Having to pay exorbitant rates for underwhelming food always leaves us with a bad experience. Imagine having to do so on a vacation. Throw in the exchange rates and cultural barriers, it can be quite a daunting task to even raise questions about the cost and quality of the food served. This is exactly what happened to some Japanese travellers who were in Venice on a holiday. The incident that took place in 2018 has resurfaced now and goes like this – Four students were charged 970 pound or Rs 99,520 for their dinner at a restaurant in one of the most popular areas of Venice. The dinner at Osteria de Luca restaurant near St Marks Square, as per the Daily Star, comprised four steaks, a plate of fried fish, and water for the enormous price.
Upon their return to Bologna, where they were studying Italian cuisine, the group reported the exorbitant price to the local authorities. The group’s friends, who dined at a different restaurant, also expressed their dissatisfaction after being charged £301 (Rs 30,882 ) for three servings of seafood pasta.
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In response to the complaint, the mayor, Luigi Brugnaro said: “In the next few days we will verify this episode well, we will have a copy of the complaint sent to us if it has actually been filed. If this shameful episode is confirmed, we will do everything possible to punish those responsible. We are for justice, always!”
Nei prossimi giorni verificheremo bene questo episodio, ci faremo inviare la copia della denuncia se è stata effettivamente presentata. Se sarà confermato questo episodio vergognoso, faremo tutto il possibile per punire i responsabili. Noi siamo per la giustizia, sempre! https://t.co/SgDDJWB3VP— Luigi Brugnaro (@LuigiBrugnaro) January 21, 2018
According to The Guardian, a spokesperson for the restaurant, which is said to be owned by Chinese investors and managed by an Egyptian, informed journalists that he did not recall any issues specifically related to Japanese customers. Later, the establishment was found guilty and fined £12,300.
This is, however, not an isolated incident. As per Mirror, a similar complaint was made by an Italian tourist in 2019, who stated that they were charged £37 (Rs 3796) for two coffees and two bottles of water at Caffe Lavena near St. Mark’s Square. In a separate incident, a British tourist alleged that he and his elderly parents were deceived into accumulating a substantial lunch bill of £463 (Rs 47,502). This occurred after they dined on lobster and oysters at a well-known restaurant in the city.
The silver lining for tourists is that most of these restaurants have been called out by previous visitors on travel websites. One is likely to find reviews that refer to such eateries as “scams” and with the warning to “avoid at all costs”.
So, when you plan your next trip to a foreign location, make sure to read the reviews of the restaurant and check the bill thoroughly before making any payments.