OpenTable Discover: App Redesign Helps Travelers + Locals Discover New Dining Experiences

In anticipation of summer travel season, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of our redesigned OpenTable iOS app, enabling diners to more easily discover and book great dining experiences, from the hottest new restaurants to neighborhood gems.

The redesign features a new Discover tab, which allows traveling and local diners to discover more with a single tap by connecting them to new dining experiences, ranging from trending cuisines and popular restaurants to curated option such as “OpenTable Insider Picks,” which allows you to dine like a local even when you’re in another city.

OpenTable Discover

“Whether you’re landing hungry on the tarmac in a new city or planning a last minute date night in your local neighborhood, OpenTable wants to be the dining concierge in your pocket,” said our own Christa Quarles, OpenTable Chief Executive Officer. “Dining has never been more mobile and our new app experience helps diners discover the perfect restaurant to satisfy every occasion, mood and craving whether they’re at home or on the road.”

The content presented on the Discover tab factors in elements like availability, popularity, proximity and personal favorites. It enables quick visual browsing of categories to get recommendations that will satisfy any taste. The recommendations are especially handy for local diners eager to explore something new and for travelers hoping to sink their teeth into amazing culinary experiences. New categories in the Discover tab include:

  • New & Hot – Recently opened restaurants with high popularity scores
  • Most Popular – Restaurants with the highest popularity scores
  • My Favorites – Diner’s favorite restaurant list
  • Special Features – Restaurants perfect for every occasion ranging from romantic to kid-friendly
  • Near Me Now – Nearby restaurants with immediate availability
  • Dinner Tonight – Restaurants with availability that night
  • Editorial Picks – Restaurants nominated by local OpenTable Insiders and other industry experts.

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City of Gold: Intrepid Dining Tips from Food Critic Jonathan Gold

Pulitzer Prize-winning insatiably curious eater and Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold, star of the new documentary City of Gold, shares how dining out is one of the best ways to discover a city, whether traveling or in your hometown.

Jonathan Gold

Finding a city’s hidden gem eateries — be it a dusty food truck with incredible fried fish tacos or a counter spot in a dingy strip mall slinging life-changing pho — is far more than an Instagrammable form of epicurean off-roading. It awakens us to the oft-underappreciated mosaic of cuisines and cultures that make up our cities’ landscapes.

For Jonathan Gold, longtime food critic at the L.A. Times and star of a documentary on this very subject, dining out has always been about uncovering culinary treasures — a quest that started in his early 20s with a mission to try every hole-in-the-wall restaurant and ethnic street vendor on a 15-mile stretch of LA’s Pico Boulevard.

Last month while in Chicago promoting the release of City of Gold, he caught up with OpenTable for a little Intrepid Dining: 101. From scouting foreign-language message boards for restaurant tips to eating at (literally) every Indonesian noodle house, he shared advice on how to discover — or perhaps re-discover — a city’s culture through its food.

Was there a certain cuisine or experience when you were starting out that sparked your curiosity?

I did this thing right after college when I was bored out of my mind working as a proofreader at a law newspaper – I decided to eat at every restaurant on Pico Boulevard. It was at the time of the wars in Central America, so there was a lot of new immigration there and a lot of new places, from street vendors to tiny little restaurants.

I’d grown up in LA and driven down this street before thinking those restaurants were monolithically Mexican because everything was in Spanish. And then you start going from door to door and you go, wait a second, this one’s Guatemalan, this one’s Nicaraguan, this one’s from El Salvador, this one’s from Mexico but it’s Jalisco, and this one’s also Mexican but it’s Sinaloa so the food is completely different. Then you do it a little more and you see which ones have big city or European influences because their menus are more continental.

It wasn’t even the actual basic things being served. It was just the knowledge that this wasn’t monolithic, that what had seemed like one big thing turned out to be this mosaic — an endless, tessellated grid of culture. And it was so good.

What’s your strategy for finding under-the-radar restaurants?

I do it a million different ways. I will go down certain streets and eat at every single restaurant. I’ll spend hours on message boards in foreign languages with Google translate, like Weibo, the Chinese Facebook. I also find that going to a restaurant that looks like the center of a community probably means what you’ll find there will be pretty good. It may not be the absolute best one. But then what I’ll do is eat at all of the Indonesian noodle houses to tell you which one is the best one.

How long does that usually take you?

Sometimes that takes quite awhile, other times not so much. I tend to try to spread them out, but there always comes a time where it will be six places in a weekend.

Is there anything that would make you skip a place? Your strategy seems to be to try pretty much everything.

Yeah, well (laughs), I don’t like being bored. One kind of restaurant I tend not go to is actually lounge restaurants. I find the food tends to be really subsidiary to what else is going on there. Or if I’m looking at an Italian restaurant and it has exactly the same menu that every other Italian restaurant has, there’s no point in going there.

