All of my favorite restaurants have one thing in common: they serve small plates. If you're new to the world of small plates, consider this your big introduction: the idea behind small plates is that you order a bunch of dishes on the menu, rather than one large entree, and you share them among the table. I used to think these dishes could only be found at Tapas restaurants, but boy was I wrong. The restaurant industry has caught on, and these small, shareable plates can now be found everywhere. Every kind of restaurant from Italian, to seafood, to Asian fusion is now serving up delicious dishes Tapas-style. If you're not in on the trend yet, let me tell you why you should be.

1. You Get to Try Everything

Morgan Pagliocco

This first point should be obvious: small plates rock because they allow you to try so much more than you could if you ordered one big entree. This is a #MajorKey for me because I have serious FOMO when it comes to ordering food--aka there are always so many things I want to order, and it pains me to narrow it down to one. Small plates restaurants solve this problem for me by allowing me to sample everything that sounds appealing. So go ahead and order those sliders, a flatbread AND the fried shrimp you've been eyeing. 

2. Cheap Eats

Morgan Pagliocco

Don't get me wrong--I know small plates can be expensive, especially when you order a bunch. But it is possible to enjoy tapas on a budget by splitting multiple dishes with your friends. Everybody gets a bite, and nobody takes a big financial hit. I find that having a bite of every plate fills me up quickly without making me feel sick (like I often do when I eat one big entree). Both your tastebuds and your wallet will thank you.

#SpoonTip: many traditional tapas restaurants offer pitchers of sangria. Split one of these bad boys among a big group and you've saved yourself money on individual cocktails.

3. Food Critic

Morgan Pagliocco

The best way to determine if a restaurant is actually good is to try a variety of things on the menu. But your typical restaurant experience doesn't allow for this, you're generally limited to one dish. Small plates eliminate this problem, and you can be sure that multiple delicious dishes = new favorite restaurant. Plus, you don't have to choose between meat, veggies, fish, etc.--chances are you can try one of each. 

4. Picky Eaters

Morgan Pagliocco

For all the picky eaters out there, small plates are for you. Finding something appealing on a menu can be tough, but if you order a bunch of stuff (or better yet, let your friends decide), you're guaranteed to like something on the table. Plus everything is in condensed portions so if you don't like a dish, there's no need to sweat it--chances are someone will eat the last bite.

5. It's Fun!

Morgan Pagliocco

The most critical part of enjoying small plates is sharing. Sharing food and the overall experience with a group of people enhances any dining experience. You get to work together on ordering the food and obviously consuming it. Plus, who doesn't love to bond over their love of food? So grab your friends, order one of everything on the menu, and thank me later.