Tea at The Empress

4.4
1202 reviews
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CAN$51 and over
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Afternoon Tea
Top tags:
  • Afternoon Tea
  • Special Occasion
  • Good for Anniversaries
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 Chef AJ Thalakkat 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.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Afternoon Tea, Bar / Lounge / Bottle Service
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Hours of Operation


Lunch: Daily: 11:00am - 5:30pm
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Phone number
(250) 389-2727
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Payment Options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress Code
Smart Casual
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Executive Chef
Morgan Wilson
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Neighbourhood
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Cross Street
Government & Belleville Streets
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Parking Details
self parking or valet is available
Additional
Bar/Lounge, Counter Seating, Fireplace, High Tea, Non-Smoking, View, Wine
What 1202 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
4.2
Food
4.5
Service
4.5
Ambience
3.5
Value
Noise · Moderate
79% of people would recommend it to a friend
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4.0Dined 2 days ago

Elegant and refined experience with excellent finger foods, teas and service.

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5.0Dined 2 days ago

Great afternoon tea, food was fabulous. It is very difficult to find decent British styled high tea nowadays. Empress Hotel is really a gem.

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3.0Dined 3 days ago

Our $79 per person seat was ridiculous. We were placed right at the entrance next to the hostess desk. The Empress should seat less people rather than cram the most people in the space that they can fit. After experiencing high tea in Ireland we felt The Empress was lacking in many different areas.

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2.0Dined 3 days ago

Really a disappointment. Food and service USED to be so elegant here at the Empress Hotel, before the 30+ million dollar renovation. Now, food is pretty ordinary in quality and the service average. Most of all, the prices are ridiculous. Simply put, it's just NOT worth it.

3 ladies for tea cost over $300 (with tip, tax, & exchange rate) and only one of the three attendees had a glass of sparkling wine. Just ONE champagne flute of Veuve Clicquot was $33. That would make a 750 ml bottle about $200. Seriously? I can buy bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut at Total Wine for $60 -- less on sale.

As to service, I booked the tea online 2 months earlier. Unlike earlier visits years ago, the site now has many tables crowded into the tea area and an inadequate number of servers. One of the ladies lifted her teapot lid and her teabag slid into the pot, making a small splash on the wood tabletop. (There was no tablecloth.) When the server returned, she looked at her with a disdain usually reserved for a recalcitrant toddler, picked up the teapot with a huff, and carted it off to retrieve the bag "in private" before returning the pot. Once our tidbit tray arrived, we didn't see our server again for 30 minutes.

I live have 3 places near me in North Idaho where I have treated friends for high tea in the past year: The Roosevelt Inn B&B in Coeur d'Alene, a special event tea at Gaiwan Teahouse in CdA, and Brambleberry Cottage in Spokane. These were all charming experiences with better food/service, yet still came in at about $40-$50 per person (with tax, tip, and a couple glasses of champagne per person I purchased by the bottle.) The Empress USED to offer a truly "iconic high tea" -- an experience that was expensive but worth it. While the new building and ambiance are lovely, I'd recommend you walk around the hotel to absorb the history and architecture for free, but have your high tea elsewhere, where the food and service are better and the prices not so exorbitant.

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3.0Dined 4 days ago

I was disappointed in the quality of the food. Everything looked very nice but, to my mind, the fancy sandwiches and desserts were rather bland and lacking in distinctive flavour. Scones were good. Very Pricey, just to say that I had tea at the Empress.

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2.0Dined 4 days ago

The Chiba was pretty! I wasn’t impressed. Given all of the hype. I found the food bland and the tea so-so (even after I sprung for a medium tiered tea). I found it a waste of money.

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3.0Dined 4 days ago

Food was much better at the tea at Fairmont Banff Springs. Empress is a classic hotel but need to improve food quality of the tea. Very nice setting.

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4.0Dined 4 days ago

We were told that if you’re going to Victoria then Tea At the Empress was an experience not to be missed. Overall I enjoyed the afternoon tea but its significantly overpriced. I am a frequent tea drinker and they have an excellent selection of over 20 quality teas but you are allowed to choose from only eight teas unless you want to pay extra! This is ridiculous since the hotel is already charging a very premium price for what you get. I certainly enjoyed the scones and savory bites and there was plenty of sweet items to fill you up. Service was good but nothing really special. I can now say I’ve had Tea At The Empress but I would not go back.

