Tea at The Empress

4.4
1581 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
CAN$51 and over
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
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.
What 1581 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
4.6
Service
4.6
Ambience
3.6
Value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
Sort by
Newest
Filters
AC
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 4

We went and had a beautiful afternoon tea! We have afternoon tea on our travels. This is our favourite and it is in our home town! The food was superb and beautifully presented. The staff were excellent and experienced too!

Report
Helpful
KD
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3Food 4Service 2Ambience 2

It felt overpriced for what it was - was expecting extremely fancy tea service and we were surrounded by people wearing jeans and a waiter that was making us repeatedly lean to avoid contact with him as he served our table. It was nice, just not $250-for-three-people's-lunch nice.

Report
Helpful
ES
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 2Food 1Service 5Ambience 4

For the $$$ no where nearly as nice as 15 yrs ago (our last visit). And no tea sample upon our leaving any longer. The Pastries seem like any of those manufactured in large quantity - dry and flavorless. The service was still very lovely. Very kind folks who understand that, for many of us, going out for tea is a celebration of a special occasion. Would not go back again

Report
Helpful
M
Vancouver
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4Food 3Service 5Ambience 5

Too expensive with low value and tooooo sweet foods. Tea and hospitality are good though.

Report
Helpful
NJ
1 review
Dined on January 16, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Nobody does tea like the Empress. They've been doing it for centuries and they have it down pat! My lovely tea server was Cathy, originally from Glasgow. Charming and knowledgeable. I look forward to my next visit!

Report
Helpful
Q
Toronto
10 reviews
Dined on January 14, 2019
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Great ambiance and service but very pricey even for high tea. Elegant. Tea and food was excellent. However, this will be a one - time event or perhaps again for a very special occasion.

Report
Helpful
RP
Seattle
1 review
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

This was great. I have always wanted to do tea at the Empress. My husband took me for anniversary tea. I have a soy allergy. And they were most accommodating.

Report
Helpful
EH
Phoenix
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

This was such an amazing experience. Everything was so amazing and immaculate. My friend and I enjoyed every moment of our afternoon tea at the Empress.

Report
Helpful
AP
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on January 9, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Our waitress was so lovely , we had a wonderful time.

Report
Helpful
RA
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 4Food 3Service 5Ambience 5

Afternoon Tea at the Empress was wonderful but also disappointing. The atmosphere and setting was superb with our table for two beside a window looking out into the inner harbour. The service was outstanding, the staff and server were very welcoming and made us feel important to them. The food however was only average. I would of expected a higher level of quality and sophistication considering the price is on the high end for afternoon tea. Also while they did offer a large selection of tea's to choose from, only 6 basic types were included in the price with the others being a surcharge. That "cheapened" the whole experience for us.
So now if someone asks us if we tried the afternoon tea at the Empress we can yes, go for the experience not the food.

Report
Helpful
WL
Vancouver
4 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 3Food 3Service 1Ambience 4

Understaffed considering their style of service. Maitre d’ was unfriendly. Long wait for attention once seated. Dirty tables took awhile before they were cleared. Server forgot our tea selections and gave wrong description of dessert item. Scones were excellent but the rest of the afternoon tea were very average. Basically paid a premium for simply the locale, nice Chinaware and the pianist.

Report
Helpful
OT
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 4

Nice experience. But would never repeat. Everything including the staff is very automated. (Except our server, very professional and pleasant to have as our server).

Report
Helpful
C
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 1Food 1Service 3Ambience 3

The food was meh it was more about the experience. For the price I reccomend just going to one of Victoria amazing coffee shops for some tea and a bit to eat

Report
Helpful
c
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on January 2, 2019
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Lovely atmosphere in a grand hall with live piano music. Excellent and unique teas (including caffeine-free options). Fluffy scones and tasty savory bites. A bit too heavy on the sweets (though perhaps too light on chocolate options!). Attentive service. Value for money ($78) depends on how you like these things, but it was certainly an interesting experience to do once.

Report
Helpful
S
Calgary
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 3Food 4Service 3Ambience 3

A little disappointing. The tea choice format is interesting but does not often actually describe the type of tea. Previously we were able to have a few more of our favourite food selections for no charge, but not anymore.

Report
Helpful
p
Seattle
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

We've had tea at the Empress three times now and it never fails to impress. It is a bit pricey, but worth it for special occasions.

Report
Helpful
S
Seattle
83 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Tea at the Empress is an experience not to be missed, and I do reccomend it. The Service is really awesome and our server was full of information on the Hotel and Victoria. The sconers were wonderful, the Tea sandshiches were ok, and the pastrys were delightful.

Report
Helpful
OT
Los Angeles
6 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 4Food 3Service 3Ambience 5

Expensive tea time experience but worth for historic moment.
Tea selection was good.
However food was very traditional so some were not very enjoyable.
Only scone and macaron were good level that I can say delicious!
Service was OK

Report
Helpful
CN
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 3Food 3Service 4Ambience 4

For the price that was being paid I expected more to be honest. The food was good but didn't wow me, the tea was really good, except one was over steeped. The waiter was friendly and accommodating which was good. Overall was a good experience and something to be done at least once if you haven't had tea at the Empress. Made for a special birthday surprise for my wife well so points for that.

