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.
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.
Harrington St./ Edenton St.
$31 to $50
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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 deposited in the box located on the South side of the parking lot. If you do not pay you will be ticketed $30.
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 48 people, the Raleigh Room which seats 30 people, the Capitol Room which seats 24 people and the Atrium which seats 55 people.
Private Party Contact:
Marilyn Akers: 9198293663x
Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
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Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern Ratings and Reviews
Service was great. Food was great.
Service was great. Food was great.
Bob from Wake Forest
The food was excellent and the service was extremely professional. Could not have found a better place to celebrate my birthday with my wife.
Our waitress Cheyenne was spectacular. S ...
Our waitress Cheyenne was spectacular. She was exceptionally knowledgeable of the menu, wine list and what to pair with our meal. Food was beautifully plated and tasted amazing. We were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary and Second Empire was where we celebrated our very 1st anniversary. It was so special to us that we were able to revisit and re-experience such a beautiful night. Thank you to the chef for making it so deliciously romantic. We will continue to recommend Second Empire to our friends and family.
The waiter was excellent. The Food was g ...
The waiter was excellent. The Food was great. The wine listed on the wine list was a 2010 but they brought me a 2012 instead. (French Red Graves). The only issue I had was with the bread. I was expecting a baguette and what we got was similar to Merita sliced white bread
Food and service is always excellent
Food and service is always excellent
Everything was exceptional. The NY Stri ...
Everything was exceptional. The NY Strip Steak was one of, if not, the best ever.
Great date night dinner!
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating our 2nd anniversary at Second Empire! The chef signed a menu for our special occasion! The food was amazing and the dessert was superb!! We definitely look forward to returning! A dinner for two can be budgeted under $100. Don't expect a cheap experience. It's slightly expensive but well worth it!
After 16 years together I wanted to take her somewhere unique and special. Great ambiance, romantic, and the food was amazing! The service outstanding and we felt like royalty. They even gave us a customized menu that denoted our Anniversary and a special note from the Chef. It was great!
Fabulous food. One of the best gems we d ...
Fabulous food. One of the best gems we discovered. The service, ambience, the visual presentation of the food, and the taste was superb.
The service and food were outstanding! ...
The service and food were outstanding! Everyone went out of there way to congratulate us on our special occasion!
Incredible experience. The bartender in ...
Incredible experience. The bartender in the tavern (nice cheerful gent) saw my enthusiasm for Moscow mules and stated he had created one utilizing Jamison....I instantly requested one...it was a Jamison Mint Mule....after my first 3 more followed. They were fantastic. My gorgeous girlfriend enjoyed her scallops and red wine (epiphany) while I demolished the duck and seafood spring rolls. The entire evening spent at Second Empire was perfect. Ambiance was superb, our nook in the tavern was romantic and private. I loved SE for its elite and top shelf service, food and atmosphere.
Delicious food and exceptional service - ...
Delicious food and exceptional service - just extremely quiet, almost uncomfortable quiet. But will definitely be going back. Swordfish and filet were amazing!
We had a lovely evening celebrating birt ...
We had a lovely evening celebrating birthdays and belated Mother's Day. Our server, Jackie, was attentive, informed, and also a great photographer :) We'll be back!
The best in Raleigh - it our favorite re ...
The best in Raleigh - it our favorite restaurant for special occasions. Food is fantastic (remember to ask for both upstairs and downstairs menus), service is perfect, and the wine list is surprisingly reasonably priced for a restaurant of this caliber. We have been there at least 15 times and always came away so impressed.
Great attention to detail from the staff ...
Great attention to detail from the staff.
A find that was staring at me all along.
My wife heard about this place and I decided to book a reservation. You staff were professional and spoke very eloquently . The ambiance was pleasing. The food was wonderful. It was full with flavor and the ingredients were fresh. I would recommend Second Empire. I would like to know why don't you have Valet parking? Sincerely, Ron
Perfect location for a special weekday event
We had an unusual event - a mid-week, afternoon wedding with just a few people. Dinner at the Tavern at Second Empire was perfect. The room was beautiful, the service attentive and the food delicious. It helped contribute to a special day for the new bride and groom.
Booked this restaurant while visiting from out of town. Service was quick and food was excellent.
We enjoyed our meals. Well prepated but over-priced. Staff were attentive without being intrusive. Long island ice teas were not well done..too much lemon juice, light on for other ingredients..disappointing. Overall quality was good. Thank you for a pleasant, professionally staffed, evening.
Not only was the food delicious but the ...
Not only was the food delicious but the service was impeccable! The wine list had a nice variety to choose from. We will recommend this restaurant to friends and family. We are looking forward to returning ourselves. Thank you.
Second Empire has been on my list of res ...
Second Empire has been on my list of restaurants to try, and it lives up to its reputation! The restaurant itself is located in a restored house circa late 1800's and has 2 levels - one is more formal dining and the other is a more casual tavern. There are two menus as well, and they can be used in both parts of the restaurant. Our meal was amazing - fish, scallops, duck and beef were cooked perfectly. Chocolate soufflé had a fantastic light crust and delicious oozing interior. The staff was attentive, polite and friendly, all the guests at our table were served at exactly the same time, and our main waiter Alex was funny, charming and entertaining. Second Empire is definitely on my list of places to come back to!
