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What's the most overpriced menu item you've seen?

piano boy Aug 10, 2011 11:50 PM

A new restaurant opened up in town, German beer hall style.

Apple and Beet Salad - $17

I went through the rest of the description, "...toasted hazelnut vinaigrette, frisee lettuce, sundried figs."

No meat, no cheese, no gold dust... I can't wrap my head around $17. Sure in the scheme of things it's not expensive compared to other appetizers and I've spent 4 times that on a salad at a 3 michelin star restaurant but it seems too expensive for what you're getting. A salad. At a pub.

  1. f
    fourunder Aug 11, 2011 05:45 AM

    Garlic Noodles in a San Francisco Vietnamese restaurant.........about 10 years ago, $13 for Lo Mein Noodles with butter/oil and granulated garlic......

    1 Reply
    1. re: fourunder
      inaplasticcup Aug 15, 2011 06:46 PM

      If you were at Crustacean, I think I know the noodles of which you speak. One of the daughters of that family runs a restaurant named An Qi in Costa Mesa, and they offer the same thing. A lunchtime portion was something like 15 bucks for exactly what you described - and overboiled at that. Joke.

    2. b
      beevod Aug 11, 2011 08:00 AM


      1. w
        wattacetti Aug 11, 2011 08:13 AM

        For food, pasta pomodoro. $20 at several wine bars. Dried commercial pasta, tomato out of a large tin, no fresh herbs, but plenty of salt in the cooking water.

        Beevod's already identified one of the primary profit generators, though I think coffee has the edge percentage-wise on mark-up.

        1 Reply
        1. re: wattacetti
          lcool Aug 11, 2011 11:08 AM

          I'll join you on the coffee.We have a moderate to expensive white table cloth place near by,uses a nasty old vertical perc,too little mundane coffee and then hits the unaware for $9.00.Ordered it once,when served it looked un-drinkable,refused it and had to press to keep it off the check.

        2. v
          velochic Aug 11, 2011 10:49 AM

          My dd's (9) favorite beverage is mineral water and I buy bottles of it for home in all sizes and several different brands. I'm very much aware of what it costs retail, let alone wholesale, which has to be cheaper.

          We recently ate at a restaurant that charged $12 per 750ml bottle. I have never seen an item with such a huge mark-up. Never. The charges for her water (we drank a little, too, so went through two bottles) were more than the charges for our wine.

          It's one thing if it's a prepared dish, but geez... this was an item that just had to have the cap removed!

          1 Reply
          1. re: velochic
            wattacetti Aug 11, 2011 10:58 AM

            Sounds like you were in Montreal during Grand Prix weekend.

            Guy Savoy in Paris doesn't charge for bottle waters - it's considered beneath them. They will charge you 360€ per person for more expansive of the two tasting menus though (worth it though).

          2. pitagirl Aug 11, 2011 11:10 AM

            I eat kosher so I'm used to crazy prices, but there is one place near my office that has among other insanely priced things a salad - romaine lettuce, shredded carrot, beets, red onion, cabbage, cucumbers, peppers, $16.95

            1. babette feasts Aug 11, 2011 12:09 PM

              One small happy hour scallop, seared with a bit of sauce, $6. This unfortunate experience made me relieved I had not ordered the happy hour oyster, also $6. $6 for an oyster? Other happy hours have $1 oysters, and average regular price for oyster here is $3. Does not compute.

              1 Reply
              1. re: babette feasts
                Bill Hunt Aug 16, 2011 07:28 PM


                I have seen such prices for those bi-valves. In Vail, CO, one restaurant had them, from supposedly different sources for from US $ 10 to $ 15 each.

                Heck, I grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (usually only one type of oyster there), and for US $ 6.00, we got a dozen, and enlightening conversation with the shucker!


              2. b
                bdachow Aug 11, 2011 12:25 PM

                Just look at any menu in Bermuda and you'll be appalled at what they charge. The price of living on an island in the middle of the Atlantic.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bdachow
                  Bill Hunt Aug 16, 2011 07:29 PM

                  Similar could well apply to Hawai`i too - remote, away from major supply sources, and resorts.

                  Until fairly recently, any sort of garden greens were about 10x there, but local chefs and local farmers have turned that trend a bit.


                2. b
                  Bkeats Aug 11, 2011 01:14 PM

                  I think the most consistently overpriced item I see on menus is caviar. I know the stuff is expensive wholesale, but it gets ridiculous at someplaces where an ounce will set you back $100+. The mark up is insane, so they give you a few toast points and more garnishes than you could ever use to compensate? All they do is scoop it out of the same tin I can buy. Nothing the kitchen does to it. I love the stuff, so I just buy it and have it at home.

                  1. r
                    roohound Aug 11, 2011 01:42 PM

                    Red pepper gazpacho with heirloom tomatoes and goat cheese crostini = $12. This was at AM@FM - which is Arnold Myint's little stand at the Nashville Farmer's Market.

                    I just don't get it.

                    1. Jay F Aug 11, 2011 01:49 PM

                      Outside a Sbarro pizza place in downtown Pittsburgh, a sandwich board advertises this special: "A slice and a soda for $6.50." Are they out of their minds?

                      1. s
                        smartie Aug 11, 2011 02:13 PM

                        fountain soda surely wins the prize, that icky syrup and a gas cannister and water for $3 or so when you know it's a few cents at best, I don't care how many refills they give you.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: smartie
                          nocharge Aug 11, 2011 03:46 PM

                          Yeah, fountain soda would get my vote, too.

