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  5. Victoria
This restaurant now offers Takeout

This restaurant now offers Takeout

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Tea at The Empress

4.5
4.5
4077 Reviews
CAN$30 and under
Unspecified
A grand tradition for over a century, the world renowned Tea at The Empress has served England’s most beloved ritual of Afternoon Tea to famed royalty, celebrities and dignitaries alike. Tea at the Empress provides a quintessentially signature Victoria experience to all who attend.

Executive Pastry Tony Vilnov and team prepare house-made Empress scones, delectable pastries and tea sweets daily, reflecting locally sourced ingredients to ensure an authentically memorable experience. An exciting new offering is our Fairmont Empress cake. A rich hazelnut chocolate layer cake featuring customized chocolate developed in France specifically for Fairmont Empress. The cake will be topped with a chocolate crown.

Truly one of the finest blends in the world, Empress Tea is the perfect complement to the tea experience. However, should you feel adventurous, Tea at the Empress now has 21 loose leaf teas to select from, making every moment memorable and uniquely your own.

Make a reservation

2 people

10:30 PM


Booked 69 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Other options

  • Order online

Additional information

  • Neighborhood

    Victoria

  • Cross street

    Government & Douglas Streets

  • Parking details

    Self parking is available

  • Additional

    Bar/Lounge, Counter Seating, Gluten-free Options, High Tea, Indoor Fireplace, Non-Smoking, Takeout, Vegan, View, Wine

What 4,077 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.5
4.5 based on recent ratings
  • 4.5Food
  • 4.6Service
  • 4.6Ambience
  • 3.8Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • Vancouver / British Columbia

    Afternoon Tea

  • Vancouver / British Columbia

    Most Booked

  • Victoria

    Best Ambiance

  • Victoria

    Hot Spot

  • Victoria

    Special Occasion

  • Victoria

    Most Booked

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  1. KE

    KevinE

    Miami

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall4food5service5ambience4
    We enjoyed our time at the T when we were there back in 1999 it was more elegant and a more formal setting more enjoyable and more enjoyable find the key that we drink we were disappointed that we couldn't buy the tea that we had picked to drink we're also disappointed in the shops because we all seem to be the same thing
  2. L

    Lynn

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Wonderful experience. Paz was a great server and food was awesome and presentation fabulous!
  3. JG

    JohnG

    Jacksonville

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall3food5service5ambience5
    Overall a great experience. Service outstanding and the atmosphere wonderful. Ee ordered one glass of wine and one glass of champagne that came to almost over $80 total There was no wine or champagne list for us to choose from we were shocked to see those prices for average drinks. Go enjoy the tea and food just don't order drinks unless you have a big wallet.
  4. PM

    PhilipM

    San Diego

    2 reviews

    2.0

    2 reviews

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall2food2service3ambience2
    The food had very little taste. The tea was just O.K. The traffic of people and their dogs walking through the restaurant, to get to the other parts of the hotel, while you are having your afternoon tea was disrespectful. The washroom maintenace crew who came in while you were using the facilities never even checked the individual stalls only wiped the sink counter. You would expect much higher standards in such a grand venue. Overall operations management is very poorly represented. I was very embarrassed for my out of province quests whom I introduced to the Empress.
  5. j

    justtryingtohelp

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall3food2service5ambience2
    Tea at the Empress is a bucket list item! The service is like clockwork and well executed. Our tea selection was varied and fun, and having steeping advice, sugar and cream suggestions made for the very best cup. I enjoyed the "Blue suede shoes" green tea, steeped ever so quickly to give the cup a light refreshing flavor with just a small amount of sugar. It is a bluish gray color once steeped and I a bit taken by surprise. Not the most appetizing. The scone were lovely. The sandwiches were mostly ok. The coronation chicken curry was very sweet. The roastbeef with pickled onions was more to my liking. But the desserts...bleh. They looked so beautiful but were really a let down. The matcha was so strong it was bitter. The rose so strong in the macaron it was like soap! The orange in the chocolate cup had no acid and was just so sweet it barely tasted like anything and the chocolate mouse was thick and stodgy or maybe it was supposed to be ganache but it wasn't silky. The raspberry foam was a disgusting texture against the gelatinous "cheese cake" and the pate sable too hard that after squishing through the fillings only to chomp on a extra sturdy shortbread. Awful flavor and mouthfeel. Expected much more from the price point. Ambiance of a pianist playing pop songs and the fumes from the sea planes wafting spent jet fuel into the air dampened the feeling of the service being a grand experience. The combination of a staff working so hard, the less than average food, the fumes, plus the $90 price tag seems like this bucket list item is a bit over-rated.
  6. D

