About Q at The Empress - The Fairmont Empress Hotel

721 Government Street
Victoria, BC V8W 1W5
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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.

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

Restaurant Photos

  • Q at The Empress - The Fairmont Empress Hotel, Victoria, BC
Q at The Empress - The Fairmont Empress Hotel, Victoria, BC

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

5
4
3
2
1

3.9

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

3.8

service

4.1

ambience

3.8

value

3.4

noise

Moderate

74% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

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Special Occasion (18)
Good for a Date (14)
Notable Wine List (12)
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Quiet Conversation (11)
Historic (10)
Good for Anniversaries (10)
Good for Birthdays (10)
Business Meals (9)
Local Ingredients (9)
Great for Lunch (7)
Romantic (7)
Fit for Foodies (7)
Creative Cuisine (7)
Healthy (7)
Scenic View (6)
Modern Decor (6)
Cozy (5)
Afternoon Coffee (5)
Handcrafted Cocktails (4)
Casual (4)
Fun (4)
Authentic (4)
Good for Groups (4)
Pre/post Theatre (4)
Seasonal (3)
Bar Seating (3)
Live Music (3)
Great for Brunch (2)
Afternoon Tea (2)
People Watching (2)
Outstanding Value (2)
Vibrant Bar Scene (2)
Waterfront (2)
Kid-friendly (2)
Family Style (2)
Fireplace (2)
Hot Spot (2)
Comfort Food (1)
Disabled Access (1)
Private Room (1)
Neighborhood Gem (1)
Late-night Find (1)
Tasting Menu (1)
Worth the Drive (1)
Sunday Lunch (1)
Quick Bite (1)
Great Beer (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
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67 reviews
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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
ambience4
service5
value5

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
ambience3
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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, Outstanding Value
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food5
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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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food5
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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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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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food5
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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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food2
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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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The server kept the experience very ligh ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on October 1, 2016

The server kept the experience very light and enjoyable. His suggestion on the octopus poke was the highlight of our meal.

The halibut was flaky and fresh but lacked the flavor we were expecting. The lamb loin was definitely the winner of the two, everything about that dish was delicious.

We will possibly stop by again, the only thing that might stop us is the suggested dress code.

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The improved décor is quite nice and the ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on September 26, 2016

The improved décor is quite nice and the noise level is low. The seating is sometimes a bit too close. All good though - I will be back. I'm a local mostly using it for business lunches.

Greg

Tags: Cozy, Quiet Conversation
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The service was excellent, food Very wel ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on September 19, 2016

The service was excellent, food Very well prepared. I would recommend it often.

Tags: Outstanding Value, Good for Birthdays, Special Occasion, Historic, Disabled Access, Afternoon Tea, Good for Anniversaries, Afternoon Coffee, Local Ingredients, Healthy, Good for a Date
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food5
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The rack of local lamb dish was outstand ...

 
 (Palm Springs)·Dined on September 18, 2016

The rack of local lamb dish was outstanding as was the nightly special of Halabit. The new look to me is too modern but the place is still great. With the strong US dollar you can't go wrong. Extensive wine list.

Tags: People Watching, Historic, Bar Seating, Seasonal, Business Meals, Fun, Authentic
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The service was excellent. The staff fri ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on September 10, 2016

The service was excellent. The staff friendly and did a nice job of accommodating our guest of honour who was using a walker and moving quite slowly. She made comment afterwards as to the staffs niceness. And complementary happy birthday desert was well received. Thank you.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Historic, Authentic
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food5
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Overall, the meal was underwhelming. Whi ...

vip
 (Seattle)·Dined on September 4, 2016

Overall, the meal was underwhelming. While the meat was cooked fairly well, but the flavor profiles just doesn't work well together. Every dish was too salty and had too much going on. I'm a fan of bold flavors as long as it is balanced and goes well together. We ordered a mussels, halibut, octopus, and lamb dish. The mussels was cooked in a tomato broth which was too salty and the tomatoes were so dense. I prefer the simple white wine garlic preparation more. My fish was prepared with a kale and sunflower seed salad over minted peas. In theory this sounds pretty good and light. In practice, it was way too salty. The kale was a bit wilted and I can barely taste the sunflower seed. In the end it was salty fish on top of the sale with some minted leads (which I couldn't taste). There was nothing exciting or different about this dish. The lamb dish had faro, olives, and heirloom tomatos. The meat was cooked well, though the seasoning was salty. The olives made the dish even saltier. The heirloom tomato didn't stand out as they were tossed with faro and olives which made it all tasted salty. In short, I was not impressed with the food. The service however, was solid.

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food2
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The receptionsist had a snooty attitude ...

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 4, 2016

The receptionsist had a snooty attitude and talked as if the words were squeezed out of her mouth.

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food3
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For what they charge, we expected a lot ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on September 3, 2016

For what they charge, we expected a lot better. We went there for brunch on our anniversary, and were very disappointed. The eggs Benedict had pre-packaged English muffins, processed meat, topped with overcooked eggs. The beef bacon hash was decent, but very overpriced for what it was. I would not recommend this place to anyone, nor would I go back.

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The washroom was not match with the hote ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on September 1, 2016

The washroom was not match with the hotel and restaurant standard, smell really bad.

Tags: Afternoon Tea
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food4
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We were with a group and the meal plan g ...

 
 (Edmonton)·Dined on September 1, 2016

We were with a group and the meal plan gave us this only choice at your hotel besides the Lounge for lighter fare. We w,ere seated and since we did not wish alcohol were left unattended for almost 30 minutes waiting on soup, no roll no nothing but water came by but once.

