Our Story

It’s Always Time for Tea

We welcome you to Venus Sophia, our beautiful oasis in the heart of Victoria, filled with unique creativity where you can nurture your heart, body and soul. Our family run, locally owned eatery is as authentic as it gets. Since April 2011, we have been creating everything from scratch – our ideas, our products, our recipes, our presentation, our style – it is all our own. Venus Sophia, the name, is symbolic for beauty, love and wisdom. These are our core, universal values we do our best to live and work by day in and out. At Venus Sophia we promise you something different, off the beaten path… authentic and progressive… and always chic.

Venus Sophia which has been featured by prominent media outlets such as Condé Nast Traveller, HuffPost, New York Magazine and USA Travel, and awarded the Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor in 2015 & 2016, is a true labor of love. Launched in 2011 by husband and wife team Sallie & Alain El Alaily and inspired by their passion for food, hospitality and the finer things in life. Together their talents and love created the vision to offer Victoria the ultimate pairing: the best handcrafted vegetarian eats and organic teas. 

But it doesn’t stop there. At Venus Sophia, we invite you to celebrate our passion for global tearoom culture and the ritual of afternoon tea with a modern, relaxed twist. Welcome to the oasis in the heart of the city! Read more about our story in the Diversity Reporter 2011 edition…


Tea Time in Style

At Venus Sophia, we appreciate the beauty and nature of TEA – the world’s second most popular beverage after water. Our philosophy is to offer you premium organic loose leaf teas and organic botanicals from all corners of the globe. From black teas to green teas, oolong to herbal infusions, we select the finest handpicked tea leaves from the best tea gardens and expertly create our own unique blends.

We love the ritual of afternoon tea just as much as the healthy beverage itself. Afternoon tea began in the 19th century when Anna Maria, the Duchess of Bedford, requested the unusual – to have a light meal between lunch and dinner. She was then served a selection of sandwiches and a pot of tea at 4 o’clock, which to the Duchess’ delight, first became routine, then a trendy social event and the rest, as they say, is history! Today at Venus Sophia, you can enjoy afternoon tea in a casual-elegant setting almost anytime of the day, whether alone or engaged in quaint conversation with friends and family.

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Meet the Owners

sallie alain el alaily

Alain Alaily  – Cooking from the Heart

Alain, our head chef and co-owner is a Swiss trained chef originally hailing from Lugano, Switzerland – next door to the infamous Como, Italy. Alain’s cooking inspirations come from a lifetime spent in Europe, where food traditions are an important part of family and daily lifestyle. Alain’s philosophy is to cook from the heart with fresh, wholesome, healthy ingredients using traditional cooking techniques with a modern twist. He is very passionate about bringing out the flavors of the ingredients he cooks with; something he finds lacking in many “perfectly” executed dishes in terms of technique. After a successful career working at high-end restaurants in Europe such as Michelin starred Ristorante Ticino, Ristorante Botterro, and Guardiano Del Faro; Alain travelled to Toronto, ON to explore gourmet Vegetarian/Vegan cuisine. It was there he met his wife and now business partner, Sallie. Today at Venus Sophia, you’ll see Alain working away from his open kitchen at Venus Sophia, preparing your delicious food from scratch with love and care. 

Sallie Alaily   – Living the Canadian Dream

The Egyptian-born new Canadian is well travelled with years of experience under her belt including a Bachelor Degree in Business Management and Marketing; in addition to a Swiss Higher Diploma of Hospitality, Food and Beverage Management from the prestigious IMI Luzern. Since opening up shop, Sallie has also studied tea at a length to fine tune her tea expertise through the Certified Tea Sommelier Program by the Tea Association of Canada. Sallie worked for both five star hotels and non-profits before embarking on her restaurateur journey in Canada. She is the visionary and creative force behind Venus Sophia’s tea line, branding, marketing, service and decor. You’ll usually find her at the restaurant working away at new inspirations and connecting with our amazing guests. Stop by and say hi anytime!

Meet the Team


Our diverse service and kitchen team are ready to serve you with big smiles, warmth, love and care. Our dedicated staff are a cheerful bunch. They are passionate about hospitality and serving you deliciously nutritious vegetarian fare and organic teas. They believe in our values and strive to lead a lifestyle in tune with what we do at Venus Sophia. Whether you are joining us just for tea and dessert, lunch or a full afternoon tea; every team member will do their best to to make your experience at Venus Sophia memorable.

We are so lucky to have met and work/worked alongside amazing people over the years. We have formed and nurtured one-of-a-kind relationships. Without our co-workers, Venus Sophia as it is today would not be complete. Together, we learned, evolved and journeyed on. Working at Venus Sophia is not an ordinary experience. It is extraordinary, and we look for extraordinary people to be part of our work family. If you are up for a rewarding challenge and a unique environment to apply your talents and personality, why not consider joining our team? We accept resumes year round. Please email your resume and cover letter to contact@venussophia.com
Attention: Sallie Alaily