There’s nothing worse than having a meal ruined, be it due to a hair found in your meal or something more serious such as food poisoning. We expect restaurants in Toronto to be safe, but sometimes mistakes do happen. DineSafe is a popular web and mobile platform that colour codes restaurants according to the conditions found on the premises at the time of the most recent inspections to inform customers on the cleanliness of a particular restaurant.
Android app Toronto DineSafe Inspections is very utilitarian and not much to look at, but it does the job of informing users and providing all the information you would need. This is another example of an app the city could be producing to better inform Torontonians. This app pulls all of its information from the City’s Dinesafe program and is as up-to-date as the city is with their inspections; however, that does not mean you will get immediate, up-to-the-minute updates on a particular spot until the city updates their information.
From the home menu, you can choose to search through a list of nearby restaurants or use Google Maps to find locations around you. If you use the map view, zoom in and tap on a restaurant name to bring up its profile. In list view, when tapping on a spot, a small window appears with its profile.
In each profile you see the basics – name, location, number of inspections per year, when they happened and their status. If there are any infractions, the app includes a description of the offence for you to read with a bit of detail.
A downside to this app is that it doesn’t colour code profiles until you click them. I wish when looking in list view, the colour coded signs appeared beside each entry. It would give this app a slight, but important visual boost.
Before you head out to your next meal with friends, family or that special someone, do a quick check to see how safe that restaurant really is. The DineSafe app is a great option for those curious about where they eat and those who eat out often. The coloured signs are great to see in the storefronts, but it is even better to have this app by your side before stepping out.
Rob Kirsic writes the App of the Week column for Toronto Standard. Follow him @robertkirsic.