Everytime I am looking to eat something new, I get on google maps from my iphone and search for food with keywords (ex “Curry” or “Italian food“). Then google gives me a map of various restaurants and eateries that match my search criteria and I click on them one by one and decide on one. After that, I call the restaurant to see if they are open, and to find out what their popular dishes are. Then I get directions from google maps and get there. Sometime, I google the restaurant name to find out the yelp reviews and see photos of the food there.
All this takes a lot of time, and is also annoying because I don’t get to see the food at the restaurant after spending so much time researching it.
Mealtime, a FREE iPhone app that helps you do all this in a quick, fun and easy way just launched today. The most awesome feature about the app is that it lets you find food around you “visually”, by showing actual photos of food items served up by the restaurants in the search results. While apps like Foodspotting and FoodGawker let you share photos of food (sort of like “food-porn“) mealtime goes a few steps further, in that it actually helps you get to the yummy food so you can eat it right now!
How To Use The Mealtime App
After you download and install the app on your iPhone, here’s how it works. Fire up the app and set your location (usually the city you are located in) in the top search box. This will show you a visual photo listing of restaurants and eateries in that location, complete with beautiful photos of the food, the yelp star ratings for the restaurant, the price range (in $$ style) and the distance of the restaurant from your current location. You can scroll through all the photos of the food, since, as the cliche goes “A picture is worth a thousand words” and select any of the restaurants you like.
Once you do that, you get restaurant specific options, including the ability to
- Call the Restaurant from your iPhone
- Get Driving Directions to the Restaurant
- Add the restaurant to your “Lists”, or create a new list and add the restaurant to the list.
- Email the restaurant details to yourself or someone else and
- Read the Yelp reviews for the restaurant
Does The Mealtime iPhone App Really Work?
So I took the app for a test drive today, and am very happy with it so far. Right now, I am in the Hawaiian island of Oahu. This afternoon I was craving Indian Food, so I entered Honolulu in the location and did a search. The app correctly showed me a listing of over 390 restaurants in Honolulu complete with photos of their entrees / food offerings.
Next, I typed “Curry” in the Filter screen, and it filtered the list down to only restaurants that offer curry, which included some Japanese Curry restaurants, as well as a couple of Indian Restaurants.
I selected the India Cafe Curry Express and once I did that, the App showed me stunning high-resolution photos of various entrees that the restaurant serves up, which gave me a much better idea of what kind of vegetarian options they have for me. And as I said before, all the options mentioned above were present.
Who Created Mealtime?
The Mealtime app is published by Seven Minute Labs a “visual search” company that believes that a picture is worth more than thousand words, and is committed to proving it by changing the way people search for information around them. Since they also happen to be food junkies, they created the MealTime App to let people discover all of the amazing food around them.
The company is founded by Peter Shih, an iOS junkie who loves anything and everything mobile. Before starting Seven Minute Labs, Shih led iOS development team at LinkedIn and helped LinkedIn redesign their application into the critically acclaimed iOS application that is on the iTunes AppStore today.