Developer: OpenTable, Inc.
Price: free Download on the App Store
OpenTable claims to be the world's most popular instant restaurant reservation system, and with 8,500 participating restaurants and growing, it would be difficult to prove otherwise.
The company's Web site, which is free to register and use, enables diners to locate restaurants, find out whether the restaurant has seating available, book a table and manage their upcoming reservations. Diners who book and honor their reservations through OpenTable, also earn dining reward points, which can be redeemed as discounts on meals.
OpenTable, the site's new app, enables iPhone users to do the same things while on the go. OpenTable automatically syncs with an account on the Web site, assuming the user entered the same login and password to access the iPhone and Web site.
It's a simple app: Start by selecting a location, enter the date of the reservation and size of your party, tap "find a table" select a restaurant from the list that pop ups and read all about it. Tap one of three times to book your reservation and you're done. There's a map button if you need directions.
You can choose your current location or any other location in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. If you're traveling, that could be a compelling feature.
OpenTable is simple — in some ways too simple. It's limited to participating restaurants. However, even if you happen to be in an area with many participating restaurants, no more than 20 will not make the list. You can't search for restaurants by type of cuisine or price. The photo of the restaurant that accompanies each listing is too small to be of any use.
Still for on-the-go reservations OpenTable is much better than wasting your time and precious "daytime minutes" calling each restaurant individually.