Tea at The Empress

4.4
1435 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 1435 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
4.3
Food
4.5
Service
4.5
Ambience
3.5
Value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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S
Edmonton
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

An new experience for two very special ladies

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JS
Boise
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5Food 3Service 5Ambience 5

We visited The Empress for tea on my daughter’s 8th birthday. I also took my parents and my five year old daughter. Our server was amazing, and my daughters had a very good experience.

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OT
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

A lovely treat!

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R
Seattle
55 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Tea at the Empress is an iconic part of a visit to Victoria, and it is lovely to do, once. However, it is irrationally pricey. For roughly the same amount of money, we had Wellness Wednesday massages at the Empress’ spa, which we considered to be worth every penny. We thought the tea we had at Butchart Gardens’ restaurant was better food, at roughly half the price.

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IP
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 2Food 2Service 3Ambience 2

This rip off,240$ for couple cups of tea and couple tiny pastries......
UNBELIEVABLE.....crumbs under tables,tables with no tableclothes,tea cups covered with deposit from previously use. Servers working hard and very polite but this can not make up for the crazy price. We left High Tea almost hungry and got a wonderfull dinner with bottle of vine for only 60$ including tip at the local Restorant located just a few blocks away! We will never go back and will share this bed experience with our friends😂

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EK
Edmonton
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4Food 1Service 4Ambience 2

Sorry. I thought I would love it, but I didn’t.
It was loud- hard to have a conversation with the person across the table, the sandwiches weren’t that good. The cucumber was fine, but I really didn’t like the roast beef at all. There was no flavour. No mustard, horseradish, or mayonnaise. I’m not a seafood fan, so I didn’t eat the others. The desserts were too modern for the occasion. It’s afternoon tea, not an art gala.
I really wish you would keep to the ‘old world’ style of fare. Egg salad, ham and cheese, etc. And have very ‘pretty’ looking desserts, with strawberries and raspberries and lots of cream. What Queen Victoria would have enjoyed.

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KK
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3Food 3Service 3Ambience 4

This seems like a must do for the "Victoria" experience the hotel is beautiful the service was good but it is truly overpriced.

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KW
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3Food 2Service 3Ambience 3

A tired and lack luster experience. The layout is cramped. The tables don’t have white tablecloth. The service is rushed. The sandwiches are stale. The best part was the 3.00 tea but for $100 per person, you do the math...we still enjoyed it, but I definitely won’t do this again. It’s the “Disney of Tea”..:

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SB
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

It was such a great experience . Love it very much!

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o
Omaha
24 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

A bucket list item, very pricey but memorable in every aspect. Loved the piano playing in the background and view from our table out into the harbor. Worth every penny.

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AF
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4Food 3Service 5Ambience 5

We did it because everyone told us we had to when in Victoria. It was neat to think we were having tea where the queen and past presidents have. However, I have been to few different teas that I felt did a better job of making you feel special, for example bringing the meals out in course. Our waiter was kind and very knowledgeable.

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2
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

A very lovely anniversary outing, a British experience !

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CP
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

My family and friends said my Instagram pic was lovely!

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CA
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 3Food 2Service 4Ambience 4

If the Empress intended to continue its once iconic stature as the epitomy of “tea” it has fallen short. The room is still lovely, the tea choices are wonderful and the gorgeous china continues, but the food basically merits a nothing more than a shrug. Perhaps ‘average’ is how you please most people? We were underwhelmed. For the price I expected more obvious handcrafting and detail, more creativity and just all around MORE. My clotted cream had a skin. My sandwich had dry edges. You were the gold standard. Now I regret I found you boring. Can’t recommend.

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TF
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

The tea was outstanding and scones, sandwiches, and sweets were delightful.

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MF
Edmonton
3 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 4Ambience 5

I appreciate the Empress' efforts over the years to provide a high tea that is interesting and palatable for people with food allergies. Not to say it can't be improved. More creativity in the desserts would be a good idea.

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CA
Edmonton
5 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

An absolutely exquisite experience from start to finish. All those little bits of food ... I thought I couldn't possibly get full, but yes -- I did. And it was all delicious. The service was impeccable. I felt very special and pampered. I would do it again, in a heartbeat. The picture that I'm posting is tea for one.

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KA
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Our server was very knowledgeable about the various teas and food selection and provided excellent service.
They were very accommodating to my shellfish allergy. I was a little disappointed that they have relaxed the dress code, but it was a good experience and I would recommend it to friends and family.

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a
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 4

Wonderful service, delicious food, lovely atmosphere. But very overpriced for tea and a few tiny sandwiches & sweets.

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SS
Boise
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2018
Overall 3Food 3Service 4Ambience 2

Overpriced for quality of food served. Ambiance is elegant with lovely views but extremely noisy with conversations & piano playing. No chance for a quiet, relaxing time. It is something to be experienced once...but not for repeat times.

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i
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2018
Overall 4Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

we visit Victoria for vacations frequently and Tea at the Empress is one of our rituals! It is relaxing, uplifting and lovely. Service, tea and snacks are all excellent.

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JD
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

All staff were very friendly! From teaching us about the experience to engaging in conversation, they were a delightful part of our high tea

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AS
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

I returned to the Empress for tea with my 18 yo daughter. It was very special. The service was lovely and the Princess Rose Tea and China were memorable. Though pricey, I’d recommend adding to anyone’s bucket list. The memory is priceless. The new Tea lounge is redone and gorgeous too. Felt very high end.

