Candlelight dances beneath a carved mahogany ceiling at the Fairmont Empress hotel's flagship restaurant, where one of the two gracious rooms has expansive harbor views. The classically influenced Pacific Northwest menu changes seasonally, but might feature such appetizers as seared local scallops or a confit of venison tart; mains include wild salmon with Dungeness crab, mustard-crusted rack of lamb, or a "farm to fork" vegetarian dish. The service is discreet and attentive,
and there are more than 800 labels on the wine list. If the weather is fine, the summer-only Veranda serves lunch, cocktails, and early-evening snacks.
Mar 28, 2008
Four of us ate here and sampled almost the entire menu. The atmosphere is a bit stuffy (unsurprising, given the location), with collared shirts required and jeans prohibited. The service was excellent and appropriate. The food fell far short, though. The foie gras was overdone. The scallops were chopped too finely, as to suggest that the scraps were being served. A decent meal overall, but nothing to write home about, and nothing on par with
the best in any major metropolitan city.
Aug 19, 2004
I agree with the prior submission. My wife & I went there recently. It was still an enjoyable experience but not nearly as nice as when we went to the afternoon tea several years ago. I read somewhere that they do 110,000 tea settings per year. I think that figure is going to start decreasing due to the the lesser quality in their product with a cost that is too high for that product. There are other places in Victoria that are just as enjoyable for
much less cost. People, I believe, will eventually discover these other places that have a good product with reasonable prices to match. The Empress is living off of a past reputation.
Jul 13, 2004
I've had high tea several times at the Empress, and until recently, it was very nice -- not quite London boutique hotel quality, but still very nice. This last time, however, it was obvious that they were maximizing profits and couldn't care less for quality. The tea was in **BAGS*** (it used to be loose leaf) with no strainer, served in a metal pot (no fine china), and you couldn't select from a menu of teas. The price was still C$50/person -- a
complete ripoff. I felt embarrassed to take my parents there.