Oscar's, a French cuisine restaurant in England, was rated "excellent" by seven of eight total reviews on TripAdvisor. It was ranked 29 of 63 restaurants in the Brixham area and purportedly had acquired Michelin-star status. But anyone who sought out the restaurant found an empty alleyway.
Turns out "Oscar's" never existed.
TripAdvisor's members exposed the hoax by reporting the listing through the site's online help center, according to a company press release.
The listing has since been removed.
"With over 70 pieces of content coming in every minute covering more than 2.7 million properties around the world, occasionally a review or business that does not meet TripAdvisor's guidelines may slip through the cracks," TripAdvisor said of the gaffe.
Oscar's TripAdvisor listing said the restaurant opened in May 2013. The listing was taken down this past week.
The fake reviews were so elaborate that they alleged Oscar's was a floating restaurant, converted from an old fishing trawler. They also asserted that the eatery employed divers who would swim down to catch whichever fish the customers desired.
TripAdvisor wouldn't comment on who created the listing, but said it was "absolutely committed to ensuring that the content on TripAdvisor remains accurate and provides a trusted and useful source of information for those planning a trip anywhere in the world."