Zomato, founded in 2008, is a popular website that covers over 30,000 restaurants in 10 cities across India. Their website has reviews and menu listings for almost every restaurant listed in their database and the massive user base contributes regularly to the reviews section. They have launched apps for BlackBerry (Still immensely popular in India), iOS, Android and Windows Phone. While their Windows Phone app was updated some time ago with a very drool-worthy look, apps for the other platforms are still stuck with the same old boring and unlovely UI.
While many apps on Windows Phone usually stick to the bare basics of the design guidelines, Zomato thankfully was a little creative with their effort. Not only does their app look perfect for the platform, but it also is the best restaurant guide app that I have ever used. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5 was all about great typography, smooth transitions and a good looking UI and the industrial design of Nokia’s Lumia 800/900 suits the OS perfectly. Zomato’s app embodies all of this and more.
The app welcomes you with 5 main tiles on the first page. The discover tile gets you a random restaurant near your location, although I really wish they had a setting that allows you to choose how near because some of the results are a little too far away given the nature of the search. The search section gives you tons of options to narrow down your restaurant search in two different categories — facilities provided and cuisine choices. The explore section lets you find restaurants by location or cuisine. There is also an events section that tells you about local food events happening in the coming weeks. The detail view for each listing is really great and in most cases I’m sure the listing in Zomato looks better than anything available at the restaurant. The address, contact details, facilities and Cost For Two (Typical expense for 2 people at the restaurant in question) are listed below the name in the information section. Swiping to the left reveals the reviews found on the site, pictures, scans of the menu and a map. Tapping the map will open up bing maps from where you can get directions to the place. You can also log in and add restaurants to your favourites and review them or share them. The app also has this really nice wallpaper that works really well with the white text displayed throughout the app.
Zomato’s app is one of the best I have seen on this platform so far. There are, however, a few things that I don’t like about it. There is a ‘shake for random’ restaurant feature that is accompanied by a glass breaking sound. Immature stuff like this is exactly what this app doesn’t need. I really love what Zomato has done with their WP app but I hope they are looking at updating their apps that look uninspired now on other platforms. Zomato is available for free on the Windows Phone Store.
Note: We are often asked why Windows Phone apps are not featured more often on the site given how beautiful the
Metro Windows 8 Style UI looks. We like reviewing apps with our own screenshots and there is currently no sane way of taking screenshots of apps on Windows Phone. Moreover, the absence of promo codes and not being able to side load apps for review is also a problem. We hope Microsoft adds better support for developers to market their apps in Windows Phone 8 as they have already added screenshots.