Forkly is a beautiful new iPhone app that helps you discover new restaurants you might like and recommends dishes once you're at restaurants, based on your individual taste. Built by former leaders of location based social network Brightkite, Forkly has been talked about in the tech press for almost a year but it just launched quietly tonight. It looks good.
It looks a lot like FoodSpotting, but with more and better social hooks: influencer scores, embeddable widgets for food bloggers and a prominent news feed of food photos from your friends.
Forkly offers restaurant owners analytics and loyalty rewards a little like Foursquare does and special features like customizable menus. Brand promotion is also discussed right away at launch.
I'll be curious to see how the service deals with the Cold Start problem; tight Twitter integration is one part of it but I'm not sure there's much for me yet in my town of Portland, Oregon.
Brightkite co-founders Martin May and Brady Becker are behind Forkly and have clearly done a lot of work on it since the first murmurs of its existence surfaced on TechCrunch eleven months ago.
The app looks less like a neighborhood foody news wire, like Foodspotting or a Facebook for your stomach's eyes, and more like a Yelp plus Pandora for particular dishes.