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Android App Review: Zomato - Restaurant Finder
Sun, 23rd Mar 2014
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Zomato does exactly what it claims: it helps you find restaurants. Whether you're looking for a particular dish or cuisine, or just want to know what's open closest to your house at three am, Zomato can help you with that.

On opening the app you're prompted to search either by keywords or by your location. The second one is the more handy option, as not only can you find out what's close but also get directions from where you are to where they are.

Some of the distances are a wee bit off – it occasionally tells you one place is closer than another when in fact it's the other way around – but they place things in generally the right kind of area, and with the addition of the Google Maps directions it's unlikely that you'll get lost.

While it's good having standardised information for each entry (phone number, opening hours, etc), this can sometimes leave out some of the subtle differences between restaurants.

Zomato tells you the average price for two to eat at a particular place and this is really handy. But there's a big difference between a restaurant where everyone orders their own individual plate and a restaurant where you order several dishes to share amongst you.

This difference can affect not only the price of the meal but the whole experience of it – there are some places that you really want a group of at least four with you if you're going to get the most out of it, and the cost-for-two information just doesn't convey that.

However, Zomato rectifies this lack with user submitted reviews. We all know to take the general public's opinions with a grain of salt, but these individual recommendations (or complaints) do give an insight into the unique nature of the restaurants in question.

Not every restaurant has a review but with that's only to be expected with this kind of crowd-sourced resource. It bears a lot of similarity to Yelp in this regard – and like Yelp, Zomato will get better and more useable as more people use it.

The reference to Yelp is an important one I think, because they're probably Zomato's main competitor. Both offer a very similar service, and while Yelp proudly boasts a wider range of businesses in its database, Zomato's taken a more focussed approach. They don't try to cover everything, but they do a decent job covering what they do.

For all that I'm happy to tear most of the apps I review to shreds, Zomato is one that I'll probably keep using once this review is done. I don't know about you guys but I eat pretty much every day, and any way my phone can help make that happen is a win in my book.