While you may find me revisiting my favorites over and over, the desire to try new places and cuisines is still a strong part of my foodie identity. However, the risk of not enjoying the food has often kept me from exploring restaurants I haven't heard of before. I have been scared too many times before by the 4.5-star Yelp reviews to trust the internet blindly. It forced me into the cycle of eating at familiar places and worrying about if it is worth trying a new place that I myself may not enjoy. Well, since downloading Beli, I have been more mindful about where I like and want to eat. 

Since most of my Instagram feed is filled with different food content creators, I eventually stumbled upon @beli_eats through their mouth-watering reels. The reel I watched was food photography heaven: cutting open into a chicken sandwich, then promptly giving it its "Beli Rating." After some Instagram stalking of their incredibly formatted feed, I found that Beli is actually an up-and-coming food rating app, and I knew I had to download it — and I haven't been able to shut up about it since.

How the App Works 

After downloading the app (currently only available on iOS), you must actually obtain an invite before officially joining the Beli community. Although your profile is created, you are placed on a "waitlist" for an invite. From what I recall, I was on this waitlist for just a few hours before the founder of the app, Judy Thelen, invited me. Once you join and have an account, you have 6 invites yourself to give out to your friends who can then join through your link. 

Beli mixes your personal list and a map of restaurants with a social platform to see where your friends are eating at. Here is a tour of some of my favorite features:

Your Profile

Your profile is similar to your social media profile with your followers, your recent activity, and even your rank on the Beli app (determined by how many places you've been to). Based on the places you have tried, it even shows your "Taste Profile," a summary of how you have ranked restaurants by cuisine, city, or country. 

You Tried a New Place. Now What?

As you try restaurants, you add them to your list by searching the restaurant's name and clicking on the "plus" sign. Beli then asks how you liked the restaurant with three options: "I liked it!", "It was fine", or "I didn't like it." Once one is chosen, you can tag the restaurant with what was good or wrong with the restaurant. You can designate a restaurant as good for date night or last-minute reservations, or you can designate that the restaurant did not have great service or was overpriced. In addition, you can add your own personalized notes about the restaurant, your favorite dishes, or photos. 

Once you have finished your entry for the restaurant, Beli then asks you to compare that new restaurant to others already on your list. Out of two options, "New Restaurant" vs. "Already Rated Restaurant," you select which one you prefer over the other a number of times until the app is able to give the new restaurant a score in relation to your list. The app automatically ranks your restaurant list by the score with the new restaurant added! You can always go back and rerank a restaurant to have a higher or lower score if your opinions change. 

Your List and Map 

Check out the restaurants I have tried in Providence! What I love about Beli is that there are multiple ways I can review my restaurants and their rankings. The map view shows their ranking and location through little pins while the list ranks your restaurants in order. Through this, you can also explore places you have yet to try and have your to-eat list ready to go: search for a restaurant and mark it as "want to try." 

Social Feed 

Beli also lets you see where your friends are eating or want to eat! By adding friends to your profile, you get to see the average of your friends' scores on restaurant pages. I love seeing my friends' opinions on the same restaurants I have tried. Many debates have been started over differing scores for the same restaurant.


The app also makes restaurant recommendations and scores each restaurant based on how likely they think you will like it. Recommendations may not appear on your profile if you haven't tried enough places or if you are in a city where there are not enough ranked restaurants yet. 

Final Thoughts

Because the app is fairly new, updates are happening all the time, improving the experience for its users. Over the past year since downloading it, I have used it almost every time I am trying a new restaurant, and the app has changed how I judge restaurants in my area. So, if you are a foodie open to trying new places, Beli might just be your new best friend.