About Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

Located in downtown Raleigh’s historic Victorian Dodd-Hinsdale House (circa 1879), Second Empire combines history, atmosphere, exceptional service and gourmet cuisine for an unforgettable dining experience. Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern features our award winning Contemporary American Cuisine in two dining atmospheres. Upstairs enjoy the ultimate dining experience in an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere of charm and grace. Downstairs in the Tavern and beautiful Atrium room enjoy a lighter fare menu and more casual environment. The Capitol Room, Raleigh Room, Pine Room and Atrium Room are available for private parties seating up to 55 people or various combinations of rooms for parties up to 300 people. Second Empire is very proud to be the recipient of the DiRoNA Award (Distinguished Restaurants of North America), the AAA Four Diamond Award (Raleigh’s only restaurant with this award) and the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since 1998.

330 Hillsborough St.
Raleigh, NC 27603
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Dining Style:
Fine Dining

Cuisines:
Contemporary American, Southern, French

Hours of Operation:
Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm

Please note under special requests if you prefer tavern/ atrium seating instead of the formal main dining room.

Cross Street:
Harrington St./ Edenton St.

Dress Code:
Business Casual

Price Range:
$31 to $50

Payment Options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(919) 829-3663

Website:
http://www.second-empire.com/

Parking Details:
Parking is available on the surrounding streets & our private lot in the rear of the Restaurant. Additional parking is also located behind the Restaurant in the Reynolds Building parking lot.
There is a public parking lot across from Second Empire on Hillsborough Street owned by the City of Raleigh & is available for parking, however, there is a $3.00 parking fee that must be paid online. If you do not pay you will be towed.

Executive Chef:
Daniel Schurr

Private Party Facilities:
Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern offers four private dining rooms for day or evening receptions and/or dining. We offer our Pine Room which seats 40 people, the Raleigh Room which seats 25 people, the Capitol Room which seats 25 people and the Atrium which seats 50 people.

Private Party Contact:
Nicolle Roberts: (919) 829-3663

Additional:
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Chef's Table, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine

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Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.8

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.8

service

4.8

ambience

4.8

value

4.5

noise

Moderate

98% would recommend it to a friend

Special Occasion (88)
Romantic (84)
Good for Anniversaries (79)
See All
Good for a Date (62)
Historic (56)
Creative Cuisine (53)
Good for Birthdays (50)
Quiet Conversation (47)
Fit for Foodies (46)
Notable Wine List (39)
Cozy (36)
Worth the Drive (29)
Neighborhood Gem (26)
Business Meals (24)
Pre/post Theatre (20)
Authentic (16)
Local Ingredients (15)
Outstanding Value (14)
Handcrafted Cocktails (12)
Private Room (10)
Bar Seating (8)
Seasonal (7)
Healthy (7)
Good for Groups (7)
Tasting Menu (6)
Fun (6)
Casual (5)
Scenic View (5)
Comfort Food (5)
Fireplace (4)
Gluten Free Options (4)
Sunday Lunch (4)
Hot Spot (4)
Family Style (3)
Vibrant Bar Scene (3)
People Watching (3)
Late-night Find (3)
Afternoon Tea (3)
Modern Decor (2)
Great for Lunch (2)
Paleo Friendly (2)
Molecular Gastronomy (2)
Disabled Access (2)
Vegan (1)
Good Vegetarian Options (1)
Great for Brunch (1)
Great Beer (1)
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2231 reviews
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 (Raleigh)·Dined 3 days ago

Lovely experience. Beautifully restored and maintained historic building with two distinct atmospheres between the Restaurant and Tavern. Upstairs a little more formal and downstairs tavern a little more energy.

Appreciated that we were able to order from both menus.

Staff excellent, knowledgeable and friendly.

Food was sublime.

Will definitely return soon.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Disabled Access, Good for Groups, Good for Birthdays, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined 3 days ago

Absolutely exceeded my expectations. We had multiple dishes and they were all top notch. Our servers left nothing to be desired. Very attentive and helped us celebrate our special occasion! Would recommend everyone try it!

