Nicole Warne, influencer, criticized for her negative reviews of Italian restaurant

There’s a backlash for everything these days. Some followers of Austrialian fashion influencer, Nicole Warne, were not “feeling her TripAdvisor vibes”, when she tried to throw Italy’s Hotel Grotta Palazzese under the bus. The vegan blogger claims she paid a pricey fee to book her dinner slot 3 months prior, only to be served with ‘awful’ food. But her followers think her ‘negativity’ was uncalled for.


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My favorite fashion week of the year has begun. First Haute Couture show at @miumiu ❤️ #miumiujockeyclub

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With more than 1.7 million followers, Nicole is certainly one to influence your decisions

Nicole Warne is so having the time of her life. She is the founder and director of Gary Pepper Girl, an online fashion, travel and lifestyle blog. And then there’s her personal Instagram with over of 1.7 million followers.

And of course, she’s worked with numerous brands like Veuve Clicquot ; plus is currently an ambassador for AdoptChangeAU. But the Forbes 30 under 30 influencer was slammed for her comments regarding a top-notch Italian restaurant.

Nicole, who’s vegan, wrote a lengthy post over the weekend, about the exquisite Hotel Grotta Palazzese in Puglia, Italy, where she’s currently enjoying a summer holiday. According to the influencer, her expectations were not met when the picturesque restaurant served her ‘awful’ food.

“For me, this place was the worst dining experience I have ever had”

“I was conflicted posting this; I’m aware there are far worse things happening in the world but also aware that many of you look to my account as a travel guide and may book places as a result,” she began.

“I don’t like to be part of any form of negativity but…for me, this place was the worst dining experience I have ever had”, Ms Warne continued.


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Nicole says she even sent her food requirements 3 months ahead; yet they still got it wrong

“I gave them my list of food requirements (I am vegan, with severe gluten, cashew and coconut intolerances) when I made a reservation three months in advance.”

“But as soon as we sat down we were told the kitchen had not and could not prepare anything not on the set menu,” she wrote.

“I am used to not being able to eat most options on a menu, but as this was a “fine dining experience” and they asked for my food requirements well in advance, I was frustrated to hear I would still need to pay $180 euros for the set menu, much of which I could not eat.”

Nicole added that the only things she could eat from the menu were some beans, two pieces of vegetables and a fruit plate for dessert. Meanwhile her friend, who could eat everything, said the food was “underwhelming” anyway.

“We are no food critics, but this food seemed to fall victim to a fancy restaurant trying to create fancy food but completely missing the mark and offering bizarre and confusing food as a result.”

“This place is not worth the money even despite the fantastic view”


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Dinner in a three hundred year old cave (although the food was truly awful) 🥺✨🦋💞🍭🍦

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People responded to Nicole Warne but it sure wasn’t what she expected

Even though a couple of people who had been to the Hotel Grotta Palazesse confirmed her review, many were unimpressed by it.

“I went there for my birthday when visiting Puglia and I have to say you hit the nail on the head! The food and service were a complete fail. It was certainly not worth the 500€ we paid”, a user agreed.

“Hi Nicole, I went to this place last year- and probably like you, knew what I was walking into (re: the food). You are essentially paying for the views,” another affirmed.

“I had the exact same experience and was so angry- a plain, no dressing salad/lettuce leaves with a singular grilled onion…and some fruit for €180- its disgusting.”


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However, TV host and travel expert Catriona Rowntree criticized Warne for her review.

“So why bother posting and being negative? Just so you can show the shot? What’s the point?” the Getaway host said.

“Is all that really necessary? You must know that it paints you into a corner which is less than favourable..”, another asked.

“Yeah, it is probably a tourist trap, but also, you’re probably just mad they didn’t let you pay in “influencer instagram posts,” someone else insinuated.

“You literally have an intolerance to every kind of italian food ingredient, I dont think this is a fair review”

“Is this a joke? Your dietary requirements would have made it hard for a vegan restaurant to cater for you. Let alone an Italian restaurant with a fine dining- set menu in the heat of peak season. I can’t think of anything else they could have served you given the restrictions,” a follower lashed out.

“Even though you are probably right about this place (as you are about a lot of things),” another person said in the comments. “I don’t think it’s fair to stir up hatred about any businesses, even if you had a bad experience. I don’t think culinary reviews brings out the best of people. Love.”

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Amanda Lucy


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