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$25.00 for 5 iced teas.

I hosted 4 women today at Toscana in Brentwood. We all ordered appetizer-size salads. No wine, no mineral water, no dessert. Food was very nice; nothing special. What really grabbed my attention was when I received the check. At the very top it said: "5 beverages, $25.00." I don't know of another restaurant in Brentwood charging $5.00 for iced tea. Funny,, how one item can grab your attention and make you feel completely ripped off. I can not tell you what I paid for my shrimp salad or my friend's burrata and tomato, but I can sure tell you the price of iced tea at Toscana and I was not amused.

Toscana Restaurant
11633 San Vicente Blvd Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90049

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  1. What a rip! However, their menu does say $5 for soft drinks and $4 for tea (I guess hot tea). I still think it's a scam when restaurants don't offer free refills on soda.

    6 Replies
    1. re: DrBruin

      How about charging for refills on iced tea?
      About 15 years ago I was at the Griffith Park golf course and charging $2 for an iced tea and no refills. I told the concessionaire it was a ridiculous no refills on iced tea when it cost him a couple cents? He said he couldn't afford to give free refills on iced tea...I told him I couldn't afford his ridiculous no refill policy and I'd just order free water from then on. He just shrugged his shoulders.

      1. re: DrBruin

        How's that a ripoff if they say so on the menu? No one is forced to order iced tea.

        1. re: PeterL

          Mea Culpa. When the server appears at our table and asks what we would like to drink, we are not checking the prices on the menu. Pretty automatic response is Iced Tea.
          I suspect that even if we had checked the prices on the menu we still would have ordered the same beverage. I just believe it is overpriced.

          1. re: PeterL

            I think charging 5 dollars for a beverage like iced tea, when it costs pennies to make/serve is a ripoff, even if they disclosed it on the menu. I know food costs are high for many restaurants, but I don't think brewed iced tea is one of those costs. I, personally, wouldn't have ordered the 5 dollar iced tea. I also think ordering bottled flat water is ridiculous.

            What I find very annoying, is when restaurants charge exorbitant prices for simple beverages and either don't disclose the price on the menu AND/OR don't disclose their refill policy (either in print on the menu or, at the very least, the server should say something).

            Case in point, I was in Stratford, Connecticut about 10 years ago on a blind date at a mexican restaurant, and the two of us cleared like 10 diet cokes between us (which, by the way, the glasses were just larger than a straw, and it was filled 80 percent with ice) between us... Did the server mention no refills? Um, no. Cost of food? 35 dollars (and the food was awful... I swear the owners and cooks probably couldn't find Mexico on a map of North America)... cost of soda... $35. I was beside myself... darn salty chips and, well, restaurant policy. Since then, I clarify the refill policy wherever I go.

            1. re: DrBruin

              DrBruin - seriously? 10 Diet cokes - I hope you are not a Dr.

              $5 for a glass of iced tea, unless there is an orange cut like a excotic bird hanging from the glass, is obsene.

              thank you maudes5 for pointing this out

              1. re: radman123

                well, they were like 5 ounce pours over 8 ounces of ice and this was between 2 people. the chips were salty, and at the time, I was not a doctor.

        2. You remember that little Mexican restaurant with the tortilla lady on the corner of Olympic and Stoner that was torn down near the new Trader Joe's? Well, they used to charge $2.50 for iced tea with NO refills, so I always paid at least $5 for tea! I thought that was outrageous, but the food made me thirsty. And my friends liked the place.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mnosyne

            The irony is that Toscana is directly across the street from Tavern. I frequently go to the Larder at Tavern in the afternoon for a glass of iced tea& a sweet. Tavern's iced tea is nicely brewed and very strong; just what I want mid-afternoon when I want/need a caffeine fix. I think they charge $2.75 (includes refills). Toscana's $5.00 iced tea was weak and watery and we had to flag down a server for refills. I have loved Toscana for years but today's experience; high prices, sloppy service & the adding insult to injury of that inflated beverage charge has turned me off of Toscana for now. I know they are going through some changes. They were approved for a full liquor license and will be opening a bar across the patio. Not sure when that will be completed.

            Toscana Restaurant
            11633 San Vicente Blvd Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90049

          2. I don't believe 5 for iced tea is all that out of the ordinary.

            I believe the iced tea at Magnolia is something like 4 or 5 dollars.

            1. dunno about the other restaurants in brentwood, but i believe k-zo in culver city charges $6 for hot tea.
              $5 for a bottomless iced tea doesn't sound like a rip off to me if it is served in a nice restaurant.

              2 Replies
              1. re: westsidegal

                I go to K-zo often. Their teas are $3.00 which is fair as they are quite good. $6 would be for two diners.

                1. re: Baron

                  since i was there by myself, it couldn't have been for two diners.
                  maybe it was an error on the check?
                  next time i go, i'll check the menu for sure.