                          I once attended a lecture where a restaurant consultant threw out the question "What type of restaurants have the lowest food cost percentage?" His own answer to that question: Chinese restaurants located inside airports.

                          1. re: nocharge
                            smartie Aug 11, 2011 07:11 PM

                            and barely any work to do, the boxes of syrup are delivered and connected to the pump, a gas canister sits beneath the unit. Servers or customers press the button and hey presto the glass or paper cup is filled up. NO cooking, prep, little maintenance.

                          2. re: smartie
                            2roadsdiverge Aug 12, 2011 11:08 AM

                            I've heard a lot of people assert that the soda costs less than the cup it is served in.. When I was a teenager I worked at an ice cream parlor that had been there since the 40s. We had a giant old ice maker in the back that was constantly running. Our manager told us that the ice in a soda cost more than the soda itself. I don't know if it was true or not, but it was a good story.

                            1. re: 2roadsdiverge
                              woodleyparkhound Aug 15, 2011 06:41 PM

                              When I worked at McDonald's years ago, I learned that they make a profit on only 3 things they sell (everything else costs them money to serve it to you). They are soda, french fries and cheese, which is why they always "suggestive sell" these items ("Would you like fries with that?") So if you get a hamburger and a shake, you have cost them money.

                              1. re: woodleyparkhound
                                Terrieltr Jan 4, 2012 04:13 PM

                                That's good to know. I like the idea of costing McDonald's money.

                                1. re: woodleyparkhound
                                  James Cristinian Aug 23, 2013 07:50 PM

                                  Is this why it is virtually impossible to get any burger without cheese, even though you tell three people you don't want it? The only thing I order is the filet of fish, and I have no problem not getting cheese. The fries are also terrible now, I prefer Whataburger.

                            2. a
                              AussieBeth Aug 11, 2011 07:14 PM

                              About ten years ago, I paid $15.00 for a small bowl of steamed broccolli as a side dish at Aria in Sydney. We were shocked at the price, but it was the BEST broccolli that I have tasted before or since, we fought over the last peice, and still refer to it as "that amazing cocaine broccolli". I will go to my deathbed wondering how the chef made it taste so good. Worth every cent.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: AussieBeth
                                kpaxonite Aug 12, 2011 05:27 AM

                                Well then it wasn't the most overpriced menu item you`ve ever seen...

                              2. Delucacheesemonger Aug 12, 2011 05:32 AM

                                In Lille in northern France went to a restaurant for lunch and ordered a bottle of Chateldun sparkling water. yes it comes from France. It cost 14 euros, $ 20. That got my attention.

                                1. thew Aug 12, 2011 05:51 AM

                                  @ spigolo in NYC $15.95 for a plate w/ 6 gnocchi and a little gorgonzola sauce on it

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: thew
                                    Tripeler Aug 11, 2013 06:37 AM

                                    Not really a surprise for a restaurant with a name that sounds like an ethnic slur.

                                  2. w
                                    wattacetti Aug 12, 2011 06:21 AM

                                    I forgot one: soft drinks in Brussels. 15€ for 150 mL cans. The soft drinks accounted for close to 75% of the bill for the meal (I suggested to my then colleagues that they might want to consider drinking wine as that was considerably cheaper).

                                    1. m
                                      marcbjohnson Aug 12, 2011 02:51 PM

                                      Went to Jose' Andres restaurant, "Oyamel" in NW Washington, D.C. $14 for the guacamole. REEEEEEEDICULOUS!!! OK...they make it for you tableside....who cares?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: marcbjohnson
                                        smartie Aug 12, 2011 03:21 PM

                                        I think guac at Rocco's Tacos here in Boca is about $13. It's good but what a price!

                                        1. re: marcbjohnson
                                          Isolda Aug 12, 2011 05:45 PM

                                          Okay, then I won't complain about paying $10 for tableside guac at Viva in Wayland, MA.

                                        2. j
                                          judybird Aug 12, 2011 05:14 PM

                                          The $18 hamburger at Red White & Bluezz, an otherwise excellent restaurant, wine bar & jazz club in Pasadena. Sure it's made with Wagyu beef, but I don't care if the cattle were hand-fed from birth and slept in gold-lined stalls, it's still a burger!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: judybird
                                            kpaxonite Aug 12, 2011 05:21 PM

                                            Don`t know the restaurant but its nothing close to the most overpriced I`ve seen by far

                                            1. re: kpaxonite
                                              linguafood Aug 14, 2011 05:37 PM

                                              Ooohh, please, please please don't make us wait with anticipation. Won't you share your most overpriced? We know you want to.

                                          2. ike04 Aug 14, 2011 08:36 AM

                                            In Regina Sask, $22 for a personal pizza at a local pub

                                            1. Jetgirly Aug 14, 2011 09:03 AM

                                              I'm a public servant so we have to pay for our own Christmas parties. I'm also a vegetarian. It's always nice to see what forty dollars will buy a vegetarian at a restaurant that mainly does corporate dinners during the holiday season. Two years ago I was not served an appetizer, and as a main dish I was served THREE ravioli drizzled with some pesto oil. I didn't bother sticking around for dessert. (Of course that didn't include drinks.)

                                              Another one that comes to mind is the time my mom came to visit me in Barcelona. I'd been there a few months and was way too savvy to eat or drink on Las Ramblas, but my mom really wanted to. I knew it would be a rip-off but I didn't realize just how much... we ordered two glasses of sangria, and were served GIANT drinks in huge boot-shaped glasses. One boot could have served four. When the bill came they were sixteen euros each (at the time that was closer to $25 CAD), which WAS fair for the size and touristy location, but our server could have warned us about the size. Of course, by then we were too drunk to mind!

