About Q at The Empress - The Fairmont Empress Hotel

Q represents Queen and country, the revered figure for whom this hotel was named. A singular letter, for a very singular space. Located in the most storied room in Victoria, Q at the Empress is a must-visit culinary celebration that is second to none. This atmospheric space has a distinctly modern, contemporary feel, all the while staying true to the building’s unique iconic heritage with its dark cherry wood ceilings and spectacularly detailed moldings. Focusing on regional ingredients, the carefully curated menu features locally sourced seafood, meats and produce prepared surely and skillfully by Chef Morgan Wilson and his incredible team. Try one of over 850 bottles of wines from the temperature controlled visible wine wall featuring the best of the Pacific North West and select vintages from all over the globe. From romantic dinner to vibrant social event all you need to do is just sit back, relax and enjoy Q at the Empress, the place to be on Vancouver Island.

721 Government Street
Victoria, BC V8W 1W5
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Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Northwest

Hours of Operation:

Breakfast: Daily: 6:30am - 11:00am; Lunch: Daily: 11:30am - 2:30pm; Dinner: Daily: 5:30pm - 10:30pm

Cross Street:
Belleville & Goverment Streets

Dress Code:
Smart Casual

Price Range:
CAN$31 to CAN$50

Payment Options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(250) 389-2727

Website:
http://www.fairmont.com/empress

Parking Details:
Valet or self parking is available in the Fairmont Empress parkade

Executive Chef:
Morgan Wilson

Private Party Facilities:
The Royal Table is an added refinement to your fine dining experience. Providing guests with a heightened touch of elegance during their dining experience, this experience is truly memorable for a birthday, engagement or simply an evening together. From silver cloches and candelabras to customized wine selections from our Sommelier and a few special touches from the Chef, The Royal Table service provides a sophisticated refinement to an enchanted dining experience. The cost is a C$30 surcharge per person in addition to meal selection costs.

Private Party Contact:
Dining Reservations: 2503892727x

Additional:
Cocktails, Farm to Table, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking, View, Wine

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Q at The Empress - The Fairmont Empress Hotel Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.0

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.0

service

4.2

ambience

4.1

value

3.5

noise

Moderate

81% would recommend it to a friend

Special Occasion (25)
Business Meals (18)
Historic (17)
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Good for Anniversaries (17)
Good for a Date (15)
Quiet Conversation (14)
Creative Cuisine (14)
Good for Birthdays (13)
Fit for Foodies (12)
Notable Wine List (11)
Modern Decor (10)
Great for Lunch (10)
Local Ingredients (10)
Pre/post Theatre (10)
Healthy (9)
Romantic (8)
Seasonal (8)
Handcrafted Cocktails (7)
Afternoon Tea (7)
Cozy (6)
Live Music (6)
Scenic View (6)
Afternoon Coffee (6)
Tasting Menu (5)
Fireplace (5)
Fun (5)
Hot Spot (4)
Good for Groups (4)
Family Style (4)
Comfort Food (4)
People Watching (3)
Great for Brunch (3)
Happy Hour (3)
Worth the Drive (3)
Quick Bite (3)
Outstanding Value (3)
Bar Seating (3)
Casual (3)
Authentic (2)
Sunday Lunch (2)
Kid-friendly (2)
Great Beer (2)
Waterfront (2)
Neighborhood Gem (2)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Vibrant Bar Scene (1)
Tapas (1)
Disabled Access (1)
Vegan (1)
Molecular Gastronomy (1)
Good Vegetarian Options (1)
Private Room (1)
Gluten Free Options (1)
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89 reviews
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We enjoyed the food and night out. Impre ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined 3 days ago

We enjoyed the food and night out. Impressed by the renovations at The Empress and its

more contemporary appeal

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Modern Decor, Business Meals, Creative Cuisine, Notable Wine List, Authentic, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Quiet Conversation, Live Music
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

This was my first experience at the Q re ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined 3 days ago

This was my first experience at the Q restaurant. I booked through OpenTable and it was a breeze. The most notable point is the service. I was impressed with the staff from the moment we arrived until we left - they are polite, professional and attentive. The charcuterie lunch option looked incredible, although we opted for sandwiches. These were delicious but sloppy to eat. The "dill fries" were fries sprinkled with dehydrated dill, so not overly impressive but hot and crunchy. Portion size was good. The hefeweizen was very good and well priced. The overall lunch price was high, but expected for the venue. I would definitely recommend the Q and look forward to returning again - primarily for the great staff and service.