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EE
Edmonton
1 review
Dined on October 8, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Was a lot of fun but is quite pricey. Enjoyed the food and the tea and the atmosphere. Definitely made you feel like a princess!

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KW
Phoenix
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

The tea and service were wonderful. It was REALLY hot inside the hotel and the hot tea and cocktail just about put me over the edge. The creme for the scones and the dessert course were the best I’ve ever had.

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ST
Saskatoon
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 3Food 5Service 4Ambience 2

We have always loved tea at the Empress and have done it once every year or so since 1991.
The value for your dollar has decreased greatly -and it was so crowded and noisy it is no longer the classy, dignified experience it once was.

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SH
Seattle
25 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

High Tea at the Empress is one of those things that while you do not need to do it every time you visit Victoria, you should do it at least once in your lifetime. The setting and service is absolutely impeccable.

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P
Vancouver
2 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 1Food 1Service 2Ambience 4

Despite having a reservation and there being several vacant tables when we arrived, my mom, aunt and I were seated at two tiny round end tables that we had to bend down to reach. Very uncomfortable. We requested a square lunch table at normal height and were accommodated. "Tea" -- which cost $78 Cdn each before tips -- turned out to be one scone apiece, two teensy sandwiches the size of a finger, one smoked salmon tartlet, one shrimp tartlet apiece, a smattering of sweets and a pot of tea each. Totally overpriced and lousy value.

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DP
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Great location to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary.

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OT
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

The food was delicious, the server was knowledgeable and very able to engage our young children (ages 5 and 7). We are $10 hoodie and jeans kind of people and this was a once in a lifetime kind of event for us. We were accepted and respected, and that was lovely.

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KB
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 3Food 3Service 4Ambience 5

For a one time experience we recommend tea at the empress. The food and tea were not superb, but the setting and service made up for it. It is a great thing to do once. However, we could have just as easily enjoyed a drink and appetizer in the bar to soak up the lovely experience of being at the Empress.

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DD
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 1Food 1Service 2Ambience 3

Don't do it, don't even consider it. It's bad enough that they charge $75.00 for basically half a sandwich, a few sweets and a scone with a couple of tablespoons of whipped cream, but to top it off, the offerings weren't even very tasty. Old dried out roast beef on some brown bread and substandard lox on a coin-sized pancake is not my idea of what finger sandwiches should be. The "treats" were not much and they couldn't even muster the class to serve real clotted cream with the scone. Cheap all the way. The only thing that wasn't cheap was the $250.00 bill at the end of the meal. (We had made the mistake of ordering the champagne tea-- which meant we got to pay $70.00 for 2 very average glasses of champagne-- yes, that's right, $35.00 per glass.) If you really must have the experience of going to the Empress, go-- walk through the salon and take it in, then walk out and find a decent place for high tea ELSEWHERE. There are some really good places for high tea-- find them. ANYTHING else would be better than what we experienced...

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K
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Fabulous as always! The tea room is gorgeous and the tea selections are amazing. We particularly enjoyed the rose tea. Love the traditional flavours on th tea tower, done with elegance and a creative touch. Bravo!

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OT
Tahoe
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Nice time, highly recommend for a special treat. As a bonus, the blue Empress gin and tonic was very cool looking and tasted great as well. Room was a bit warm/stuffy for drinking hot tea, would have looked like the temperature cooler but overall the experience exceeded my expectations.

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LM
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Lovely venue. Service was attentive without being intrusive. Food and tea were delicious as always. Thank you for a fun afternoon with new friends.

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MR
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

This is the second time we’ve had High Tea at the Empress. It was as perfect this time as the last. We had the perfect table, next to the window overlooking the harbor. Wayne, our waiter was fantastic. He took time to explain the teas, timers, food etc. he was attentive and charming. My only regret is that they don’t sell small packets of their sugars in the gift shop so I could have TRIED to recreate part of the experience at home with our granddaughter.

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DP
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 5Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

The restaurant/lounge is gorgeous. Architecture is phenomenal. View of the inner harbor priceless. High tea is pricey, but flavor of foods was so unique and delicious. And of course, the presentation of the tiered layers was top notch.

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S
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

One of my favorite places, afternoon tea at its finest and great staff/service.

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CP
Phoenix
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 1Food 1Service 3Ambience 2

So disappointing. We arrived for our 11am reservation, and although there was plenty of wait staff, we were ignored until someone told us to wait at the empty reception stand. After ten minutes we were seated in an empty restaurant at a flimsy table with uncomfortable cheap chairs. No nice linen table cloth, loud noisy music, not elegant or charming. Our waiter, while pleasant, and presented us with our tea selection and immediately tried to up sell us. Of rough 30 teas, only 6 were included; the remaining teas all had upcharges of $4-$10. The food arrived and the selection was paltry and visually unappealing. Dry flavorless scones, old bread tea sandwiches, very commercial tasting small desserts. No cream for the tea, only 2% milk. For almost four hundred dollars for four people this was the absolute worst tourist ripoff I’ve ever encountered. I wouldn’t pay $10 a person for this lousy tea service. There are many better options in Victoria (White Heather, Buchart Gardens). Don’t waste your money here, you’ll be terribly disappointed like we are. This service is designed to prey on the cruise ship traffic that comes once and never returns, so the hotel bilks them for everything they can get. So awful!

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DM
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 3, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

A lovely, once in a lifetime experience. Not an everyday experience.

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