                                              1. l
                                                lianasea Aug 14, 2011 11:28 AM

                                                WINE, definitely, and almost everywhere. I mean, its not like they have to prepare it or anything. They just open the bottle and pour. Why the huge markup? I would rather stay home and drink a whole bottle than pay the same for one glass.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: lianasea
                                                  missdona Aug 14, 2011 01:06 PM

                                                  $2.79 for a single can of soda at Earl of Sandwich at Newark Airport. The cans were not priced for individual sale, they were intended to go in a combo. So, they tried to tell a guy that they could charge him the price for a liter, and he could take two cans. But he only wanted one can... which was also priced at $2.79. He walked away.

                                                2. h
                                                  HungryAsian Aug 14, 2011 02:24 PM

                                                  30$ for 4 cod cheeks @ Whalesbone Oyster House in Ottawa. Never went back to the restaurant!

                                                  1. linguafood Aug 14, 2011 05:31 PM

                                                    Wow. You've spent $68 on a salad at a 3-star Michelin resto and didn't think THAT was overpriced?

                                                    That's pretty hilarious.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: linguafood
                                                      kpaxonite Aug 14, 2011 05:39 PM

                                                      I don't know who that was directed to.... but items are only overpriced in my mind if they don't live up to expectations. If you order a 68 dollar salad and its the best thing you've ever tasted then its not overpriced.

                                                      1. re: kpaxonite
                                                        linguafood Aug 14, 2011 05:43 PM

                                                        It was directed at the OP. And unless that salad was made of elfin-picked & shaved white truffles, foie gras and Wagyu carpaccio, it is overpriced. Regardless of context.

                                                        1. re: linguafood
                                                          Bill Hunt Aug 16, 2011 07:39 PM

                                                          The active term here is "overpriced." That is highly subjective, or at least speculative.

                                                          I've had several dishes, that seemed to be in the "overpriced" category, until I tasted them. Then, they became "worth every $." It all depends.


                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                            linguafood Aug 17, 2011 08:02 AM

                                                            Well, in my - admittedly - highly subjective opinion, any salad costing $68 is overpriced.

                                                            1. re: linguafood
                                                              Bill Hunt Aug 17, 2011 08:58 PM

                                                              I have not yet encountered any salad, int the $ 68 range, that I would not consider overpriced either, but if another said, "best salad of my life, and worth every $," I'd have to believe them.


                                                    2. monavano Aug 14, 2011 05:58 PM

                                                      Hands down, wine, which is why DH and I drink little to no alcohol when we dine out. We don't avoid it if we want to enjoy a glass of wine, but it would really put a much bigger dent in our dining dollars. I get that's how many places turn a profit, but not on me.
                                                      I miss byob's. Sigh.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: monavano
                                                        nocharge Aug 14, 2011 07:09 PM

                                                        Ironically, the markup on the nonalcoholic beverages you order is probably higher than on the wine you don't order (unless you only drink tap water).

                                                        1. re: nocharge
                                                          monavano Aug 14, 2011 07:12 PM

                                                          Probably true, just doesn't hit the wallet as hard.

                                                        2. re: monavano
                                                          Bill Hunt Aug 16, 2011 07:45 PM

                                                          Wine can certainly be "overpriced." I have had some, that were not worth 1/10 of what I paid.

                                                          Along those lines, we had our annual "Slammer Chardonnay Challenge." That year, the winner was a Chard from OZ, that retailed for US $ 5/btl. Moved to AZ, and went to a hot, new wine bar, in a very upscale area. They were serving that same Chard for US $ 25 per glass! They closed within the year, but whenever we passed them, they seemed full, with many having that particular Chard, and seemingly enjoying it? Heck, it seemed like a good business model - buy a bottle at US $ 2.00, and get 6 pours from that, taking in US $ 150. Subtract the overhead, and then pocket the profit.

                                                          OTOH, I have paid much, much more, and had wines that were worth every $. It just depends.


                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                            monavano Dec 19, 2011 07:43 AM

                                                            wowza on the $25 per glass!!

                                                            1. re: monavano
                                                              Bill Hunt Dec 19, 2011 07:27 PM

                                                              That DID catch my attention too. I have paid more, per glass, but not for a wine that cost (at the time) about US$ 3.50 wholesale per bottle. Guess that they assumed that they had "caught the market sleeping," and for a bit, they probably did?


                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                Uncle Yabai Aug 22, 2013 09:49 AM

                                                                I had a glass of 1997 Chateau d'Yquem not too long ago. Paid $40 for it. Was it a good deal?

                                                                1. re: Uncle Yabai
                                                                  Bill Hunt Aug 23, 2013 07:41 PM

                                                                  <<Was it a good deal?>>

                                                                  That depends. Was it great with the dish?

                                                                  If so, then YES. If no, then not such a good deal.


                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                    Uncle Yabai Aug 25, 2013 09:33 AM

                                                                    I wouldn't waste Chateau d'Yquem to drink with food. I had it with a Por Larranaga Robusto.

                                                                    Well, maybe with foie gras...

                                                        3. k
                                                          kcward Aug 14, 2011 07:27 PM

                                                          Angulas, baby eels. About as expensive as cavier, butnot at all worth the price of 100$ an ounce, considering it's just opening a tin.

                                                          9 Replies
                                                          1. re: kcward
                                                            kpaxonite Aug 14, 2011 07:31 PM

                                                            caviar is stored in tins....