Jonathan Gold

For the average diner experiencing a certain cuisine for the first time, how should they set themselves up for a successful meal? Continue Reading

Miami Dining Guide: 7 Muy Caliente Miami Restaurants You Need to Eat at Now

Get ready for glitz, glamor, and gourmet eating galore. Sunny Miami’s restaurant scene is ablaze. There’s a world-class dining scene in the Magic City giving lucky locals endless options – and out-of-towners plenty of reasons to fly down to check it out. Whether you’re in the mood for farm fresh Floridian fare, stellar seafood, a taste of the South, or top-notch Japanese cuisine, you’ve got plenty of options. In this mini Miami dining guide, we present seven muy caliente restaurants you need to try now.

Area 31
Perched on the 16th floor of the Epic Hotel, this high-flying blockbuster has spectacular views of Biscayne Bay and Miami River whether you choose to sit on the patio or inside. The name comes from the fishing zone – which runs from the mid-Atlantic through the Caribbean to the top of South America – where the restaurant’s catch is sustainably sourced. Executive chef Wolfgang Birk turns out dishes that span clean, lean preparations – you can’t go wrong with any of the crudos – to more decadent fare, such as a rich risotto dappled with generous chunks of lobster. Vegetable accompaniments get the star treatment. Think roasted Brussels sprouts amped up with pork belly and boozy raisins and duck confit sweet potatoes accompanied by tangy kimchi mayo. Make a reservation at Area 31.

Miami Dining Guide

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Say hello to comfort food central. The sunny, Southern-minded eatery wants you to forget about your diet and just tuck into some good old-fashioned cooking. There’s a whole section of the menu devoted to Mama’s Biscuits, honey-sweetened, golden-crusted diamonds that are split open and packed with your choice of smoked brisket, Virginia ham, or fried chicken. Or you can simply eat them with a hearty brushstroke of housemade jam. Chicken and waffles are a highlight here, featuring elevated Eggos enriched with cheddar cheese, crackly crusted poultry, spiced watermelon, and bourbon-boosted maple syrup. Don’t forget to save some space for shareable small plates, such as skillet cornbread, five-cheese amped mac, and roe-topped deviled eggs. You can go back to your diet tomorrow. Make a reservation at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar.

Miami Dining Guide

Wynwood Kitchen and Bar
You’re just as likely to Instagram your surroundings as you are your food at this trendsetting restaurant. Street artist Shepard Fairey – creator of the Obama “Hope” image – and other gifted graffitists created the eye-catching murals splashed across the walls. The Latin-ish menu is designed for sharing so be prepared to fill up your table with a sweeping selection of small plates. Top of mind should be the ropa vieja empanadas, queso frito dotted with paprika sausage, adobo-rubbed pork belly, and your choice of skewers. The cocktails are as colorful and creative as the artwork that decorates the indoor-outdoor eatery, so make sure to snap a pic of those, too, before you sip. Make a reservation at Wynwood Kitchen and Bar.

Miami Dining Guide

Beachcraft
Tom Colicchio has a lot on his plate. Not only is he the head judge on a little cooking competition show on Bravo that you may know, but he’s also a successful restaurateur with a packed portfolio. He added this sustainably minded stunner to his collection this summer. It is his first Miami restaurant – and his first seafood eatery. Executive chef Michael Fiorello oversees the operation – sorry, Top Chef fanboys and fangirls! – keeping the focus on the freshest catch and latest harvest. Kick off in baller style with the skyscraping seafood tower featuring an array of raw delicacies. Flatbreads are a more restrained opener, as are the masterfully composed salads that pop off the plate with bursts of color. Pastas are a pleasant surprise, especially the jalapeno-pepped bucatini, which is given a briny burst by sea urchin butter. We’re sure Padma would approve. Make a reservation at Beachcraft.

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Tasty Tunes: A Delicious Summer Road Trip Playlist #savortheroad

Tasty Tunes: A delicious summer road trip playlistSummer is the season for road trips that put the epic in epicurean. Whether you’re heading out on a cross-country pilgrimage to a once-in-a-lifetime destination restaurant in California or a series of seaside shacks to find the best lobster roll in New England, your journey is going to need a soundtrack.

We decided to help out by putting together a Spotify summer road trip playlist guaranteed to whet your appetite. These delicious ditties pay tribute to foodstuffs ranging from applesauce and guava jelly to cheeseburgers and jerk ribs – and lots of appetizing points in between.

So, roll down the windows, crank up the stereo, and let the wind blow back your hair as you belt out these tasty tunes on this delicious summer road trip playlist. And, don’t forget to enter our #savortheroad giveaway for a chance to win one of ten $100 OpenTable gift cards!