A Greek restaurant that has been roundly criticised online for charging customers high rates for run of the mill menu items has hit back this week, defending their policy and going on the attack in an interview with a British newspaper. DK Oyster restaurant on the island of Mykonos came under fire after American tourist and soldier Francisco Tajeda, 38, from Brooklyn, shared a photo of his extraordinary receipt, which charged over €800 for a lunch of calamari, beer and chicken caesar salad. The photo in question has since been seen across the internet, creating a swell of negative coverage and prompting an official response.
The story broke last week, when Tajeda decided to share the evidence from his meal at DK Oyster on review aggregator website TripAdvisor, accompanied by a damning review. Alongside the photo of €591 squid, Tadeja described the experience as “a rip off,” before going on to add, "The staff is not honest and refuse to provide a menu and prices. AVOID THIS PLACE AT ALL COSTS! No pun intended.”
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Tajeda elaborated on his experience, describing how a waiter refused to provide the party with a menu, stating that “Multiple times we asked for the menu, but she never brought one out. But we were very hungry so we ordered Caesar salads without seeing the prices. After asking again for a menu to order mains but still not getting one, we thought the place seemed shady, so we said ‘let’s get another appetizer, finish this beer, and get out of here.'”
Tajeda’s criticism was echoed by other dissatisfied customers on TripAdvisor. One account detailed being charged nearly €400 for a single dish - known as the “Tomahawk USA” - while another stated that the restaurant "will try and avoid giving you a menu, the €14.80 offer is a ploy to draw you in! Some fish dishes are charged per gram, but this is not told to you." Though DK Oyster has a respectable overall score of four out of five on the website, there are a huge number of one star reviews left by customers who presumably endured similar experiences.
Responding to the negative buzz around the restaurant, owner Dimitris Kalamaras was unsympathetic to his critics. Also speaking to the Daily Mail, Kalamaras provided a detailed statement on behalf of the business, writing, “We regret the language of the person who posted this photo. Indeed, the prices are correct. Although we feel that they reflect the level of our efforts, care and the quality of the food served in one of the world’s most coveted beaches, we can sympathize with an unsatisfied customer.”
However, Kalamaras took issue with several aspects of the story, especially with the characterisation of DK Oyster as a “trap”. He went on to compare his restaurant to other high-end businesses, stating, “Why is a luxury hotel allowed to charge 200-500 euros per night and nobody compares it to a room to let? Why does a customer of a small retailer pay for a jacket 50.00 euros and others charge up to thousands? Are we all criminals, thieves, bad people?” Referencing his prices, Kalamaras concluded, “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.” It remains to be seen whether Tajeda and other customers are satisfied with this response.