Now that all the Christmas and Hanukkah presents have been unwrapped (and maybe returned), Galveston’s leading restaurateurs have a gift for everyone: the seventh annual Galveston Restaurant Week gets underway Saturday, with more than 30 participating restaurants offering fixed-price breakfasts, lunches or dinners.

Galveston Restaurant Week actually runs for two weeks, ending Jan. 21, giving diners ample time to try new places and revisit old favorites. First-time participants in Restaurant Week include Russo’s New York Pizzeria, the Gypsy Joynt and the Pelican Grille at Moody Gardens Golf Course, which is offering a special golf and dining package.

“Restaurant Week gives us a chance to put our best foot forward, and at the same time be involved in the community and helping a local charity,” Russo’s director of operations Rex Street said. Each participating restaurant has committed to helping Access Care of Coastal Texas with its weekly client lunches. These lunches provide nutrition and a sense of community for individuals with HIV/AIDS.

Street also sees Restaurant Week as a time to introduce new diners and regular customers to more of the menu. “We’re known as a pizzeria, and people like our pizzas so much that they often don’t ever venture over to the rest of the menu,” he noted. “This gives us a chance to spend some time with other menu items, like our pastas.”

Correcting potential misperceptions is also one of the goals of Eric Nelson, chef and co-owner of Number 13. “People sometimes assume we’re going to be expensive, but we’re a good value even in our day-to-day operations, and even more so for Restaurant Week,” Nelson said.

Nelson plans to showcase some of Number 13’s most popular dishes during the next two weeks. “We’re bringing beef Wellington back by popular demand, but also offering a seared grouper or roasted Springer Mountain chicken,” Nelson said.

Before those main courses, the three-course $35 Restaurant Week menu opens with a choice from a four-item appetizer menu, including oysters Rockefeller. “Oysters Rockefeller is one of our signature dishes,” Nelson noted. “We put our own spin on it, with brown butter and a brioche crumb topping.”

For their first Restaurant Week, the Pelican Grille is offering a $75 golf and dining package, which includes 18 holes of golf with a cart, a dozen golf balls, driving range time and unlimited food and drink. The Grille serves breakfast and lunch, and nongolfers are welcome to come for the food and view.

Diners hoping to try as many of the participating restaurants as possible can start the day with breakfast at the Gumbo Diner, where beignets, eggs and chicken and waffles are on the $10 Restaurant Week menu. Lunches at the Gumbo Diner are also priced at $10. Two dozen of the participants have a separate, lower-priced lunch menu for Restaurant Week, and a handful of participants, including Shearn’s, the Porch Café, Number 13 and Grotto, are only open for dinner.

Many of the Restaurant Week participants accept reservations through Open Table, and a full list of restaurants, along with their special Restaurant Week menus, is online at GalvestonRestaurantWeek.com.

Bernice Torregrossa: bernice92@aol.com.

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