Tea at The Empress

4.4
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2595 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 2595 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
Food
4.6
Service
4.6
Ambience
3.7
Value
Noise · Moderate
84% of people would recommend it to a friend
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GF
GloriaF
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall4Food5Service4Ambience3

We had a lovely time. Since I cannot consume caffeine p, I was especially pleased that you had a choice of decaf tea. I was disappointed that there were no white tablecloths nor placemats.

RV
RachelV
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Well worth it and highly recommended!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MM
MarcM
Montreal
3 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2020
Overall3Food3Service4Ambience3

Malgré un service attentionné et de qualité, l'expérience fut moyenne . Le fauteuil dans lequel j'étais assis était trop bas et, surprise, l'étiquette observée par les autres clients participants au service de thé laissait nettement à désirer. Par exemple, qui aurait pu imaginer un service de thé à l'Empress du Fairmount avec le port de la casquette tout au long du service ? Victoria, la reine, aurait été scandalisée ... Enfin, le rapport qualité-prix n'est pas à la hauteur du prix payé, comparativement à d'autres comme le TeaHouse des Butchard's Gardens.

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KF
KevinF
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2020
Overall5Food4Service5Ambience5

Exceptional atmosphere. Classic English tea experience that my two young daughters especially enjoyed. It's not cheap but worth a rare family treat.

E
Enchanting
Vancouver
2 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

The lounge was generously spaced apart due to Covid-19 safety precautions, but it was busy nonetheless. I appreciated how multiple allergies were accommodated. I was lucky this Labour Day long weekend but I strongly recommend making reservations as it was seemingly booked up a couple of weeks beforehand. Would definitely go again!

D
Daniel
1 review
Dined on September 6, 2020
Overall4Food4Service5Ambience5

Nice experience. Food was good. We had en excellent server listening to all our needs.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Edmonton
2 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Lovely experience for our 20th anniversary

KW
KeltieW
Edmonton
1 review
Dined on September 6, 2020
Overall4Food5Service5Ambience5

Very nice afternoon in a beautiful setting. Good for special occasions as it is very expensive.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

It was a. Very special experience. My daughter invite me for tea for mu Birthday and er enjoy every minute. The pastries were delicious and the strawberry jam with lavender exquisite! I bought one in the store. Also the tea was superb i am going to order online the Joie the provence

c
chibiiinekoz
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2020
Overall4Food3Service3Ambience4

A bit pricy but a nice touristy activity to do when visiting Victoria. The scones were the best part!

EC
ErkanC
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on August 29, 2020
Overall4Food4Service5Ambience4

Definitely a fancy experience to try out while in Victoria. Not sure if I'd do it again though. Most of the cost is definitely paid to the atmosphere rather than the food itself.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Toronto
1 review
Dined on August 23, 2020
Overall5Food3Service5Ambience3

This was our first time at the Empress so we were very excited for our high tea experience here. The hotel was hard to find but when we finally arrived the hosted greeted us and seated us by the window. The decor was nice but it was a bit loud I thought for high tea. I also thought it would be more formal dressed then it was, but I was also expecting traditional high tea with fancy dresses and hats. The food was good and staff was nice but overall I would say. It would say the value was not there but good experience.

SM
ScottM
1 review
Dined on August 23, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

The ambiance at the Empress is amazing. Food is great, but it will set you back a fair bit of $.

LQ
LoriQ
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on August 16, 2020
Overall3Food3Service2Ambience3

The service was poor considering the cost. There was nothing extra and not much in terms of care.
We asked for water and never got it.
The piano, while lovely was extraordinary loud that we had to yell at each other converse.
We paid our bill and had our dishes cleared - suggesting that we had to leave quickly while other empty tables were left with dishes.
It was a strange experience and unfortunately did not seem with the cost.

JL
JenniferL
1 review
Dined on August 16, 2020
Overall2Food3Service4Ambience1

It wasn’t a special experience. The room wasn’t great. There were no table cloths, I assume because of COVID-19, and the tables looked shabby. The banquette was uncomfortable to sit at and the chairs weren’t much better.
The room was warm and the open door to the terrace allowed in a strange smell - maybe gas from the marina across the street?
The service was good but the overall sense was that the hotel was moving us through mechanically and not committed to providing a special experience.

I hadn’t been for years and I don’t know if I’d go back again. The cost is only worth it if it’s special, otherwise it’s only too many sweets washed down with tea, not a memorable experience.