Tags: Worth the Drive, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries, Notable Wine List, Quiet Conversation, Good for a Date, Historic, Romantic, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined 7 days ago

Everything was fantastic! The food, service and ambiance, was exactly what we expected from the fine establishment. We plan to return when we visit Raleigh again!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined 7 days ago

Only one word is needed, but the reviews have to be 50 characters, so... it was PHENOMENAL!

Tags: Notable Wine List, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine, Historic, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined 7 days ago

Great food and the wait staff was very very attentive.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 17, 2017

The filet was outstanding. But on the other hand, the New York strip was very over done. Ordered medium and received well done. No pink at all. Grey coloring the whole way through. Don't know if I would come back and spend another 150 dollars for one good steak and one that would be in last place at a low end steak house.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Cozy, Quiet Conversation
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food3
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Western NC)·Dined on February 16, 2017

Excellent dining evening. Food and service were top notch. Thanks

Tags: Outstanding Value, Cozy, Good for Birthdays, Historic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Western NC)·Dined on February 16, 2017

My food was amazing. My wife however had her fish raw in the middle. Mahi Mahi. Couldn't finish the rest.

Tags: Quiet Conversation
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food3
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 16, 2017

We have been a few times and all I can say is we must have gone be on an off night. Food was amazing of course but service was spotty at best.

Tags: Special Occasion, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service2
value3

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on February 15, 2017

This was me and my wife's Valentines dinner. As always Second Empire doesn't disappoint. The food and service is always amazing! If you've never been, please do go and enjoy it!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 15, 2017

Everything was just phenomenal!! TU to my mother for giving us a gift card, otherwise we would have never chose Second Empire for a dining experience. BUT we will now be coming back!!

Tags: Afternoon Tea, Comfort Food, Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 15, 2017

My wife and I had an excellent meal with another couple on Valentine's Day at Second Empire. It was our first visit.

Very nice place, excellent service, and high-quality food with very impressive presentation. Loved it!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Historic, Fireplace
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 15, 2017

Wait staff was knowledgeable but not attentive to the needs of our table. We were very disappointed.

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food5
ambience5
service1
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 14, 2017

We enjoyed the restaurant and setting. The food was very good and the presentation was great. Only thing that I would recommend is valet parking. Parking is not too easy.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Romantic
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on February 14, 2017

Anniversary

Tags: Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 12, 2017

Second Empire has got to be one of the best restaurants in Raleigh. The food is just plain awesome. The service is great. I am somewhat a food critic and I can honestly say....I could eat here everyday. Now I cant do that on a teachers salary but if I could I would. I highly recommend you give Second Empire a shot!

Tags: Good for Groups, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Worth the Drive, Good for Anniversaries, Romantic, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 12, 2017

The food was fantastic as always. I was a little disappointed with the service this visit though.

Tags: Business Meals, Quiet Conversation, Pre/post Theatre, Scenic View, Romantic, Historic
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food5
ambience4
service2
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 11, 2017

This place was hands down the nicest and delicious place I have ever ate. Took my girl for valentine's day and she loved every bit of it the originality of the Victorian atmosphere to the delicious meal. Definitely a must place to go.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Worth the Drive, Outstanding Value, Romantic, Scenic View, Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Historic, Notable Wine List, Modern Decor
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 11, 2017

Usually this is a great stalwart with professional service and excellent cuisine. We have always enjoyed the original menu and service during our past visits. However it is clear they are losing their touch. The service is haughty dripping with condescension. Our waiter Josh was simply awful. Polite in every way but helpful in no way at all. He should not have been tipped. I recognize the ratings in general for this restaurant are typically high and quite frankly from past visits I would be inclined to agree. However, our two visits have shown they are no longer the bell of the ball when it comes to Raleigh restaurants. Josh and his service unbearable and the food undercooked and overcooked barely edible. What a shame.