              2. That's sticker shock for ya...esp when you're hosting! $3 for iced tea in hole-in-the-walls is common, so $5 doesn't seem so bad in Brentwood. But that's why I usually get water....

                1. On a related and a happier note, I finally tried Auntie Em's for brunch this weekend and absolutely loved that they offered free self serve coffee and tea.

                  I'm with you that $5.00 for iced tea would make me less than excited about returning.

                  3 Replies
                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        Yes, it was great! And a fantastic value, I thought. We shared a goat cheese asparagus strata and their orange french toast. We also took home one each of their chocolate, carrot, coconut and red velvet cupcakes which made me thankful they're located in Eagle Rock and not somewhere closer to Santa Monica or I would be there all the time!

                    1. I agree with you maud, anybody that thinks that $5 is reasonable for a 5cent glass of iced tea is just plain dumb.

                      1. Anything over $2.75 they should give unlimited refills.
                        OTOH, I've seen folks walk into fast food places with old cups and fill up for free repeatedly.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: mc michael

                          i had assumed from maudies5's post that they did get unlimited refills. no?

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            It's not clear one way or the other.

                            1. re: mc michael

                              I dont' know of any place that does not provide free refills on iced teas.

                              1. re: maudies5

                                I know it's bad, but at least you did get refills. How many drinks would you estimate were refilled?

                            2. re: mc michael

                              "OTOH, I've seen folks walk into fast food places with old cups and fill up for free repeatedly"


                              ... or at the Costco food court using old soda beverage cups for "free refills" the next day, and the next, and the next ...

                            3. If I noticed that Iced Tea was $5 I would not order it.

                              That is uncalled for price gouging.

                              1. I would venture to guess that iced tea is one of the most requested beverage at lunch time and find the $5 charge over the top and when the waiter comes over to ask for drinks, most of the time, you haven't even looked at the menu, so you have no idea what they are charging but I'm sure most of you now will look before ordering the beloved iced tea..next question, is that brewed or out of a gun?

                                1. I had early dinner in Irvine last night. Two of us had two pints each of very good beer each and the total bill for the drinking was $12.50. Had it not been happy hour, the bill would have been $16.50. That's for two and a half quarts of beer.

                                  You've been utterly, completely ripped off.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                    i went through the same sort of analysis the other day at cost plus world markets.
                                    i was walking out of there after buying a case of spanish red blended wine (rene barbier) at $3/bottle (which is not a half-bad everyday drinker) when i noticed that the were selling bottles of prepared tea for far more.

                                    i'm glad that i prefer wine to tea.

                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                      I'd need at least two pints in order to endure being dragged to Red Lobster.

                                      Is this a cheap beer place that the rest of us don't know about? I usually pay $5-6 for "very good beer", which comes in glasses a lot smaller than an imperial pint.

                                      1. re: Bjartmarr

                                        The Red Lobster débâcle is Sunday... please, it's painful enough without the taunting.

                                        This is at the Anthill Pub. Motto: "NO SWILL"

                                    2. I am surprised that restaurants have not hit the point where nobody orders a drink anymore. I never do unless it's somewhere with something out of the ordinary, e.g., I'll order a malta if the place offers one. Five dollars for iced tea is outrageous -- you can get nice loose leaf tea for less than $5 per pound retail at Chado, which is not the cheapest place around by any means.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: JamesF

                                        Further on the Chado line of thought -- if you get brewed tea there I think the price scale tops out at something like $4.50. And that's for tea that I suspect is of a far higher quality than what gets served as Toscana.

                                        1. re: JamesF

                                          The iced tea at Toscana was watery. They pour it into a pitcher with a lot of ice and refill from that pitcher until it is empty. As I mentioned in another post, the iced tea directly across the street at Tavern is strong, brewed and is poured over ice. Oh, and I frequently go there in the afternoon for just iced tea and maybe a sweet and a Medium iced tea is $2.75.

                                          Toscana Restaurant
                                          11633 San Vicente Blvd Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                                        2. re: JamesF

                                          you must mean $5 per ounce, not pound - otherwise you're probably drinking swill.

                                          1. re: soniabegonia

                                            I buy this Chinese black tea that Chinese restaurants serve for like $6 for a bag the size of a pillow case, think it's a 5 pound bag. You find it at the Chinese cash and carry restaurant supply places downtown.
                                            Sure it's swill but makes great iced tea and bobba tea drinks.

                                            1. re: soniabegonia

                                              Ha! Yes, of course. Point still goes. I doubt you'd make iced tea with anything close to $5 per ounce tea anyway.

                                          2. And I thought I was the only iced tea lover on this site . . .
                                            Seriously, price aside, why is it that so few places consistently serve good iced tea?

                                            We were out-of-town this weekend (WAY out of town - Lone Pine to be exact) and visited three of the restuarants on the main drag there. All of the food was good, but one of the restaurants (which was a "nicer" one) brought out two glasses of VERY clouded iced tea. The server (who I think may have been the owner) actually apologized for the cloudy tea and didn't seem to know why the tea was cloudy since it had been recently brewed. How is it possible to be in the restaurant business and not know how to make decent tea?