Delicious dishes, fantastic service (alt ...
Delicious dishes, fantastic service (although slightly bothersome with frequent visits), classic and formal ambiance, high class wine selection, wide array of desserts and cognac. We sat in the main dining room and I would recommend it. (Tavern downstairs may be less formal and noisier.) The swordfish and tartar were both particularly memorable.
I made a reservation for my wife and me to enjoy what we knew would be a great dinner. The service was quick and cordial, without them knowing it was our anniversary. Our server had a great attitude and kept a close eye on our drinks and NEED for a dessert menu when the time came! Reading the history of Second Empire makes me appreciate the history Raleigh has and the efforts to preserve the greatness of its architecture. We come here once/twice a year for special occasions and are never let down.
Everything about Second Empire was first class. Service was attentive but not obtrusive. Food was wonderfully delicious. Seasoned to perfection and seared just right, my scallops were among the best I have ever had. They accommodated my husband's special request for a full meal made from an appetizer offering and even added an additional side. We both felt this was a special experience from start to finish. And the finish dessert of a blueberry bread pudding was grand. Thank you for a great meal and a lovely experience.
Terrific Tavern Dining
My husband and I had a very enjoyable dinner here. Everything was well prepared and presented beautifully. You can order from either the Tavern or upstairs menu. Service was attentive and knowledgeable.
The food here is amazing, it is a fancy establishment and excellent for special occasions. Very romantic atmosphere! Our server was great and very helpful!
Worth the Trip
Food was outstanding, as usual. My wife had the shrimp & lemon crepe for an appetizer which was wonderful. She had the steak, I had the lamb. Both were outstanding, cooked exactly as we asked. Wine list is not extensive but well-rounded and affordable. Waitstaff was superb, knowledgeable, efficient and not hovering. The only thing that kept it from being 5 star across the board was the table location. We were seated right under a vent that blew cold air on us. I asked to change tables but couldn't. Hostess asked the manager to turn down the air which worked fine for about 15 minutes. It was the only negative from an outstanding meal.
Great historic location
The service was outstanding and the food was great. Small portions, but adequate. Full bar and draft beer as well, in case you are not into wine.
UPSTAIRS AT SECOND EMPIRE
IT IS A BEAUTIFUL RESTAURANT AND FIVE-STAR ALL THE WAY. THE FOOD AND SERVICE WERE SUPERB.
Genuine Service and a Great Kitchen
From the moment we walked in the front door, the staff was friendly, smiling and supportive of our anniversary meal. Our table was well dressed, the staff attentive, and the menu had something for both of us. The food was portioned correctly - not the tiny amount some places serve, but not the ridiculous "American portion" dished out in large chain restaurants. The reduction sauces were some of the best I've ever taste - complex, deep, and filled with complementing flavors. We went off menu for two of the specials and were very pleased. I'd recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a fancy evening out.
One of my favs. But for whatever reason, ...
One of my favs. But for whatever reason, service was beyond S-L-O-W. Wednesday night, very few patrons. But every place is entitled to a "not as good as usual " evening. I look forward to returning.
Second Empire never disappoints. The bui ...
Second Empire never disappoints. The building itself is rich in history, the menu offers something for everybody and it's absolutely exquisite, and the staff delivers some of the best service in the city. If you are looking to impress or have a special night out this is the place for you.
Absolutely positively outstanding. Vaugh ...
Absolutely positively outstanding. Vaughn, our waiter, and his team were incredible. Second Empire has never disappointed.
Excellent atmosphere and food
Excellent atmosphere and food. Will definitely go back again and take family.
Great food, wonderful service.
My wife and I chose this restaurant to celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary. It was perfect! The food was excellent, and the service was very good. Our waitperson was attentive without hovering. The signed souvenir menu was a very nice personal touch. The restaurant is in a gorgeous old house and lends a warmth to the experience. We toured the tavern in the basement after our meal. It is huge and looks like a great place to go as well.
Ranks in my top 5
Very close to Outstanding, however, my steak was a little thin for a NY Strip and a slight bit tougher that expected. Nevertheless, the taste was very good. Service was prompt and attentive. However, I would rate it overly attentive. An experienced waiter would have a better awareness of our needs and not made us feel rushed - a stern voice worked fine to slow things down. The restaurant ambience was outstanding as the home was beautiful. We would definitely come back.
ONE WORD: EXCELLENT.
Excellent food; Excellent service; Excellent atmosphere. Would highly recommend.
We made a last minute reservation for ou ...
We made a last minute reservation for our anniversary dinner, and both the food and service were wonderful. I definitely recommend this restaurant. The prices are very reasonable for what you get, and the service is great. Make sure to leave time to find parking.
Alex was a fantastic server. Very polite and knowledgeable. He took very good care of us throughout the evening.
Overall a nice time and meal
Server was attentive and friendly. Choose a selection of three cheeses as the appetizer and they were very good. The mahi mahi and steak meals were quite flavorful and tasty with nice presentation though the steak was not as tender as might be anticipated and expected. The key lime pie for dessert was delicious. There were a lot of couples present. If there is a negative, the parking lot for the restaurant is way too small. When we arrived for a 5:45 reservation, it was full as were the surrounding spaces on the street. Took me a good 10 minutes to find a spot about 4 blocks away. The restaurant itself was not packed at that time.
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