                                                            1. re: kpaxonite
                                                              kcward Aug 14, 2011 08:59 PM

                                                              And so are angulas, your point being?

                                                              1. re: kcward
                                                                2roadsdiverge Aug 15, 2011 10:45 AM

                                                                I think the point was that serving caviar is also "just opening a tin", but you seemed to accept that it could be 100$ an ounce.

                                                                1. re: 2roadsdiverge
                                                                  kcward Aug 15, 2011 06:26 PM

                                                                  That's because baby eels are nasty and caviar is sublime.

                                                                  1. re: kcward
                                                                    donovt Aug 15, 2011 06:41 PM

                                                                    The "opening a tin" comment still doesn't make any sense. It's not the fact that they are in a tin that makes them overpriced, it's the fact that they're "nasty".

                                                                    1. re: kcward
                                                                      Bill Hunt Aug 16, 2011 07:48 PM

                                                                      Had baby eels once, but they kept biting my lips. It cost me more for the plastic surgery, than 100 salads. I'll stick to caviar, as it does not bite me.


                                                                      1. re: kcward
                                                                        Delucacheesemonger Aug 17, 2011 06:00 AM

                                                                        Be glad to take yours. Love 'em. Angulas , l mean. Had them twice, both times fresh, but canned supposedly are excellent as well.

                                                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                          Veggo Aug 17, 2011 09:31 PM

                                                                          A 4 ounce tin of Spanish angulas runs 50-60 bucks. I love 'em, too, been on my profile since day 1.

                                                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                            BobB Dec 20, 2011 01:41 PM

                                                                            Same here - never had canned anguillas, only fresh, in Portugal, and they were fantastic.

                                                                2. g
                                                                  gryphonskeeper Aug 15, 2011 07:15 AM

                                                                  23 Euro for a 6 inch pizza with a thin layer of sauce and 4 tiny blobs of cheese in Rome. I left hungrier than when I arrived!

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                                                    wattacetti Aug 16, 2011 09:31 AM

                                                                    "criminale" lives. Rome is much better without the Romans.

                                                                  2. Midlife Aug 15, 2011 09:02 AM

                                                                    Teppan house in Kyoto in the late 80's. We were being treated by our contact at a large trading company , whom we'd gotten to know really well on a personal level. Someone ordered winter melon for the 4 of us as dessert. After returning to the table from signing the credit card receipt, our host (in an uncharacteristically Japanese show of involving us in his work politics) voiced his hope that the company accounting department didn't kick this meal upstairs to senior management................. each very small quarter of the winter melon had been US$40.

                                                                    Our relationship with him went on for several years after that, but at each dinner he hosted, the joke was "order whatever you like, but NOT the winter melon!".

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Midlife
                                                                      Bill Hunt Aug 16, 2011 07:55 PM


                                                                      I will remember that - NO Winter Melon!

                                                                      As one, who answers the siren song of foie gras, all too often, US $ 40 for a 1/4 Winter Melon seems a bit high.

                                                                      Now, way back when, at the Ritz-Carlton dining room in Amelia Island, I ordered the papaya. We travel to Hawai`i about 2x per year, so I get a lot of great papaya. This tasted like little cubes of plastic, and cost US $ 28 for a tiny bowl.

                                                                      Should have thought of that dish, but until you shared the Winter Melon story, I had forgotten. Per the definition of "overpriced," that had to rank near the top, and it was also in 1980's $'s.

                                                                      Thanks for the trip down melon lane, er, I mean MEMORY lane.


                                                                      1. re: Midlife
                                                                        thew Aug 17, 2011 04:30 AM

                                                                        i saw $80+ cantaloupes in tokyo in 2004

                                                                        1. re: thew
                                                                          Bill Hunt Aug 17, 2011 08:59 PM

                                                                          Uh-oh, Summer Melons strike again!!!!


                                                                          1. re: thew
                                                                            julesrules Dec 18, 2011 06:09 AM

                                                                            I believe imported fruit are taxed as a luxury item in Japan.

                                                                            1. re: julesrules
                                                                              Tripeler Dec 18, 2011 04:43 PM

                                                                              These cantaloupes are grown in Japan. They are a deliberately produced luxury item.
                                                                              As far as I know, there is no special tax on imported fruit in Japan, which is often cheaper than domestic fruit.

                                                                        2. woodleyparkhound Aug 15, 2011 06:43 PM

                                                                          The bloomin' onion at Outback - $.30 worth of ingredients and it costs what $8.99 or so? I read somewhere that this item is hugely famous in the chain restaurant biz for having the largest profit margin of any food item sold.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: woodleyparkhound
                                                                            Bill Hunt Aug 16, 2011 08:01 PM

                                                                            Yeah, it does not pay to read some of the restaurant biz's magazines, as one finds out all about those French Fries, the "Blooming Onions," and some of the other things, that diners just take for granted.

                                                                            One of my clients served the restaurant/hotel business, and those mags were always in the waiting room. I hated to read them.

                                                                            Besides the "profitable food" articles, there were others, like one Dallas restaurant chain winning a national award for instituting the "45 Minute Wait." They decided that no matter how full, or how empty their restaurants, all customers would have to wait 45 mins. During that time, they would be offered appetizers (high profit center), and drinks. With no menu, the patrons would easily pay 2 - 3x the price for those drinks, even if they could order them for less in the restaurant. Guess that it worked well, as they are still around.

                                                                            Do not read the biz mags, or one might never dine out again. That stuff should be Top Secret!


