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Apr 2, 2009 05:06 PM

I will not pay for that!

No one can argue that Italian restaurants lead the pack for both upscale, fine, gourmet dining as well as hole-in-the-wall, family run local joints.

My circle of friends like to dine in nice restaurants, but they are not adventurous eaters. So, when it’s a night out at a good restaurant, I can forget the Thai and Vietnamese, it’s always steak or Italian.

Here’s my beef (no pun intended) how can you justify paying between $15 and $20 for a plate of pasta!! I’m not talking exotic ingredients… Spaghetti and meatballs or sausage. What’s worse, is being charged that for pasta alio oilo!! Come one…. It’s a buck’s worth of pasta and some olive oil and garlic. $15?!? So, if I have any input, I’ll go for the nice steak dinner. At least I can understand the high cost of quality beef.

So, what do you refuse to pay for at a restaurant? Not because it’s not good, and not because you can make it at home, but just because the price it too out of line for what you get??

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  1. $25.00 Hamburgers, $10.00 bottles of water, $45.00 cheese trays,$9.00 mini Bahn mi's, $12.00 frozen yogurts,$22.00 "Mixologist" Cocktails. Come on , you know who you are.......

    1. That's nothing! Da Domenica, a small trattoria in Hong Kong charges US75 for a plate of Spaghetti ala vongole! They claim all their ingredients were air freight from Sicily! BTW, lousy service as well!
      Anyways, back to your question. The answer is ' its to do with all the overhead! "

      2 Replies
      1. re: Charles Yu

        $9 for a plate of spaghetti is covering the overhead. $15 is pretentious.

        1. re: janetms383

          It depends on whether the pasta is house made. I had some house made mushroom ravioli at a wonderful Italian spot the other was out of this world!

          I wouldn't pay big bucks for a plate of packaged spaghetti with red sauce on it..even if it had a couple of meatballs.

      2. there was recently a thread about things you won't eat out, and pasta was my first thought -- and that of many others, too.

        my question is, why worry about the price when no one is forcing you to *order* it? i guess enough people are willing to pay so much for pasta, but not me. i'd make an exception for some nice shrimp diablo. ;-). and you don't have to order pasta at italian restos anyway -- they usually have nice seafood dishes, in my experience. i'd just as soon have good seafood as steak, though -- any day.

        to answer your specific question, i'm not gonna pay for tap water at any restaurant.

        4 Replies
        1. re: alkapal

          I don't like to pay for Italian regardless of what I order, but sometimes I just want the spaghetti! (And I don't order it!)
          Thanks for opinning

          1. re: alkapal

            I decide when I am going out with friends ... is about you and food and you and friends. I don't order water, I get a glass of wine or a beer or ice tea. I get something they are known for a simple dish. Don't get exotic, you know it won't be up to your standards anyways. Personally I find it just find, but I am not particular or "picky" when it comes to eating. I am enjoying my friends and the company and that they picked the place and they are comfortable and they are having fun. It's not about food, it's friendship. Just pick something simple and go with the flow.. Allkapal, not just for you I just replied to this. Not meant to anyone directly. It is just my thought. Order something you can eat and just grin and bear it. Me ... nothing bothers me but I prefer good not chain food, but it isn't about me is it. It is enjoying my friends. More important to me than food ever will be.

            1. re: kchurchill5

              most of my friends are in the industry. it would never occur to me to eat someplace that wasn't "up to my standards". it's obviously a sliding scale depending on the nature of the place, but if the food sucked, i'd feel like i really threw money away.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Well, when you deal in marketing and advertising and some business dealings. Most of who I deal with are not up to those standards and we have only 30 minutes or a few more to grab something quick and leave. So I fine restaurant is not within their budget, certainly not mine every day and not something they are used to. So to me it is just fine. They are happy and that is why is important.

          2. In most restaurants -- lobster. There are one or two who specialize in fantastic stuffed lobster that is worth every penny, but for most , no way.

            1. $12.00 for 3 "sliders", $5.00 for coffee or tea, $8.00 baked potatoes!!, "artisanal" cocktails for $12-14.00. Yikes!! I'm making fresh pasta tonite w/ King Arthur flour (a splurge) semolina and a little whole wheat + 3 eggs; cost- $3.00 or less. Alfredo sauce w/ cream, nutmeg and reggiano (another splurge...) Cost- $3.00 or less. Roasted asparagus as a side for $1.29 a pound on sale. Dinner for $8.00 (not including the vodka and wine, of course!!) I like to feel like I've gotten a little bang for my buck in terms of value. Sheesh, I used to co-own a restaurant; I know how much a potato costs-including the "labor " that goes into baking them, but, c'mon, $8.00 to $10.00 for a BAKED potato @ a steakhouse!! That is absurd!! (Even if it comes w/ all the trimmin's...) adam

              4 Replies
              1. re: adamshoe

                Thanks Adam, you've made a good point and I think it's what's got my outrage. At a steakhouse, I don't mind the $34 for a dry aged bone in prime rib eye and generally can't eat a potato along with it. But, if my date wanted a potato, charge him $2.50 instead of the outrages $8!! Same with a good Italian restaurant, if my friends want to pay $30 for fuite de mare and I just want pasta with oil and garlic with a side of broccoli, why stick it to me? Is it merely to justify their "status"?

                1. re: janetms383

                  when I moved to the US about 4 years ago, I noticed how expensive pasta was in restaurants here. I have seen pasta with tomato sauce and other sauces costing more than the chicken dishes. I really can't understand why. I was out last week and they wanted $17 for an eggplant parm and the chicken parm was $15.

                  I am from the UK and have never seen pasta dishes in the same price range or more than meat.

                  One of the things that bugs me is the upscale restaurants and steak houses charging $8 for sides like creamed spinach, brocolli and potato dishes. Seems crazy to me but I guess if they can get away with it....

                  1. re: janetms383

                    I remember reading somewhere how pastas were priced in restaurants. Usually they're considerably cheaper than the other items on the menu. Say, pasta is $12, fish is $26, and steak is $32- $40. A lot of customers scan the menu, look at the price and say 'hey $12 is a good price.. I'm going to get the pasta.' The restaurant makes a lot of $$ because the person is ordering something with a high markup. But I guess if it's an upscale place it wouldn't look "right" to have pasta or a baked potato for a few dollars when the entrees are super-expensive.

                    1. re: janetms383

                      the "status" comment is just confusing and you're missing the whole point of how restaurants make money.

                      the margin on that dry-aged rib eye is tiny, with the food cost likely approaching 40%. if all the dishes were priced that way, the place would be out of business in a month. certain items have a lower food cost, like pasta and baked potatoes, and that's where places make money and can afford to not charge even more for higher-cost items.

                      nobody is holding a gun to your head and forcing to order an $8 baked potato. if you don't feel something is a good value, it's your money to spend as you choose.

                      please stop feeling like restaurants are trying to rip you off. if that's really how you feel, stay home and cook.