When you’re on vacation — whether it’s to visit the in-laws or on a tropical island — it’s not always easy to find a reputable place to eat. You’re out of your element, and your favorite go-tos are nowhere in sight. Even if you do find a great restaurant, it’s likely that everyone else on the island has made reservations already, and they don’t have a table to seat you at. Throw in dietary restrictions or picky food preferences, and it might feel like take-out pizza is your only option.
Don’t do it! Eating in a new city is one of my favorite things to do, and it’s the best memory-making opportunity I know. Thanks to a handful of apps that are all designed to streamline the discovery and reservation process, you won’t have to miss the chance to try a new place. Everything you need to know about these restaurant reservation apps below.
The best way to describe booking a reservation on Resy is this: Two taps and you’ve got the table. (Not bad when you’re too busy handling travel logistics and making sure everyone is getting along to think about dinner!) This app is designed to minimize effort when it comes to locking down a restaurant reservation—no back and forth phone calls where your placed on hold, no “maybe’s” about table availability. Simply set up an account on the app—available for iOS and Android—and you’ll instantly have access to a slew of restaurants in 80 cities worldwide, all carefully vetted by the app’s staff.
A couple of cool features worth noting: First, the ability to list out any food allergies so the restaurant is aware the minute you book. The app also makes it easy to set up notifications so you’re alerted the minute a table at a restaurant that was previously all booked up becomes available. (Cancellations happen, after all.) Beyond the two-tap booking process, it’s super easy to send reservation details to the other members of your party, a time-saving bonus since it minimizes back and forth about where we’re eating tonight.
Seated pays you for dining out at the best restaurants in town. After you set up an account, book a reservation and choose the type of gift card you’d like to receive. (Options include Amazon, Starbucks and Uber — not bad.) After you dine and fulfill your reservation, your reward—as much as $30—will appear in your account about 24 to 48 hours later.
There’s no catch, other than the fact that to get paid, you have to actually show up and pay for your dinner with the same card that’s linked to your Seated account. Some restaurants do require a minimum spend in order to get your reward, so by linking your card, Seated can keep track of your tab.
There are currently about 2,000 restaurants in 13 different cities with more being added every week. Also worth noting: Restaurants can’t buy their way onto the app—which means any options you find have been properly vetted for food, ambiance and more.
This app is a fail-safe for a reason: With over 43,000 restaurants to choose from around the world, it’s a breeze to pop into a new city and find something vetted by fellow restaurant-goers. You can research restaurants with different filters including “Near Me Now,” “New and Hot” or “Dinner Tonight”—your best bet for last-minute bookings. You can also see photos of the restaurant, the food it serves, read reviews, peek menus and more, all within the app.
Just like Resy, you can easily send reservation details to your dining companions and cancel or re-book meals without countless phone calls back and forth. It makes a difference when there’s a time crunch. Plus, Open Table offers the option to earn points you can redeem on future Open Table reservations. (They all get banked in your account.)