While restaurant reviews are useful for finding a good place to eat, they’re usually not nearly as helpful when it comes to choosing which dish to eat. Dish.fm is a new iOS and mobile Web app launching today that looks to solve that problem.

Initially covering San Francisco and New York with more cities to follow, Dish.fm aims to help you make the right order by analysing millions of reviews on services like Yelp and Foursquare, looking at mentions of individual dishes in positive and negative reviews, sourcing an image of each one from services like Instagram and then serving up its recommendations in a pretty, easy-to-browse app.

You can search for a restaurant by name, or browse a map to find somewhere to eat. Each restaurant then has its dishes ranked by popularity according to the number of positive citations in online reviews, accompanied wherever possible with a photograph of that specific dish from that specific restaurant. If the app can’t find one, you can add your own. Additionally, you can help future diners by indicating whether you found each dish ‘awesome’ or ‘awful’.

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The Moscow-based team behind Dish.fm are backed by Russian angel investor and former Mail.ru Group VP, Igor Matsanyuk. Today’s launch follows a previous attempt at the app in June this year. Then, it relied on crowdsourced dish reviews and photos. “We realized that like this the app attracts only niche users, those who like to make pictures of their food and share their experience,” says co-founder Zhanna Sharipova. “The mass-market consumer does not bother to make pictures, he or she only wants to get recommendations about what’s to order and be done.”

The solution – making smart use of existing data – is an efficient one, but only when users get out there and try on the streets of New York City and San Francisco will we know if it truly leads to better dining experiences. That will depend a lot on the quality of the service’s processing of reviews (it currently checks for mentions in positive and negative reviews and uses sentiment analysis) and whether it can find enough images of specific dishes to make each restaurant’s page pretty. Even in tech-loving San Francisco, we didn’t find that many restaurants where customers had shared photos online in a way that Dish.fm could find them.

Dish.fm is free and available now for iOS and as a mobile Web app.

➤ Dish.fm: iOS / Mobile Web

Image credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

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