Category: food

Valentine’s Day Ideas

By: Maria Taylor

Valentine’s Day is approaching quickly. Feel stuck on what to do for your special someone for valentine’s day? Here are some ideas we hope inspire you!

Dinner Date:

Romantic Dinner for Two at Butchart Gardens:

The Butchart Gardens is offering a special valentine’s day dinner for season pass holders. For $99 per person, you can enjoy a set menu prepared by the outstanding chefs at the gardens. You’ll be seated in their beautiful Spring Prelude garden with a romantic table set for two. This is a unique experience that Butchart Gardens rarely offers.

Vista 18:

Vista 18 is an amazing west coast grill and wine bar overlooking the beautiful city of Victoria. It is Victoria’s only rooftop restaurant. It is located on the 18th floor of the Chateau Victoria Hotel. Enjoy an exquisite west coast inspired menu that uses fresh local ingredients. On Friday’s and Saturday’s Vista 18 has live music for guests to enjoy while they have dinner or drinks. This is an amazing spot to take your special someone on valentine’s day or any other special occasion.

Milestones Downtown:

Milestones in downtown Victoria has an amazing view of the inner harbor all the way across to the Parliament Buildings. Enjoy a romantic evening and great food. They have a variety of options to choose from depending on taste or dietary restrictions. Pair your meal with a glass of wine or signature drink.

Any of these dinner options will give you an amazing meal paired with amazing views of some of Victoria’s most beautiful places.

Romantic Walks:

The Breakwater:

The Breakwater is a beautiful walk that you can take your date on (and your dog too!) On the upper level it’s a smoothly paved path ending at a stunning lighthouse. This is a beautiful walk where you can watch the boats pass and the sunset. They also have a lower level that you can walk along. (this is more uneven so watch your step if you decide to go.) The lower level is more for adventure seekers, as there are gaps in the rocks, waves coming up, and uneven steps. Once you’re finished your walk on the breakwater you can walk along the path on Dallas road from one end to the other or make a stop at the Breakwater Café to warm up with a coffee.

Beacon Hill Park:

I would highly recommend going on a walk throughout Beacon Hill Park throughout the day. There is so much to see here! There are an abundance of trees surrounding the area and many paths that you can explore. They have many ponds where ducks and turtles like to relax and it is more than likely that you’ll see at least one peacock! Depending what time of year you go, they have stunning gardens and flowers all around the park.

Victoria is a beautiful city so wherever you decide to take a walk any time of year, you will not be disappointed.

Games & Activities:

Just started seeing someone and want to spend the day with them without the pressure OR you and your S.O. don’t want to have a “stereotypical” valentines’ day? Check out some fun activities in Victoria like ax throwing, the arcade, or the board game café.

Ax Throwing:

Axe and Grind, Victoria’s only ax throwing club is a lot of fun! It is something different that you can do together. Have a friendly competition or go on a cute double date! Ax throwing is a workout though so if you have a nice dinner planned after I would suggest bringing a change of clothes!

Quazar’s Arcade:

Go back to your childhood with this blast from the past arcade! Quazar’s Arcade recently opened in downtown Victoria. Try and beat each other’s high score or play a two-player game! This is something new and fun to do in downtown Victoria. They have the largest collection of pinball machines in BC, so you have many choices. They also rotate their arcade games, creating an everchanging variety.

Boardgame Café:

The Boardgame Café is a perfect relaxing date location. Order a bowl of candy for you and your sweetie (pun intended) and choose one of the many board games that they have from Snakes and Ladders to Risk. The boardgame café is a perfect date for a couple, double date, or a group date!

We hope that you enjoy these ideas and that it sparks ideas on what you and your special someone can do together on valentines’ day!

Tea at The Empress

Tea at the empress

Wanting to try tea at the Empress? Here is everything you’ll need to know!


Afternoon tea started with the seventh Duchess of Bedford. She had her cooks make her an afternoon tea tier. This then turned into a social gathering that Queen Victoria was interested in and brought it to the palace. The Empress recreated a social gathering atmosphere, people coming together being in a bustling tea room. Guests can now enjoy this experience in The Empress tea room on their trip to Victoria.

History of the china

The china that The Empress uses was gifted to the hotel in the 1930’s during a visit from King George the 6th. In the Late 90’s it was rediscovered and used for some time. About two years ago The Empress took the original patters and recreated brand-new finest bone china. So, when you enjoy tea it is the original patterns from the 1930s. With having this fine bone china there is about $300 dollars per person worth of china.

Afternoon tea

The Empress serves tea to about 80,000 guests a year. With saying this they need experienced staff serving tea, all the servers in the tea room have been there for at least three decades each.  Between 20-49 years, spending most of their working life in afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea is a celebration. Sit, relax, and maybe have a glass of champagne if you wish. The Empress offers 21 different varieties of tea. Some of the teas are the highest quality in the world, they can cost up to $500 for one bag. All the teas come from the metropolitan tea company in Toronto. They supply the Empress with the top 5% teas of the world.