Tags: Great for Lunch, Business Meals, Good for Anniversaries, Pre/post Theatre, Gluten Free Options
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food4
ambience4
service5
value2

Loved the Seafood Tower! Our meal was o ...

 
 (Seattle)·Dined on January 1, 2017

Loved the Seafood Tower! Our meal was outstanding, and the service was as well.

Tags: Special Occasion, Quiet Conversation, Historic, Afternoon Tea, Neighborhood Gem, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience5
service5
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Very poor services from welcoming guests ...

 
 (Seattle)·Dined on December 30, 2016

Very poor services from welcoming guests to collecting payment, wrong dishes, noisy environment and very fake smile

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food3
ambience1
service1
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Great food at great value with great ser ...

vip
 (Vancouver)·Dined on December 29, 2016

Great food at great value with great service in a beautiful setting,

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Pre/post Theatre, Great for Brunch, Afternoon Coffee, Notable Wine List, Afternoon Tea, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience5
service4
value4

Excellent service , entree okay, decor n ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on December 26, 2016

Excellent service , entree okay, decor nice, The appetizer was interesting with moist smoked salmon.

Tags: Quick Bite, Creative Cuisine, Modern Decor, Great for Lunch
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food4
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The staff was very well educated in wine ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on December 24, 2016

The staff was very well educated in wine pairings and seasonal dishes. Overall the experience was unique and rewarding. I would recommend for any special occasion.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Seasonal, Business Meals, Afternoon Tea
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food5
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The tenderloin was outstanding - the de ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on December 24, 2016

The tenderloin was outstanding - the dessert (strudel) not so much (soggy). Salad also wimpy. House red (Spanish) wine was good. Service great!

Personally did not enjoy the very heavy ambiance of the room -- it felt like we were dining in an old, British gentleman's club, with all the dark wooden panels and heavy, carved, ornate wooden beams in the ceiling. It did not feel friendly or particularly comfortable.

Also, thought the choice for lighting that looked like giant, lighted puzzle pieces felt out of place and incongruous with the rest of the room. Chandeliers would have been more fitting.

It was the day before Christmas eve and we wanted to have dinner where there was beautiful decorations to get in the mood for the season - there were minimal Christmas decorations and it could have been any time of the year, as opposed to Christmas.

Tags: Private Room, Business Meals, Special Occasion, Historic
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food4
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We couldn't have been happier with our r ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on December 23, 2016

We couldn't have been happier with our romantic, pre-Christmas lunch for two. From the lovely appetizer buffet, to the comfort-food main dishes, and the authentically friendly service, and of course the wonderful Empress Hotel, this was a magical experience. Well worth the trip from Pender Island. Thank you.

Tags: Business Meals, Romantic, Seasonal, Quiet Conversation, Comfort Food, Historic, Special Occasion, Fireplace, Fit for Foodies, Worth the Drive, Cozy, Healthy, Good for a Date
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food5
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I was at the Q three times since Sept. E ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on December 22, 2016

I was at the Q three times since Sept. Every time it was a wonderful experience.

The service is exceptional . The food excellent. I plan on going there often.

Tags: Family Style, , Good for Birthdays, Quiet Conversation, Scenic View, Quick Bite, Healthy, Special Occasion, Great for Brunch
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food5
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We loved our evening at the Q. Our only ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on December 19, 2016

We loved our evening at the Q. Our only request for next time is that the veggies accompanying the salmon were very sparse, but the food and service were very good.

Tags: Historic, Good Vegetarian Options, Special Occasion
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The food and surroundings were good. Se ...

 
 (Seattle)·Dined on December 19, 2016

The food and surroundings were good. Service could have been a little better. However it was very overpriced for what we had. The food was good not great. The drinks especially were grossly overpriced. Probably would not go back again.

Tags: Historic
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food4
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Celebrated our first wedding anniversary ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on December 18, 2016

Celebrated our first wedding anniversary at Q for dinner; rushed and impersonal service. Had eaten there a couple months before at a birthday dinner. Would not return for a special occasion.

Tags: Live Music, Hot Spot
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food3
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service1
value3

I treated my parents to a special Christ ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on December 17, 2016

I treated my parents to a special Christmas dinner at the Q in the Empress. They enjoyed a perfect evening from the moment they arrived. The atmosphere, service, food and wine were all exceptional. A special thank you to the waiter...unfortunately I don't know his name, for making the entire dining experience so special. I have never heard my parents sound so thrilled! I can't wait to dine at the Q the next time I visit Victoria.

Tags: Molecular Gastronomy, Hot Spot, Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies, Seasonal, Romantic
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food5
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service5
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I chose Q for lunch over High Tea to cel ...