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4.0Dined 4 days ago

Not as good as before the remodel in 2017. The ambience has changed dramatically. It’s modern, sparse and lacked the traditional feel of having tea in an English establishment. They also stopped giving you complimentary tins of Empress Hotel tea, which was nice given how expensive the high tea was. Won’t recommend it for the cost and lack of ambience.

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4.0Dined 4 days ago

My girlfriends and I went there to celebrate turning 40 this year. We had a lovely time and enjoyed the experience greatly! I would go back again. The service was wonderful and the atmosphere was lovely.

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5.0Dined 5 days ago

Yosef was our waiter and he was so great!

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5.0Dined 5 days ago

High Tea at the Empress was everything we could have expected. Even more amazing was the really attentive service from the friendly and efficient wait staff.

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4.0Dined 5 days ago

Weekend trip to Victoria

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2.0Dined on August 9, 2018

The Empress is an iconic location for "High Tea". If that is important go, but if not, go somewhere else. The food and the service were OK, but for $75 a person it needs to be spectacular--and it is not. My wife and I and friends were there about 10 years ago and at least they gave a tin of signature tea bags to each guest. They dropped that and charged more. Buchart gardens also has a tea in its restaurant for much less--as do other places in Victoria. For $75 a person you can have a wonderful dinner with wine at great restaurants.

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3.0Dined on August 8, 2018

Nice ambiance and decent food/service, but way overpriced relative to what one receives.

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4.0Dined on August 8, 2018

We had a lovely time. We knew the cost going in so there were no surprises. Our server was perfect, she was very attentive without being intrusive. We never felt rushed and enjoyed our special afternoon tea very much. The savorys & sweets were beautiful and decadent. Highly recommend making this stop.

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5.0Dined on August 8, 2018

Beautiful historic building ♡
The tea and treats were fabulous!
The server was warm friendly and helpful!

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2.0Dined on August 7, 2018

Too much food for most adults and too many sweet items rather than traditional British fare such as water cress sandwiches and biscuits..

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2.0Dined on August 7, 2018

Hostess told us there was no reservations, but we were able to get one online very easily. Hostess was not friendly, helpful or professional.

Food was mediocre and portions were small.

Hotel was pretty and ambience was good.

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3.0Dined on August 7, 2018

The food was disappointing! The scones were good but the sandwiches and desserts were not the quality that they once were. It’s was still a neat experience.

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2.0Dined on August 7, 2018

This restaurant is way over priced for the value you get. It is a moderate high tea in a very noise environment, with a lot of people passing by. I would not recommend this place.

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3.0Dined on August 6, 2018

I would of expected a bit better service for the price we paid, one of the spoons was dirty and we never got a replacement, I would of thought the server would offer continuous tea refills. It almost seemed like they were short staff and she was to busy to stop in and see how we were doing..

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5.0Dined on August 6, 2018

Excellent food and service. We both eat a plant based diet and they accommodated us very well. It's a beautiful dining area with a live pianist. The tea was tasty and plentiful. I was surprised at how full we were at the end!

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5.0Dined on August 6, 2018

Great Date option. The tea selection was Great and it was kept hot at the table on tea warmers. The desserts were almost a Chocolate overload, even though looking at the delicious bite sized choices you would not think so. The entire experience was Wonderful and beautifully set table with china. So glad we did it. Came here for my Birthday Celebration.

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5.0Dined on August 6, 2018

A must-do in Victoria. One of the most elegant and beautiful high tea spots I’ve been to in Canada.

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5.0Dined on August 6, 2018

My wife and I enjoyed tea at the Empress and it could not have been more perfect. Don’t let the price deter you. The tea and food are fantastic, but it is essentially an event you get to experience in a gorgeous hotel. Will definitely do again.

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5.0Dined on August 6, 2018

A once in a lifetime experience if one loves a high tea.