    Donna0

    Seattle

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall1food2service3ambience1
    Very, very, very crowded. Tables areas were only a couple arms length beside each other. And as expected from trying to fit in as many folks as possible, the space was quite noisy. Definitely not my definition of what an ideal relaxing afternoon tea should be. The area was also dark and poorly lit. It is absolutely not what is shown in their pictures. The space for afternoon tea is not a dedicated room and passers by will see everyone in the dining area - I thought there was going to be more privacy but really, you are just situated in a hotel lobby. For an Afternoon Tea, it definitely lacked variety - there were only 10 teas to choose from (2 were unavailable from their selection of 12). The food itself was not great. The desserts lacked variety -three of the desserts had raspberry. The egg sandwich and cucumber sandwich was bland. The curry one was good. The scones, I have to concede, were great with the clotted cream. The only other two things I liked - the live piano player and our server Wayne who was very helpful. The front desk lady was not very friendly either.
  7. r

    raclah

    Philadelphia

    17 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    17 reviews

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Wonderful experience just a bit expensive. The Empress is a beautiful hotel and the service was excellent. We really enjoyed ourselves!
  8. CJ

    CJSzuch

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall4food3service4ambience3
    We enjoyed our time at the Empress and the tea/food was delightful. Although I do believe that $200 for tea (for two people) is excessive, it was a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. This experience was gifted to us, and probably the only reason we would go.
  9. a

    alaskak8

    Denver

    136 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    136 reviews

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great experience. Good food, good service, lots of fun.
  10. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Sydney

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The high tea was very special, hotel was amazing and would thoroughly recommend.
  11. j

    joans

    New York Area

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 4 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    A decadent treat but something that would be hard to reproduce at home. Tea choices a little flowery, a few more traditional choices would be welcome.
  12. H

    Hokie26

    Charleston

    32 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    32 reviews

    Dined 4 days ago

    overall3food3service5ambience5
    Service was outstanding. Food was mediocre. Price was gouging! Been there, done that!
  13. DC

    DenaC

    Phoenix

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined 4 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    I have always wanted to have high tea at the Empress and it was phenomenal. I made a reservation the day before and expressed gluten free and dairy free diet restrictions. They were accommodating and the food was delicious. Casual clothing is ok. If you’re considering, this is an unforgettable experience.
  14. G

    Gigi

    Seattle

    52 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    52 reviews

    Dined 5 days ago

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    Second visit . . . It is always a fun experience!
  15. r

    roma

    Denver

    14 reviews

    2.0

    14 reviews

    Dined 5 days ago

    overall2food3service3ambience2
    It was very deceiving that we thought the champagne was included in the $95 per person.
  16. KR

    KarenR

    Vancouver

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 5 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    The service was excellent, as was the decor and the food. The china was lovely too. Between the conversations, the clanging dishes and the too loud piano music, the noise level, definitely detracted from the overall experience.
  17. JP

    JudieP

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined 5 days ago

    overall2food2service4ambience2
    Very disappointing overall! Way overpriced with very little atmosphere and food was very mediocre. Desserts did not taste freshly made either
  18. W

    Will

    Vancouver

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food4service4ambience5
    The atmosphere is very good with the classic architecture and English setting
  19. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Was just amazing!
  20. JW

    JoanW

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Our wonderful waiter had a lovely sense of humor that matched our own; his elegant appearance and presentation matched the elegance of the room. The excellent camaraderie between our two waiters mtched the levity of our happy table and kept us entertained. Everything was clearly explained, and we especially dessert chocolate teacup shapes filled truffles. The live music from the grand piano was especially appreciated, as we get weary of hearing Muzak constantly elsewhere. The management reacted quickly to my two changes to the original reservation (we added 2 people to our table, and asked to be near our friends at another table). Thank you for a memorable afternoon!
  21. J

    Jane

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall3food2service5ambience4
    If you want it on your resume that you had tea at the Empress, well go ahead. I did. I did, and I will not do it again. The setting is awesome. The service was too. The food was mediocre, and so, unbelievably, was the tea. We decided not to pay extra to get premium tea--frankly I thought tea at the Empress would already to premium--so we opted for their most popular teas. Ugh. Don't do it. If you are already paying $100 for the tea, what's another $10 to get some decent tea.
  22. SF

    SunFan

    Seattle

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The food and service were amazing. Our waiter Paul was a wealth of information. The piano music was perfect. They were able customize my request. It was more than tea. It was an experience. I will definitely come back.
  23. CS

    CindyS

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The most outstanding food served by friendly, professional staff. Very pleasant piano music provided great ambience.
  24. CJ

    CatherineJ

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    They were very accommodating with my husband’s food allergies. The food, music, and especially tea made a wonderful experience.
  25. DI

    DanaI

    Central Coast

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    A wonderful place to enjoy tea...breathtaking views and atmosphere, staff makes you feel like royalty.
  26. SP

    SugengP

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall3food4service4ambience4
    At near $200 for two, this certainly overpriced. It is on my bucket list so it must happen, although I might be a victim of tourism trap. That being said, I have enjoyed the ambiance, great tea and the food.
  27. MC