 
 (Edmonton)·Dined on December 15, 2016

I chose Q for lunch over High Tea to celebrate my birthday with my mom, and what a great decision. We arrived early but were cheerfully accommodated. The three-course monthly special started with a tapas/salad bar of olives, breads, cheese, cold cuts, two salad types, and exotic salad additions. There was a choice of three different mains, and a seasonal dessert. Everything was of outstanding quality, making for a very memorable experience in a renovated space that successfully marries historic interior with contemporary updates.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Business Meals, Historic
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food5
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I'm a local who knows the Empress proper ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on December 14, 2016

I'm a local who knows the Empress property well and wasn't dismayed by the closing of the Bengal Lounge or the previous fine dining space. I had eaten in both.

I was hopeful that the new look and contemporary feel of The Q would be just what the property needed.

The Q as a venue is great... both the bar and the restaurant. But, there were a few stand outs that I believe Could prove 'counter productive' to real success. Please see beliow:

  • having your website describe what a diner should wear is unnecessary

  • telling a diner on the website how long they have to eat...to allow others in, is unnecessary- the food service alone should manage that

  • the servers, though friendly, were not trained to the level of the restaurant

  • wine knowledge was weak

  • the style of the dishes used to serve the food did not have the level of 'sophistication' your website alluded to

  • the food 'styling' on the plate was uninspired

We, as a group, were disappointed because we held great hope for the new space.

The restaurant was mostly empty and on a mid December evening that's a concern, I would think.

I do hope this review helps....I want the Q to be successful!

Regards,

Barbara Ellsworth

Tags: Local Ingredients, Healthy
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food3
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service2
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We went for the Christmas buffet special ...

 
 (Seattle)·Dined on December 13, 2016

We went for the Christmas buffet special and it was very nicely presented and the turkey main course was just like home cooked. Entry was a little difficult due to ongoing construction but once inside the renovations are taking shape and everything is first class. Will go back over the year as the lunch special is supposed to change with the season. A first class treat.

Tags: Tasting Menu, Local Ingredients, Seasonal, Great Beer, Comfort Food, Notable Wine List, Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion
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food4
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Was a bit disappointed overall. Nothing ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on December 12, 2016

Was a bit disappointed overall. Nothing really wrong with the place, not sure it fits the Empress, may just take a bit of getting used to. Wine by the glass is well overpriced but I guess it's the location. It was very quiet in the night we went so that may be a part of it. Will definitely give it another chance.

Tags: Happy Hour, Scenic View, Quiet Conversation, Business Meals
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food2
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I took my neighbour for lunch and we enj ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on December 11, 2016

I took my neighbour for lunch and we enjoyed our outing. The table decoration for Christmas was a bit sparse. Our waiter was excellent, friendly and attentive.

The ceilings are so beautiful and the new Reno updates nicely. Still needs a bit more of the cosy factor. Otherwise a lovely place for lunch. Thank you, NKidd

Tags: Afternoon Coffee, Great for Lunch, People Watching, Fireplace
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food4
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Overall great experience; we were celebr ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on December 11, 2016

Overall great experience; we were celebrating a birthday and enjoyed a great breakfast in a wonderful atmosphere. Menu was well curated, and everyone from vegetarians to meat lovers in our group were able to find something appealing. Bit of a hitch with the service, but that being said, the manager and host were very attentive, we had a lovely time, and I would absolutely go back.

Tags: Special Occasion, Historic, Vegan, Pre/post Theatre, Business Meals, Tasting Menu, Creative Cuisine
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food4
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service2
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It is not often that a restaurant of thi ...

 
 (London)·Dined on December 7, 2016

It is not often that a restaurant of this class offers a "family style" tasting menu, but this recently introduced feature at "Q" is definitely worth trying if you are in a group of four-plus. It was a culinary delight and a very fun way to spend the evening - it radiates conviviality!

Tags: Tasting Menu, Handcrafted Cocktails, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date
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food5
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This is a place that I would go to for s ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on December 5, 2016

This is a place that I would go to for special occasions ... the food was delicious, however, very costly.

Tags: Tapas, Special Occasion
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food4
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Great visit. Friendly staff. Good Room i ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on November 26, 2016

Great visit. Friendly staff. Good Room if a bit small. Clean. Looking forward to visiting again, especially after the final renovations are complete.

