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, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Chef's Table, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
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Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern Ratings and Reviews
Over priced and pretentious would never ...
Over priced and pretentious would never go again, went for special occasion and was not crowded nice and quiet, but very over priced spent over 20 bucks for meat ball dish and was lacking in flavor and tomatoes, only one tomato.
This was my first visit to Second Empire ...
This was my first visit to Second Empire. I have always wanted to try it and decided to take advantage of the Downtown Raleigh Restaurant Week tasting menu to do so. The service was excellent and the ambience was good, but the food was not to the level of excellence I had expected from this restaurant (and its reputation). The food was good, but it wasn't great. When I go to a restaurant like this , especially with a chef-led kitchen, I expect to be wowed by the flavor combinations and creativity of each dish (not visually but in terms of flavors) but unfortunately this was not the case on this visit. Note my guests and I tried the tasting menu and a starter not on the tasting menu. The wine recommended to us was very nice. We decided we might return for a glass of vino and dessert, but likely not for a meal.
Our server was rushed and sloppy. He spi ...
Our server was rushed and sloppy. He spilled stuff on the table (not us, thank goodness), we couldn't get our water refilled throughout the meal, or bread delivered at the beginning of the meal. There were only 4 of 7 tables occupied in our section with a back waiter to help, so we don't understand the poor service. No manager ever came by to check or ask, either. In addition, we had to wait to be seated, but again the restaurant was not crowded ( we had reservations but were seated by our appointed time so I guess that makes it okay). Just seemed odd.
The food was lovely and tasty, but portions were quite small. The service just interfered with the meal. We have been a couple of times in the past, just not certain we would return. This is twice in a row where service was disappointing, even though the food is not.
I ate there during restaurant week. They ...
I ate there during restaurant week. They gave me just a taste of their food. I could only laugh when I saw my dessert that was smaller than an oreo, while the table beside me that ordered from the menu had a dessert 15 times larger. My salad was a green cut in 4 pieces. They certainly didn't want me to return. The meal they served was less than a sample. They gave me no reason to want to return. They don't folks like me in their empire.
FABULOUS FOOD!!! Loved everything I tas ...
FABULOUS FOOD!!! Loved everything I tasted. The duck was the best I have ever had. Lots of interesting flavors. I have food allergies and often by the time the restaurant removes substances I cannot eat, I am left with boring food. This did NOT happen here ... highly recommend!!!! Only one slight negative ... Originally went to take advantage of Restaurant Week. The Restaurant Week menu is a "tasting" menu ... so you get rather tiny portions (at least for the 1st & 3rd course). I was more attracted to the regular menu and did order off of it and was thrilled with everything, it cost a bit more than the expected $30 ... but it was worth it for a special occasion.
We ate here during Raleigh Restaurant We ...
We ate here during Raleigh Restaurant Week and thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of our dinner - from entry to departure. The selections available on the special menu were exceptionally well prepared and tasted great. My companion is gluten-free and they substituted an appropriate dessert without charge. A memorable experience in all regards!
This was the perfect "fine dining" exper ...
This was the perfect "fine dining" experience. The food was delicious and interesting, pleasing to the eye and the palate. The service was impeccable. The atmosphere at Second Empire is warm and inviting. The decor is beautiful. I would recommend Second Empire for any special occasion or when you are seeking a fine dining experience.
Waiter Vaughan was superb. The restauran ...
Waiter Vaughan was superb. The restaurant manager was also very committed to our total satisfaction. The service now is even better than it was a decade ago. Food was excellent, also better than ever. My $50 steak was slightly overcooked, Vaughan offered to redo it, but I kept it and enjoyed very much. My wife's duck was best she ever had. Drinks and deserts were delicious. Previous steaks I've had at Tavern remain best I've ever had. After dinner and dessert we sat on the front porch of the restaurant on rockers and watched the street goings-on at dusk for an hour while we talked and digested the feast. Very romantic and memorable.
The food and presentation was at least 4 ...
The food and presentation was at least 4 1/2 stars but probably 5 stars. The $15 "very dry" martini was a $9 one at most, and watered down or drowned with vermouth. The same martini in June was probably the best I've had a any restaurant.
Took my wife there for her birthday. S ...
Took my wife there for her birthday. She received a personalized and signed menu for the evening. Wasn't necessary but it was a great and unique surprise. Made her feel special. The wait staff was very attentive and the food was really good. Will be back for future special occasions.
Always a favorite night out, we prefer ...
Always a favorite night out, we prefer the upstairs dining room since it is quiet. Started with tuna tartare and shrimp and bean salad for starters and then ribeye and crab cake for mains and then key lime for dessert. All very well prepared and presented. Very pleasant.
Impeccable service - our waiter was incr ...
Impeccable service - our waiter was incredibly knowledgeable about the menu, each dishes' ingredients, and what items paired well together. The food was the best we've ever had in Raleigh. We've been here a few times and keep coming back - excellent experience every time!
Second Empire never fails to be one of o ...
Second Empire never fails to be one of our most enjoyable evenings out, either dining in the main section or the chef's table we so loved. This was our first time in the Tavern and it did not disappoint!
Attentive professional staff coupled with a true gourmet meal. Definitely worth another visit.
Went here for an anniversary and the ser ...
Went here for an anniversary and the service was amazing, the ambiance was incredibly romantic. The chef even gave us a personal menu and that he signed. The food was easily some of the best food I have ever had in my life. The Entrees range in price from about $25 to $50 and for the quality of food that I received I would honestly say the prices are very modest. Easily the best restaurant I have ever been to and I will be back again.
I dined here 2 years ago. It was good th ...
I dined here 2 years ago. It was good then, but not terribly impressed. Thought we would give it another try and so glad we did. Food was outstanding in taste and presentation. The only less than outstanding critique I would give is perhaps there were almost too many components on each plate. It was delicious nonetheless.
Service was efficient and very good. Temperature in the upstairs dining room was really warm and quite uncomfortable (it was very hot and humid outside)
Overall it was a great and very enjoyable evening
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