Dine-O-Matic ($0.99) by The Iconfactory will help you pick a place to eat when you just can’t make up your own mind. Don’t lie – this happens to everyone! In fact, it happens to me quite often.
The thing I love about this particular app is the diner theme. It really adds a bit of uniqueness, and dare I say fun, to the whole “where should we eat?” thing. The neon icons for the restaurant categories are nice, and the neon sign sound effects are a great finishing touch.
The thing that sets this app apart from others, such as Urbanspoon, is the fact that this is for your favorite restaurants. Other apps will give you choices from anything that is near you; with Dine-O-Matic, it's about your personal favorites.
The app won’t be of much use until you start adding in your favorite places, and there are two ways of doing that: the map or manually entering in venues.
The maps feature is obviously the easier choice, as it will use your current location and drop red pins on nearby eateries. Tap on them to view the restaurant and add it to your database.
However, the helpfulness of this feature is a bit underwhelming, because I noticed that it only dropped pins on certain restaurants, not all (it was missing a lot of restaurants near me that I like to go to). I’m not sure why this is, and hope that the folks at The Iconfactory can provide a better database for use with the maps function.
The other option is more work, but the end result is worth it. You can manually add in your restaurants by filling in details such as: name, category, price range, address, phone number, and website. Of course, you only really need the name, category, and price range – the other stuff is optional (but useful).
Once you have your favorite restaurants in the app, it is time to settle all disputes over where to eat with the app! Simply select the price range(s) you want your meal to be and tap the center button. The spinner will start and give you an option from the choices you put into the app.
The app also features the ability to call a restaurant, and even get directions by pulling up Maps.app. If you travel frequently, the app also saves locations so that it is easy to recall them when you are in the area again. Make sure you go back to that one place that you love when you’re in town, not just a random selection.
While I enjoy using the app personally, I hope that the developers are working on a better way to automatically find restaurants near you, as the current map feature does not locate all restaurants. It seems that it will show more “popular” and big-name restaurants, but if you like smaller mom-n-pop restaurants, you’ll have to add those in yourself.
Regardless, this is a nice little app that will help solve those “what should we eat” quarrels and even give you one less decision to make. It’s also made by The Iconfactory, so enjoy those delicious pixels (but don’t try to eat them).