How it works:
- Most food places are fine, it’s generally just a few bad eggs around touristy areas that spoil it for the rest.
- Version 1: a separate tourist menu with inflated prices or without prices, extra hidden surcharges, charging for unordered items or serving unordered dishes, shortchanging.
- Version 2: misleading pricing (e.g. by grams) – tourists have been charged hundreds of Euros for simple fish dishes or for ham at markets.
- Version 3: advertising a cheap price, but charging double the price, claiming the advertised price is for take away and there is an additional “table service” charge.
- Charging for bread and cover (pane e coperto) and service charge (servizio) is perfectly legitimate.
Places to beware:
- Florence: Piazza della Signoria, Mercato Centrale
- Rome: Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon
- Venice: Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Square, San Marco area – Trattoria Casanova infamously charged a British tourist €526 for a plate of oysters
What to do:
- Choose: reputable places (use food review apps like Zomato) and avoid those promoted by touts.
- Check: menu (prices, fine print), itemized bill, and do not eat what was not ordered.
- Alternative: GetYourGuide (best day tours platform in Europe) has a couple of food tours.