A restaurant in Rome is facing a wave of complaints about allegedly overcharging tourists after two Japanese customers claimed to have received a € 430 bill for two plates of spaghetti and fish and water.
A photograph of the Antico Caffè di Marte restaurant bill near Castel Sant'Angelo circulated on social networks after it was posted on Facebook and Twitter in early September. In addition to the total of 349.50 euros for the meal, tourists also had to pay 80 euros of service charge.
Several other customers have reported similar cases and claim they were also stolen by the restaurant. Minh Ngoc Bui, a Vietnamese living in Germany, is one of the people who left invoice images on Tripadvisor to report their experiences at that establishment. Minh told CNN He went to lunch at Antico Caffè on August 27 with three other friends when an employee suggested the menu "seafood – mixed fish" from the menu, priced at 6.5 euros per 100 grams.
"We agreed because it would be no big deal to pay 6.5 euros more to try a recommended dish. But they gave us only a mixed fish dish weighing about 2 kg," he said. "We were surprised when we saw the dish because we didn't expect '100 grams of fish' to be so big. But it was our last day in Italy, so we said it was fine. It's about 2 kg of fish, so I agreed to pay between 130 and 150 euros for that fish dish. We don't want any more drama in Italy. "
However, when one of Minh's friends asked for the bill, he was asked to pay 4.8 kg of mixed fish at a cost of 315 euros. Plus 40 euros service charge and 40 euros tip, the total bill was 476.40 euros.
"He complained that it could not be so much and did not agree to pay that amount for the service and tip because they did not clearly state that rule on the menu. But they said service and tip were the rules and we really ate a lot," Minh explained. . "He tried to complain, but was forced to pay. So he paid everything himself."
When Minh later found out the value of the bill, he suggested that his friend return to the restaurant to complain. "When we came back, I asked the man who served us to put 4.8 kg of mixed seafood on the plate. Because I firmly believe that it is impossible and they cannot do it. And, as I thought, they could not and refused to do so. with the excuse that they had no time ".
The group of friends tried to report the restaurant to the police, but authorities said they should have called before the payment. CNN tried to contact the restaurant, but to no avail.
TripAdvisor suspends restaurant reviews
After the controversy, Tripadvisor has suspended the restaurant review page with the following message: "Due to a recent event that attracted media attention and caused a flow of feedback submissions that do not describe a first-hand experience, we have temporarily suspended the posting of new reviews. If you had a first-hand experience come back soon. We look forward to hearing from you! "
The restaurant responded to criticism by saying the menu "of course", according to a statement issued. by the Italian newspaper "Il Messaggero"
"Everything is written in detail, just look at the prices: 16 euros maximum for a plate of seafood spaghetti," said owner Giacomo Jin, according to that newspaper. "To pay that, the girls [Japanese] ordered not only spaghetti, but also fish. On the other hand, our fish is fresh: the customer picks it up, weighs it and cooks it." With regard to tipping, Jin said it was a voluntary act and the customer could choose between 10 and 20% of the total amount.