Have you ever been sitting in bed watching Food Network or Travel Channel and seen an amazing restaurant and thought "I'd love to eat there"? Have you ever been traveling to a new city and said to yourself "I remember a restaurant on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives that was near here.."?
If so this Instructable is for you! TVFoodMaps is a great resource for finding the restaurants on many different food and travel shows from multiple TV networks. You can use TVFoodMaps on the web or your iPhone, iPad or Android phone.
The website features 5000 restaurants on 45 different shows, which is believed to be the largest searchable database of restaurants on TV (not verified).
In this Instructable we'll explore some simple ways to use TVFoodMaps to help ensure you eat like your on TV!
Step 1: Planning a Trip
One of the most common ways to use TVFoodMaps is to plan a trip to a new city - whether your on business or pleasure. Let's say you're taking a family trip to Portland Maine.
The easiest thing to do is to go to www.tvfoodmaps.com and use the search box up top to search for Portland ME.
From the result screen (see attached) you can browse through the restaurants, see which shows they were on and then click a given restaurant to learn more. You can also sort the list by distance, name or popularity (what I usually use).
Also, directly from the list you can add a restaurant to a personal list or itinerary. Click the little list icon under the restaurant to add it to a list (see screenshot). You can then build up a list of the restaurants you want to visit on a specific trip.
Note: The lists can be used however you like, so you could create a list per trip or by show, or by cuisine.
You can view your lists by going to the "My Home" then selecting your trip. You'll quickly see all the restaurants and their locations.
Most of what was mentioned can also be done via the mobile apps, and if you login with the same account it will automatically sync trips between the website and mobile app.
What if you forgot to plan ahead and your already on a trip? Well we got you covered in the next step.
Step 2: Find Restaurants Nearby
If you are already on a trip or just want to find the closest restaurants on TV to where you currently are TVFoodMaps has you covered. Both the mobile app and website can do a search based on your current location and find the restaurants closest to you.
On the mobile app just hit the cross hairs on the home screen to do a GPS based search. The results will automatically be sorted by closest distance.
On the website you can click the globe icon in the header and a search based on your location will be run.
From there it's like any other search, you can review the restaurants on the map, click for more information or add them to your lists.
Step 3: Road Trip!
Hate flying? Planning on taking a road trip? One of the coolest features of TVFoodMaps is the ability to plan a road trip and find all the restaurants along the route. The main menu of both the website and mobile app have links to run the road trip tool.
From there you enter a few options:
Starting Location - Where you are starting from.
Destination - Where you are going.
How far off route - How many miles off the main route do you want to search for restaurants. I usually use 5.
Exclude from start end - How many miles from the start or end of the trip do you NOT want to search. This is useful so that if you are driving from NYC to Florida you dont see 100's of NYC restaurants.
Click search and then you'll see the same result screen but now with a blue route. Tip: You can add restaurants to your lists from the road trip results as well.
Step 4: TV Listings
Another cool feature is that TVFoodMaps knows what shows are on TV and what restaurants are being featured. So let's say you know you are going to Portland, ME. You may be interested in checking out episodes of shows featuring restaurants in Portland ME. Or maybe you just want to see what restaurants are coming up tonight. Either way TVFoodMaps TV Listings page can be very helpful. The site/app uses local TV listing cross referenced with episode data to figure out which restaurants are on when.
This feature is also available on both the website and mobile app. On the mobile app, if you are a premium user, you can even get push notifications when a city/restaurant your interested in is on TV.
Step 5: Tips & Other Stuff
Here are a few quick tips and other things to try:
- When searching in cities with lots of restaurants, you can zoom in and use the map to focus on a smaller area.
- Restaurants close sometimes, even ones on TV. Verify the restaurant is still open before making a trip.
- Pay attention to what show the restaurant was on. Places on Bar Rescue are going to be quite different than Top 5 Restaurants.
- Also, not every restaurant on TV is the best place around, research on other popular sites like Yelp & Trip Adviser.
- Explore the site, there are lots of ways to find restaurants and build your lists.