The most popular kind of tea is black tea, such as their 1907 orange pekoe. The servers try to explain as many of the teas as possible, so guests can experience something new. Guests like to stick with black tea, but some do experiment with teas such as the madame butterfly jasmine, which is a green tea layered with jasmine flowers, it has an unbelievable jasmine aroma. It will change your entire perception of what tea is, and what it is supposed to taste like.

Times and schedule

Tea is served from 11 am until 5:45 pm during the summer, and throughout the winter tea is served from 11 am until 3:45 pm. A reservation is required to enjoy tea at The Empress. It is recommended that you make a reservation the minute you decide you want to have tea as reservations fill up quickly, especially through the summer months. The Empress serves tea 365 days a year. 


Winter is the perfect time to enjoy a warm cup of tea. During the winter specifically Christmas, the Empress offers a winter tea and a winter meal. This includes warmer items as opposed to cold items. It is a perfect way to warm up in the cold months.

Local ingredients

In the past 2-3 years, the Empress has changed the food production and quality. The hotel has decided to have BC local or organic ingredients. The bread that they use is from a local bakery, the meat is from Glenwood Meats in Langford, and most of the vegetables come from local farming projects. All pastries are handmade in house. The Empress has never had anyone with dietary restrictions that they could not accommodate.


The Empress is the only place in Victoria that is serving Veuve Clicquot Rose 118. Which is an amazing rose that is paired perfectly with the three tired pastries and sandwiches.

We would like to thank Christian Elsing the Lobby Lounge manager for sitting down with us.


How To Spend 48 hours in Victoria BC


If you are lucky enough to visit beautiful Victoria, you may feel unlucky if you only get to explore for a short amount of time. Many people underestimate how many activities and sites the city and surrounding area has to offer, and as a result book too little time in this picturesque capital of British Columbia. While it is best to spend at least three to four days in Victoria, if you are on a time crunch and only have 48 hours take a look below at the best way to spend your limited time:

Stay at the Chateau Victoria

You will love this four star hotel in the downtown core as it is near many major attractions so you don’t have to travel far. They also offer complimentary downtown shuttle service for those who can’t walk or don’t want to walk! The Chateau Victoria is one of the best hotels in Victoria and offers comfortable accommodations as well as many great additional services such as highly rated restaurants.

Get a Rental Vehicle

If you are only in Victoria for a short time, it is highly recommended to pick up a rental car so that you can quickly get around and even visit some of the attractions just outside the city. Luckily if you are staying at the Chateau Victoria there is a rental vehicle pick-up point right around the corner!

Visit National Historic Sites

Once you have your car it is a great idea to visit the Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse historic sites. These two beautiful locations offer a glimpse into history and are exciting to explore. At Fort Rodd Hill, you can tour the coastal fort located in Esquimalt Harbour, while at Fisgard Lighthouse you can explore the interior of the lighthouse and snap a stunning photograph outside with this unforgettable backdrop. Between May and October it is even possible to book a tented cabin and camp at Fort Rodd Hill!

Experience Fine Dining at Cafe Brio

If you are looking to indulge while visiting Victoria, check out Cafe Brio for lunch or dinner. The entire menu is made from scratch using fresh local ingredients, and they even offer half portions for lighter meals.

Have an After Dinner Drink at Clive’s Classic Lounge

While staying at the Chateau Victoria, take a stroll down to Clive’s Classic Lounge for an award winning cocktail that is steps from your room.

Take Advantage of Chateau Victoria’s Restaurants

Whether you choose to stay at the Chateau or not, you can still enjoy the fine food and stunning views of their Vista 18 restaurant. This rooftop restaurant and lounge offers a scrumptious brunch menu including eggs benedict with crab!

Head out of the City for Sightseeing

Victoria has many attractions to see within the city, but some of the best sights lie only a 20-30 minute drive away. Take some time to stroll through Butchart Gardens, or enjoy a craft cider sample with a charcuterie plate at Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse.

Take a Whale Watching Tour

Head down to the docks at Fisherman’s Wharf to experience fresh fish and chips, a village of floating homes, the fresh ocean air, and of course: whale watching! Eagle Wing Tours operates from here, and with this family run business you can see orcas, sea lions, marine birds, and many other stunning sights. While taking your whale watching tour, you will also learn about conservation and the company’s efforts to protect the wildlife of Victoria.

Experience the Diversity of Victoria

It is a little known fact that Victoria is a diverse city, and the restaurants certainly reflect that! Whether you visit Chinatown for authentic cuisine, or stop by La Taquisa for reasonably priced mexican meals, you will be shocked at the many flavours Victoria has to offer.

Grab one Last Breakfast Before Hitting the Road

While Victoria has many wonderful places to grab a bite, check out Willie’s Bakery and Cafe for all day breakfast, or just a small bite. This is British Columbia’s oldest bakery, and you can tell they are very practiced at making great food.

As you can see, it is tough to experience Victoria in all of its glory in just two days. If you need help booking or extending your getaway now that you’ve seen how much is on offer, contact us today or learn more about our sightseeing tours.

