Developer: Nara Logics, Inc.
Price: Free
Version: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Nara Mobile isn’t just another restaurant recommendation and review app. The developers boast that it is a “personal discovery machine.” This means that the app provides personalized results for the places that users love based on its unique algorithm. It’s able to discover preferences and tastes and introduce users to restaurants that it knows they’ll love.

Before users can get started, an account must be created first. The account lets users personalize their preferences. It asks questions like table preferences and cuisine options in order to provide relevant search results. One of the last questions asks users to select two restaurants in a city that they know, but these are all major cities. Those who haven’t traveled much may not be able to answer. In which case, tap the “I Don’t Know Any” option. The app suggests thumbing up and down restaurants to make it more personalized.

After all that, it’s time to sign in. Create an email and password account or log in through Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus. Now it’s time to start searching for places, and this is where I ran into an issue. The app asked for my location, but it never uses it to find restaurants nearby. It seems that it is catered to only 25 major cities in the U.S. and Canada, which means it’s only useful to those who are traveling to destinations that range from Dallas and Memphis to Montreal and San Diego.

Anyone who has traveled to these major cities can begin to thumb up or down restaurants that they have visited to fine tune the app. This allows it to find restaurants in a new city to suits users’ tastes the best. Once a restaurant is found, users are able to see detailed information like maps, phone numbers, hours of operation, parking and more. There’s even an option to book a reservation through Open Table.

The interface is nice and simple, which makes browsing for restaurants pleasant. Unlike similar apps, there’s not a lot of clutter and the text is easy-to-read. I enjoyed how convenient it was to scroll through pictures and view all the relevant information without having to constantly scroll up and down.

The major downfall to Nara Mobile is that it needs more cities. It states that users can match their tastes to restaurants from their home city, but there aren’t a lot of cities to select. I was rather disappointed that I wasn’t able to select anything remotely near Charleston, South Carolina. Hopefully a future update adds even more cities. Anyone who lives in or near any of the major cities that it includes will definitely want to give it a try—especially those who have a hard time choosing restaurants. Nara Mobile is a nice concept, but it needs more cities in order for it to rise to the top.

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