When I ran into Patricia Wells last year at a picnic in Paris to celebrate the first birthday of the collaborative blog Paris By Mouth (to which she is a contributor), she mentioned she was there to update her food lover's guide (last edition published 1999) as an iPhone app.
Wells spent some 15 months trying new restaurants and revisiting her favorites. And now she's distilled everything she's learned into 350 prize addresses. Wells hasn't just dropped into Paris to do a whirlwind trip. The former International Herald Tribune restaurant critic has been living in Paris and writing about food in Paris and all of France for some three decades. She knows her stuff.
And how convenient is all that information on an iPhone, iPad or iTouch? (Sorry, other formats not yet available.) You can browse by category (modern bistro, classic bistro, haute cuisine, vegetarian-friendly, Moroccan, etc.), by arrondissement (neighborhood), price, details (Michelin stars, takeout, exceptional wine list, fireplace, garden terrace, etc.) and by specialties (Breton, brunch, oysters, steak frites, etc.).
Paris is not the kind of city where you can just wander into any restaurant and get a
good meal. You have to have the right addresses. And except for casual wine bars and the occasional bistro, you have to reserve ahead. She's also included her favorite cheese shops, bakeries, pastry shops, chocolate shops, markets and more.
The layout is clean and serviceable, but could use more and better photos. Maybe that will come with time. The great thing about apps is that they can be easily updated.
For more information, visit www.foodloversparis.com and the iTunes store, where you can buy the app for $4.99. A total steal and no heavy book to carry around.
-- S. Irene Virbila