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food3
ambience3
service1

vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 5, 2017

This continues to be one of the top restaurants in the Triangle. Upstairs dining is quietly elegant and downstairs has more hustle and bustle but the food is spectacular in either setting. An extraordinary menu with amazing appetizer and entree selections and dazzling desserts. My wife and I have eaten at Second Empire many times and are never disappointed. The service is outstanding and the wine list is comprehensive. Highly recommended. A special treat for holidays, birthdays, etc.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 4, 2017

This was my fourth visit to Second Empire. We arrived ten minutes early, and the hostess said that they were seating at the reservation time. Had a cocktail in the lounge downstairs and was seated a few minutes later.

The restaurant is beautiful, with a great ambiance. The food was great. Unfortunately, the service did not match. Cocktail glasses were never cleared even after the meal; wine glasses never refilled, pepper not offered. Server (or assistant) did not check on us once.

Very poor execution of what could have been great.

Tags: Quiet Conversation
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food4
ambience4
service1
value2

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 4, 2017

I enjoyed this dinner so much I took a friend for a special occasion and they had a great time. I so look forward to coming back to dine with you again, I plan to have a formal girls night out soon and this is my first choice thanks again for great dinner experience all I can say is WOW.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Quiet Conversation, Outstanding Value
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 4, 2017

Both the upstairs formal dining room and the downstairs bar and dining room were wonderful. The service was immaculate. I highly recommend the formal dining room at Second Empire for a special occasion and just a night out for dinner in the tavern/downstairs dining room.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Romantic, Outstanding Value, Fit for Foodies, Good for Anniversaries
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on February 3, 2017

I just returned from Afghaistan and wanted to take my wife out on a date. I chose your restaurant since we had never been there before. The ambiance and staff were wonderful. The food was adequate even though I found my NY Strip very fibrous. I realized just how fibrous after having some of my wife's NY Strip to find that even though hers was cooked longer was more tender. We enjoyed a nice bottle of wine that was recommended by the sommelier in training which not only paired with our meal, but the desert also.

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Romantic, Good for Anniversaries
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food3
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on February 3, 2017

We were in Raleigh for the Krispy Kreme Challenge and wanted some interesting food to balance that sugar overload. Picked Second Empire because the building was nice and the menu interesting. We had a FABULOUS experience! Our waiter (Jeremiah) was knowledgeable, helpful, and extremely nice. The service was attentive, but not overbearing. Wine list had a nice variety of prices and wines. But the food-oh my oh my-the food was out of this world wonderful! If we are ever in Raleigh again we will make a bee-line for here!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies, Historic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 2, 2017

Had a wonderful celebration dinner with our daughter. Outstanding food and impeccable service in a setting with beautiful ambiance.

Tags: Romantic, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 31, 2017

Outstanding service from all of the staff! Special kudos to Ciara and Shianne for making us feel so welcomed. Beautiful restaurant with excellent food.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Historic, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 31, 2017

This was an elegant restaurant with very attentive service. We were quite surprised at how quickly we were served each course. The food was excellent - I've never had a filet mignon so tender. The desserts were awesome - buttermilk coconut pie and creme brulee! It was my 70th birthday and I felt very special! Thank you!!!

Tags: Special Occasion, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 28, 2017

Where to begin. The Vodka martini with blu cheese stuffed olives we started out with was perfect! We got a small cheese plate and then on to the appetizers. Mr. Wonderful enjoyed a Duck Comfit salad and I devoured the Chef special appetizer, Foi gras which was totally the best. Then on to the Tenderloin special of the evening and I ordered the Scallops. Superbly cooked! We had asked our waiter to pair our dinners with wines and Alex did an excellent job! For dessert we enjoyed cappuccino's and Coconut Chess Pie with homemade pecan ice cream. Heaven. We ate in the Atrium in the Tavern so it was quite loud. Next time we'll go to the suede covered dining room on the second level so we can enjoy our meal with a little more quiet.