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: Joani Macaroni

                                              It's cloudy because they didn't allow it to reach room temperature after brewing before adding ice to it.
                                              I think most places get lazy and when it runs low and rather than brewing new iced tea they add water to extend what's left.

                                              1. re: monku

                                                My experience has been the opposite - I let it brew about 5 minutes after heating the water, then pour over crushed ice. Mine doesn't get cloudy that way, but if I let it set out too long, it does. I suspect a lot of places don't properly clean the brewing equipment, and probably "carry over" left-over tea to the next day - and it gets that sickening weird-sweet taste. The best tea I ever had was at a restaurant in Virginia. The waiter brought out a tall glass with crushed iced heaping over the rim, then poured hot tea into the glass! I thought for sure it'd run all over the table, but it didn't - it was perfect.

                                                1. re: Joani Macaroni

                                                  "Lipton Tea Co and the NY City-based Tea Association of the USA say that when tea steeps, tannins - the natural compounds that color tea leaves - are released into the boiling water. The heat helps dissolve them, and the brew is clear enough to see through. But refrigeration causes tannins to separate out again, turning the tea murky. Generally, higher-quality tea contains more tannins (because it is richer in solids) and is more likely to become cloudy. Hard water is another culprit behind hazy tea."

                                              2. re: Joani Macaroni

                                                The only thing worth having at Corner Bakery is the iced tea. It's Mighty Leaf, but it's GOOD.

                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                  Two places with really good Iced Tea:

                                                  Conservatory of Coffee in Culver City - they will make you any kind of tea you want. I like the Jasmine.

                                                  Commissary Coffee on Fairfax- I think it is Art of Tea and it is fantastic. Good coffee too and really nice service.

                                              3. I think they charge 5 bucks to partially offset the money they lose on tables that only order appetizers. Haha, just kidding; sort of. The place is so small and in such demand, they can pretty much get away with it, but i agree that the beverage ripoff tactic that is rampant in the restaurant industry sucks.

                                                10 Replies
                                                1. re: korndog

                                                  Doubt they lost money on our salads. The bill without tax and tip (including the tea) was about $200.00 or $40.00 pp.

                                                  1. re: maudies5

                                                    are you saying that the appetizer salads that you ordered ran about $35 per salad?
                                                    (i.e. $35 per salad plus $5 per iced tea =$40)
                                                    i'd love to know what a $35 salad tastes like.

                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                      I don't think she meant they were appetizer sized salads, but I could be wrong.

                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                        My bad. I just found the receipt. The check was $181.10 (incl. tax). I left 20% tip, which would have =$217.00. Rounded it off to $220.00.
                                                        Unfortunately, I just have the CC receipt and not the itemized check. Yes, those salads must have been over $30.00 each. Yet another rip-off. First, we are asked what we want to drink. OK, I have answered this. Then, we are told the "specials."
                                                        Caveat emptor: As the host, I guess I should have inquired about the price of the specials, but the specials weren't that special. (No lobster, whole fish, steak, etc).
                                                        All dishes ordered were off-menu. Two tomato and burrata salads with some arugala. Three grilled shrimp salads. This is a very tasty salad (but small). Bed of arugala, about 6 small grilled shrimp, some thin slices of avocado, cherry tomatoes cut in half mixed with a very light dressing. One guest asked for a couple of grilled calamari to be added to her shrimp salad.
                                                        I am sad because Toscana, for years, has been known as a great neighborhood trattoria; so welcoming. A great place to pop in and sit at the counter, eat good food and watch the pizzas and steaks go in and out of the oven. It is clear that there has been a significant price increase. Not good in these economic times.

                                                        Toscana Restaurant
                                                        11633 San Vicente Blvd Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                                                        1. re: maudies5

                                                          from your description, i'm going to be fine without EVER tasting those $35 salads.. . .

                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                            seriously. even the fantastic grilled veggie salad with shrimp at The Ivy is cheaper than that, and it's big enough for 2 meals...and people still complain that it's overpriced.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              to me the ivy's veggie salad is only enough for one meal.
                                                              if they reduced the portion size, i'd be really upset.

                                                              this whole thread makes me grateful that i live so close to 26 beach and their terrific, reasonably priced, salads.

                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                maybe The Ivy has gotten a little stingier with their portions...? i haven't been there in a couple of years, but that salad was always HUGE. i'd be inclined to wonder if it's just that my sense of what constitutes a portion sizes tends to differ from that of the public at large, but whenever i took someone new there, they always remarked on the enormity of the salad. and i recall that it always seemed like there was an entire avocado in one salad - but that's not something i'd complain about ;)

                                                            2. re: westsidegal

                                                              "$35" and "salad" immediately bring to mind ... Souplanation.

                                                        2. re: maudies5

                                                          That's an awful lot of lettuce for a salad, even with the $5 tea!