Tea at The Empress

4.5
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2367 Reviews
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CAN$51 and over
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Afternoon Tea

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Afternoon Tea
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 Dominic Fortin 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.
What 2367 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.7
service
4.6
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
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EB
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 4

The gluten free sandwiches were dry and tired. I've had them before when they were luscious and fresh....just as good as the regular sandwiches. Found the sandwich fillings rather flavourless. If I hadn't been told they were carrot ginger sandwiches, I probably would never have known what they were. Best was the ham and cheese. Very nice cheese.
The tapioca pudding...mango orange? was delicious. And the merengue with the raspberry chocolate filling was tasty too. But gluten free folks get plenty of chocolate and chocolate cake, so something original...like the raspberry merengue...would have been nice.
As always, the scones, clotted cream, and jam were excellent.
So overall...a mixed review. But I'll be back. It is still a delightfully old fashioned, very Victoria thing to do when you have visitors from out of town. The china and teapots add lots of charm. Excellent service.
Eleanore

JS
Vancouver
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Lovely experience. Relaxing, yummy food and delicious teas.

SM
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was lovely; a bit pricey but a lovely experience.


It is a "must do" when in Victoria!

RH
Detroit
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The ambience is hard to beat; the hotel and its grounds are very charming. The food was excellent and the presentation beautiful. The staff are warm and very professional. A bit expensive but definitely a worthwhile experience.

RG
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a great experience. Elegant hotel, great window view, delicious food and service that was impeccable! Make this a destination and event if you’re in Victoria.

LJ
Calgary
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 3

If the cost of the experience was $30.00 cheaper it would still be overpriced. However, that would still make it bare-able. It’s definitely an experience and the staff were amazing. I would just not recommend it.

OT
Vancouver
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 3service 4ambience 5

The tea is good, but I don’t like the food which is not equal to my expectation.

a
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 3

For the price you pay, I was expecting the “dress code “ to be followed more. There was couples sitting next to us wearing jeans runners and t shirts. Our waiter only came to our table once , we had to wait almost 20 minutes to even ask for our bill. And the food wasn’t that great. Completely over priced . We were looking for an experience for my children after suffering a loss, they were completely let down .

VN
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

A proper high tea to experience at least once. The food was tasty and filling. The service was very friendly, prompt and informative.

LB
Phoenix
11 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Beautiful tea room, service was good, and really appreciated that they could accommodate my daughter's dairy allergy.

YP
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our afternoon high tea was lovely (as usual), with delicious food and helpful staff that could accommodate dietary restrictions. The setting is very charming and delightful.

F
Vancouver
3 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

The Empress is a lovely historic former CP hotel that is grand and lovely in every way. Our table wasn’t ready for our reserved time and we were sent away for 15 minutes. I knew the price going in which is outrageous but 82$ for tea that doesn’t even include Earl Grey tea is a bit ridiculous . That was a $4 set charge
Only 6 of the 15 available teas are I clouded I. The $82 charge for high tea!
Our server was ok at best, only thing he really seemed interested in was delivering our bill and having us pay quickly.
Service was average at best. Food was ok at best- scone was dry, sandwiches were average and desserts were ok.
You’re really only there for the lovely historic hotel.
The bill for high tea with tax for my three daughters ages 12, 15 & 16 and myself was over 400$

DB
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service, great food/tea, and just an overall enjoyable experience. Highly recommend for anyone looking for an experience!

DD
Maastricht
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

Grossly overated and overpriced at 176 cad for 2 for tea with 2 pots of tea and average quality sandwiches and scones. For the same price you get much better at the ritz or claridges in London. Hotel worth a visit but give the tea room a miss!

DB
1 review
Dined on October 9, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

You used to receive a small Empress Tea box to take home and a bowl of fresh fruit and cream to start. No longer apparently since renovation. The ambience lacks charm and decor including culinary tea trays and warmers are typical of an ordinary restaurant. Very disappointing especially for out of town guests.
Poor value @ $100.00 per person for the following (this includes the tip)
Pot of Tea
4 finger sandwiches (bread was slightly dry)
1 small slider bun
1 raisin scone with cream and jam
1 shortbread cookie
1 tiny tart
3 small truffle like desserts

b
Calgary
1 review
Dined on October 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were there to honour our late mother who passed on Mother's Day this year. What a beautiful venue for our final tribute prior to our return home to Ontario. We were very very fortunate to have Marlene serve us. She was professional, kind, knowledgeable and above all, helped us to honour our late mom. This was a once in a lifetime experience and one we would recommend to anyone visiting the area who wants the feel and flavour of true, quiet and unique hospitality.

HC
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was a great experience; however, overpriced. Service was excellent, small bite sandwiches and pastries were pretty yummy. Live piano player provided a fancy ambience.

JF
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

Was disappointed with the Tea and the event was not up to our expectations. the staff was very polite but once we received our tea and then tray of food they didn’t really check on us. The wine we ordered was not available, but a substitute was suggested, which was fine.
The sandwiches were bland, and for the price expensive for what little there was. We checked the restaurant menu and could have had a full meal there for the price.
The was both special to recommend the event.

PO
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding experience that is well worth the price.

HL
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Pleasant and beautiful, with kind conscientious service, would like to come again.

