I like to go out to eat. A lot. Given a choice, most times I’d choose a restaurant over a home-cooked meal–even with a kid in tow. I’ve always been like that. I just like the scene, the new dishes, the adventure of dining somewhere new. My daughter has been dining out since she was two weeks old and 11 years later, she’s as comfortable in a restaurant as most adults (and sometimes even better behaved!). I know, however, I am often in the minority of people who think it’s a good idea, or fun at all, to bring kids along.

If you’re nervous about introducing your child to fine dining or new foods or even restaurants, a low cost test-run opportunity is right around the corner: Boston Restaurant Week (which is actually two weeks, March 14-19 and 21-27). It offers a bonanza of budget dining at both lunch and dinner at top notch spots around town. There are 228 restaurants participating as of this posting. There must be one or two you’ve been tempted to bring your kid to.

Prices are $15.10 for a two-course lunch; $20.10 for a three-course lunch; and $33.10 for a three-course dinner. Not every place offers all three options, so visit www.bostonusa.com/visit/restaurantweek to check out who’s doing what. Foodie website BostonChefs.com offers the Insider’s Guide to Boston Restaurant Week at www.restaurantweekboston.com, with advice, tips, menus and more.

Boston Restaurant Week (with Kds!)Some other perks this year include partnerships with various hotels, a few parking garages, and ArtsBoston, which are all offering discounts and package deals related to Restaurant Week. (ArtsBoston and BosTix.org are offering half price tickets to The Dinosaur Musical at the Stoneham Theatre.) 

March is always a tease –warm one day, cold the next, winter and spring vying for supremacy. At least if you make a reservation at a great restaurant, you know what to expect.

One last thing; as a server in my former life, I always tip servers on discounted meals for what they would have cost without the discount. So, if your $33.10 dinner really would have cost $75, tip accordingly. Especially if your little epicurean is still working on his table manners!

Visit www.opentable.com to make your reservations!