One family in New York City, featured in this New York Times article, decided that 12 was the right age. What do you think?
When David Fishman's parents told him they would not be coming home for dinner, they asked him to pick up some takeout. Instead he asked their permission to dine out at a new restaurant in their Upper West Side neighborhood. As a budding foodie, he took the opportunity to critique the restaurant while the staff and other diners fawned over him.
I am not sure what to think about this. I suppose that a restaurant is a relatively safe place for a 12 year old and certainly not a bad place for a young boy to spend time alone. I certainly applaud him for his interest in eating well and his choice of restaurant.
The only issue I have is that he had to eat alone. Made me think of him as the modern-day latch-key kid, only worse as his parents couldn't even make it home for dinner. Having been a latch-key kid myself, and not one who would have or could have taken myself out to dinner, I clearly have my own biases here.