Greece Travel Guide

You Won’t Have to Worry About Being Scammed at Restaurants Here Any Longer

PHOTO: Pierdelune / Shutterstock

Be careful what you order because it might be a trick.

Restaurants on the Greek islands have come under recent scrutiny for ripping off tourists to an absolutely absurd degree. Authorities are finally cracking down on the blatant overcharging by means of not giving customers menus or refusing to tell them item prices–and, then, by the end of the meal, are served a bill of, say, €836 for some calamari and a few beers. In many instances, customers have been offered a fake “deal” only to be overcharged to a ghastly degree for drinks. The finance ministry reports that 50,000+ raids will be conducted undercover by officials over the next several weeks, in hopes of catching these scammers.

Restaurant owners aren’t exactly owning up to anything, either. In the instance of the €836 calamari and beers receipt from DK Oyster restaurant, The Independent reported that the owner had this to say: “I want to tell you from my heart that we value our customers, and we have carefully accounted for the cost in order to produce a product which we consider to be value for money.”

But there’s more: “If you can’t afford them, in order to avoid any bitterness, just opt for the special combo menu–which may not be the most satisfying option, but allows a small glimpse for those who cannot afford the experience.”

So, if you can’t afford an order of €591 calamari (??) and six beers at €25 a pop (???) at a restaurant that won’t tell you how much its food and drinks are in the first place, guess what, that’s somehow still your fault! Sorry you’re so poor.

The DK Oyster restaurant is, from its photos, a very fancy-looking restaurant on the beach, and, sure, menu items are typically more expensive at those types of places (though not that expensive, so it’s still not an excuse). However, it’s not just “upscale” establishments that are trying to pull this scam. At a casual eats restaurant called The Gate in Rhodes Old Town, a woman was charged €82 for eight soft drinks and €14 for one milkshake, which included odd service charges and soft drinks at different prices on a handwritten receipt.

How To Avoid Being Screwed Over

Please just… tell me how much this is. Chris Brooks / Flckr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Ask for Receipts Before the Meal

By this, I, of course, don’t mean the actual receipt–that wouldn’t make sense. But if a restaurant employee is clearly avoiding telling you the price of something (and if there is a price nowhere in sight on paper, especially), straight up? Just leave. Don’t eat there. You can find something else. Don’t expect the best of people in situations involving money or you may get screwed over. If a server is giving you anything less than a straight answer, like say, some runaround defense of a million nice sounding words that make you out to be the bad guy in this situation, chances are the restaurant can’t be trusted and doesn’t deserve your business.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

A restaurant owner can say all day long that they “value their customers,” but this obviously doesn’t match up with the circumstance when they’re charged almost $1,000 for literally fried squid and a few beers. I don’t care where your restaurant is located (the most beautiful island in the world or down the street from your house), a regular serving of fried fish and six beers does not equal €836. Don’t accept this answer from anybody.

Just Expect That People Might Try and Rip You Off

I don’t mean to incite paranoia, but honestly? Look out for yourself, especially when you’re traveling and spending money in places you aren’t familiar with. If you’re on vacation and walk into a fancy looking restaurant on an incredibly beautiful beach and don’t see a menu price anywhere in sight (and especially when they refuse to produce them upon request), just assume that it is going to cost you an arm, a leg, and your entire soul. Accept that or find somewhere else to eat.