Report
Helpful
OT
Calgary
2 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 4Food 3Service 4Ambience 5

Classic Victoria establishment. Worth the visit for the experience but definitely have had better afternoon tea before.

Report
Helpful
AB
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

I’ve always wanted to do tea, but it never worked with my schedule. This was ideal. There’s even an option for kids with less fancy, more palatable foods.

Report
Helpful
T
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

It's tea at the Empress. If you want swanky, this is it.

Report
Helpful
GW
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Excellent ambiance! Delicious food. Outstanding food and service!

Report
Helpful
K
Las Vegas
30 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Very fun afternoon. I think they should re-institute a dress code. It would make it more elegant. Sandwiches were great!

Report
Helpful
BM
1 review
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 4

It was a fantastic experience for my daughter and I
We received the Hightea invitation as a Christmas gift from my son and daughter
An unforgettable gift

Report
Helpful
PJ
Atlanta
13 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Great High Tea , excellent for special occasions

Report
Helpful
AS
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 4

Overall, we enjoyed high tea. It was a little noisy and not very private with people walking through lobby where tea was held. The food was good, but not as spectacular as I would expect for that price point.

Report
Helpful
LT
New England
20 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 3Food 4Service 3Ambience 3

I suppose for a special occasion, it’s ok. But, it’s a bit like a tourist first factory as opposed to a proper English tea.

Maybe that makes me a snob. My wife and I got dressed up and some others were also dressed up. But to see so many in t-shirts and jeans rather dulled the mood.

The food was pretty good. The biscuit with clotted cream was the highlight. The tea selections were decent.

None of the finger sandwiches were particularly memorable. The smoked salmon was clearly local and fresh, but otherwise, standard fare.

Worth doing once. It’s traditional.

Report
Helpful
OT
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 3Food 3Service 5Ambience 3

Not the best tea I've been to, but definitely worth going for the experience.

Report
Helpful
J
1 review
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 4Ambience 5

A family tradition to enjoy high tea at The Empress. Sure it’s pricey but it’s always well worth it for all you get and the experience. The teas are the best I’ve ever had and I always purchase some in the gift shop to bring home.

Report
Helpful
E
1 review
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 1Food 1Service 3Ambience 3

Way over priced and very disappointing. They should have name tags on their tea pots and serve a soup

Report
Helpful
l
Vancouver
3 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Too expensive unless you’re doing this as “once in a lifetime”.
The Prince/Princess tea did not come with a suitable child’s drink, which should have been included since the adult menu included tea.
Also, despite a stipulated dress code, people wearing casual jeans and a sweater were seated for tea next to us, taking away from the elegant atmosphere which is, let’s face it, a large part of what you’re paying for.

Report
Helpful
SD
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 2Food 2Service 2Ambience 4

Recommend you pass on this. It's totally overpriced and over hyped. The food is not good. The service was hurried. In retrospect it was ridiculous how much we paid for this brunch. Tea was good. Waitstaff was nice but overworked.

Report
Helpful
LC
Seattle
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Love the Empress. The tea is a fabulous experience. Very expensive but enjoyable.

Report
Helpful
OT
Seattle
75 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Wonderful experience! Sandwiches were the best. Tea was served proper and timely.

Report
Helpful
2
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 3Food 4Service 3Ambience 4

After making a reservation on Open Tabke and CONFIRMING the reservation, my daughter and her boyfriend were told they had no reservation. Not a great way to start a lovely afternoon in Victoria!
If it wasn’t for me taking a screen shot of me confirming the reservation, they would not have been admitted.

Report
Helpful
KS
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

We had a fancy mommy daughter dinner and it did not disappoint. The staff was very attentive and had great recommendations for tea! Both teas that we chose were amazing and the food was delicious! The portions make it looks like you will have to grab some food on your way home, but we were so full when we finished. It was a wonderful night.

Report
Helpful
P
Las Vegas
27 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 4Food 3Service 3Ambience 5

Pues elegimos cómo pudimos los tés y bocadillos con poca ayuda y pedimos que fuera una prueba y no mucha comida porque después cenaríamos y nos dijeron que si. Acto seguido nos trajeron una exageración de bocadillos y la cuenta por los bocadillos y los tés fue de 4,500 pesos....

Report
Helpful
H
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 4

Outstanding service in a gorgeous room. Simply put, overall experience AOK!!

Report
Helpful
CF
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

It was a fabulous once in a lifetime experience. I splurged, it was a lot of money for the 3 of us, $111.00 each but it was very worth it. The presentation and flavor was amazing. The server was very friendly and did a great job. It was fun to people watch too. What a fabulous building. It was a magical experience for sure❤️

Report
Helpful
1
2
3
40