For those of you not familiar with the concept, prix fixe meals (basically, it’s means fixed price – it just sounds fancier in French) are meals with a set cost and a set menu. You can pick from 1 or more appetizers, main courses, and desserts. No matter what you pick from the list, you should end up with the same total cost for the meal.
For example – I went with some coworkers to a new Italian restaurant that had a prix fixe lunch for 12.00. That’s actually quite reasonable for a prix fixe lunch (at least in my part of the world). I had fresh bread with awesome cheese (no, I can’t spell the kind of cheese I had), spaghetti with meatballs (the sauce was made on site – I hope so anyways , otherwise the tomato chunks were misleading) and cannelloni. It was great – and very filling.
However, when the bill came, on top of the charge for each bill, we had a charge for 10 dollars, for 2 bottles of water. We hadn’t expressly asked for bottled water – just “still” when asked if we wanted still or sparkling. The same thing happened when we all went to a different place for a prix fixe lunch last year. I think it’s the restaurant’s way of getting you to spend more than you intended, assuming that you won’t kick up a fuss, since you figure you got a deal on the meal anyways.
While we may have been able to dispute the charge, we’d all enjoyed our meals, and decided for the extra 2 dollars a person, it wasn’t worth kicking up a fuss. While this restaurant didn’t do so, the other prix fixe place also suggested additional food items or upgrades to the set menu options, in order to try to get us to spend more.
I’m not advocating against prix fixe meals – I think on occasion, they can be a great treat, and generally make splitting the bill easier (although it still took us at least 10 minute to do it!). Lunch is always a better option than dinner – you usually get the same food, it just costs less. And you may want to discuss up front what to do about things like water – are you all okay with tap water, or does everyone want to pay out extra for “still or sparkling”.
Have you ever had a prix fixe meal? Did you think it was worth it? Did you end up with any unexpected charges?