                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                              Steve Green Dec 17, 2011 05:49 PM

                                                                              I've seen that 'mandatory wait" in any number of places, although the stated duration varies. We don't fall for that. Since neither I nor my GF drink, we just either just wait in the lobby (or if waiting in the bar, decline drinks or apps). 9 times out of 10, our table is miraculously ready as soon as management sees we're not ordering said drinks or apps.

                                                                          2. a
                                                                            AngelSanctuary Aug 16, 2011 12:35 AM

                                                                            Oh I was just talking to my friend the other day how I felt so angry at being ripped off at this restaurant. It was supposed to be high end Chinese food but the only thing high end about it was the prices. I had Cantonese classic stir fried beef noodles. It was $16 dollars and the ingredients were pretty much the same as other places...other places that charge $6 ($4 during lunch specials!) as if that wasn't bad enough the cheap alternatives tasted better. The expensive one was ridiculously bland.

                                                                            Their dim sum was also expensive and it was merely mediocre and I definitely didn't taste higher quality ingredients.

                                                                            1. b
                                                                              bobbert Aug 16, 2011 10:58 AM

                                                                              I'm surprised no one has mentioned the biggest ripoff of all: professional sports stadiums. $5.00 for a 15 cent bottle of water at Yankee Stadium? Oh yeah, don't forget to tip.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: bobbert
                                                                                Bill Hunt Aug 16, 2011 08:02 PM

                                                                                But you DO get a baseball game with that... and it only cost you US $ 120/seat [LOL]


                                                                                1. re: bobbert
                                                                                  The Professor Jan 1, 2012 08:30 PM

                                                                                  Bottled water in general is a ripoff.

                                                                                2. 2
                                                                                  2roadsdiverge Aug 16, 2011 11:03 AM

                                                                                  This all comes down to what the OP meant by overpriced.

                                                                                  Is it:
                                                                                  1) Foods that simply have a high markup/profit
                                                                                  2) Foods that are genuinely expensive to serve but which aren't worth the price

                                                                                  Imagine that I made the best pasta in the world. The flour, eggs, tomatoes, olive oil, and butter cost me $1 per serving, but I charge $40 and people line up to pay it. No one has ever complained after eating it and I have a 100% return rate. Is it overpriced?

                                                                                  Imagine there is a food that takes 100 people a year to produce one kilo. It has to be overnighted from Borneo to make it to your table. It costs me $100 an ounce and I serve it for $200 an ounce. Is it overpriced? What if I just had to open a tin and put it on a plate?

                                                                                  How much does preparation count towards the idea of being overpriced? Pasta ingredients are cheap, but making lots of little raviolis takes a lot of work. How much does expertise count? It takes a sushi chef years of training to know how to cut that fish, even if the actual labor is not much.

                                                                                  1. c
                                                                                    cleobeach Aug 16, 2011 02:11 PM

                                                                                    Last month at a decent enough locally owned brew pub that has a good reputation for their food - three tiny (think quarter coin sized) hazelnut ravioli in a butter sauce for $12.

                                                                                    1. Bill Hunt Aug 16, 2011 07:15 PM

                                                                                      Well, "overpriced" is a personal matter, but I passed on a Kobe # 5 New York at US $ 300, with no sides.

                                                                                      Now, I have paid about half that, for a Kobe (do not recall the grade) tenderloin, and it was worth every penny, though only ranked about # 3 on my "all time beef scale." Still, worth it to me.

                                                                                      As far as your example, I also wonder about some dishes that I see. "House Salad" for US $ 15, and I wonder what the heck is in that thing. Could be worth it, but I still wonder.

                                                                                      Going back many years, we had a wonderful market in South Denver, Toddie's, and they had a great pizza bar. One could pick their crust, and then ladle on the toppings. Oh, what great toppings they had! Then, one paid by the pound at the register. I think that my most expensive was ~US $ 40, and that was in 1980's $'s. Who, in their right mind, would pay US $ 40 for a pizza, that still had to be cooked at home, and with topping piled THAT high, it was not going to be easy? The answer - ME.


                                                                                      1. a
                                                                                        amazinc Aug 18, 2011 10:31 AM

                                                                                        Here in Souoth-Central Texas, iced tea is the "house wine". When a restaurant charges
                                                                                        $3.00 for a glass, I drink WATER. Imagine! A glass of iced tea costs less than 3-cents
                                                                                        even if you factor in an ice machine, glassware and wait staff to deliver it. Talk about profit margin!!

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: amazinc
                                                                                          fourunder Aug 18, 2011 10:52 AM

                                                                                          A glass of iced tea costs less than 3-cents
                                                                                          even if you factor in an ice machine, glassware and wait staff to deliver it. Talk about profit margin!!

                                                                                          I would disagree

                                                                                          1. re: amazinc
                                                                                            julesrules Dec 18, 2011 06:18 AM

                                                                                            I love actual brewed iced tea but it is pretty rare here in Canada. If you order iced tea you are generally going to get bottled Nestea. There is a great bbq place (bbq is just catching on here and it's not a cheap eats thing) in cottage country where the owner does brew iced tea, but then sells it for $3. His homemade gingerale also costs $3 so I think he's just trying to standardize the menu but... I definitely order the gingerale, which at least requires some effort to make!
                                                                                            I rarely feel ripped off over portion sizes of items that involve actual cooking and/or sourcing truly interesting ingredients in the case of salads. I expect appetizer ravioli to be expensive for what you get, for example. But the price of mesclun salad (which I KNOW is from a giant pre-washed bag) just about always kills me... too much at $7, WAY to much at $10 and up.