CB
ConnieB
1 review
Dined on August 16, 2020
Overall4Food5Service3Ambience4

Although we enjoyed the entire experience, we found the cost a little high.
Also out waiter was not very attentive after the tea and food was served.
He fid not come back to our table until we motioned for him and asked for our bill.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on August 16, 2020
Overall4Food4Service5Ambience5

Wat to expensive

J
Jamie
1 review
Dined on August 15, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

My daughters loved every minute of their time there.
Staff were so welcoming.

AU
AnastasiaU
1 review
Dined on August 15, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience4

I almost cancelled my reservation after reading some of the reviews here, and I'm so glad I did not! This has been on my bucket list for a really long time, and I went with my daughter who lives in Victoria. Excellent service from the moment we walked through the door - we were a little early, so they suggested we browse the shops. Everyone there was so friendly, and all gave us great advice for tea (choose two different types of tea, and share; start with the treats you most want to eat because there's a lot!). Yes, I can see there is a bit of ambience lost in having the tables not pre-set and no table cloths, and the servers wearing masks, but that's the world we live in right now, and I don't know when I'll be back here. The food was delicious, and much more plentiful then I expected - we were both stuffed and couldn't finish, and they provided a little box in an pretty bag to take some treats home ;-) I ordered the rose tea (recommended here) and it was really nice, very fragrant. I liked the Bella Coola blend even more - a bright pink with a refreshing citrusy note. This is not food you find in the average place - I felt all was fresh, unique and well prepared. I really wonder about the bad reviews - I didn't just roll of a turnip truck, I HAVE eaten in nice places before, so I don't feel I was dazzled into thinking it was better than it is! Price? Yes - you are paying for the experience. The fancy china which is a replica of the pieces brought by the King and Queen on their visit many years ago, in a facility that has hosted Royalty and is rich with history. An iconic Canadian tradition. Do it once!

A
Anonymous
1 review
Dined on August 15, 2020
Overall3Food2Service1Ambience2

I was expecting a lot from this experience and I did a mother daughter tea.

LJ
LindsayJ
1 review
Dined on August 15, 2020
Overall3Food3Service3Ambience5

I have been for this tea service before and it was stunning. I dined there on August 15th. We had 2 adult teas, 1 gluten free, and a child's.
The teas were delicious. The service was good. Everything was very clean and I felt safe.
The gluten free foods were disappointing. I hate even saying that but for $80+ I felt the choices were not to par based on previous experiences. The GF cucumber sandwich was just 2 slices of cucumber on a piece of white GF bread. There was no sauce or spread at all, compared to the cucumber sandwiches the others had. Also the adult teas had shrimp tartlets, and my GF tea had no shrimp choice.
It was an experience for sure, and with COVID19 I feel lucky we could do this for my child's birthday, but ultimately with tip it was $400 for 3 adults and 1 child and I felt the food didn't live up to previous years.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Vancouver
2 reviews
Dined on August 15, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

We celebrated my daughter’s birthday and she got an extra chocolate happy birthday with her tea.

LL
LaurenL
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on August 15, 2020
Overall5Food5Service4Ambience5

Great experience, must do when in Victoria. Food was more filling than expected. Service was good.

SH
SandraH
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2020
Overall3Food3Service5Ambience3

Thought it would be more fancy. No table cloth. People from outside resturant could just walk through. Was expecting more

M
Melanie
Edmonton
3 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Tea at the Empress is always a treat. The atmosphere and service is impeccable and the food is delicious. It's pricey though.

R
Robh
Toronto
1 review
Dined on August 8, 2020
Overall4Food3Service4Ambience4

A”Bucket List” event for my wife and family, High Tea At the Empress did not disappoint!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on August 8, 2020
Overall5Food5Service4Ambience5

Doing the full-on tourist thing while staycationing in Victoria! Tea at the Empress did not disappoint.

AG
AlexisG
1 review
Dined on August 3, 2020
Overall2Food4Service3Ambience1

I had planned this outing for months as a surprise for my daughter. We we’re excited to dress up and be treated to an elegant outing.
I had looked the dress code and expected a great experience for the price.
The table next to me has a gentleman who was intoxicated and nearly dropped his tea cup, followed by a family in flip flops and cut off jean shorts with their 3 kids aged 2-4 years watching iPads and needing bottles filled with milk.
I will not recommend this to anyone unless $$$ is no object.
I’m really disappointed as I worked extra overtime shifts to pay for this poor experience.

