Last updated: 04:30 PM ET, Thu September 08 2016

Tourist Dinner At Jerusalem Restaurant Leads to Hotly Contested $4,362 Bill

Entertainment | Gabe Zaldivar | September 08, 2016

Tourist Dinner At Jerusalem Restaurant Leads to Hotly Contested $4,362 Bill

Photo credit Facebook

It’s hard enough to find a good place to eat when traveling, but the real fear is apparently that your meal ends up in an international roar over the bill.

The Guardian reports on the latest bit of they said-they said unfolding after a group of tourists take umbrage with how much they were charged by a local restaurant. In this case, the tourists from China had enjoyed a meal at Jerusalem’s Abu-Gosh, which inevitably led to a bill that reportedly hit £3,280 or about $4,362.

The Guardian explains that the Israeli tour operators’ association had posted an image of the bill to Facebook, which is when a seemingly genteel evening that included the tourists paying their bill turned into a much publicized row over a now disputed set of charges.

Yossef Fatael, listed as the Former Managing Director at Israel Travel & Tourism Agents Association on Facebook, posted this image on September 4.

The bill includes a charge for a private room, a first course, alcohol, main course, desserts and a service charge.

One could see how a place thought to be a reasonable venture for diners might draw fire for what certainly seems to be an exorbitant bill. However, there is another side to the story.

By September 5, the Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association posted this to Facebook:

The post states, via Google Translate: “The eight Chinese tourists came to the restaurant after 7 (p.m.). Restaurant closed. Especially not for themselves but were given a private room only.”

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The Guardian states that restaurant co-owner Jawdat Ibrahim explained that half of the restaurant was reserved for this special party. The report continues, “The tourism association denied this claim, saying it had spoken to the unnamed tour operator used by the group.”

The entire fracas culminated after the famed diner was featured in a television spot. It’s new fame has since resulted in one hotly contested bill.

Ibrahim puts a bit more context to the impetus behind the disagreement: “A while ago Chinese television made a program about the restaurant and afterwards a guide from a Chinese tour company called me and asked me to prepare a private section for a group of Chinese. I was told they were very important people and they wanted to reserve a special section of the restaurant on Friday night, our busiest day. We provided them with their own bar and expensive drinks and a whole stuffed lamb, which cost me a lot. They seemed happy and gave us a large tip and then someone put the bill on Facebook! People don’t understand of course we have meals that cost $15 but this was special."

The Telegraph cites a statement from the tour operator that explains its side of the story. The report reads: “But Yossi Fattal, CEO of the tourism association, said that the group rented a private room while the rest of the restaurant remained open to the public, and the alcohol had been put out on the tables – and was not ordered by the Chinese. He said they stayed for four hours – not the nine hours that Ibrahim claimed.”

The messy ordeal gets a bit more clouded, as the tour group contends what seems to be a party reservation gone awry.

This could easily be a matter of a bill being brandished on the Internet for publicity sake or a case of a restaurant trying to glean an exorbitant bill from its guests.

As of this writing, the restaurant maintains a four-out-of-five rating on TripAdvisor, which considers it the No. 2 restaurant in the area.

However, this might be a good time to remind you to attempt to infuse as much transparency into your evening as possible when you sit down to eat in a foreign country.

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