Tea at The Empress

4.4
1477 reviews
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CAN$51 and over
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Afternoon Tea
Top tags:
  • Afternoon Tea
  • Special Occasion
  • Scenic View
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 1477 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
4.6
Ambience
3.6
Value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

They had everything ready for us when we arrived. We got to take our time enjoying our food and the tea was great. The service was impeccable.

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OT
Vancouver
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Very nice atmosphere, but a little bit overpriced for what you get.

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RN
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 4

It is a bit pricy, but the food and tea is great! I felt like I was paying for the location not for the food.

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MS
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3Food 2Service 3Ambience 3

I think it is overpriced for what you get. I was so bummed because I love jasmine tea and when I sat down to order I noticed that jasmine tea was another $10. I could have added another $10 to the bill but really? I was disappointed and it took the fun out of it. My daughter and I spent over $175 for the two of us to have tea. We felt like we would have been wiser to spent that money on a really good dinner and a bottle of wine.

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FW
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

What can I say - "Simply the best." Best afternoon tea ever.

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BP
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 4

The setting and ambiance was fantastic and our server was very attentive. I would go again for another special occasion. The price for the tea I thought was $$ but your paying for the experience.

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T
Montreal
9 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Wonderful! One of a kind experience and totally worth it! Definitely a key Victoria experience!

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C
Vancouver
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

It was a nice experience! It’s something posh you can do in Victoria. Over priced overall for what’s served... compared to high tea in Vancouver. All was delicious though.

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AS
Montreal
1 review
Dined on November 5, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 4

An experience to be lived if you visit Victoria, but an expensive experience. Beautiful room in a historical hotel, very professional service, but not a very lively atmosphere (probably because it is winter) and a good but not that outstanding high tea. To sum up: interesting to try to see how it is, but will not return regularly. A taste of Europe in North America, not that impressive if you are from Europe ...

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PQ
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5Food 4Service 5Ambience 4

The service and ambiance were excellent. I was very impressed by the knowledge of the serving staff and their willingness to help. The food was very tasty, although I was missing some of the former items that had been available. I didn’t feel rushed and the place and tea menu was suprisingly child friendly.

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PR
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 2Food 2Service 2Ambience 1

Have to admit I was disappointed - and at $75/head for afternoon tea, that was a lot of disappointment. The tea selection was lovely, as were the scones, but it was hard to enjoy because as the room was too "live" acoustically, and the piano music in the background was too loud. (Would have been better - more relaxing - with no background music at all.) We would have preferred more scones and fewer super sweet chocolate confections. Only one scone and one finger sandwich of each type per person seemed ungenerous at that price. Also, our server was not familiar with the ingredients in each of the tea blends - could not tell us which teas were Assam based, for example - and did not offer to find someone who could tell us what was in each tea blend (even though that information is available on their website!).

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GM
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

I was very impressed by the friendliness of the staff. When we arrived early, the hostess agreed to allow us to change our reservation to an earlier seating. Our waiter was friendly and accommodating. The food was very yummy, All in all. a delightful experience.

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D
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 5

We were here about 25 years ago. Not quite as nice now. Missed the little egg sandwiches. Scones delish! Tea was hot and tasty. Great service. Could have served more of the savory. All in all pretty good.

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BD
Vancouver
2 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 4Food 3Service 5Ambience 5

A memorable experience. Like walking back in time to a distant past.

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GL
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 3Food 3Service 3Ambience 5

The quality, service, and amount of food is simply not worth $78 + Tip! The customer is paying the big price tag for the ambiance of The Empress!

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DG
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 2Food 2Service 2Ambience 1

Definetly not worth $78 a head, we have enjoyed Afternoon tea at The Ritz and The Savoy in London, and was really looking forward to our experience at The Empress, sadly it was very lacking in every way . Food tasteless, no tablecloths, dress code was smart casual , was surprised to see people with rubber boots and tracksuit bottoms. Would not reccomend this place. They have a lot to learn.

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SL
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

I took my two little girls there to experience high tea. They were treated like princesses and we had a magical time. Thank you to our server. The Rose tea was delicious

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BT
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 3Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Good selection of teas, although you get a big pot of just one tea rather than getting to sample a couple of different kinds. You're served a mini 3-course lunch with a variety of sandwiches and desserts. Some were great, others not so much. We stayed here for about an hour, eating very slowly, just to get our money's worth. Overall not worth it in my opinion. Getting to try a couple of teas and a little bit larger food portions would make this worth the value.

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TH
1 review
Dined on October 30, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Glad we went, you pay for the service (waitress was fantastic) and the experience. Table setting, tea and piano music were lovely. Food was good but not great for the price tag.

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PV
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Once in a lifetime experience. Wonderful service and food. Only small complaint is they offer you some wonderful tea choices with your service but there is an upgrade charge for special teas. At $78, you think they could offer you whatever tea you want. That was a bit cheapy!! But then again...you are at the Empress!

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c
1 review
Dined on October 29, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Disappointed to learn they no longer refill the trays at no extra cost or send home a box of tea.

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TJ
Vancouver
2 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2018
Overall 2Food 2Service 3Ambience 2

Food was ok, but way too expensive. Save your money and go somewhere else.

