See the best restaurants, wherever you are: there’s a free app for that! [classic article]

Foodspotting is a cool new app that’s interactive. You take photos of foods you’re eating at restaurants and you can check out foods in your vicinity. They have a GPS built in, so your vicinity is wherever you are — or set your own map. But wait! There’s more. . . it also has built in guides of where to eat from Anthony Bourdain, Zagat, and others. All for the price of FREE. I’ve used it on my iPhone to find dim sum when I was out of my comfort zone and also, trying to find food on the road in rural Ohio.

Here’s more info:

Foodspotting makes finding and sharing food recommendations easier: Instead of reading and writing reviews of restaurants, you can share photos of specific foods you recommend and see what’s good wherever you go.

Finding recommendations is as easy as looking in a bakery window and seeing what looks good. You can discover foods around you, find whatever you’re craving and see what’s good at a particular restaurant.

Sharing a recommendation is as easy as taking a picture of your food, saying what it was and where you found it. You can earn virtual tips and real rewards for sharing things others love.

Founding Principles

Foodspotting was founded in 2009 by Alexa Andrzejewski (Adaptive Path) and Ted Grubb (Get Satisfaction) with help from advisor Soraya Darabi (Epicurious, New York Times, who joined Foodspotting full time as a cofounder in 2010.

1. It’s just about the food: It’s not about the place, the price, the surroundings, the crowd or the nutritional value — it’s just about good food and where to find it.
2. Good food can be found anywhere: We built Foodspotting to work in any city, small town or country from the start. It encourages exploration — trying new things vs. following the crowd.
3. Meaningful ratings: The blue ribbon (the “nom”) means more because it’s hard to get. Foodspotters earn the right to nom foods by demonstrating expertise and building up reputation points.
4. Not every food, just the good food: Foodseekers aren’t interested in the foods that you hate, they want to know what you love. We believe people will tend to spot the foods that they like and to nom the foods that are amazing.
5. Celebrates and integrates with what you’re already doing: Whether you take photos of every meal or are a self-proclaimed expert in a certain dish, we want to reward what you’re already doing and make it useful to a broader community.

What’s what?

Sightings are specific foods @ specific places.

Wants are sightings that you’d like to try. Find foods you Want under Collect.

Noms are for foods you’ve tried and loved best. But there’s a catch: You only get 5 noms to start with and must earn the right to nom more foods after that! The more reputation points you earn, the more noms you’re allowed to give out.

Tips can be earned by making valuable contributions to Foodspotting. You earn 20 tips for every sighting, 20 tips whenever someone Wants a dish that you spotted, 25 tips whenever someone Noms a dish that you spotted first, and 10 tips when someone compliments your sighting. You can give out one more Nom for every 100 tips earned.

Champions are people who’ve spotted a food at more places than anyone else. Details coming soon!

Following places, dishes and Foodspotters you trust enables you to stay on top of the latest sightings. You’ll soon see sightings from your followees on the homepage.

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