Top 5 Afternoon Teas in Victoria
Posted by Tom Westley on
In Victoria you’ll find no shortage of unique and mouth-watering dining experiences, but one of the things that really sets it apart is its offerings when it comes to afternoon tea.
This relaxing and enjoyable experience has seen itself reinvented over the years, and there are a number of charming and scenic settings that take advantage of the region's fine array of produce and seafood to offer a modern take on this timeless tradition.
Here we take a look at a few places to have a wonderful afternoon with tea and delicious bites of pastries and sandwiches.
The Fairmont Empress is a true Victoria institution. Nestled in the inner harbour, it has a reputation as one of the finest hotels in the world, and offers a combination of luxury and tradition that has seen it win awards and acclaim from numerous publications such as National Geographic and Conde Nast. Nothing exemplifies this combination better than the famous Afternoon Tea at the Empress.
Held in the elegant Lobby Lounge, everything about Tea at the Empress speaks to refinement and luxury; right down to the royal china in which the tea is served, which is itself a gift from British royalty given to the hotel in 1939.
The menu is characterized by attention to detail and sophistication, opening with scones served alongside strawberry jams, and honey and lavender that are cultivated from hives and gardens located on the hotel ground itself.
Followed by a savoury selection that takes advantage of the bounty of local seafood on offer, and a sweet selection highlighted by classically elegant options including raspberry opera cake, pistachio pate choux, and rhubarb macrons. The tea menu features carefully cultivated prized selections, such as malty Assam and buttery and vegetal Japanese sencha - all of which are traceable and ethically sourced. There is also the option of adding a glass of champagne!
Butchart Gardens is one of Victoria’s most famous attractions, consistently named by major publications such as National Geographic as one of the best gardens in the world. And it’s easy to see why, with such a dazzling array of colours and sights, it has been designated as a National Historic Site of Canada since 2004.
Amid this backdrop of picturesque scenery, you can enjoy a delicious and refreshing afternoon tea. Their menu changes seasonally and between the months of October and March you can expect a high tea that offers more pastries and savoury options, while their April to September Afternoon tea offers more fresher and fruiter options.
No matter when you go, you can expect a delightful mix of both savoury and sweet options. Begin with their own house made scones served with strawberry preserve, before moving onto a mix of sandwiches that highlight local produce such as wild BC salmon with candied pecans, and Berryman farms heritage ham served alongside relish and German mustard, and finishing up with a selection of house made desserts and sweets. Their tea menu offers a wide range of loose leaf options, including both flavoured infusions and a classic breakfast blend.
The very picture of serenity, the Abkhazi Gardens have long since been established as one of Victoria’s best spots for a relaxing and rewarding day out. A big part of this is their renowned afternoon tea experiences, providing high quality service and delicious food in a scenic and luxurious setting. With architecture that recalls Georgian royal houses, the tearoom is perfectly in keeping with the garden’s heritage and tranquil aesthetic.
The afternoon tea at the Abkhazi gardens features a rotating seasonal menu that makes the most of the best regional produce, as well as ingredients grown within the Abkhazi Gardens themselves, offering a truly organic experience.
In addition to their regular menu, highlights of which include the smoked salmon profiteroles, and a quartet of featured desserts, throughout the year they host special tea celebrations that feature themed menus. Their latest offering in the calendar is their Moroccan Tea selection, with Moroccan flavoured dishes such as Cheese Briouat, Chicken Tagine, and desserts flavoured with sesame seeds and orange blossom water.
Consistently recognized as one of Victoria’s best dining experiences, the White Heather Tea Room has been satisfying customers for over two decades now. Providing a fantastic spot for an elegant treat in the form of an afternoon tea, with the highest quality of food and service in a suitably refined and comfortable setting.
The White Heather offers 3 different sizes of afternoon tea: The Big Muckle, The Not So Wee Tea, and The Wee Tea, although after seeing their mouth-watering menu, we’d understand if you only wanted the biggest selection!
The medium option of the Not So Wee Tea comes with a three tier of courses comprising 11 different selections. The precise flavour combinations will change depending on seasonality, but you can expect a scone selection served with your choice of curd, jam, or cream, a savoury mini quiche such as their delightful pear and caramelized onion, ginger sandwiches, an in-house baked cake, tart, classic shortbread, and a selection of sweets such as macaroons.
The Pendray Inn and Tea House offers what can only be described as the quintessential afternoon tea experience, with its charming setting and appealing classical approach to the afternoon tea, you can go knowing you’ll be transported to another world entirely.
The tea itself is served in a wonderfully stylish and decorated room, with striking wood accents, stained glass windows, and antique furnishings where you’ll definitely feel like you’ve been transported back in time. The same care is also clearly taken in the food itself.
For their traditional west coast afternoon tea, you’ll find classic sandwich options such as crab cake and smoked salmon, freshly baked scones, handmade macarons, and intriguing deserts like the cardamom spiced pumpkin tart. All served alongside a fine selection of organic TWG teas.
The best way to take advantage of all Victoria has to offer, is to base yourself in a central location, and that’s exactly what we offer here at Salish. Our park is a prime location for exploring Victoria and Vancouver Island. To find out more or to book your stay, just get in touch!