My DD went through a phase where she would stop the spoon coming towards her with one hand by grabbingn it in front of her face and then inspecting it with the other hand. It was like she was asking, "excuse me, but what are you trying to put in my mouth? Let me check it out first!" I let her do the spoon herself when she wanted to, which was I think around 1yr. It got really messy and that was OK. I also tried to give her a lot of finger foods that she could just eat with her hands when she wasn't so good with a spoon at first, like small cubes of avocado or tofu.
We didn't eat much at other people's houses but at restaurants, I just let her create a blast zone around her high chair. I sometimes cleaned up a little as we go but usually the restaurant staff was nice enough to kinda hover around our table with broom/mop. I tried one of those plastic sheets you can lay down under high chair at home, but a lot of mess didn't even make it down to it, yk?
I would say get a couple of nice long sleeved bibs (I made my own) and let the baby go! The super messy I-showered-with-my-lunch phase only lasted a month or two I think (maybe three). Just keep your camera handy and have fun!