Fake Restaurant Reviewed Online Sent Tourists to an Alley Full of Garbage

Maressa Brown Eye Roll

closed sign in store windowIf you're looking for "mind-blowing, simply divine, perfect, amazing, Michelin-starred" seafood while spending time in England's coastal town Brixham, steer clear of Oscar's. Not because it's not all it's cracked up to be according to reviews, but because it's a totally FAKE restaurant with completely phony reviews

The Telegraph reports that the eatery, which is listed on TripAdvisor's website as a "floating restaurant built in the hull of an old fishing boat," doesn't actually exist. And hungry travelers have been on a "wild goose chase" to find it ever since it was added to TripAdvisor in May and became the 29th place in a ratings list of 64 eateries in the area. HA! So crazy -- and kinda funny. But I guess not so much if you were one of those frustrated tourists in search of magical seafood and finding only an alley filled with garbage cans?

The fictional restaurant was reportedly created by a businessman named Oscar Parrot who said he did it because he was apparently annoyed that the site isn't policing and patrolling reviews properly. Parrot admitted he posted all the reviews and even provided an email address for them. He was spurred to do this after his friend's hotel got a list of bad reviews on the site that he suspected was from a rival hotelier.

Totally understand, as there have been similar complaints on other sites like Yelp ... But at the same time, TripAdvisor appears to be making an effort. They removed Oscar's, for starters, and recently launched a new crackdown on questionable postings.

Further, how about some personal responsibility here? Whenever I'm cruising the web for potential restaurants, especially in an area I'm not familiar with, I always do a cross-reference. See if I can find the eatery's actual website. Try to check reviews from at least two sites, because even if it once existed, it could be closed or reviews on one site may not reflect the true story that's posted on another. And when I've failed to do that, I've been sorry. (Like the time I ordered Mexican delivery from what turned out to be a Chinese take-out spot. Aghh!

The bottom-line: Sites like TripAdvisor can only do so much to keep their listings and reviews legit. Like it or not, you've usually gotta do a bit more homework yourself if you want a decent meal!

Do you rely on a certain site for restaurant reviews? What do you think about this fake listing?


Image via Jasoon/Flickr

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