                                                                                            1. re: amazinc
                                                                                              James Cristinian Aug 23, 2013 07:56 PM

                                                                                              amazinc, I live where you live and gave up on tea years ago. I'd rather spend a couple of bucks more for beer or wine, but mostly drink water.

                                                                                            2. alliegator Aug 19, 2011 08:18 AM

                                                                                              A popular bar/restaurant a stone's throw from my front door charges $9.75 for large cheese fries. Not enough for 2 people and plain nasty. Thick and soggy fries with oily, half melted shredded cheddar. Oddly enough, the rest of the menu is reasonable priced and the dishes taste good.

                                                                                              1. Motosport Dec 19, 2011 07:37 AM

                                                                                                Restaurant Le Pressoir in Grand Case, St Martin: Romanee-Conti Grand Cru Vintage 2000: 11,978 euros. They declined to serve it by the glass.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Motosport
                                                                                                  Bkeats Dec 19, 2011 12:03 PM

                                                                                                  Well a bottle sold at Christie's £4,140 or about $6,700 so using the stadard 3x mark up, its a bargain! Just kidding. ;)

                                                                                                2. WhatsEatingYou Dec 19, 2011 12:38 PM

                                                                                                  Pint of gelato from a gelato shop in Stamford, CT is $15! And I thought Ben & Jerry's was pricey at $5!

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: WhatsEatingYou
                                                                                                    Jay F Jan 1, 2012 10:55 AM

                                                                                                    Jeni's Ice Cream with Cornstarch @ $10 a pint strikes me as overpriced. And I didn't like the two flavors I had any better than their haagen-dazs equivalents.

                                                                                                  2. p
                                                                                                    PotatoPuff Dec 19, 2011 05:15 PM

                                                                                                    A plain hamburger over 20 (seen in NYC)

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: PotatoPuff
                                                                                                      Veggo Dec 19, 2011 08:11 PM

                                                                                                      $25 at '21, last visit.

                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                        Bill Hunt Dec 19, 2011 09:00 PM

                                                                                                        Now, not THAT long ago, I did have a real Kobe burger (not a kobe burger), that was US $ 20, and was worth the $. OTOH, I have had some "mundane burgers" at the US $ 25 +/- rate, and not has done anything for me, other than empty my wallet.


                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                          Veggo Dec 19, 2011 09:07 PM

                                                                                                          I sometimes copy the tarragon butter pat in the center of the '21 burger - works nicely.

                                                                                                    2. g
                                                                                                      gryphonskeeper Dec 25, 2011 05:34 PM

                                                                                                      Salmon Sashimi, 5 slices, under one OUNCE total. $13!

                                                                                                      1. z
                                                                                                        Zabar Jan 1, 2012 11:09 AM

                                                                                                        How about $12.65 including the mandatory 15% service charge for a Hebrew National frankfurter accompanied by a small side order of french fries and a 1/2 cup of cole slaw? This ripoff is still being offered on the menu at a very modestly appointed beachside restaurant, located on a tiny Caribbean island.

                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Zabar
                                                                                                          fourunder Jan 1, 2012 11:13 AM

                                                                                                          Country clubs charge in excess of that every day.....not including the gratuity...which is another 18-20% plus another 7-9% for state sales tax.

                                                                                                          1. re: fourunder
                                                                                                            Zabar Jan 1, 2012 07:42 PM

                                                                                                            "fourunder"... I don't think that it is appropriate to compare a frankfurter being served at a "country club" to a frankfurter being served at a "open-air beachside bistro".

                                                                                                            1. re: Zabar
                                                                                                              fourunder Jan 1, 2012 08:21 PM

                                                                                                              " Zabar " ......I'm actually surprised the hot dog is not more expensive.....a bistro on the beach...high land value, mortgage, taxes , rent and etc......If at a resort...resort fees. A Hebrew National product....imported which comes with higher costs and duty fees....

                                                                                                              Even the Jersey Shore probably costs at least 10 bucks on the boardwalk, without a tip...

                                                                                                          2. re: Zabar
                                                                                                            Veggo Jan 1, 2012 07:58 PM

                                                                                                            I can't recall seeing a Hebrew National in the Caribbean. Which island?

                                                                                                          3. twyst Jan 1, 2012 08:24 PM

                                                                                                            Not a food item, but $85 for a glenlivet 12 and water in the lobby bar of a hotel I was staying at in hong kong. Thank god for expense accounts ><

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: twyst
                                                                                                              Veggo Jan 1, 2012 08:36 PM

                                                                                                              I hope they gave you a double for another 2 bucks like some airports do....

                                                                                                            2. l
                                                                                                              lunchslut Jan 1, 2012 11:24 PM

                                                                                                              Not a restaurant but $12.99 for two pieces of ginger at Whole Foods. First time in my life where I refused to purchase and walked out. Picked up similar sized pieces at the grocery across the street for $0.99. 12x markup for organic is ridiculous!

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: lunchslut
                                                                                                                mtoo Jan 5, 2012 08:57 AM

                                                                                                                I wonder if they rang it incorrectly. I was buying a bunch of fresh basil at WF several years ago, and the cashier rang it as dried basil. That $5 bunch of basil suddenly became at $50 bunch of basil. No way that was happening. I pointed out the error to the cashier and she corrected it.

                                                                                                                1. re: mtoo
                                                                                                                  lunchslut Jan 7, 2012 06:54 PM

                                                                                                                  Double-checked with cashier before walking away. $12.99/lb. My two large chunks were one lb (I was making ginger syrup). Across the street it was $0.99/lb. What got my goat was that I have likely been paying $3-4 per small chunk for a bit but had not really been looking at my receipts at Whole Paycheck.

