After buying the restaurant review company Zagat back in 2011, Google helped to modernize it with a new website, mobile apps and integration within Google Maps. Today, Zagat is getting its biggest upgrade yet on the iPhone, and it's good enough to make it your primary solution for discovering new places to eat. The app is now smart enough to recommend restaurants based on your location, as well as the time of day. That location awareness is a big part of what makes Foursquare's recommendations useful, and it's nice to see it finally show up in Zagat (albeit surprisingly late).
The Zagat iPhone app has also been redesigned with a cleaner, magazine-like look. When I launched it at the Engadget office, it immediately popped up with lunch recommendations, coffee spots and places to get "quick bites" nearby. It also features a neighborhood map in NYC, which is useful if you're not familiar with the layout of the city. There's also much a better search experience than before.
What's most striking about the redesigned app is that it's simply a nice experience. It combines Zagat's editorial reviews (which are based on opinions from regular diners) and local coverage with the location features we've grown to expect from Foursquare and Yelp. If you're tired of browsing through uninformed user reviews and you want more than an algorithm pointing you to food spots, it's worth giving the Zagat app a shot.