Where did we go last? And do you remember who paid?
September 14, 2015 12:28 PM   Subscribe

What's the best iOS app for a couple to share their restaurant experiences with each other?

My girlfriend and I have found that we prefer to skip the frustration of splitting the bill when we go out to dinner, so we just take turns paying. For months now we have both used the same Urbanspoon account. While we're sitting to eat, one of us will open the app, and it sees where we are (more or less), and we add that we dined at X location at this time, and we add a note of "he paid" or "she paid" as well as any other important information about specials, favorite dishes, etc.

Recently Urbanspoon declared they're transitioning to some BS called Zomato. We've dug around in it and found it unsatisfactory, especially without the ability to add a note to a dining experience. That's the whole point of us using the app the way we do.

Before we just give up and use Evernote or Dropbox to share a text file with the relevant information I thought I'd ask you if you know an app that fits our needs:
- location services-friendly, so that we don't have to type the full restaurant name
- ability to add a 'we dined here' event
- ability to add another 'we dined here' event at a different time, because sometimes we do go to the same place more than once
- ability to change the date and time of 'we dined here' because occasionally we forget until the next day
- ability to add a note to each specific 'we dined here' event

bonus features:
- ability to share this info between two separate accounts but NOT the general public. Right now we're using a single Urbanspoon login, but we'd be happy to have separate logins, because:
- ability to keep a wishlist would be nice, and we share different wishes
- popular / new / noteworthy restaurants function for us to browse when bored (though honestly I get most of that from Eater's website)

We've glanced at Yelp and Foursquare but those seem to be more geared towards telling the whole wide world how special it was that you went out to eat at a certain place, which isn't our goal.
posted by komara to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I argue with my father-in-law about this every time we meet for breakfast... we each insist on paying.

My solution, I take the receipt, write down who paid, put it in my wallet. It's flawless, always works, as long as I have a pencil...if I don't have a pencil, I borrow one from the waiter/waitress, they always seem to have one.

This system could always be easily digitized by taking a photo of the receipt with my smart phone and sending the photo to my father-in-law via text or e/mail, then we would both have a copy.
posted by HuronBob at 12:53 PM on September 14, 2015

Mint should work for you, provided you're paying with card, or you're diligent about recording cash transactions. You can reconcile each account at the end of the month or however often you feel like it, or check it out on mobile while you're dining.

It knows whether a charge is a restaurant or otherwise, how much you paid, and on what date. It knows your habits too, so if you mark some places as being typically only for yourself and not as a couple, it'll remember for next time.
posted by HoteDoge at 1:01 PM on September 14, 2015

If you're considering going to something like Evernote/Dropbox to record this, you might want to look at Splitwise. You'll need to specify the restaurant yourself, but you can definitely make multiple events, edit the date, add notes, &c.

You can use it for all your shared expenses if you really want to. It's really up to you.
posted by cardioid at 1:07 PM on September 14, 2015

I'm using and really liking Matchbook to remember what restaurants I've heard about and mean to try, and which I've tried and liked. The current version lets you save multiple notes for each restaurant and shows the most recent in the list view which might work well for you. The "events" would just be notes so you'd have to type the date but you wanted to be able to edit the date anyway!

The app offers "Connections" whose "activity" you can see but I'm not sure if that will show you each others notes. There's no recommendations feature but if you get your friends using it you can connect with them and see their favorites in the "Inspiration" tab.
posted by nicwolff at 1:11 PM on September 14, 2015

Swarm (by Foursquare) allows you to check into places and leave a note and comments ("komara's treat" or "pie was excellent!"). Your entire check-in history is then searchable (by you). You can easily scroll down a list of where you went and who paid.

While this is geared to being social, you can fit it to your needs by only setting up each other as contacts and ignoring all the other social/game features. It's quick too - open app, tap check-in button, tap where you are, tap if your girlfriend is with you. You can go back and add comments about who paid or whatever else later.

(The coupled Foursquare app would let you browse nearby restaurants based on various criteria and keep wishlists).
posted by mikepop at 6:56 AM on September 15, 2015

as cardioid mentioned, use Splitwise. We use it for every mutual expense except monthly recurring expenses. The "who did the shopping?", "who paid for dinner?" etc etc. It is *really* good, and even lets you take a photo of the receipt. Our system is to just add expenses to our "group" until one owes 500DKK to the other, then we send a Splitwise reminder to transfer funds. This is what works for us.

2 things I wish Splitwise could do:

1) add custom categories, so that it recognises "Føtex" (for example) as a supermarket. Right now, we just use type the generic "supermarket" - it works fine.. it may not *really* be necessary to be so specific.

2) be able to deal with multiple currencies and convert them all to a base currency. In this way we could be on vacation and add "5€" and "£12" and get it all converted to DKK. The "Payback" app can do this brilliantly, btw.
posted by alchemist at 7:36 AM on September 15, 2015

This is not dining specific, but you might try the app "Couple" which is this sort of cute app for 2-person messaging. I could easily see using it for something like this -- whoever pays either sends a photo of the resaturant/menu/receipt or the next day types in the restaurant name, and you'd know by who had sent the photo.
posted by rainbowbrite at 8:17 AM on September 15, 2015

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