Venice Restaurant Fined

A restaurant in Venice has been find €20,000 after four Japanese tourists filed an official complaint after they were massively overcharged for a meal. The Osteria de Luca is near Saint Mark’s Square and charged the four unnamed Japanese tourists a staggering €1,143 for four steaks Florentine, a plate of mixed grilled fish, two glasses of mineral water and two glasses of wine.

The Osteria de Luca

Local authorities acted on the formal complaint and visited the premises where they uncovered several breaches of food hygiene regulations, health and safety and some commercial code infringements including, but not limited to, the accurate description of goods. Although the restaurant was heavily criticised by the Italian authorities, they revealed the infringements were not serious enough to shut down the business. The tourists, who are studying Italian cuisine, filed the complaint with local police in Bologna and produced a credit card slip as evidence of them being overcharged; the restaurant had not issued them with a proper receipt for the items ordered.

Luigi Brugnaro, the major of Venice, headed to the social media site Twitter to air his disgust of the restaurant, saying the city would “thoroughly examine this shameful episode.” The authorities levied a €20,000 fine on the Osteria de Luca, which has a pitiful 1.5 star rating on TripAdvisor, with 83 percent of reviews rating the restaurant “terrible.”

It is not the first time a Venice restaurant has fallen foul of the local authorities. Trattoria Casanova, also located on Saint Mark’s Square, found itself in the British newspaper headlines in November when it charged a family of three from Birmingham €526 for their lunch, including an almost unbelievable €297 for a platter of grilled fish. It is not unusual for Italian restaurants to charge for fish by weight so the prices on the menu often reflect per portion rather than the entire item.

Back in 2014, a waiter for the Trattoria Casanova was arrested after he punched a Belgian tourist on the nose so viciously that it broke the victim’s nasal septum and he had to spend a week in hospital. The Belgian tourist had apparently complained about the quality of the steak he had ordered. A residents action group called Gruppo 25 Aprile was infuriated with this latest scandal in Venice, stating:

“We defend local residents, and whoever puts the good name of Venice at risk harms all Venetians”

After hearing the news of the Japanese tourists’ plight, Vittorio Bonacini, the Ventian Hoteliers Association President, offered the group a free two night stay in Venice as compensation. Bonacini said in the local Italian press, “The association takes note of the fact that this episode has done grave harm to the image of the city. After a high level discussion, we have decided to offer the four tourists who had such an unfortunate experience a stay of two nights in a four of five star hotel.”

If you are travelling to a foreign country and are looking for somewhere to eat, it is worthwhile checking review sites such as TripAdvisor as these are genuine reviews written by people who have visited the location before you and the reviews should give you a good idea of what to expect.

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