$881 for lunch - it will be the death of Venice

A British tourist has written to the mayor of Venice after he was presented with a €526 ($881) bill for lunch.

Luke Tang, a lecturer from Birmingham, said he and his elderly parents were shocked to be charged so much for their seafood lunch in the Italian city.

He accused the restaurant, Trattoria Casanova, of taking advantage of the language barrier. Waiters brought them dishes they had not asked for and did not disclose the cost, he said.

In a letter to Luigi Brugnaro, the city's mayor, Tang, 49, wrote: "I wanted to draw your attention [to] the behaviour of this business, [which] will ruin the reputation of Venice. It is disgraceful and indeed the shame of Venice." The bill was for a lunch of oysters, spaghetti, grilled fish and crayfish.

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Tang told The Daily Telegraph: "I did some research on this restaurant and realised we were by no means the only ones to be treated like this. There were a lot of complaints from Japanese and Korean tourists - the restaurant seems to particularly target Asian visitors."

The owners said that prices were clearly displayed. "We gave them what they ordered. The prices of the fish, per 100 grams, are shown clearly on the menu," a manager said.

"They didn't send anything back. If there had been dishes they had not ordered then they could have refused them and then they would not have been charged."

The restaurant receives generally negative reviews online. On TripAdvisor, 56 per cent of reviewers describe it as "terrible", while only 18 per cent rate it as "excellent" or "very good". Others called it "a rip-off" and "beyond unacceptable".

 - The Telegraph, London