Not sure if this has to be about restaurants.
I just finished an incredible artichoke.
It was a huge, tight globe and while at most grocery stores around here they are $4 and beyond...
This one was only $1.29 at Ranch99.
Why did I only buy one?
They are usually better in their produce prices but by 2/3?
I must make another trip there.
It's totally artichoke season. Have you seen the ones at the farmers' markets?? They're HUGE. But in general, yes, never buy produce at Ralphs or Vons or Albertsons unless you're desperate -- there are plenty of Mexican and Chinese and Korean and Vietnamese and Thai markets around that will sell what you want at half (or less!) of the price, and it's the same friggin' produce or better.
I'll echo Das Ubergeek in saying that right now is the middle of artichoke season, so you'll see them cheaper than any other time of the year. I saw that Von's had some jumbo artichokes for $1.99 last week.
The market stand in the Farmer's Market at Fairfax/3rd had gigantic artichokes a couple of weeks ago for $1/apiece. They were "frost-bitten", but once trimmed and cooked? Couldn't tell the difference.