                                                                                                              2. p
                                                                                                                poloprincess Jan 2, 2012 11:31 AM

                                                                                                                $27 for a jug of orange juice at the Fairmont Hotel in Whistler

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: poloprincess
                                                                                                                  smartie Jan 2, 2012 12:56 PM

                                                                                                                  reminds me of a bowl of fruit at a Marriott in London - 25 UK pounds for an apple, an orange, a pear and a banana.

                                                                                                                2. w
                                                                                                                  wyogal Jan 4, 2012 04:28 PM


                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: wyogal
                                                                                                                    The Professor Jan 4, 2012 08:21 PM

                                                                                                                    Especially at Starbucks. It's not even particularly good coffee.

                                                                                                                    1. re: The Professor
                                                                                                                      uwsister Jan 9, 2012 03:29 AM

                                                                                                                      Small coffee is a dollar and change at Starbucks. Not much more than other places.

                                                                                                                  2. Kholvaitar Aug 9, 2013 06:35 AM

                                                                                                                    How 'bout a "Douche Burger” ?


                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: Kholvaitar
                                                                                                                      Tripeler Aug 11, 2013 06:40 AM

                                                                                                                      "Douche" as in "Abuse Douche" in a snotty French restaurant?

                                                                                                                    2. NonnieMuss Aug 9, 2013 06:42 AM

                                                                                                                      At the Hilton in Chicago, they charged $4 for one egg on the a la carte breakfast menu. I could pay $20 for a whole breakfast (2 eggs, bacon, toast/biscuit) and deal with it, but I just couldn't pay $4 for one egg.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                                                                        ferret Aug 9, 2013 06:53 AM

                                                                                                                        You can't use hotel prices as a basis for comparison because they're random and ridiculous. I've paid $50 (and more) for scrambled eggs potatoes and juice at various hotels. I had toast and juice with a client (who had coffee and a muffin) at the Peninsula in Manhattan for about $100.

                                                                                                                        1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                                                                          Violatp Aug 14, 2013 10:34 PM

                                                                                                                          Yeah, I'm a meeting planner and I've learned to not freak out at some of the crazy prices I've encountered. It can drive you batty!

                                                                                                                        2. trolley Aug 11, 2013 07:00 AM

                                                                                                                          $9 glass of sutter home wine. $10 bottle Heineken beer

                                                                                                                          1. b
                                                                                                                            brandygirl Aug 11, 2013 11:33 AM

                                                                                                                            25 cents for a glass of TAP WATER! I was dining solo at a nice restaurant and ordered one cocktail, an appetizer, and an entree. I was asked if I wanted bottled water, and I said just tap would be fine. When the bill came, I noticed the 25 cent charge with some strange description. I asked the waitress, who explained that the restaurant bought a new state-of-the-art water filtration system and are therefore charging customers in order to help with the cost. I wrote a note to management--what's next to be itemized on my bill...50 cents to use their plates?...75 cents for flatware rental for the hour I'm using them?...20 cents for a 'new and improved' dishwashing soap the restaurant might purchase?

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: brandygirl
                                                                                                                              Delucacheesemonger Aug 13, 2013 08:45 AM

                                                                                                                              Many places are now using reverse osmosis water and some charge, some do not. In Paris it started gratis then a charge of a euro or two, now many places charge you up to 4-5 euros per bottle, plain or sparkling and regular eau de cabinet is not available.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                                                                                kpaxonite Aug 15, 2013 06:15 AM

                                                                                                                                I believe you mean 'robinet' not cabinet..

                                                                                                                                1. re: kpaxonite
                                                                                                                                  Delucacheesemonger Aug 18, 2013 08:09 AM

                                                                                                                                  Of course l do.

                                                                                                                                2. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                                                                                  brandygirl Aug 17, 2013 09:35 AM

                                                                                                                                  This to me is so surprising. I've never encountered this elsewhere. If I were in charge and needed to cover the cost of such a thing, I would just raise the prices on a few menu items by a few cents, just as I would for any other overhead costs.

                                                                                                                              2. a
                                                                                                                                Apple Aug 11, 2013 11:39 AM

                                                                                                                                I am not going to say where I ate this - but I had a bowl of oatmeal for just under $20. It had berries in it (in season) and almonds.

                                                                                                                                1. JonParker Aug 11, 2013 11:43 AM

                                                                                                                                  I did not actually have this, but there was a Yelp review of an overpriced joint I've been to claiming that they ordered a martini, and were charged an extra $3.50 for one blue cheese stuffed olive.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: JonParker
                                                                                                                                    Delucacheesemonger Aug 13, 2013 08:43 AM

                                                                                                                                    Happened to me in Sarasota as well.

                                                                                                                                  2. b
                                                                                                                                    BuildingMyBento Aug 14, 2013 10:11 PM

                                                                                                                                    The San Jose, Costa Rica Airport Cinnabon is guilty of this. 'Course, airports in general are, but I'll give credit to Tokyo Narita for offering nearly guilt-free purchases of bottled tea. (I found even cheaper bottles tucked away at a massage place in Terminal 1, close to the post-security food court, if that helps).

                                                                                                                                    At the Harare Crowne Plaza, I think I paid about US$55 to have laundered two t-shirts and two boxers.

                                                                                                                                    To respond another way, but keeping with the Harare theme, I bought a carton of chocolate milk at a downtown store. My change (http://buildingmybento.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/harare-zimbabwe-change-from-cashier.jpg) consisted of a veteran US greenback, a South African rand coin, and a "pink-flavored" piece of gum. I paid "so much" for that chocolate milk that even emptying out the cash register would not have been humbling enough...


