A Dine Around Dinner at The Empress Room

Chestnut cheesecake on a hazelnut brittle served with a cassis coulis. Photos by Ellie Shortt

For many Victorians, the Empress Room at the Fairmont Empress Hotel is one of those places reserved for only the most special occasions, with some locals never even stepping foot in this stunning space. I sadly admit that until last week I fell into the latter category, but thanks to Dine Around and Stay in Town Victoria, have since experienced the exceptional food, drink and service that the Empress Room is known for.


This is the 9th year Tourism Victoria has hosted this event, offered at over 50 restaurants. Dine Around participants can experience a variety of three-course menus at $20, $30 or $40 per person, with even multiple celiac-friendly options for this year. If you’re looking to try a new spot, or simply want a good deal one of your favourite places, Dine Around is the way to go. Most menus come with optional suggested wine pairings and offer guests a cohesive and thoughtful meal at an attractive price. I’d confidently say that the Empress Room offers one of the best values of Dine Around. The knowledgeable staff is happy to guide you through each course and is eager to answer any questions or concerns.


Our appetizer choices included organic greens with braised root vegetables, Farmhouse feta cheese and a honey vinaigrette; French onion soup with parmesan & Emmental cheese; and smoked salmon gravlax served with a frisée and endive salad, caper vinaigrette, and toasted baguette slices.


Sesame crusted sablefish filet with shiitake mushroom risotto, and a soy cauliflower cream sauce

For the main course the Empress Room offers a sesame crusted sablefish filet with shiitake mushroom risotto and a soy cauliflower cream sauce; an 8 oz AAA strip loin steak with creamed leeks and scampi wasabi mashed potato; or a quinoa and gilled vegetable Swiss chard roll with a charred tomato coulis. I sampled bites of the sablefish and steak, which where both cooked to perfection and accompanied by the most exquisite assortment of seasonal vegetables.


Dessert options were the Empress crème brûlée with brandy infused cherries; a spiced apple pie with house-made rum raisin ice cream; and a chestnut cheesecake on a hazelnut brittle served with a cassis coulis. The desserts were rich and delightful, but appropriately sized so that you don’t feel over-stuffed after the first two courses (of which you will doubtlessly scrape clean due to sheer deliciousness).


Spiced apple pie with house-made rum raisin ice cream

A fabulous meal, a great deal, and just one of many suburb menus served up through Dine Around Victoria, my Empress Room experiences was a perfect way to kick off this wonderful month long event.


*Dine Around and Stay in Town Victoria runs until March 16. For information concerning restaurants, menus and hotels please visit www.tourismvictoria.com/dine


*The Empress Room and The Fairmont Empress, 721 Government St Victoria, BC (250) 389-2727 www.fairmont.com/empress/GuestServices/Restaurants/TheEmpressRoom.htm




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