Do you know this habit? Whenever we feel like eating out, we think of what we want to eat rather than where we want to eat. I recently tested the new Presto app, which breaks this common thought pattern.
Meet Presto, the virtual restaurant menu app
Presto is a mobile application that aims to help foodies like us to find restaurants that fit our taste. True to its name, Presto (quick in Italian) is a quick way to choose the food and not the restaurant. In short, you make a decision by picking the food, then go the restaurant where it is served.
Like many, my wife and I love eating out in different restaurants. And one sure way of knowing a city is to be aware of its food culture. Presto could be the latest catalyst. We are vegetarians. But with Zürich being predominately a meat town, we thought this would be a perfect challenge for the Presto app. There are filters that cater to people like us, to foodies with specific allergies or to those that prefer only organic food.
Features like "open now", "price" and "distance" further narrow down one's options. For example, we chose a price range of 75 francs and a distance of 20 km from our home. The filtered search takes us through a gamut of food options. We scroll through the photos of the dishes one by one. The quality of the photographs is the first point of attraction, followed by the ingredients with which a dish is prepared.
Elle'n'Belle in Zürich is perfect for vegetarians like us
The black burger catches my wife's attention, and she is curious to know more about this dish. We select the "Manson Burger" for more information. The restaurant that serves this particular dish is called Elle'n'Belle. Apart from the burger, the app shows other dishes on the menu.
All the helpful information such as the address, cuisine type, opening hours, payment options and the phone number are there - including an option to call the restaurant. We look at the other dishes offered at Elle'n'Belle before calling in the reservation.
Once we zero in on the foods we were going to order, I reserve a table for us for a dinner. A few days later at the restaurant, though, we change our selections and opt for other attractive dishes that were not featured in the app. Truly, Elle'n'Belle turns out to be an inspired choice. The atmosphere is nice and kid friendly. But the Manson Burger might have to wait for some other time...
My verdict of the Presto app
The journey with Presto does not end here. I would call it a “food networking” app where one can add friends and share ideas when it comes to eating out. User generated content is an integral part of the app with its option to add photos from the places one has been.
One downside is that currently, the Presto mobile app is only available for iOS users. Unless they cater the app for Android phones, the user base will remain restricted. As for the database of restaurants as it stands, it is incomplete and needs to be constantly updated. (I am sure the developers are working on this as I write this, though.)
The Presto app is very useful as it stays true to the core of eating: The food precedes the restaurant.
Update: Elle'n'Belle has been closed permanently.