There’s no doubt.  When it was first uttered, “there’s an app for that” was as much wishful thinking as it was great advertising.  But now there really is an app for everything.  You’re a soccer mom needing a cleaners near an away game?  There’s an app.  Someone owes you money and you need to read up on creditor rights?  There’s an app.  In this deluge of new programs, some are good, some are bad, some are helpful, and some are useless.

The best apps help you find something you need on a regular basis, they do that well, and they give you a little something extra.  To that end, here are my favorite apps for finding restaurants (something I need on a regular basis).  They’re all free (because why pay for it) and some help you score bargains.

#5  Yelp

I am a great fan of Yelp for two reasons.  First, it’s helped me find an endless array of great goods and services, and especially when it comes to restaurants the reviews are plentiful and helpful.  Second, Yelp has increased the power of reviewers considerably, which means that when you get really bad service somewhere the threat of a negative review is generally enough to get you a steep discount.

#4  Foursquare

I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of Foursquare check-ins in principle.  Usually when I go out somewhere it’s to get away from people I know, and the last thing I want is for people I know to find out where I’m at.  But that aside, the Foursquare app does help you find places where people you know have checked in.  Following the flavor trends of friends I trust has served me well on many occasions.

#3  Around Campus

Although I’m no longer a college student, the college environment is always a good place to find good fun and a good conversation.  In the right college bar, you can even get wasted while discussing Kierkegaard with a co-ed – and that should be enough to recommend this app to anyone living in a college town in the US who has either a beer or a brain…or both.

#2  Scoutmob

Scoutmob connects customers looking for a new dining experience with restaurants looking for new customers.  The restaurants offer deals, which can sometimes be as much as 50% off their prices, in order to pull customers in.  That means you get a steep discount on your meal, and because you’ve let the restaurant know you’re a first-timer (and prospective regular) you’ll usually get great service as well.

#1  Drink Specials

This might not be the #1 restaurant-finding app out there, but it is probably the best app for finding cheap drinks nearby the restaurant where you just spent your money having a nice meal . Drink Specials uses GPS to locate you, then pushes deals from bars convenient to that location.

While it’s true that the app the soccer mom uses to find the cleaners or that the creditor uses to bone up on creditor rights are valuable when they’re needed, these apps will help you satisfy three of humankind’s most basic needs:  food, drink, and a good deal.

Written by Drew Hendricks