Tags: Good Vegetarian Options, Paleo Friendly, Notable Wine List, Fit for Foodies, Creative Cuisine, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 28, 2017

The Second Empire was a great restaurant. The food and service was great! I can't wait to return. My husband and I went to celebrate our anniversary, two days later and we are still thinking about the great food!

Tags: Comfort Food, Local Ingredients, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 28, 2017

I had a fantastic time here. The food was delicious and the service was among the best I've ever had.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Creative Cuisine, Tasting Menu, Good for a Date, Notable Wine List, Cozy, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic
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food4
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 28, 2017

We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at Second Empire! Our server, Destiny, was excellent, and her recommendations were delicious! My filet mignon was so tender I didn't even need a steak knife, my husband's foie gras was the best he'd ever had, the wine list was superb, and the coconut chess pie (our server's favorite) was divine!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Romantic, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 28, 2017

The clams appetizers were the best my dad had ever had. He is from New England. The food was amazing!

Tags: Worth the Drive, Fit for Foodies, Historic, Local Ingredients, Private Room, Pre/post Theatre, Special Occasion, Romantic, Gluten Free Options, Notable Wine List, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 27, 2017

Took my wife for her birthday and was not dissapointed. Excellent service with a personally customized menu. Truly wonderful experience

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Neighborhood Gem, Historic, Private Room, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 27, 2017

The Pros and Cons of a dinner meal in the tavern:

  1. Very odd to receive a signed copy of the menu for a birthday, and not, let's say, a complementary birthday cup of coffee or something else. It seems very egotistical on the part of the chef. We can't even imagine doing what the waitress suggested and framing it for a wall in our home.

  2. Only in the tavern can you order from both the tavern and the restaurant menu. This should be explained on their website so a customer can decide where they would like to sit.

  3. The food was not as pricey as we thought all the menu items would be. However, $18 for 3 tiny portions of cheese and 2 crackers & 2 dry toasts, 1/4 c. fruit and nuts and onions does not make a cheese tray. More onions than cheese. Mark-up is higher than normal.

  4. If there are 2 of you, they bring out 1 pat of butter and 2 slices of bread in a basket. Period.

  5. Trout was excellent.

  6. Chocolate souffle was excellent

  7. Short ribs were fair to good, but given too much of a chef-y hand and less of a "these are incredible tasting short ribs in a delicious sauce " hand. Short ribs are surrounded in bacon & fat and then fried and put in a ring mold on top of greasy bits of potatoes. The waitress said "tower of short ribs". Knock down that tower.

  8. Atmosphere of tavern is wonderful--lots of brick, and felt very warm.

  9. Excellent waitstaff and deliverers.

  10. Great cocktails.

Tags: Cozy, Good for Groups, Handcrafted Cocktails, Historic
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food4
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 26, 2017

Amazing food, amazing cocktails. Constantly changing menu, so you theres always something new to try. Wonderful service and the prices arent bad for fine dining.

Tags: Molecular Gastronomy, Historic, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Pre/post Theatre, Outstanding Value, Good for Anniversaries, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Authentic, Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Cozy, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Groups, Fit for Foodies, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 25, 2017

Very beautiful!!!! My husband and I had a very nice time..we will definitely be back.

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Romantic, Healthy, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries, Business Meals, Creative Cuisine, Outstanding Value, Cozy, Good for Groups, Special Occasion, Scenic View, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Worth the Drive, Historic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 22, 2017

My wife and myself really enjoyed everything. The food and the atmosphere was exactly what I was looking for especially since it was my wife's birthday. It was also a surprise and she didn't know where we were going so kudos to 99.9 the fan for the recommendation and kudos to your good staff.