                                                                                                                                    1. j
                                                                                                                                      joseenatalie Aug 16, 2013 11:07 AM

                                                                                                                                      Escargots. I't's around 15 to 20 dollars(canadian) for a half dozen. I can make 24 at home with all the fixings for half that price! Whenever I have friends over for drinks, it's a ritual we indulge ourselves in now. Eat as many as we please, it's so easy to always have on hand. I refuse to ever order them in restaurants anymore; the mark up disgusts me!

                                                                                                                                      1. j
                                                                                                                                        Jambie Aug 16, 2013 03:09 PM

                                                                                                                                        This is not as bad as some of the other things mentioned but we have a diner in town that charges $6.00 if you want to sub a baked potato for the fries, It is even more than that if you want it stuffed with meat or cheese. $6 just gets you the plain jane potato.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jambie
                                                                                                                                          Violatp Aug 16, 2013 04:40 PM

                                                                                                                                          Wow. They really don't want to be baking any potatoes, do they?

                                                                                                                                        2. RetiredChef Aug 22, 2013 10:25 AM

                                                                                                                                          I actually make notes of things that I find absurd. All of my examples are within the last 3 years (except for the last one) and are from the US to help keep things in perspective.

                                                                                                                                          $29 Grilled Polenta in Pittsburgh, the piece of polenta was about the size of a regular slice of sandwich bread, it had some melted mozzarella on it and dollop of tomato sauce. Around it were three slices of grilled tomatoes topped with breadcrumbs, oh and the plate was sprinkled with parsley.
                                                                                                                                          $17 3 Bacon, 2 eggs and 1 slice of toast, no potatoes in Tucson
                                                                                                                                          $9.95 regular size Macadamia Nut muffin in Seattle - they didn't appear to be selling
                                                                                                                                          $75 bottle of wine that you could buy at the local store for $4.99 in Los Angeles. (This is probably the biggest markup I have ever seen on wine)
                                                                                                                                          $ 14.99 Orange soufflé served in a 4 oz ramekin in NYC
                                                                                                                                          $8 "Dinner salad" that was three torn off leaves of iceberg, grated carrots and balsamic dressing in Miami
                                                                                                                                          $ 49 Kobe 8oz sirloin, it was American Kobe beef raised in Idaho and sides were extra, btw this was not a "steakhouse" welcome to Boise
                                                                                                                                          $ 9 for a regular 12 oz bud at a concert in Washington State.
                                                                                                                                          $27 Hand drawn chicken noodle soup - the noodles were proudly claimed to be delivered fresh from a restaurant across town where you could eat their soup with chicken for $4.50 - Hotel in Philadelphia

                                                                                                                                          And my personal favorite

                                                                                                                                          $45 for a cheese and cracker plate at the four seasons in Laguna Nigel. It consisted of 3 slices cut in half of cheddar, American and Swiss cheese and 9 club crackers and three grapes. To add insult to injury this was in 1991, adjusting for inflation that would be $77 in 2013 money. To this day the three other people who shared this plate still laugh about it.

                                                                                                                                          1. h
                                                                                                                                            Harters Aug 22, 2013 11:03 AM

                                                                                                                                            €2 for bread in Spain.


                                                                                                                                            1. b
                                                                                                                                              burglover Aug 25, 2013 02:02 AM

                                                                                                                                              Best and worst: one order at a fancy hotel bar in Deauville. I had a generous pour of 1961 R. Groult Calvados for €12, pretty decent as its probably a €150 bottle or so and it's a fancy hotel. My date had an Absolut Vodka on the rocks with a slice of lemon...€18. Moral of the story, I guess, is always order local!

                                                                                                                                              1. PotatoHouse Aug 25, 2013 08:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                A few years ago lobster prices had dropped so low that it was cheaper than turkey for Thanksgiving! We went out to a local favorite restaurant and I was thinking about having lobster but they were still charging $35 for a lobster dinner.

                                                                                                                                                1. m
                                                                                                                                                  maudies5 Aug 25, 2013 08:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                  $16.00 for a glass of orange juice in Las Vegas

                                                                                                                                                  1. dbrodbeck Aug 25, 2013 09:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Two words: "movie popcorn"

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: dbrodbeck
                                                                                                                                                      James Cristinian Aug 25, 2013 11:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Not when it's free!! I worked in a drive-in theater snack bar in my youth and it was all you can eat right out of the popper while the first poor customers got last nights leftovers. People still bitched about the price, 25 cents a box, a large drink 50 cents. Why do people gripe about prices to a 16 year old kid? I know, it's because I set the prices. This 1972-73 ish.

                                                                                                                                                    2. c
                                                                                                                                                      Chefpaulo Aug 25, 2013 10:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                      A very short-lived (5 months?) farm-to-table restaurant outside of Philadelphia also had the $18 meatless salad but was kind enough to charge only $9 for half a salad. Like yours, no gold dust, nuts, truffles or anything to justify.

                                                                                                                                                      Lisbon in 1982, I read the daily menu on the chalkboard (without prices) and got two langostines not much larger than a jumbo shrimp for $20. That was a huge ticket back then. I learned never to order without finding out a price.

                                                                                                                                                      1. jinet12 Aug 26, 2013 02:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                        Deviled eggs are ridiculously overpriced everywhere I see them on upscale restaurants. I love Bar Americain but that's a place that comes to mind. In San Francisco, Wayfare Tavern.

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