Tourist complains to Venice mayor over £463 lobster lunch

Emma Woollacott

A British tourist has made a formal complaint to the mayor of Venice after being charged an eye-watering £463 for a lobster lunch.

Luke Tang, a 40-year-old university lecturer from Birmingham, went with his parents to the Trattoria Casanova in the city's central San Marco district.

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Here, he says, he ordered by pointing at a picture on the menu - which didn't carry a price.

"I have to admit it is my fault that I did not check the price, but I did not expect that one and a half lobsters together with other fish would cost us €300," he tells the Independent.

And, he says, the waiters took advantage of his lack of Italian to bring food that the family hadn't ordered.

"The next thing I knew we were being served 20 oysters, which I thought was a bit odd as we hadn't asked for them and my elderly parents don't eat shellfish," he claims.

When the jaw-dropping bill arrived, Mr Tang paid up as he had a plane to catch. But when he god home he researched the restaurant on the internet and found that there had been a lot of similar complaints.

On TripAdvisor, for example, 56% of customers rate the restaurant as 'terrible'.

Mr Tang has now written to the mayor of Venice, complaining about his experience.

"I do not expect there will be any refund, but I wanted to draw your attention (to) the behaviour of this business, (which) will ruin the reputation of Venice," he says. "It is disgraceful and indeed the shame of Venice."

The restaurant has defended its actions, telling Italy's national news agency Ansa that the price of the fish, per 100 grams, was displayed on the menu.

And, said a manager, "They didn't send anything back. If there had been dishes that they had not ordered then they could have refused to eat them and then they would not have been charged."

Restaurants do often fail to show the exact price of seafood on their menus, instead often pricing by the gram or referring to 'market price'. There's some justification for this: the price paid by restauranteurs does vary, and items such as lobsters, for example, vary a lot in size.

The lesson is to always establish exactly what you'll pay before ordering expensive seafood.