Man charged $50 for two espressos and two bottles of water at a Venice cafe stirs up online mob

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I suppose they do have a point…

Whether you consider the experience to be “wonder at the beauty of Venice while enjoying your drinks” or “stare at hordes of tourists and pigeons while suffering the stench of Venice as you are fleeced like the mark you are” is up to you.

Caveat emptor indeed.


WTH? So don’t eat there. Enough people do that and they’ll go out of business or lower their prices. I mean, don’t get me wrong, even dolts should have the right to complain and write (truthful) bad reviews. But seriously, why did he order the espressos if he wasn’t okay with the price? That’s like me buying a Macbook Pro and then complaining about how much it costs.

I do not understand people who complain about pricing after they purchased something. It’s especially irritating on Amazon because I have to skim through the clutter of low-star reviews of people complaining only about prices and telling me jack-all about the product. I know how much the damn things cost. I don’t need to know you’re a moron, I need to know how the products worked out for you.



Been there, done that, drank the coffee, paid the bill and appreciated the view.


Rooftop bars in NYC amirite?


They should be grateful. Getting price-gouged is part of the Venice experience.

Seriously, though, screw that thuggish waiter. The tip is always incorporated into the cheque one way or another, especially in a clip joint like this one.


I’d like to know exactly how the prices are presented. The way the restaurateur says it is:

People get annoyed when the bill arrives because they do not listen when we hand them the menu even though it states clearly enough that prices are higher to sit outside.

But I want to know whether they actually show the prices you’ll be charged, or if it’s some bullshit thing where it just says somewhere in tiny print “Sitting outside will incur a surcharge.”
And if that, does it even specify how much more it will be?


I’ve not been to Caffe Lavena, but I’ve been to the slightly older Caffe Florian nearby and paid a similar amount. Everyone knows this about the cafes in Piazza San Marco: they are very expensive, the coffee is not up to normal Italian standards, the service is pretty bad, and you are there for the remarkable history. These guys should quit whining.

If you want decent coffee relatively cheap in Venice, go to Del Doge. If you want excellent coffee cheap, go to Naples.


Why is this a story? It’s expensive to sit in prime real estate for your coffee. The only irritating part of the story was the waiter who demanded a tip.

These complainers need to learn how to tourist.


A brief lurch through the reviews seems to indicate that the prices are set out on the menu. Many of the negative reviews complain about the price - none that I saw claim to have been deceived about the prices, several say they hadn’t checked the prices, they just ordered and that the price they were charged was the price on the menu when they checked after being presented the bill…



Exactly. I don’t have the answer, but I do know that Caffe Lavena is especially infamous for overcharging, and I’ve encountered too many misleading menus in Venice.


You mean to tell me one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations has tourist traps? In its most famous square? Shocking!

There’s no excuse for waiters being menacing in the quest for gratuities. One simple trick I learned early on when faced with a rude or obnoxious waiter (invariably in a tourist trap, where they can get away with it because repeat business isn’t a thing): be rude and obnoxious right back. Faced with a kindred spirit and someone who won’t tolerate their bullshit, they move onto easier pickings.

I learned the more important trick a little later: learn to recognize, and stay the fuck away from, tourist traps.


I don’t see what the problem is. This is standard practice in cafés all over Europe. In Paris you will definitely pay more for your drinks taken at a table en terasse vs. a table inside vs. at the bar. You are free to take your business elsewhere.


well, ok, but this guy had it coming…


I made the colossal mistake in France when I handed the guy money for my stand-up coffee without knowing the price. Obviously, the price was the exact amount I handed him.

When you travel in heavily-touristed areas and your grasp of the language is weak, some – not all – will take advantage. If you’re alone or no one with you understands the local words for numbers, you have to act like the dumb tourist you are and ask again, and again, how much, slowly. Get them to write it down. They’ll sneer at you but at least you’ll know what you’ll pay before you order. And if they refuse to speak clearly (in their language) or write it down, leave.


Drink coffee in San Marco square, and you pay at least 15 euros for a pinky-sized espresso. Everybody knows that. And the prices are clearly shown. If you don’t look posh enough, the waiters will even tell you in advance, I know because as a student I did it once. It’s just supply&demand in action. Some people are willing to pay the price, just to show the world they can afford it (or because they are a poor student who thinks it’s wonderfully decadent, like I did).

Venice can exist because silly people spend too much money there. See it as your personal contribution to the upkeep of the beautifully crumbling city.

Going to Venice and complaining about it being and expensive tourist trap is just plain silly. Complaining about the prices in San Marco square is like going to Las Vegas and complain you lose money gambling.

The waiter is quite right in not feeling any shame whatsoever. Parting fools with their money is an honest job in the tourist trade.


They prey on tourists. Your idea of “don’t go there” sounds great for solving a problem with a local joint. When we are talking about a business that exists to fleece tourists who aren’t familiar with the town and which places will rip you off, that solution isn’t a solution at all.


I dunoo… the coffee seems high, but there are fancy coffee shops here charging that much.

The water is high, but even I know you never order WATER in Italy. Or if you do you specify tap water. Other wise you get some fancy bottled stuff. I usually drank a lot of Sprite.

The prices should be on the menu. If they aren’t, ask. If they won’t tell you, walk. I would.


No, it’s like ordering a mac book pro and being presented with a bill for 10grand.

If you know you want a coffee and water you don’t need to look at the menu. If I go into a café where I live and ask for a coffee I assume it will be within the established price range and cost 2-3 euros. I don’t check the price because always is. If one rogue coffee shop decides to prey on tourists by charging more than 3 times a fair price then they are right to complain.

I would have left a fair amount and walked out.