Formerly: Foodiebay
It’s been a few years since Foodiebay started calling itself Zomato, fewer years still since it launched on mobile, and barely a few weeks since it started to prompt everyone to help in it’s redesign. So here is my take on Zomato, in conjunction with my blog’s theme: An ordinary guy’s, ordinary take on an extraordinary foodie dictionary which-promises-free-mugs-and-an-S3-if-you’re-lucky.

You had me at the S3.

So Zomato, pronounced Zoh-mah-to (think Tomato with a Z) is mine, yours and everyone else’s one stop for all info on your city’s kitchens, bars, dhabas, cafes and restaurants. You’ll find it on your computer here, your Android here, on your iSheep device here, your black-free-texter here, on your dad’s old Nokia here and your new Nokia here.
Now one you’ve found it, you’ll be surprised to see it to be soooo cleanly made. No stains of haldi, pyaaz, or beer on their welcome mat, nor the pungent smell you’ll come across in most dhabas.

What I really really love about the website is it’s simplicity. And the ability to view any and all info about for any place, from anywhere, and with any device. Not to mention the fact that they cover over 15 cities in India and our favorite holiday destination, Dubai( I see what you did there Zomato ;).

1) Everywhere I look, I see Zomato

At the time of blogging, Zomato is available in over 15 cities in India. That is a marked improvement from the time it began, with serving only around 2000 menus. You cannot go out to eat in your city, without referring to Zomato first. (I’m pretty sure that most of you will log on to check the rates.). This expansion into India has resulted in Zomato becoming the ‘thing’ to download on your phones. And to refer it before going out with your peeps. This was a direct result of their rapid expansion in India and I must say WOW! Love them for this!
Keeping in line with the Indian way of thinking, they expanded into Dubai. So now your yearly trip to that shopping haven is all the more familiar, with a trusted website for eating out joints. Zomato, you sure did play this one right!

2) All yer cheeky reviews

Zomato lets anyone sign up(via FB/Google) on their website to view and review restaurants. Little did they know that this was exactly what we needed: A place to vent about the restaurants we hated, with our privacy secure. And where the owners actually read these reviews and listen to the cranky customers. So basically the review section on Zomato is it’s ‘Ace In The Hole’. Never before could we rant about the places we visited so publicly, nor could we make most of the educated Indian internet trawlers more jealous of our meals at all those fancy restaurants, that lighten your wallet quite a bit. With the star rating next to the reviews,a quick glance is adequate to choose your restaurant. The review portion of Zomato is truly awesome!

3) Knowledge Is Power

That’s a real world proverb, holding true everywhere, even Zomato! Click on a restaurant’s page and you’ll get all the info you could dream of, and more. From general info, to reviews, to Google Maps locations, to photos, to menus to suggestions for alternatives, etc etc. Cause of this, I don’t need to look for anything else on Google. Zomato ‘completes’ me, and my FOOD LUSTS. Oh and they also give out free food vouchers to the top reviewers in any city, and to the best weekly reviews… So take two minutes to write a review, get a voucher, go to another place, review it later, get another free voucher, and so you’re set for life!
Zomato will also let you explore using any parameters, from location, to cuisines to everything else. That itself is a necessity in any app, and they sure have it here.

But not everything is desirable about Zomato. I really don’t like the fact that the website lacks info randomly. It’s irritating. And the mobile apps are pretty slow, even on HSDPA+ networks(not to mention Wi-Fi). It’s generally buggy and laggy too. Plus there’s one feature I’d love to see for Zomato. I’d even kill for it. Read on to find out!

1) Yer General App Problems
Many apps face em, and Zomato is no exception. It loads sooooo slowly, on Wi-Fi and HSDPA+ networks. I tried loading it on Vodafone’s HSDPA network, cause mostly people will not be in the range of a Wi-Fi connection when they’re trying to access your application. It takes me 7-10 minutes on average to get a decent recommendation for a restaurant. That’s slower than Foursquare and Just Dial.
The application is also not yet fully refined. It needs a few more bug fixes, and updates to get rid of the infrequently annoying crashes and lag while browsing.
Finally, it also makes me log out frequently from both the mobile app and the website. 😦

2) Where’s That Info?
The Zomato website lacks certain vital pieces of info, like phone numbers for example, for many restaurants. They have the details of the biggies, but some of the small eating out joints miss out on the info. It’s plain annoying, and I hope they change this soon.

3) All India Statistics

Zomato has a very comprehensive list of the restaurants in India and their reviews by customers. So why not have a section with the best restaurants, based on people’s reviews and their and their ratings. It’ll be pretty fun to see the best places in India, and the ones that trend. Plus free publicity for the joints too!

One Thing I’d Like To See
Imagine this: You’re checking into a bar using Foursquare/Google Maps. As soon as you check in, the latest and most helpful review from a Zomato user pops up, RIGHT INDISE GOOGLE MAPS?FOURSQUARE!!! And since it ain’t good enough, you request similar places on maps using similar reviews on Zomato and what your friends suggest!
A tourist comes to India, uses Google Maps, and checks out the reviews, provided by Zomato. Then he’ll get a better choice of the places to visit. And that’s free international publicity for Zomato too!
If this is implemented, life would be that much simpler… 🙂

So finally, Zomato is the only website that’ll satisfy your lusts for new places to explore, new bars to hit on women and your darkest desires for the best chocolate dessert. With it’s helpful layout and intuitive suggestions, it’s pretty easy to navigate and understand. It does need to work a bit more on the accuracy and availability of any restaurant’s info.

All in all, it’s THE website to be on!

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