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Quick Bite, Family Style, Afternoon Coffee, Local Ingredients, Notable Wine List, Good for Anniversaries, Great Beer, Creative Cuisine
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food5
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Excellent food and service with friendly ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on November 17, 2016

Excellent food and service with friendly staff. Friends of the Empress discount needs to be brought to this restaurant so loyal locals can come more often.

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Great for Lunch, Business Meals, Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Casual
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food5
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Very Beautiful restaurant. Food was exc ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on November 13, 2016

Very Beautiful restaurant. Food was exceptional, wine was fantastic, and our server was amazing. He was funny, and very attentive !! The decor was gorgeous...very modern and chic. Almost didn't feel like I was at home, felt like I was in a chic restaurant in LA or Vegas. I do miss the old Empress...nothing compares to that, however Victoria did need a beautiful restaurant like this.

Tags: Bar Seating, Creative Cuisine, Good for Birthdays, Worth the Drive, Handcrafted Cocktails, Waterfront, Pre/post Theatre, Live Music, Good for a Date, Notable Wine List, Modern Decor, Scenic View, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Groups, Fit for Foodies, Business Meals, Romantic
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food5
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Courteously received. Good service. Food ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on November 5, 2016

Courteously received. Good service. Food was tasty but later badly upset my stomach

Tags: Good for a Date
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food2
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My husband and I recently went to the Q ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on November 3, 2016

My husband and I recently went to the Q for our anniversary and we were offered the best seat, located right next to the very large fireplace. Normally the table seats 6, however because it was a slow night, we were able to sit there. The ambience was incredible, I could have sat there for hours, just relishing at the feel of being there. There was not too many other tables, at least no one that was around us or we could see without getting up (it was a rainy Wednesday evening, off season), which made us feel extra special, like this beautiful, mahogany place was reserved just for us!

The food was nice, although the flavours didn't necessarily blow us away. He had the steak and I had the lamb, which were both cooked perfectly. In my opinion, the best thing on both of our plates was a farro risotto-like side that comes with the lamb. Also, the chocolate hazelnut cake was delicious. Everything else was moderately above par.

Our server was very kind, soft-spoken and knowledgable.

Overall, the ambience of the restaurant was my favourite part of being there. We had a lovely evening, largely in part to coming here!

Tags: Special Occasion, Historic, Quiet Conversation, Local Ingredients, Good for Anniversaries
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food3
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FANTASTIC FOOD! Definitely an addition t ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on November 1, 2016

FANTASTIC FOOD! Definitely an addition to our date night regular spots :) Looking forward to going back :)

Tags: Romantic, Scenic View, Modern Decor, Notable Wine List, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Groups, Historic, Special Occasion, Pre/post Theatre, Business Meals, Good for a Date
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food4
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Gorgeous room! Absolutely stunning... ...

 
 (Hawaii)·Dined on October 29, 2016

Gorgeous room! Absolutely stunning... The food was good but not great. The charcuterie board was fantastic and the entrees were good. If it had not been for the sweet onion soup I would have said the food was great but the soup was truly terrible. Q gets an A+ for atmosphere and a solid A for service.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Great for Lunch, Hot Spot, Handcrafted Cocktails, Kid-friendly, Vibrant Bar Scene, Romantic, Business Meals, Special Occasion, Historic
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Bar is warm and nice enough although the ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on October 28, 2016

Bar is warm and nice enough although the patio is much nicer in the spring / summer for a drink. Cocktails not particularly interesting and the scotch pour one of us had was miniscule (for a hefty price). Within a minute of being served, the hostess came over to ask the person who had just been served the scotch whether she needed another drink. Food was good but unremarkable. The wine list was extensive and interesting with lots of BC options, but very over-priced. Service was initially very slow; there was almost no one in the place and it took almost 20 minutes just to bring a taste of wine so we could decide what we wanted. Food was okay but nothing stood out. In a town with so many really good fun and creative restaurants with much better energy nearby, we would likely not return.

Tags: Seasonal, Good for a Date, Scenic View
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food3
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Took my sister to the Q restaurant and w ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on October 26, 2016

Took my sister to the Q restaurant and we had a fabulous time. Loved the food, the service and the great ambience. Would highly recommend it.

Tags: Healthy, Great for Lunch, Good for a Date, Business Meals, Fit for Foodies, Afternoon Coffee,
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My guest and I were impressed by the new ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on October 26, 2016

My guest and I were impressed by the new dining room and the lunch menu in the Q. We still miss the Bengal Room and its unique ambiance, but the Q is a worthy successor . It was great to see the fine ceiling in good light, the swivel seats were very comfortable, the food was very tasty and served to perfection. All in all, a great new venue for lunch!

