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Sep 10, 2012 09:20 AM

Any good mobile apps or e-food guidebook resourcesfor Italy?

Im making a decision in the next week on a new smartphone (my first, slow adapter) and wonder if anyone has a comment on good dining and food related apps available either for the i-phone or android . Language does not matter to me but I need more data to on the quality of the available apps to choose the phone.

Brownie points for apps which tell you good restaurants (not any restaurants but good ones) near where you are based on GPS and also give opening hours/holiday/closing day info. (this is what I had been hoping CH could be...sadly no, not at present)

Also, any e-books guidebooks to recommend? I was hoping not to have to carry heavy guidebooks along or copy them (such as Downie and Gambero Rosso Rome, for example) but it does not seem that publishers providing e-versions of other than the most commercial/massmarket books or updating their e-books as fast as print versions (Rome is out for 2012 but not 2013)

thanks for any help you can give!

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  1. Hi Jen: My fav app is Katie Parla's: Rome for Foodies. It's really up to date, and she doesn't play favorites...she tells it like it is.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sockster

      +1 for Katie Parla's: Rome for Foodies - she tells it as it is and the app has all the technical features you required above.

      1. re: vinoroma

        thanks! - but she says she is not going to update the Android version, I think....

        1. re: jen kalb

          True, android is not going to be updated to the new look & feel (but the data is there). But younwere asking for both systems, so...
          I do have some other apps but in the end never use them - mainly because i do not like the restaurants/ recs, (more than the technical aspects of the apps....). Did you try cibando? It is completely free of giving points etc, just describes each place, has pictures of the food, has the hard facts etc. No recs, but can be helpful when trying to decide.

    2. In addition to Rome Foodie, I also like Eat Rome by Elizabeth Minchilli. If only Fred Plotkin had an e-book!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: ekc

        seond Plotkin -his 2 lb books visits the xerox machine before I travel

      2. thanks, but c'mon, there has to be more than these chowhound faves - is anybody using apps for Gambero Rosso, Gola in Tasca , Slowfood ViaMichelin, etc?

        any good regional apps or guides other than the Minchelli, Parla and my fave, Micaela Scibilia (Venice) which is for i-phone?

        Im interested in which platform any apps are on and how useful the apps/products actually are in practice.

        9 Replies
        1. re: jen kalb

          Jen, I would use those other apps but I don't speak Italian (yet)!

          1. re: jen kalb

            I looked into the slowfood app for this summer, but I did not want to incur all the roaming and data charges using something like this would entail. I ended up lugging around the Osterie book with me... make sure you check out all the costs involved if you are using an american phone overseas. The year before was my first time with a smartphone and we gleefully plotted and mapped out restaurants while we were driving. That turned out to be a VERY expensive trip indeed....Verizon loved me.

            1. re: quentinC

              Verizon says they will unlock my new phone (whichever one) so that I can get a local sim for phone and data when I arrive - Im dont want their love . Hope this works - my prior global phone arrangements havent been so cool tho my work sponsored bbery has been a big held. Im over carrying fat books but even xeroxed pages are heavy...I looked again at Gambero Rosso and it seems like their apps are not currently available...

              1. re: jen kalb

                You could scan pages from guidebooks and have these on a kindle or similar. Not the best solution but an option...

                1. re: vinoroma

                  right, thats one thing I am considering since husband has one of those - its sort of discouraging that the best guides (which are not mass-market) arent being moved toward electronic versions - youd think it would be a more expanded distribution channel for them.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    Authors are the losers when it comes to getting paid for electronic versions. The money just isn't there. Plus, I have a lot of sympathy for serious food and culture writers who don't want their books reduced to target-a-restaurant-near-me apps for mass tourism.

                    i realize I'm not being very helpful, but I've yet to take a trip where I wore all the clothes I packed. The trips I've taken where I packed plenty of good fat food books instead of unworn clothes were the better trips. (Alas, Northern Spain and Portugal are really underserved by good food writers -- although fortunately there is an abundance of wonderful food and wine to lower the risks of a bad meal.)

                    1. re: barberinibee

                      Author's are losers when it comes to getting paid for electronic versions? This couldn't be further from the truth when it comes to guide books. As the author of six books, and two apps, I can say 100% that the exact opposite is true.

                      I make a percentage every time my app is sold. The same can't be said for my books.


              2. re: quentinC

                I understand the fear of roaming charges. They can be deadly. But Katie's app, as well as mine, can be used offline. Just use your iPhone in airplane mode, and you should be fine.


            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. Just came across this e-book about Rome (including restaurants) It looks delightful. I am downloading it now.