Italian authorities have shut down a historic Roman restaurant days after it charged a Japanese couple $987 for a seafood lunch.

The tourists filed a fraud complaint with police after being surprised with a bill for pasta and lobster with wine and gelato at the Il Passetto restaurant, just off the popular Piazza Navona square.

Health inspectors arrived within days to shut down the 149-year old restaurant – which has served stars ranging from Charlie Chaplin to Grace Kelly – citing hygiene reasons.

Restaurants in Rome’s centre have long been notorious for overcharging or serving overcooked pasta to the millions of tourists that flock here each year.

According to a couple of Rome restaurant listing and review web sites, the Passetto restaurant, which serves supposedly superior sustenance; when not ripping off tame tourists that is; charges between fifty and sixty Euros a head, though this price does not include drinks, just in case you were curious.

But Il Passetto’s owner said he was surprised by the complaint, adding that it was the Japanese couple’s decision to leave the tip. Tipping is not obligatory in Italy, but is often demanded from foreigners anyway.

“They ordered 12 oysters, two kilos of lobsters, wine, 1.5 kg of seabass and even took photos with the waiters before leaving,” Franco Fioravanti told Rome’s Il Messaggero daily.

Source: Reuters / LeaderPost