A German couple on holiday on the Italian island of Sardinia bought the live lobsters on the menu at a posh seaside restaurant for 500 euros ($629) and put them back in the sea, local media said Tuesday.

"When the woman came into the restaurant, she saw the lobsters straight away," Giuseppe Demuro, a chef at Mama Latina on Sardinia's luxurious Emerald Coast, was quoted as saying by the L'Unione Sarda newspaper.

"She came and asked if they were still alive and if she could buy them."

Another customer at the romantic restaurant told the Germans that the crustaceans might not survive back in the sea and risked being fished again. A waiter then negotiated a 500-euro price to free the lucky crustaceans.

"We put them in a special box to carry them. I've been here 10 years and I've never seen anything like it," said Mama Latina's owner Roberto Paci.