Victoria is well-known for its fantastic restaurants… but my favourite happens to be right in the Fairmont Empress hotel. The “Empress Room” is the main dining room at the hotel. Whenever I eat here, I am whisked away to another world from another time…
Nothing is modern here. There’s nothing innovative or unusual about the decor or the food. This isn’t a trendy place to go. It’s not the place to see-or-be-seen. This is where you go if you want delicious, traditional food that is incredibly rich with absolutely the best service in all of BC.
The Empress has recently reworked their drink menu and their bartenders have gone through extensive training to mix drinks the “classic” Victorian way. I don’t know what that is, but each drink we had was strong, clean, fragrant, and tasty.
The food is SO good here. While it may not be for everyone’s palate, it really does suit mine. The flavours are always spot on, and their menu is always local and seasonal. But best of all, it’s always extremely rich. Nothing subtle here. I can’t say enough about the service. Although we always try to be seated at Earl’s table (my favourite waiter), every member of staff is impeccable and courteous. Yes, the silver platters are an over-the-top traditional touch. I don’t care. It’s awesome.
Dessert is always amazing too. This time Allan tried a peach cobbler, and I had the chocolate marshmallows with gold leaf. No ordinary marshmallow, it was filled with homemade marshmallows, hazelnut filling, and a crumbly dark chocolate crust at the bottom… then dipped in dark chocolate. Mmmmm.
You can’t help but feel a little small in the room. All the furniture, lighting, wallpapers and fabrics are ridiculously decadent. But there’s a large wood burning fireplace at the end of the room that softens it all and makes you feel like you’re at home. It’s kind of like being in your rich grandma’s house from another life.