    MayC

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on September 27, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Good food! Everything is so pretty!
  28. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    11 reviews

    5.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on September 27, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Everyone should have high tea at the Empress once in their life. I've had it twice, 45 years apart. The second time was as good as the first.
  29. S

    Soitour

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 27, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    It was overall a very lovely and special experience for our 3 couples. The server Raymond was great. We chose 4 different teas out of the 12 or so available, which had distinct perfumed taste. When we looked at the tray, it seemed that it would not be enough. But, after we had had the scrumptious and rich scones, sandwiches and mini desserts, interspersed with tea, we felt full. The atmosphere was out of the ordinary with the music played by pianists at times. We felt how it could have been when the high society had tea. We had the vista of the beautiful harbor depending on where one was sitting. It was a first for most of us; the ladies appreciated the overall experience more than the gentlemen. We would not go to this Fairmont again because it is pricey to redo the experience. We know that we paid for the food, the location, the setting, the service and the atmosphere. The ladies would possibly experience other Fairmont places for tea on special occasions.
  30. DW

    DavidW

    Portland

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on September 26, 2022

    overall3food4service5ambience2
    Expectations focused on traditions of Victorian life are quite dashed by the realities of a tourist trap. Not to say that the tea and tower of finger food aren’t good. They are and the servers work quite hard to please, but when presented with a bill of just under $200 for two people, no extras, one is compelled to wonder if the experience was worth it. Originally seated with an intimate view of the bussing area, we were reseated with little fuss. Others in the large noisy room were primarily engaged with taking photos and I wondered if very many cared one way or the other about the quality of their choice of tea. All in all the ambiance (or lack thereof) overwhelmed the nostalgic mythology
  31. KA

    KentA

    San Francisco

    16 reviews

    5.0

    16 reviews

    Dined on September 26, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Tea at The Empress you must do once. And, go full on with Laurent Perrier champagne! Dress for the occasion. Shorts, ball caps etc is not enjoyed by any other guest. This is a nice event so dress accordingly please.
  32. O

    Overpriced

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 26, 2022

    overall2food2service3ambience3
    Far too expensive for what was provided. At Fortnum and Mason's in London, afternoon tea is half the price and twice as good. A disappointment.
  33. MB

    MarkB

    Poconos

    3 reviews

    4.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on September 26, 2022

    overall4food4service4ambience3
    Thought it was a bit overpriced for the value. Very noisy. Lacked expected elegance. Felt like a tourist trap.
  34. H

    Hols

    Vancouver

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 26, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Tea was amazing. Such a wonderful experience.thank you
  35. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 26, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    On a 3 week cruise in and around Alaska, Canada and the pacific coast! Love your stunning city and always make time for tea at the beautiful Empress Hotel. ❤️
  36. z

    zachm

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 26, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The entire experience was exceptional. I have dietary restrictions, we informed them in advance and absolutely everything was looked after, no issues, no fuss. The food quality is exceptional and the service was impeccable. Would highly recommend.
  37. J

    Julia

    Vancouver

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 25, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Perfect. Wonderful food, great service, beautiful venue.
  38. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    3 reviews

    4.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on September 25, 2022

    overall4food3service4ambience4
    It was a beautiful tea time
  39. LC

    LauraC

    St. Louis

    18 reviews

    5.0

    18 reviews

    Dined on September 25, 2022

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    The food was amazing, selection of teas was outstanding & the room was magnificent along with the live piano music. Great experience.
  40. MP

    MargaretP

    Seattle

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on September 25, 2022

    overall3food3service5ambience1
    Had not been to the Empress Tea for 20 years. It was a special celebration for my birthday. I made reservations many months in advance. The seating hostess first took us to a table right next to the area entrance, about 3 inches from the moving crowd. That was not acceptable and when I requested another location she obliged. The food and service was very nice. However, the atmosphere was one of overcrowding and noise. My recommendation is to cut out a few tables to retain a more exclusive atmosphere and noise level. It just isn't as special as it once was, and I will be looking for another location for my next Tea experience.

FAQs

You can order delivery directly from Tea at The Empress using the Order Online button. Tea at The Empress also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (250) 389-2727.

Tea at The Empress is rated 4.5 stars by 4077 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

10:30 PM


Booked 69 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Other options

  • Order online
Google Map for Tea at The Empress

721 Government Street, Victoria, BC V8W 1W5

Additional information

  • Cross street

    Government & Douglas Streets

  • Neighborhood

    Victoria

  • Hours of operation

    Daily 11:30 am–9:30 pm

  • Cuisines

    Unspecified

  • Dining style

    Casual Elegant

  • Dress code

    Smart Casual

  • Parking details

    Self parking is available

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa

  • Executive chef

    Tony Velinov

  • Additional

    Bar/Lounge, Counter Seating, Gluten-free Options, High Tea, Indoor Fireplace, Non-Smoking, Takeout, Vegan, View, Wine

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