Sunday, July 5, 2009

There must be a mistake

ROME - They were looking for a bit of La Dolce Vita but what two tourists got in a restaurant in Rome left a bitter aftertaste.

The Japanese couple was handed a receipt totalling ?695 ($1,412) after their lunch last month at a restaurant just steps away from Piazza Navona. The bill included a ?115.50 tip they say they did not agree to, Rome police said on Thursday.

The case made headlines in Italy's national newspapers, reportedly angering Mayor Gianni Alemanno. Police temporarily shut down the restaurant after the couple filed their complaint.

Restaurant owner Franco Fioravanti said the couple ordered a lavish meal that included oysters, lobsters, sea bass and porcini mushrooms.

ThePassetto Italian restaurant The Passetto has been denounced by the police for fraudulent action against two vacationing Japanese customers. EPA

According to the couple, an English-speaking waiter offered to bring a few dishes without them consulting the menu.

Several newspapers printed what they said was the bill from the meal, which also showed the couple being charged ?200 for pasta dishes.

After the complaint, the police checked the prices on the receipt against those indicated on the menu and found a discrepancy. "They are way higher, quite a bit disproportionate," said a police spokesman.

The police also sent health inspectors, who found defective refrigerators, contamination among different foods and other below-standard procedures in the restaurant's kitchens. The restaurant was closed temporarily, and officials are also considering revoking its license.

The Passetto restaurant is a classic of Rome cuisine. Its website lists among its guests high-profile stars from past and present - from Ava Gardner to Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as Queen Elizabeth, Grace Kelly and Salvador Dali. AP

From TODAY, World – Saturday, 04-Jul-2009

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