Being two weeks into the new year, maybe it’s time to stop downloading all those iPhonediet and calorie-tracking apps. It’s time to embrace a good, hearty meal again. And every meal tastes better when it’s free (or really cheap), right?
These days, entertainment and going out can be expensive — and we appreciate all the help we can get. That’s why we sought out these free food and restaurant discovery apps to help you get the most for your cash. You’ll never believe the great meals you can have on the cheap, discovering other great foods all along the way. Think Cuban grilled corn smothered with cotija cheese and chili mayo, Ethiopian seasoned chickpeas with berbere sauce, rosemary olive oil ice cream (not as bad as you think) and let’s not forget the pumpkin ravioli with parmesan fondue and caramelized balsamic sauce. Salivate.
Now, wipe the drool off your face and download your very own stash of frugal foodie iPhone apps that will help you find great food and discounts.
Scoutmob is the first on our list of iPhone apps for frugal foodies. Eat for free or try new restaurants in your area using 50% off deals. Every restaurant we’ve been to per ScoutMob reviews has been a delicious experience.
What we like about the app: This application gets points for its funny and well-written content, but also for its consistent, daily 50% off deals. Sometimes you’ll even find a 100% off deal or two. Past free deals we have taken advantage of include free belgium fries from Pommes Frites and a free hot dog from Crif Dogs — both NYC staples. Another bonus, you don’t need to pre-pay for the deal before eating your meal.
Extra features: Within the app, Stache Cam lets you pick a mustache and smile for the camera.
Available cities: Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C.
What is available: 50% off and 100% off deals.
What we like about the app: BlackboardEats has some real classy deals. Plus, it’s well-designed and easy to operate. BlackboardEats emails and delivers deals for “hot spots and hidden gems” in your city. The app’s reviews and deals are by food editors and writers who know what they’re talking about. One of this week’s deals was one of the most expensive we’ve seen on the app: a very exclusive pre-show dinner at ellabass and a sold-out floor seat ticket to Coldplay’s concert at the Meadowlands.
Extra features: The Tip Calculator makes the arrival of your (discounted!) check a little less stressful. Enter discounted total, pre-discounted total, tip percentage you want to leave and how many people will split the check.
Available cities: Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Chicago.
What is available: Free deals, for instance, a complimentary bottle of wine and guacamole alla toscana at Matilda. Plus, regular 30% off restaurant deals, access to secret menu items and pre-fixe package deals.
What we like about the app: We love Poggled drink and food deals. You can search deals with the geolocation feature and view the most popular deals of the day. You’ll find $10 for $20 beverage deals, $15 for $30 food and drink deals and classy wine tasting packages.
Extra features: Through the All Events tab, you’ll be able to search by day and deals by category — bar night, bottle service, brunch drink deals and more. Yelp reviews are also available.
Available cities: Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee and New York City.
What is available: Daily drink and food specials. Plus, pre-admission packages to parties and events.
Tweat.It is the coolest thing we have ever seen. If you love food trucks as much as we do, download this app now. It will track your location and tell you which food trucks are closest. Right now, my options are: Milk Truck, The Treats Truck, Taim Mobile, along with a couple others. The best part? You’ll know about the secret discounts and daily specials first.
What we like about the app: It sends real-time food vendor locations, which are very accurate, to your phone. The trucks appear as little labelled square icons on an interactive map of New York City.
Available cities: Manhattan
What is available: Food Truck tweets and illustrates locations on a handy map of NYC so you can find your lunch easily.
5. Daily Gobble
What we like about the app: The Daily Gobble‘s graphics are funny, and the app makes the process easy to understand. Daily Gobblers made this app for people who hate using coupons for fear of presenting the coupon and receiving inferior service. So, they completely remove that step. Find a deal you like, eat your meal, then upload a photo of your check to get your money back afterward — whether it be 10% to 50% off via PayPal, within the hour. There are literally hundreds of deals available at a time.
Available cities: New York and San Francisco.
What is available: The app has a built-in camera and “My Gobbles” tab to track your meal deals.
Honorable Mentions — We also think Yelp — a social networking and review site available in most of the U.S. states and Puerto Rico — is a convenient way to look up restaurant addresses, dining details and really great deals. A lot of the time, you can find discounts to unlock once you check into a place. Same goes for Foursquare — a popular location-based social networking website — which also lets you check-in at different venues, earn points, badges and deals!
Now, start downloading! All these apps are free.
Let us know details about your latest food tour — or meal — in the comments section.