Urban Spoon is a small Seattle startup (three employees as of last year: see this coverage), focused on the restaurant review space. Unlike Yelp, which relies on social/user reviews, Urban Spoon took the approach of incorporating existing review data from trusted sources like CitiSearch. This approach makes sense to me.
Now, UrbanSpoon is available as an app on iPhone, and I have to complement the team on a very cleverly designed, fun, and ultimately very usefull application.
The signature page of the app is a slot machine type interface, where you shake the iPhone and the app picks a restaurant randomly. I fixed the location (Santa Monica) and the cuisine (Steak), and the app chose Boa, which just happens to be one of my favorite LA restaurants. You can drill down further, read reviews of Boa by critics that actually count, such as the LA times, and even twitter about them from within the application.
You can also build up and share list of favorite restaurants with you friends. This “social” aspect is very well designed, and actually quite usefull. Of course, since the app lives on the iPhone, you can easily map directions to the restaurants from your current location, or even find a list of “restaurants near me”. Again, since the data is from trusted sources, the results are generally very good (see NYTimes review here). This app will definetly come in handy on business trips.
My only gripe is that i would have liked to see some integration with OpenTable, so that i could make the actual reservations from the phone. Hopefully, the developers will add that in a future version.