Small plates are the newest foodie trend to hit Dublin and I'm all over it.
I'm that really annoying friend that you bring to dinner that reaches her fork into everyone's dish for a taste. Even my boyfriend knows when we go out for food not to order the same thing as me because I want to try as much of the menu as possible. Yes, he is a saint for tolerating me.
If you haven't guessed already, tapas and small plates are my favourite kind of meal. I can try a million things in one sitting and people won't get cranky with me for reaching across the table and digging my fork into a plate.
Tapas, of course, is the most well-known form of small plate dining, but lately there has been a small plate revolution with a plethora of styles, cuisines and flavours.
Here are some of my absolute faves:
Host defines itself as a restaurant that serves 'Small Plates and Quality Cuts'. Its menu features dishes like wooded pig pepper salami, sugar pit bacon terrine and pea, lobster, crab & kohlrabi, rump bolognaise tagliatelle and shiitake mushroom tagliolini.
All the dishes are perfectly petite so you can have two or three to really sample the menu.
Located in lovely Ranelagh, it's a pasta lovers dream for date night.
2. Uno Mas
Uno Mas is the sister restaurant to Etto and creates a winning menu that is a riff on tapas.
Formerly of Locks, head chef Paul McNamara runs the show and the staff are all on top of their game. The menu is divided into snacks, starters, mains and desserts, all offering interesting flavour pairings.
The provenance is key in Uno Mas. Everything right down to the olive oil is given its due consideration.
Since its opening late last year, this place has been absolutely buzzing every single night without fail – it’s still pretty difficult to get a booking. It’s the ideal spot for date night or any kind of special occasion and deffo a meal you’ll remember.
3. Variety Jones
Variety Jones is one of the coolest spots in town, so cool that they have absolutely no images on their Insta feed and they've removed all of their tags - how hipster of them!
The menu is unusual and intriguing, serving up a tapas-like selection of starters and tasters that are broken up into snacks, cold, warm and pasta dishes.
It's one of the cutest places I've visited for date night this year and I cannot wait to go back.
4. Lucky Tortoise
The 'All In' taster menu from Lucky Tortoise is up there as one of my all-time faves.
You get a little bit of everything, from baos to gyozas, miso soup to scallion pancakes. It's ideal for a bunch of mates who love good food. The venue as a whole is super chilled and an all-round good vibe.
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I headed down to Lucky Tortoise this evening with @lynnestagram to check out the "All In" menu. It includes the entire dim sum menu along with sides and dips for 20 squids per noggin.🥟. . It was genuinely divine. There's a great atmosphere, owner Thom is probably the soundest person I've come across in the Dublin food scene and it's a steaaaal. . Will deffo be heading down again soon 🥢 @luckytortoiseco
From the outside, Frank's looks like an old butchers, but inside you'll discover a fine dining restaurant. Located on Camden Street, this is a unique dining experience to remember.
As the restaurant is so small, everyone is sat at the same table.
You’d walk right past 777 without realising it’s even there, but it's a mecca for hipster foodies.
The cool venue serves up some of the best quality Mexican food I’ve tried in the city. It's such a serious spot for a few nibbles and a lot of maragritas - ayyye ayyye ayyyyyyee!
Be careful though, it is a little bit pricier than the rest.
7. The Gravediggers
If you're on the lookout for Dublin's random foodie gems that have you almost forcing your mates to check them out after being there – The Gravediggers is exactly that.
Its small plate tapas menu has a little bit of everything and it’s also super reasonable, costing between €3 and €7 for each well-proportioned option.
Expect meatballs, fish cakes, chorizo, mac’n’cheese, flatbread and dips, prawns and crispy pork belly.
(The mac’n’cheese is the dream!)
Bart’s is a contemporary bar with a quirky vibe.
The menu features gourmet tapas with a very fair price point. Dishes are small, unusual and full of flavour.
Snacks include oyster crisps, arancini, sourdoughs and croquettes. The real treat, however, is the main dishes on offer. These come in small portion sizes, ideal for one, or if you and your mate want to get a load of stuff and try a bit of everything – but be warned, it will be a bite or two at most.
Pickle focuses on North Indian cuisine. It has an extensive small plate/starter menu that includes chandni chowk ki aloo tikki, fauzi chicken wings and tandoori Kilkee scallops.
It's said that they have the best chicken wings in Dublin.
Don't believe us? You'll have to try them.
10. Clanbrassil House
I headed to Clanbrassil House with my mates for brunch a while back and I've honestly never been so impressed.
Head chef Gráinne O Keefe knows her stuff and this brunch menu is ideal for sharing. We got a few plates and stacked our plates with eggs, potatos, sourdough and other wonderful brunchy bits.
Well worth a visit.
To all of you who love to taste a little bit of everything, take your mates to one of these places to avoid the conflict of grabbing food off their plates.