BB
vipBritBoy
Miami
62 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2020
Overall3Food3Service2Ambience3

the experience was pretty lacklustre - perhaps COVId related, but hard to justify the price. No sense of luxury - For example, I would think the Empress could afford to launder a fresh table cloth per table and generally make it feel a 5-star experience from the welcome to teatime to the choosing of teas etc.

JT
JenniferT
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on August 2, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Unique experience is a gorgeous hotel. Staff were very knowledgeable and helpful.

E
Elin
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on August 1, 2020
Overall4Food4Service5Ambience5

The vegan queen & omnivores princess and 2 prince's absolutely loved it!

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Calgary
5 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2020
Overall3Food3Service4Ambience2

Tea at the Empress has gone downhill. It is no longer the event it once was. The loss of the table cloths, sugar bowls, and sterling silver teapots has made the atmosphere too casual and the quality of the food has gone down as well.

In the past they had done an excellent job of accommodating my egg allergy, creating special items I could eat that were just as delicious as the regular items my husband enjoyed. This time the waitress confirmed my allergy (it was on the reservation) and told me she was sorry! The food was much worse - the scones were gritty biscuits, the sandwiches were the same as the ones my husband was served - just without the mayo and the desserts included a baking soda flavoured banana bread and an overly salted chocolate. The only good item on the plate was an incredible orange blueberry tapioca pudding.

I am not sure if these changes are due to COVID impacts, but I sincerely hope they soon return to their past glory.

S
Sgill
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on July 26, 2020
Overall5Food5Service4Ambience4

Food was excellent. I loved the scone most followed by lavender strawberry jam.

O
vipOrlohmagirl
Vancouver
3 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2020
Overall1Food2Service2Ambience4

Unfortunately this was the worst experience we’ve had at any high tea and at our favourite tea spot in Canada. Obviously overbooked and understaffed, we were seated 15 minutes after our reservation, no one spoke to us for an additional 15 minutes. No personalized service like it used to be, and unfortunately the food was also a disappointment. I would highly NOT recommend the vegan option, one of my sandwiches was clearly premade and defrosted, with ice shards still in it, and inedible. We made a special trip from Vancouver for this visit, and overall it was huge disappointment. We were processed through with little attention to detail. It is sad that the history with this tradition at this venue is not preserved. Certainly not worth the price. We will not be coming back.

SN
SharanN
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on July 26, 2020
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience4

Amazing experience and a very high calibre afternoon tea with delicious food. On par with the high end experiences in the UK! Brit approved.

H
Healthyyogi
Toronto
4 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2020
Overall4Food5Service5Ambience4

Great outing to do when visiting Victoria. We did the Prince and Princess tea (smaller options for our 7 and 4 year olds) and they just loved it. Even had kid appropriate flavoured tea for them

M
Marina
1 review
Dined on July 25, 2020
Overall3Food3Service5Ambience4

Everything was nice, cosy, tasty but still too expensive....I would not go back because it was $90 (cheapest option). I would have done it again if the total was $40-$50.

KS
KimS
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on July 25, 2020
Overall4Food4Service5Ambience5

Hello, Tea at the Empress has been a long standing ‘Special Treat’ in our family. This began over 25 years ago, and I hope my grand children will be going there.
I love that the staff have been there so long and that we ( kind of) know what the menu will be. We vow to try new teas, but pretty well go back to our favorite- Rose.

In these times of massive change, it is quite wonderful to experience an older tradition in a historical setting.

( But sorry. Really don’t care for the interior Renos. Think you really missed the mark. Also, still grieving the loss of the Bengal Room, let alone the Buffet in the basement. )

CB
CBeatty
1 review
Dined on July 25, 2020
Overall4Food5Service5Ambience4

Food was great, tea was great, service was great, but it is expensive. This was a once in a life time experience for our family and I’m glad we did it.

KM
KrisM
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Took my mom for high tea as a early birthday surprise and it did not disappoint! We started with some Prosecco which was a nice treat. Our server was wonderful as was all of the food. The live music (Pianist) just aded that little something extra that just topped off the experience!

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Tea at The Empress is rated 4.4 stars by 2595 OpenTable diners.

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