Biggest rip-off dishes in restaurants

What are the biggest rip-off dishes you have ever had in a restaurant?

I ordered $18 ‘duck taco’ to go from a nice looking restaurant in Oakland. I opened the box, and there was one taco inside. Uno. If I read carefully I would have seen that it said ‘taco’ not ‘tacos’. And of course I should have just clarified. But I truly thought I was getting a plate of tacos. This was from ~2 years ago.

I checked their menu and now it says ‘duck tacos’. 2 of them according to Yelp pictures. Still $18. So per taco price went from $18 to $9.

“Variation of deviled eggs” – 3 half eggs that pretty much tasted the same for $6.

I think pasta in many American restaurants is the biggest ripoff. Pasta Marinara can be $13 and up. You know you can make it at home for about $1.50


I can do a full 15 minute rant about restaurants which have menu descriptions in the plural, but service on the plate as singular.

I recall a dish at the Seafood Restaurant in Padstow (southwest England) that was “scallops” on the menu and was a single scallop on the plate.

And, only last month, a dessert at a nearby dining pub (Bulls Head, Mottram St Andrew) that promised a centrepiece of “roasted plums” but delivered “roasted plum”.

They are . When you look down at your plate and say , " W.T.F."

So true! And it’s almost never as good as any pasta dish I can make at home.

Well, let’s see…we can start with the whole small plates concept, often a rip-off. Pastas, of course. The price of a glass of wine or those made up fancy schmanzy cocktails are a bit over the top these days. And, oh yes, upscale burgers and sandwiches.
Restaurants are entitled to make a profit, though…

Pretty much any egg dish. $10 for a 3-egg omelet when eggs are $1.99 a dozen at the market? Ridiculous.

Usually correct, but the price of a dozen eggs has climbed to $3 to $6 in my region…

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Eggs have been fluctuating wildly in NYC lately - they’ve been as high as $4/dozen (for the regular store brand), but then they’ll be back down to $2 the following week. We eat a lot of eggs so I try to buy an extra dozen when I see them at a lowish price.

$18 for one taco? Even allowing for the £/$ exchange rate and the fact I live in London I’d consider this too expensive.

For me it was a sardine dish. Admittedly on a tapas menu. It can’t have been more than half a fillet cut in half again length ways ( so there were 2 pieces, a bit like the way they cut a single sausage in two length ways at some greasy spoons).

They were charging £6

The sides at any high end steakhouse!!

$9 for a baked potato.
$16 for sautéed mushrooms?


Usually the case, I agree with you.
An exception here…

Generally anything at a hotel restaurant.
Agreed on pastas (although for an excellent made from scratch pasta sometimes i will order it)
Small soup appetizers that are $9+
Avocado toast
Fried rice

I was at a rather nice coffee shop just yesterday morning (they make excellent espresso and use Sumptown beans etcetcect) and watched as the guy in the corner back kitchen assembled their plastic yogurt cup parfaits using a tub of generic store brand yogurt from the nearby supermarket, a sprinkle of granola, and four blackberries on top. They sell (to other customers, not me) for $8.


I’ve never thought I was paying for the food in a restaurant. I thought I was paying for the convenience or the cook’s skills, or the level of comfort, or a combo of all 3. Sometimes the view!


Proportion-wise, it would be a cup of tea which consisted of a cup of hot (not boiling) water, with a tea bag on the side, for $1.50. (It’s probably up to $2 now, but although I go to that restaurant a lot, I never order a beverage any more.)

So true. I had a seafood platter than was so skimpy I would have laughed if it wasn’t so expensive. And a single scallop for the “scallops”. I wrote the owner and he was irate, said I didn’t know what I was talking about because is was a diver scallop. Guess I was paying for the air tank or fuel or something? Ugghh!

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Any breakfast dish, in my opinion. I remember breakfast at diners being a few dollars with free refills on coffee, not enough bang for the buck now.

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Supposedly due to an avian flu infection earlier this year. I can still get for $2 plus, but the days of free cartons of eggs at holidays seem to be over.

Ha, that HAS to have been done on a machine! Can you imagine 10 orders coming in!