Happy New Year foodies! If you turned the new year with the resolution to lose a few pounds—we definitely have some workout suggestions for you. Don’t miss our article “5 North County Workouts Guaranteed to Help You Keep Your Fitness Resolutions.” However, if you woke up in 2017 wanting to know which hot restaurant or foodie adventure you could take your midnight kiss to, we’ve got your back. Here are some indispensable apps to lead you to some 2017 foodie inspiration. The only question now is, do you need reservations or will you be chasing food trucks?
Must-Have Foodie Apps —
A brilliant app that asks notable chefs where they go to find good food. And if you want to take a peek at the industry side of restaurants, don’t miss the Chefs Feed videos and stories. Some of the San Diego chefs included are: Jason McLeod (Craft & Commerce, Neighborhood, Underbelly), Luisteen Gonzalez (Puesto), Joe Magnanelli (Cucina Enoteca), Trey Foshee (George’s at the Cove, Galaxy Taco), and Karen Krasne (Extraordinary Desserts) just to name a few. When I took a look at what was going on in North County – I saw Chef Trey Foshee raving about the Omakase at Kaito Sushi in Encinitas. “Great people, great sushi, and it’s close to my house. I usually get the five- or eight-course omakase menu, where I leave the selection up to the chefs. It’s always fantastic”
- Website: chefsfeed.com
Foursquare | iOS, Android | Free
A popular city guide that’s been around the block for a while. Easily search for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Coffee & Tea, Nightlife and Things To Do. When I recently checked out this app I saw that they were recommending “Healthy Eats, FTW” as a nod to the New Year. Make sure you use the filters to sort results by distance, rating, price, open now, what type of restaurant it’s good for, etc. I particularly liked the “Happy Hour” filter and “Not a chain.” Doesn’t really have a “foodie” feel to it – but it’s great for finding well liked places when traveling out of your your neighborhood.
- Website: foursquare.com
Off the Menu | iOS | Free
A fun app if you’re looking for secret menus. They have more than 2000 hidden menu items in over 75 cities. As a foodie you can submit items that you find, and they also allow restaurants to do the same. I got pretty excited when I saw a picture of the “Graceland Pancakes” at Snooze: An A.M. Eatery in Del Mar. What are those? A stack of two banana pancakes topped with peanut butter sauce and bacon bits. I double checked their website and couldn’t find them on the online menu. Take the app with a grain of salt though – some of the secret menu items might not be so secret after all. I was searching near me in Carlsbad and the Paleo Burger popped up for Burger Lounge in Carlsbad, but I had just walked by a poster of it in the window at the Costco location.
- Website: offthemenuco.com
Most known for making restaurant reservations, don’t miss the “Near Me Now” feature. It is also handy when you need to find a restaurant for a specific type of setting like, “Scenic View,” “Good for a Business Meeting,” “Waterfront,” “Outdoor Seating,” “Good for Groups,” “Great Beer,” and many more. I liked the “Fireplace” filter which led me to a wide variety of options between San Diego and Laguna Beach. I wish they had more photos in their listings, but I can always take a tip and move on to TripAdivsor, Yelp, or the restaurant’s website for more info.
- Website: opentable.com
TV Food Maps | iOS, Android | Free
Want to find restaurants you’ve seen on TV? Here’s your chance! For example, Spirito’s in north Carlsbad’s Von’s shopping center was seen on Diner’s, Drive-ins and Dives in August of 2013. Lots of San Diego’s favorite hotspots have made it into the spotlight but don’t let that be a turn off. Check out the app and I’m willing to bet you’ll be planning an outing for next weekend. Seafood City in National city got my attention for being on Bizarre Foods America (2012). Use the filter if you want to sort by TV shows like “Best Thing I Ever Ate,” “Man vs. Food,” “Taco Trip.” and more.
- Website: tvfoodmaps.com
Yelp | iOS, Android | Free
Some people love it, other’s wouldn’t trust it with a ten-foot pole. I happen to use it a lot when I’m seeking out new restaurants to try but I make sure I’m always using my self-judging review filter. If you are looking for much-loved restaurants in a new neighborhood look for restaurants that not only get plenty of stars but also by several hundred people. If you are looking for something that’s hot and trendy, just search restaurants good for beards. I kid. Use the filter and select “Hot and New” and see if anything comes up nearby. Make sure to also use the “Open Now” feature to make your luck a little stronger.
- Website: yelp.com
A foodie app whith a higher caliber reputation based on years of discriminating restaurant review book publishing. I like this app because it feels like it does the work for me. When I opened it today, it was close to lunch time and instead of me asking to see restaurants close by near me, it new where I was (because I allowed it to see my location) and took me straight to them. Yes, the Zagat app greeted me with “Good afternoon. It’s time for lunch in Carlsbad.” And then a button to “Find lunch hearby” and secondary links to “coffee” and “quick bites” nearby. What’s better than that? Scooping me on a breakfast joint I hadn’t heard of —Breakfast Republic in Encinitas. Now, I can’t wait to go. Well played Zagat. You can also filter by all the ways you’d hope for and flip a switch if you only want to see Zagat rated restaurants.
- Website: zagat.com
Not to Be Missed Foodie Websites —
The first foodie website that I consult when I hit the road, and often the first I browse when looking for a new restaurant downtown. Guess what? The San Diego Eater website also has a “Neighborhoods” section. It doesn’t cover all the North County hoods, but you can find representation for Carlsbad, Carmel Valley, Del Mar, Encinitas, Escondido, Oceanside, Poway, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Santa Fe, and Solana Beach. Be patient if you don’t see the latest news, you’ll find some new restaurant news you didn’t know about, and other articles about developments you had not idea were happening. Thanks to Eater I heard that the famed Tip Top Meats in Carlsbad is opening “Top Choice Fish – Market and Eatery,” right next door.
- Website: sandiego.eater.com
Why use an app when you can troll IG hashtags? Start with @YelpNorthSanDiego. They’ve got gorgeous pics of yummyplates all over North County. Think you know all the hidden gems around here? Think again. This feed will surprise you. And watch who is following them too – you’ll find other foodies like yourself and even more inspiration. Follow your favorite local restaurants too to see if they’re launching any new dishes or menus. Don’t miss the hashtag #sandiegoeats for more great finds.
- Website: Instagram
A great resource for finding hot bars and restaurants in big cities around the U.S. and select cities in Europe and Canada. Three North County neighborhoods got mentioned in the October 2016 article, “San Diego’s 10 Best Neighborhoods for Dining Out,” so congrats to Rancho Santa Fe, Oceanside, and Del Mar. You might also like to read “San Diego’s Most Exciting New Breweries That Opened in 2016,” to see which of our neighborhood breweries got a shout out. Note: The “Near Me” feature didn’t work great from my laptop, but moving the map up to North County and redoing the search or typing in one of our neighborhoods in the search bar worked great.
- Website: Thrillist San Diego