Again after the soup which was sweet onion and they mean sweet,

the cheese is melted toast on the side not in the soup.

Once again a long wait for the entrée, short rib with mash. It was just an ok short rib, I had better elsewhere on this trip in other Fairmonts.

We skipped dessert as we were tired of the waiting. It was a shame I was on a meal plan, after 15 minutes I would have left. definitely no tip deserved here.

Our breakfast, same place, went much better, waitress was very kind and attentive, it even came quickly.

Tags: Afternoon Coffee
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food3
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Price is low for such a palace but meals ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on August 22, 2016

Price is low for such a palace but meals are not original. Restaurant without supply great enough.

Tags: Quiet Conversation
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food4
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We stayed at the Empress for five nights ...

vip
 (Phoenix)·Dined on August 20, 2016

We stayed at the Empress for five nights and felt we needed to have dinner at least once at Q. It has recently been renovated and was a very elegant space. Our waiter, Earl, was very charming. In my opinion, they need to up their anti on there cuisine. Mine was average--so so shrimp cocktail, a nice soup and salad. My husband had a halibut served on a bed of greens and peas without any kind of sauce. It was dry and very bland. Since we have had amazing shellfish and fish in BC and we were disappointed.

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Outstanding food and service. We were se ...

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on August 16, 2016

Outstanding food and service. We were seeking a nice place to celebrate a special birthday. This restaurant was a great choice.

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food5
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Unremarkable .Service was excellent .Dec ...

 
 (Seattle)·Dined on August 14, 2016

Unremarkable .Service was excellent .Decor is an odd mix of Victorian and contemporary .Food was average.Nothingsaverage.Nothing special. Twenty better restaurants in Seattle.

Tags: Special Occasion, Notable Wine List
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I have worked in the hotel and restauran ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on August 13, 2016

I have worked in the hotel and restaurant business and I have never experienced worse service in my life. We waited for over 1.5 hrs for our main course to arrive and even our French onion soup took at least 30 min to arrive. There were people who came to the restaurant after us had the drinks, apps, main and bill before we had our mains. Taking my glass of house red off the bill was not acceptable. Our email should have been complementery before we said we were not paying the bill

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The Q Restaurant is a complete renovatio ...

vip
 (Portland)·Dined on August 12, 2016

The Q Restaurant is a complete renovation of the historic Empress Hotel Dining Room. Gone is the old world elegance as the restaurant is now without the traditional entrance and is opened to the hallway. Gone are the table cloths and traditional furniture and the room sports a much more contemporary look. This is not entirely a bad thing, as the dining room is now much more lively and active and still retains the beautiful coffered ceiling, carved dark wood posts and walls. We last had dinner there in 2014, and I believe the food has improved a bit. Two of us had the Tenderloin that was cooked perfectly, one had the Halibut the other the Ling Cod Our server, Maddy was excellent and very personable. Service from the kitchen was quite slow. Dinner for four with one cocktail each before the gratuity amounted to $307 CAD $238 US.

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Brunch, Notable Wine List, Great for Lunch, Special Occasion, Vibrant Bar Scene
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I wrote a review to Fairmont directly. ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on August 11, 2016

I wrote a review to Fairmont directly. It is too long to repeat here, you may want to check with them for the review/feedback. It was a poor review compared to the Empress dining room experiences of the past. Service was great though.

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Way overpriced for mediocre food. We ha ...

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on August 10, 2016

Way overpriced for mediocre food. We had breakfast. There are way better restaurants in Victoria where for the same money there is more fresh and delicious food.

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food2
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Great to see that the old features of th ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on August 7, 2016

Great to see that the old features of the Hotel were saved but still modernized the space. Perhaps a little dark but certainly pleasant.

The wait staff were excellent, both curtious and professional. The food was superb.

Tags: Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies
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For a "fine dining" restaurant, it was t ...

 
 (Toronto)·Dined on August 6, 2016

For a "fine dining" restaurant, it was terribly noisy. There was loud live music coming from the lounge, competing with loud piped music in the restaurant. We almost decided to leave, and we should have left. At first they tried turning down the piped music (not turning it off, just down!) So the stereo sound from two different pieces of music was quieter on one side! While they eventually tried to accommodate us by moving us to a somewhat quieter table, the whole experience was not at all worth the cost. Our starters were all good, but took nearly an hour to come after ordering. The mains were decent but not stellar. They did try to do a good job recommending wine, and gave generous tasting portions. We did not bother with dessert, even though we had been looking forward to it from the time of seeing the menu before arriving. Shame on this restaurant for taking a lot of money from people and providing such a bad experience. Management needs to visit a truly good restaurant to see how things are done.

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Tasteless chowder that was overpriced. S ...

 
 (Ottawa)·Dined on August 4, 2016

Tasteless chowder that was overpriced. Service lackluster, mistake on order was made the server confused our order with another table. So half the order arrived and we to wait for the 2nd half at which time the first person served had finished their meal entirely. Never asked us if the meal was satisfactory and never offered anything to up for the mix up and the very wait for the 2nd half of our party of three to receive our very simple meal of chowder and salad.

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Our server was not interested in our din ...

 
 (Vancouver)·Dined on August 4, 2016

Our server was not interested in our dining experience. We asked if the seafood tower was enough to feed two and she said that there would be more than enough. As a $70 entree, we expected it to be. It was more like an appy for two. Server didn't bother to come by to see how we were doing after taking our order. It was not busy at all.

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