CB
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The teas were lovely. Each person gets a pot, so we were able to share and try a couple varieties. The teapots and large and you can have them refilled a much as you like. The scones are delicious and have very few raisins, which we appreciated. Not a fan of raisins. The clotted cream and strawberry-lavender jam were divine. The sandwiches had a nice variety and it worked well that my Mom liked the ones I didn't and vice/versa. We took the sweets home with us and ate them on the ferry. I was surprised that we got full! The service is impeccable, which is what they are known for. Everyone should splurge on Tea at the Empress if they get a chance.

OT
1 review
Dined on October 3, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Food nothing special. The room almost empty, and the Price Way to high compared to service, quality and comparable High tea.

OT
Toronto
1 review
Dined on October 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was a wonderful experience! The food was delicious and there was lots of it. The service was excellent and we loved the ambiance of the hotel.

GG
Orange County
1 review
Dined on October 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was lovely! But, sadly, I got locked in a bathroom stall and needed the conceirge to come to my rescue. She was aware of the problem, but there was no sign on the door that the lock sticks.

CL
New England
1 review
Dined on October 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent in every way. Great experience! Afternoon tea at its finest.

p
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Having tea at The Empress is a life experience. The ambiance and the service are great and you can choose your own tea blend. It is a little expensive if you consider only food, but in general I recomend it. Food is good and classy, but not extraordinary.

KB
1 review
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Very fancy, lots of food. I can see it is not for everyone. If you appreciate this British tradition, it is not to be missed. A wonderful array of teas to choose from, and you can sample more than one variety, which is very nice.

OT
1 review
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Professional, staff was quick and knowledgeable!

PB
Los Angeles
7 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

On vacation Visting Victoria. This is s must to do if you like tea, great service and food

PB
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have always wanted to have tea at the Empress. It was everything I imagined and more! We had a lovely seat by the window overlooking the bay, the food and tea were delicious and delightful. Our waiter was very attentive and personable.

RC
1 review
Dined on October 1, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 2ambience 2

I would recommend the outdoor patio setting. The waiter was not responsive. The hostess was more engaged and attentive than he was. The sunlight was blinding us. There were several tables open so we should have been moved. They could only drop the outside shade so far. Just painful and unenjoyable overall. We had to get up and chase down the server to address the issue several times. That is what the hostess noted and she got involved on her own accord. The server just kept doing his thing for the other tables. Quite embarrassing as our special guest was a world expert. Very pricey for the experience we had. I would tell all of my friends and the 250+ conference attendees that I would pass on this experience as a recommendation.

Having said that, we ate on the terrace the day before and had quite an extraordinary experience. The young asian server was exemplary! If I could hire her, I would. Encouraged her to be a nurse. So engageable, attentive, and top notch. She is why we came back the next day. We told everyone about her and her service. Food was also exceptional. I would promote her to oversee all of the service as she is what you want to role model and package as the experience of the Empress.

DE
Toronto
1 review
Dined on October 1, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 4

We found that this is extremely overpriced for the value of what you receive. You are paying for the location/name. We have had much better afternoon teas at a fraction of the cost. The piano music was so overpowering, we couldn’t hear each other. The food was quite underwhelming and not very tasty.

R
1 review
Dined on September 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Incredible adventure addition to any trip. Brought my sixth out of province family member for high tea in 10 years. Always have dependable and reliable quality service. Never been disappointed in the slightest. We always book a room with a harbour view and add whale watching. This time we had an abundance of whales. Unforgettable visit again for the fourth time. Worth every penny. And the servers earn every penny of every tip. They are genuinely friendly and helpful.

c
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on September 30, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

The experience was fun, and the service was faultless, however the value is hard to justify at around $200 for two for high tea without alcohol. Went out for dinner the next day and had an exquisite three course meal with wine for a good amount less, which served to highlight that despite the fun of the setting the experience can’t command above a 3 for value. Perhaps if the food offerings went up a few notches for the same price I’d give it a 4. Also I love lapsang souchong tea but the quality was not worth an extra $15. I have had better lapsang elsewhere without this additional charge.

SB
West Virginia
1 review
Dined on September 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful and refined experience! We enjoyed every minute. Thank you!

MR
Portland
42 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Elegant surroundings are simply a plus to this amazing dining venue. Tea at the Empress is magical, from start to finish you'll feel like royalty as you sip and dine in the grande dame of Victoria hotels. Highly recommend for anyone who wants to feel pampered.

A
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 1

This was a most disappointing tea experience. Tea at the Empress for me is extremely overrated. Not only was this the most expensive and "unelegant" afternoon tea that I have ever experienced and I have been to quite a few,
including at the Savoy in London. Not only was the tea room lacking in ambiance,
it was disturbingly noisy with piano playing more suited to a jazz bar. The food was mediocre, the clotted cream too clotted and what happened to refineness, as well as Earl Grey and Assam teas? Tea at the Empress was a pretentiously overpriced exercise and I deeply regret having wasted time and money when I could have spent my limited time in Victoria in some other more satisfying pursuits.

D
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I thoroughly enjoyed the tea. The food was terrific. The server was so friendly and helpful. It was very relaxing.

MM
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome experience Would definitely go again . Food was great. More filling then I would have thought

AJ
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 2

Years ago it was a charming place to go, but today , it is rushed, the food is moderate, the service superficial and slow. The ambiance seems to be not on the relaxing of the customer but how much money can we get. Hoovering over to see a tip, really...Wish that I had not gone as I remember taking my 4 year old there and how kind the head waiter was, so sorry to see you slip into the "bottom line" culture, oh, well!

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