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5.0Dined on August 6, 2018

My only concern is that it took over 10 minutes for the tea to arrive after we had already waited 10 minutes to choose our tea, we were very hungry anticipating this large meal, and it was not very busy.

Our waitress was very kind letting us sit and talk for two hours whilst we enjoyed our high tea.

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5.0Dined on August 5, 2018

Wanted our family to do a proper tea! It was beautiful and amazing. Wonderful prince and princess for the kids with appropriate food that they love!
Would recommend

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3.0Dined on August 5, 2018

Somewhat overpriced for what you got. Preferred high tea at the Peninsular in Hong Kong. It was a bucket list tick off.

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5.0Dined on August 5, 2018

Always look forward to Tea at the Empress whenever we visit Victoria.

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5.0Dined on August 4, 2018

A unique and amazing event, which must be experienced! High tea must be done at the original.

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5.0Dined on August 4, 2018

Have wanted to have tea at the Empress for many years. The experience was worth the wait.

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3.0Dined on August 4, 2018

It is an amazing experience, but it’s getting to be so expensive for what you get, that it will be a once in a lifetime experience. I’ve been a couple times before, but unless the price changes, it will probably be my last. Really too bad, I love it there.

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4.0Dined on August 4, 2018

We were at Butchart Gardens and rushed to get to this tea. I don't think it was worth it. The hotel was very nice, but not as fabulous as I expected. All in all I was disappointed with the city of Victoria, too many ugly buildings from the 60's and 80's. The tea at the Fairmont in Banff was a 5/5. The only sandwich I liked was the cucumber one. The scone was delicious, teas & specialty sugars were amazing.

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1.0Dined on August 4, 2018

High tea the Fairmont Empress was the most disappointing and the most expensive experience of our trip to Victoria. We had heard from other visitors that the high tea at the Empress was worth the experience, so when I planned a birthday trip for my mom to Victoria, I decided to splurge on the $78 per person as a birthday treat. The furniture in the tea room looked like any you would see in a chain hotel. Despite a purported dress code, diners were dressed in sweatshirts, jeans and tennis shoes. The atmosphere felt like a high-turnover restaurant or hotel and lacked the charm and character I expect from a teahouse, especially one in a historical building. On a positive note, a pianist was playing live music.
When the waiter brought the tea menu, I was surprised there was an extra charge for certain blends of tea. My mom wanted the Madame Butterfly Jasmine green tea, but at $10 extra, she opted for the Kyuchu Japanese Sencha at no additional charge. Despite waiting 5 minutes for a stronger brew, as advised by the waiter, the blend tasted weak and diluted.
My tea, the Joi De Provence, was much better, with full body and hints of lavender.
The waiter brought the tea and set it on the flame. Nevertheless, the tea was cold before we had finished a second tea sandwich. He never asked us how the tea was, offered to pour it for us or offered to warm it up.
The tiered platter of scones, tea sandwiches and tea cookies offered some bites that were tasty and others that verged on inedible.
High points were the raisin scone and Berry Pistachio Daisy. The Roast Beef on Whole Wheat had grisly meat and no flavor.
None of the food tasted like a $78-per-person experience.
I have spent this kind of money on other culinary experiences that were worth it. High tea at the Empress isn't one of them.
Having been to Victoria before, I know that there are many high tea alternatives to the Empress. I would recommend choosing an alternative or going out for a nice dinner instead.

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4.0Dined on August 3, 2018

Very fun experience if visiting Victoria or celebrating a special occasion. The price is definitely inflated.

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5.0Dined on August 3, 2018

Having high tea at the Empress was the highlight of my visit to Victoria. Between the tea selection, food, and overall ambiance, it was well worth the money and time. You can walk around the hotel and look through gorgeous rooms that have character and history. The service made the experience that much better. We had the nicest waiter who offered to take photos for us and was very attentive. The tea selection was amazing, I highly recommend the cream earl grey. I can’t say enough, I loved every minute.

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4.0Dined on August 3, 2018

It was a special treat for our family and a fun experience. However, it was VERY pricey for what it was.

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5.0Dined on August 2, 2018

The tea was excellent along with the goodies. We loved it.

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