for setting up a free account on Jetzy. You also receive points for communicating with your Jetzy friends. (Free / 130 Countries /Available on IOS and Google Play. www.jetzyapp.com)