Japanese tourists charged $1,350 for basic meal in Venice

A restaurant near St Mark’s Square allegedly overcharged Japanese students for steak and fried fish

Oops, they did it again. Just a few months after a British tourist had expressed his rage over being charged $880 for lunch in a restaurant in Venice’s historical centre, four diners from Japan have received an even bigger check in the same area.

Restaurants around St Mark's Square in Venice have a history of overcharging tourists — strecosa / Pixabay Japanese
Restaurants around St Mark’s Square in Venice have a history of overcharging tourists — strecosa / Pixabay

According to Ansa news agency, the Japanese students, who currently live in Bologna, paid $1,350 for a dinner of fried seafood, three steaks, a bottle of wine and water during their short trip to Venice.

The Japanese students reported the incident to police after their return to Bologna. They alleged it happened at Osteria da Luca restaurant near St Mark’s Square on Friday.

Local authorities took action after the allegations were revealed.

“We will thoroughly examine this episode over the coming days. We’ll make sure the complaint was justified,” Venice’s mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, said on Twitter.

“If this shameful episode is confirmed, we’ll do all we can to punish those responsible. We are for justice, always!”

According to reviews on TripAdvisor, where the restaurant scores 1.5 stars out of 5, Osteria da Luca is infamous for being “rip off central”.

Marco Gasparinetti, the spokesman of residents’ action group, Gruppo 25 Aprile, told Venice Today: “This is just the latest case of many of this kind.”

He added that less than one per cent of restaurants in the vicinity of St Mark’s Square are currently owned by locals.

As the famous Carnival approaches, the group is planning to publish “a user’s guide for visitors on how to survive in Venice, with details on the kind of situations to avoid”, as they announced on their Facebook page.

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