Best Cideries, Breweries, Wineries & Distilleries in Victoria BC


No matter what time of year it is, it is always a great time to visit a cidery, brewery, or distillery in Victoria. Vancouver Island has much to offer in these categories including award winning beverages to quench any thirst. Whether you are looking to go on a brewery hop, or just spend an afternoon at one or two, take a look at the list below for your best options in Victoria:

Sea Cider

Sea Cider is a family-owned, community-minded orchard and ciderhouse. They grow organic cider apples and strive to produce award-winning cider each year. It’s located on a small farm with a big heart and aims to deliver an exceptional experience.

Hoyne Brewing Co.

Hoyne offers a variety of whimsical beverages that are perfect for different activities and seasons including a honey beer and an espresso stout. This brewery can be enjoyed across BC and Alberta as it is supplied in many liquor store locations, or you can visit their Victoria base and purchase a growler or keg yourself.  

Victoria Caledonian Distillery & Twa Dogs Brewery

As the second largest distillery of single malt whiskey in Canada, they know whiskey. All products at this distillery and brewery were founded by Scots, and if you visit their facility for a tour their Scottish pride will shine through. They are also the only brewery in town with a full lounge license, so your tasting can turn into an afternoon of drinks and good times.

Our Feast for the Senses sightseeing tour visits the Victoria Caledonian Distillery.

Driftwood Brewing Company

Although Driftwood brewery does not offer tours in person, you can take a unique virtual tour on their website. Since they began in 2008, they have had much success with their core and seasonal brews. See for yourself at the brewery where you can pick up a growler or a few bottles to try out.

Church & State Wines

Overlooking the vineyard in beautiful Brentwood Bay, Church & State Wines offers award-winning wines to taste. They strive to produce wines that over-deliver, and the results speak from themselves: the winery has been named producer of Canada’s Best Red Wine seven times since 2009, and received countless Gold medals, Best in Class awards and National trophies for both red and white wines.

Victoria Distillers

Victoria Distillers is one of Canada’s oldest, small-batch spirits companies. They’re influenced by history and driven by innovation. For the past 10 years they have been producing some of BC’s finest handmade spirits in their copper pot still under the name Victoria Spirits. To accommodate their growing business, in 2016, they moved to a unique location in Sidney, BC.
If you are interested in other things to do in Victoria during the fall, contact us today or learn more about our sightseeing tours.   

Best Victoria BC Restaurants for 2017

When most people think about visiting Victoria, the beautiful scenery often comes to mind first. What many visitors aren’t aware of is the wide range of fantastic restaurants that the city has to offer too! From patios by the harbour to dining rooms with stunning views of nature, Victoria holds many hidden gems of the restaurant world. For those who love to try the finest foods of the cities they visit, here are 6 of the best restaurants in Victoria for 2017:

Red Fish Blue Fish

For seafood lovers, this is the place to be! Due to Victoria’s proximity to the ocean, fresh and sustainable fish is available for this restaurant and its patrons to take advantage of. Red Fish Blue Fish is located right in the inner harbour and offers great views. Visitors can enjoy a traditional fish and chips, fish tacone, or many other delicious dishes. Look for the unique look of the cargo container that now holds this great spot.  

The Butchart Gardens

Not only does the Butchart Gardens offer 20 hectares of extensive plant life and serene ponds, it also has a two highly rated restaurants! For a finer dining experience you can visit The Dining Room, or for a more casual family atmosphere there is the Blue Poppy Restaurant. For those who aren’t looking for a meal, a coffee shop is also available. All restaurants offer a variety of dishes along with special events such as afternoon tea, gourmet lawn picnics, or seasonal menus. Guests can enjoy fireworks on select days in the summer while they munch on fresh ingredients from their picnic basket, and take a stroll in the gardens after.

At CVS Tours, we offer a Butchart Gardens bus tour so you can enjoy the restaurant at Butchart Gardens.

Il Terrazzo

Italian food lovers will enjoy the romantic setting of Il Terrazzo. Their kitchen includes a wood-oven that produces fantastic roasted pizza and meats, and a selection of pastas and fresh seafood are also available. Guests will enjoy local fish and homemade desserts such as tiramisu in this quaint italian hideaway. This is the perfect spot for a candlelit dinner in the heart of Victoria.

Aura Waterfront Restaurant and Patio

With a waterfront patio, this is the place to be on a warm summer evening. This unique restaurant has seasonal menus which use the freshest in season local ingredients. Whether it be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Aura offers everything from omelettes to beef tenderloin. Guests can also enjoy the extensive offering of wines, local beers, and cocktails along with complimentary valet parking.  

10 Acres Kitchen

Pescatores was favourite restaurant of many locals and tourists. Back in 2015 the ownership decided it was a change and has since opened 10 Acres Kitchen in it’s place. The menu features organically grown items sourced from the restaurants farm in North Saanich. Anything not grown on the farm is sourced from like minded farmers and fisherman. You can expect nothing but fresh ingredients on your plate when dining at 10 Acres Kitchen.