PastaGate: Italian Restaurant Under Fire For Using Too Many Italian Words

When you go out to eat at an Italian restaurant, you expect to find a little Italian, right? The words “pasta,” “calamari,” and “ravioli” frequently appear on menus of Italian eateries — and for good reason.

But one Italian restaurant is under fire for filling their menus with too many Italian words.

Language officials in French-speaking Quebec filed a complaint against the Italian restaurant Buonanotte for using too many Italian words on their menus — and not providing French translations. Like no one knows what “calamari” is.

Massimo Lecas, owner of Buonanotte, said he was contacted by the office of French language (OQLF) on Valentine’s Day and told that the menu contained “too much Italian.”

The owner of Buonanotte claims that he was told by authorities that Italian words such as “pasta” should all have French translations on the menus. Massimo Lecas also claims that he was told to translate the Italian words for meatball and calamari into French.

As the news spread, the OQLF backed down on their claims, admitting that perhaps they were a bit overzealous in their mission to make every meatball a French meatball. Martin Bergeron of the OQLF did insist, however, that French be the predominant language in all public places in Montreal, according to language laws.

“Other languages can be on the menu,” he said. “The thing is they must not be predominant over French.”

Even though the language police backtracked a bit, the social media damage has already been done, according toThe Huffington Post. A parody Twitter account has been created under the guise @QuebecPasta, and well as a #pastagate hashtag.

Buonanotte isn’t the only place to be slapped on the wrist for too much use of a foreign language. A British pub is trying to figure out how to translate “fish and chips” into French. While the owner of eatery Brit & Chips has had no problems adhering to French language laws, he said that translating his main dish — fish and chips — into “poisson frit et frites” will push customers away.

Do you think that Quebec’s French language laws are too extreme?

[Image via Shutterstock]

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