Review: The Good Food Guide 2013

Allan Swann
March 13, 2013

The Good Food Guide 2013
Which? Publishing
Apple iPhone and iPad

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The Good Food Guide generally doesn’t need much of an introduction, it is generally considered to be one of the best repositories of restaurant reviews for foodies in the UK. Released annually as a book (and users can submit their own reviews and suggestons via the website), it has expanded in the last two years to become a mobile app.

The 2013 edition of the app is something of a conundrum ‘ yes, all the required info is there, and yes it has handy features such as ‘nearby places’ (which uses your phone/tablet’s GPS to show all the restaurants around you), but it is also troubled.

The iPhone version is much better than the iPad version. For example, when sifting through menus and choosing a restaurant, pressing back on the iPad would takes you all the way back to the main menu – very annoying. On the iPhone, this would take you back to the last sub menu. This is a bigger annoyance than it seems, especially if you are sifting through restaurants in your area ‘ you continually have to re-search from scratch.

Another bug means that if you’ve made a typo when searching, for some reason on the iPad version you can’t click back to add or delete letters. You have to delete the whole word. Again, this isn’t a problem on the iPhone version. It seems like this product may have been rather casually developed, and not beta tested properly.

Good Food Guide 2013: iPad vs iPhone

Good Food Guide 2013: iPad vs iPhone

The app also annoyingly tries to do everything inside itself ‘ when browsing a restaurant, if you click ‘website’ it opens the website on top of your map, inside the app. I would’ve liked to have seen this open as a Safari window (then you could flick back and forth between the two).

The major issue that scars the app (on both iPad and iPhone) is the fact that it uses Apple’s inscrutable Maps. Last year’s version used Google Maps – Apple Maps is an unreadable mess. You also can’t search by location – so if you’re going on a business trip out of town, you won’t be able to look ahead to see what’s available – other than by scrolling through the map. A strange omission.

There are some funny design decisions too ‘ all the apps distances are all in metric (kilometres) rather than miles ‘ incredibly annoying in a UK publication.

However, as mentioned earlier, nothing changes the fact that the guide remains a solid repository of information, and the inclusion of lists such as ‘cheap eats’ stop it from being stuck as the domain of Heston Blumenthal, £180 meal enthusiasts.

Although the app is handy in that you can easily call the restaurants with a tap, make reservations and bookmark, you still can’t submit your own reviews ‘ which would’ve made the app a great ‘high class’ Foursquare contender. Disappointing.

To conclude, it is a bit sad that the iPad version (which has much larger screen real estate) is so poor ‘ I would even go so far as to recommend users go to the Good Food Guide website instead. Hopefully its problems will be fixed with an update.

However, the iPhone version (which is ostensibly the same thing, going via appearances) works fine.

£5.49 is a lot to pay for a very basic (and somewhat broken) app I’m afraid.

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