The Venice restaurant that charged Japanese tourists $1,400 (1143 euros) for three steaks, a mixed grill plate, two glasses of wine, and mineral water, faces fines of up to $24,700 (20,000 euros).
Nuova Venezia reported that police and local inspectors have conducted checks on Osteria da Luca and found breaches of health and safety and food hygiene codes. Authorities also looked into whether meals sold were accurately described on the menu.
A fine for “some thousands of euros” has been issued by the health service, with more fines expected to be imposed in the coming days, according to Venezia Today.
“Together, the infringements—not all of which have yet been formally notified—produce total fines running into tens of thousands of euros,” Nuova Venezia said. No grounds were found to shut down the restaurant, it said.
The Osteria da Luca is also being investigated by financial regulators for failing to provide an itemized receipt to the Japanese diners.
The four Japanese students made a formal complaint to police after they returned to Bologna, where they were studying. They provided the credit card slip as the only evidence of how much they were charged.
One of the diners told the Venezia Today via an interpreter what happened at the restaurant. The student said that when they asked for the check, the waiter made some additions on a calculator and showed them the total of 1,143 euros. One of the diners then paid using a credit card but did not receive a tax invoice in return.
Since the story went viral earlier this week, both Venetians and people abroad have expressed outrage over the restaurant’s practices.
TripAdvisor was forced to temporarily shut down the reviews section of Osteria da Luca’s page after a deluge of negative review submissions “that do not describe a first hand experience.”
The restaurant is currently rated 1.5 stars on TripAdvisor, with 83 percent of the 321 reviews labeling the establishment as “terrible.”
A trade association in Venice, Comfcommercio Ascom, has offered to cover the full amount charged to the students.
“In the spirit of safeguarding the image of Venice … and to apologize for the inconvenience that happened to that group of young Japanese students, Confcommercio Ascom Venezia offers them € 1100 [$US1,363] to refund the account paid in that restaurant,” said Roberto Magliocco, president of the association.
Should they accept, the association will also treat the students to two nights at a luxury hotel and a gondola tour “to cheer up their stay” and leave them with a “good memory of the city.”