Tags: Great for Lunch, Healthy, Cozy, Seasonal, Business Meals, Historic, Fireplace, Local Ingredients, Quiet Conversation, Fit for Foodies, Creative Cuisine
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Four very disappointed diners who will N ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on October 26, 2016

Four very disappointed diners who will NOT be coming back.

Service was not up to Empress standards.

Waiter was unfamiliar with the menu.

Waiter hovered uncomfortably at the beginning and then vanished, barely to be seen again after food arrived.

Waiter 'upsold' us on WATER! we asked for water and before we knew it he'd opened and poured a $10 bottle of still water.

Menu does not properly describe the food.

Caesar salad had a tasty dressing, but menu didn't say it was decronstructed and the waiter did not say that 1 salad would have been sufficient for 4 lighter appetites.

Roasted salmon is actually smoked. Roasted Chicken was actually Cornish Game Hen. All our food was SIGNIFICANTLY over salted.

Presentation was sloppy.

Was pleased that the chef came to talk with us and was open to feedback.

Took a long time to get the bills. Waiter took credit cards away - for a long time ... left us feeling suspicious. While we were paying the waiter was trying to pour us more wine, compliments of the manger - seriously? We already had our coats on ... surely the better option would have been to comp the wine we were about to pay for?

All in all a bad experience for all 4 of us.

Q has only been open since May, so perhaps it's growing pains? But seriously needs work... Menu, Staff Training should be a good place to start.

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food1
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Waaay overpriced compared to other venue ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on October 23, 2016

Waaay overpriced compared to other venues in the area. I completely understand where they're trying to position themselves in the market, but frankly, it's not at that level. My party was no stranger to fine dining, but we all left disappointed as it does not justify a repeat visit.

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Definitely an experience to remember alt ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on October 16, 2016

Definitely an experience to remember although the portions could've been larger.

Nice ambience if you don't mind the weird chandeliers and other contemporary upgrades that are incongruous with the history of the hotel.

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A most disappointing experience. The Emp ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on October 10, 2016

A most disappointing experience. The Empress Restaurant now lacks elegance.

Modernized yes but it is cold, noisy, too many hard surfaces, no charm or elegance...such a disappointment with the remodel.

Furthermore, the service was absolutely lousy. We felt like we were in a diner. The waiter was too rushed, acted too familiar, reached across the table instead of serving from the side.

We specifically dined there for the Thanksgiving Dinner. The vegetables on the plate weren't cooked (carrots and brussel sprouts were raw), the turkey was too salty.

The dessert was awful. A fancy apple pie - tasteless apple filling, and the pastry was so tough, needed a knife to cut.

Last year we dined at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel for Thanksgiving and we will return there. We will never eat at Q again. Such a disappointment, a disgrace with what has been done with fine dining at The Empress Hotel.

1 person found this review helpful.
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The food there is satisfied, the ambienc ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on October 2, 2016

The food there is satisfied, the ambience is good. The only downside here is the restaurant is little understaffed. You have to call the staff to let them fill the water or wine for you. Anyway, overall satisfied.

Tags: Historic, Good for Groups, Hot Spot
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Our meal was very rushed and the main co ...

vip
 (Toronto)·Dined on October 2, 2016

Our meal was very rushed and the main course arrived right as we finished our appetizer. Our server apologized and offered to put the meal in the warmer. When it was returned it was barely arm and unappetizing. Both the server and the manager apologized and said the kitchen had made the meal in advance in error. They did not charge for the main. We would not rush back. It was loud, casual and not fitting of such a historic building and location. The menu was also very confusing as there were salads and appetizers with the main courses. What a disappointment.

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Unfortunately we had an expectation of a ...

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 1, 2016

Unfortunately we had an expectation of an elegant restaurant, similar to the one at the empress a few years ago and it was not at all, and all aspects were very average to us not befitting a hotel like the Empress.

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Frankly, The Q was disappointing. Giv ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on October 1, 2016

Frankly, The Q was disappointing. Given its location it should be the premier dining experience in Victoria. (Which is far from being the case) It doesn't seem to have a clear idea of what it is trying to be. Its priced like a high end fine dining restaurant, however the service, quality of food preparation, precision of food service, just aren't there, sending mixed messages, and not well thought through

Some examples:

waiter out of view for extended periods of time, and not there when we needed him

Mussels, came without water finger bowl and a tiny bowl for putting shells in

Gourmet (small portion) lamb dish served on fine china, vs "Kitchen" (large portion) chicken dish served in a casserole dish

Excellent chips, vs very poor (soggy) potatoes

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