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KJ
Chicago
21 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2018
Overall 4Food 3Service 5Ambience 5

This is what people will tell you you “must do” when in Victoria. It is definitely an experience but not sure that makes it worth the price. The tea is great, the food is good, but certainly not the best ever, but the price is just way off.

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d
Seattle
5 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Tea at The Empress is a sensuous delight! Service is lovely - a perfect ambience for a special occasion: anniversaries, professions of love, milestones achieved... This is an expensive indulgence so not to be over done but most would come away with a delightful memory of beauty and refinement!

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w
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 5Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Amazing experience, food was really good...even the gluten free option.

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AH
1 review
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 4Food 5Service 4Ambience 5

We had a great time at the Empress for high tea. The only thing I would have changed is to have an actual table vs a couch. We had a baby with us and he was in a highchair without a tray table. Hence it was very hard and messy trying to feed him. The highchair was too high for the low couch table.

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OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 24, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Great view, ambiance, food, tea, everything. Always a wonderful experience.

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ML
1 review
Dined on October 23, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

First class and a fun experience. My wife was asked and accommodated with her food allergy. Not many places ask first.
It was a repeat for my wife and I. The last time was 44 years ago while we were on our honeymoon.. I don't believe I was thinking about the fine delicacies of tea then.

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AW
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 22, 2018
Overall 5Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Outstanding service, delightful tea choices. Beautiful setting.

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IP
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 3Food 3Service 3Ambience 5

Long wait times to be seen by server at table.
They charge an exorbitant amount of money for different teas, which is absurd.
Very glad to have experienced tea at the Empress, the setting was nice but I don't need to go back again when I could go to the Butchart garden's tea room for wine/cocktail prices one third that of the Empress' offerings.

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DA
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

I had a fantastic afternoon here with my girlfriend. We are kinda high tea connoisseurs, always on the look out for high tea places wherever we visit. As "Tea at the Empress" was a thing in Victoria, we obviously had to try it, and we weren't disappointed! The location was wonderful, the room a throwback to a colonial past, with a nice view of the harbour. We did insist on a window seat and got one without too much of a wait. The staff were wonderful, the food was surprisingly good (much better than the Peninsula in Hong Kong). We did go on a weekday, 3:30pm, so there weren't too many people, so this might have helped with the more relaxing atmosphere that we experienced. I would go again when I next visit Victoria!

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LR
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 2Food 2Service 2Ambience 4

Was last here for tea 10 years ago and it was much better from a food and service level. This time was just ok and not worth the cost. Will definitely try some place else next time. I go for a high tea each year and would say this one was only fair.

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CP
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

For two non-tea drinkers, we really enjoyed ourselves! What a lovely afternoon. Loved the piano too!

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QS
Orange County
14 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 4Food 3Service 5Ambience 5

The service was tops! We didn't know to ask, but were luckily seated at one of the best tables! By the window, looking at the waterfront - great view and ambiance - definitely request this when you make a reservation. Our server, Lorne, was perfect: supremely professional and did a great job of personalizing the experience for us. The tea was fantastic, and I would say better than comparable afternoon tea selections. My friend had the rose tea and I had the joie de provence; we shared and loved both. The scones were excellent as well. The the tea sandwiches and desserts were underwhelming. The quantity and/or quality were bit short. My sandwiches were a bit dried out and not particularly fresh. Overall the amount of food was less than usual for a comparably priced afternoon tea - roughly US$60 (though I am comparing to service in Europe and the US). I usually can't finish it all the goodies, and I have never left tea wanting more before. My friend was full before the end, so maybe it was just me.

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AE
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

We had always wanted to have high tea at the Empress, and they did not disappoint. It is pricey, but it’s part of the whole experience. Our server was very attentive and the tea and food were amazing.

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LD
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 3Food 3Service 4Ambience 4

I visited Victoria in 1982 with my parents and promised myself that some day I would return to the Empress for tea. 36 years later . . . . The experience was fun. The scones with clotted cream and jam were to die for. The tea sandwiches were pretty good. The rest of the food was pretty tasteless. A little more guidance on the teas would have helped. But definitely worth the experience!!!

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L
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 3Food 2Service 3Ambience 3

Love the Empress Hotel. Every place had excellent service. Was disappointed only with the tea. Very expensive. Enough food but poor value.

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KP
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

The High Tea at the Empress has been on my bucket list for years. It was worth the wait. The dining area is casual and cozy. You get to choose from 6 years that come with the finger foods. You have even more choices for an additional cost. My husband and I are not big tea drinkers but decided before we got here that would try it. Both teams were delicious. Then came out 3 tiered tower of deliciousness. Warm scones on the bottom, finger sandwiches in the middle and dessert bites on the top. There was plenty for two people and everything was outstanding. We are everything! Yosief was our waiter and he was friendly, helpful in assisting us with our choices and attentive to our needs. A must if you go to Victoria.

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B
Calgary
7 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 3

We went for tea at the Empress while on our honeymoon. The food was nice and the tea outstanding; we found that the room where they do tea is a high traffic area (feels a bit like a hallway) so it was a bit noisy and distracting, but it was still a good experience. Very pricey for what you get, but you’re paying more for the experience anyway!

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S
Edmonton
2 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

An new experience for two very special ladies

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