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10 Places To Eat When You Can't Face Another Tasting Or Set Menu

Covid has brought many benefits to our lives. We slowed it down, made less plans, spent less money on trying to look good because we had nowhere to go, and with petrol prices at frankly laughable levels we've never been so grateful for the hybrid and remote working models that have become the norm. But one unexpected effect of Covid has been the number of restaurants pivoting to tasting and/or set menus, forcing a minimum spend and maximum stomach space.

Sometimes we just want all the small plates, a lengthy debate on what to order from many, many choices, or aren't particularly ravenous (okay that's probably not us but maybe it's you). When that's the case we're going à la carte all the way, and here's 10 places happy to oblige...

Orwell Road, Rathgar

Recently opened Orwell Road in Rathgar (from the owners of Charlotte Quay and Coppinger Row - RIP) has a menu with snacks, starters, mains, sides, desserts and cheese. Do it all, do some of it, you do you. The only problem is going to be whittling it down to a healthy amount of plates for one meal, because with dishes like mackerel tart with chilli ponzu; beef tartare with Hegarty's cheddar and pesto; and BBQ monkfish on the bone with smoked mussel and caviar sauce, you're going to want all the food.

Note, Dublin 2

Note's bistro menu is off to the races, and while they do have a chef's menu requiring no brain power on your part, you can pick and choose from dishes like ceviche, Vitello Tonnato, handmade pasta and a hunk of a pork chop. They're getting busier by the day but if you've nothing booked it's always worth throwing an eye in and seeing if you can sidle up to the bar for some small plates. Read our Note Bistro once over here.

Forest Avenue Wine Bar, Dublin 4

Forest Avenue Wine Bar's menu was designed for sharing, meaning you can share a little or a lot depending on who you're with and what your budget/stomach allows. Play it safe with charcuterie and a comté tart, or mix it up with Cantabrian anchovies "matrimonio"; potato paillasson with vadouvan mayonnaise; or duck and foie gras terrine with black fig and celeriac. Read our once over here.

Loretta's, Phibsborough

The menu (and photography) at Loretta's seems to have gone up a gear recently, and we've been greedily eye-balling their tomato gazpacho with dressed crab and pickles; Skeaghanore duck with plum szechuan, scallion & cucumber salad; and lemon posset with raspberry frozen yoghourt, meringue & buckwheat. The space is big and airy, the vibe is totally laid back, and you could make it fit into everything from an unplanned Wednesday night bite, to a special occasion Saturday.

Osteria Lucio, Grand Canal Dock