Tags: Romantic, Good for Birthdays, Casual, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on January 22, 2017

First time eating here after hearing rave reviews! It was well worth the wait but will definitely be visiting again! We were able to have a drink near the bar as well waited for our table. We were then sat upstairs. Beautifully decorated inside to fit the Victorian style outside. Waiter was nice, professional and very educational on all the menu items. The four of us all ordered different menu items and everything was outstanding! I opt for a vegetarian item which was not on the menu. However, our waiter was helpful with this and wow it was amazing. Lentils with stir fry veggies was made with such flavor, I could not put the fork down. Ahi Tuna, salmon and Pork Chops were the other entrées ordered. There was not a bite left over from any of us! After dinner we ordered a couple desserts and the Cream Brulé was made just right! How they recommend this to anyone looking for a nice quiet night out with spectacular food.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Cozy, Romantic, Good for Birthdays, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 21, 2017

We held our wedding and reception there eight years ago and it was so special to be there again. The food and service was outstanding. Can't wait to go again!

Tags: Good for a Date, Historic, Good for Anniversaries, Creative Cuisine, Pre/post Theatre
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 21, 2017

Our first visit - food and service were outstanding.

Tags: Special Occasion, Historic, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Hawaii)·Dined on January 21, 2017

Dinner was enjoyable, service in a timely manner and friendly as well as knowledgeable. A lovely atmosphere and tables nicely spaced amongst other tables. Available parking in the back of restaurant. Chef has a hint of sweetness in his palate, yet balanced. Food presentation is eye appealing and combination of garnish with entrée is well appointed. Found the sauce to be a bit heavy on the plate is my personal opinion. Wonderful dinning experience and highly recommend Second Empire.

Tags: Historic, Cozy, Special Occasion, Business Meals, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Cleveland)·Dined on January 20, 2017

This was a fantastic experience. We were able to grab an early reservation which helped us get the best table in the front room. The food was amazing, the service was top notch, and the experience was memorable.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Cozy, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 19, 2017

Second Empire always serves to excellent food and the service leaves nothing to be desired. We generally go to Second Empire for anniversaries and milestone birthdays. We choose Second Empire for the incredible ambiance of the main dining room. On our most recent visit, we were seated in one of the front rooms of the top floor. The room was beautiful and we were enjoying a quiet intimate meal. Unfortunately, a group of businessmen were seated in the room and they were extremely loud. We were able to hear every word of their conversation better than we could hear ourselves at our own table. Later a group of 8-10 people were seated in the room as well. The noise level multiplied. I don't know that there is anything the restaurant could have done because they don't know who is coming and they have to find room for all of its diners. I just wish all of the larger, louder parties could be sat together so that the other diners can enjoy the intimate dining experience to which they have become accustomed. Despite this one mediocre experience, we will be back. Second Empire remains one of the true culinary gems of the Triangle.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date, Worth the Drive, Quiet Conversation, Romantic, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Authentic, Good for Anniversaries, Pre/post Theatre
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 18, 2017

We had the best time at the Tavern. Our waitress was superb and the food was wonderful.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Quiet Conversation, Romantic, Bar Seating
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 17, 2017

As always The Second Empire was an amazing experience from start to finish. IT IS A SENSATIONAL PLACE

Tags: Romantic, Pre/post Theatre, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on January 15, 2017

The food and atmosphere is always top notch! Our waitress was the only thing not top notch. We ended up having a 3.5 hour meal, but mostly because she wasn't attentive. But, we'll go back...just won't sit at her tables.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Good for Birthdays, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service2
value4

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on January 15, 2017

We were dining upstairs which is more formal than the tavern downstairs. My tuna was really good and my husband's roast duck was outstanding. Excellent service.

Tags: Special Occasion, Romantic, Quiet Conversation, Historic, Worth the Drive, Good for Anniversaries, Notable Wine List, Fit for Foodies, Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 14, 2017

Anniversary

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on January 14, 2017

Our dining experience was wonderful. Three of the four of us had never been here before and our server did a masterful job from relating specials of the evening to allowing us time for conversation. The food was delicious -- especially the salmon dish and the accompaniments.

Tags: Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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