About Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

330 Hillsborough St.
Raleigh, NC 27603
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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.

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 deposited in the box located on the South side of the parking lot. If you do not pay you will be ticketed $30.

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 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

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

Restaurant Photos

Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
Shrimp Cerviche
Ribeye
Irish Refresher
Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
Coffee
Foie Gras
Filet Mignon
Sautéed Gnocchi And Shrimp
Fontina And Lump Crabmeat Gratin
Point Judith Rhode Island Crispy Calamari
Veal And Phyllo Cigar
Bread
Empire Cure
330 Tavern Risotto
Warm Certified Angus Beef Short Rib Salad
Baked Brie Salad
Lobster And Fava Bean Puree Soup
Chicken
Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding
Seared Scallops
  Crème Brûlée
Fin And Feathers
Grilled Creekstone Farms Premium Black Angus Ribeye
Chocolate Pistachio Charlotte
Pan-Seared Ahi Tuna & Peekytoe Crabmeat Potsticker
Swordfish
Cider Vinegar Slow Roasted Pulled Pork Shoulder Asian Wrap
Braised Grouper Fillet

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Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.7

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.7

service

4.8

ambience

4.7

value

4.3

noise

Moderate

96% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Best Overall
Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill
Best Food
Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill
Best Service
Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill
13 More
Best Ambiance
Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill
Notable Wine List
Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill
Romantic
Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill
Special Occasion
Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill
Contemporary American
Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill
Best Overall
Raleigh
Best Food
Raleigh
Best Service
Raleigh
Best Ambiance
Raleigh
Best Value
Raleigh
Notable Wine List
Raleigh
Romantic
Raleigh
Special Occasion
Raleigh
Best Restaurants in Raleigh ›

Special Occasion (181)
Romantic (151)
Fit for Foodies (106)
See All
Notable Wine List (94)
Neighborhood Gem (50)
Good for Groups (36)
Good for a Date (26)
Good for Anniversaries (23)
Historic (22)
Good for Birthdays (19)
Quiet Conversation (19)
Worth the Drive (19)
Business Meals (16)
Creative Cuisine (14)
Hot Spot (13)
Scenic View (12)
Authentic (11)
Cozy (10)
Local Ingredients (8)
Handcrafted Cocktails (6)
Great for Lunch (6)
Vibrant Bar Scene (6)
Pre/post Theatre (5)
Late-night Find (4)
Gluten Free Options (4)
Private Room (4)
Fun (4)
Tasting Menu (3)
Great for Brunch (3)
Seasonal (3)
Comfort Food (2)
Fireplace (2)
Great for Outdoor Dining (2)
Outstanding Value (2)
Molecular Gastronomy (2)
Good Vegetarian Options (2)
Healthy (2)
Organic (2)
Great Beer (2)
Bar Seating (2)
Sunday Lunch (2)
Happy Hour (1)
Family Style (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Casual (1)
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Wonderful evening with fantastic food an ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined 5 days ago

Wonderful evening with fantastic food and drink!!!!

Tags: Special Occasion, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

Our meals were really good. A bit too mu ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined 6 days ago

Our meals were really good. A bit too much sauce on both. Less would have been perfect.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Historic, Business Meals, Cozy, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion, Worth the Drive, Good for a Date, Quiet Conversation, Good for Groups, Fit for Foodies, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Romantic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value5

Great place with real ambiance. Food wa ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined 6 days ago

Great place with real ambiance. Food was prepared and served with a touch of class. Great for a special occasion.

Tags: Special Occasion, Historic
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

Great service makes any food taste bette ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on September 21, 2016

Great service makes any food taste better…BUT

Great food AND great service make the entire experience memorable for everyone! That was our experience at Second Empire! I left thinking, "Why has this place been hiding from me for the past ten years?" From the moment we walked in the door to the moment we walked out after finishing a PERFECT dining experience, the staff couldn't have been more professional, helpful, and friendly. Just the right amount of attention to detail without being intrusive at our table. Looking forward to returning again and again!

Tags: Cozy, Fun, Good for Groups, Special Occasion, Historic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Second Empire serves extraordinary, inve ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on September 17, 2016

Second Empire serves extraordinary, inventive and beautifully-presented food with professional attention to detail and customer care.

Tags: Business Meals, Creative Cuisine, Pre/post Theatre, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Superb food. Top notch service. Waiter A ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on September 17, 2016

Superb food. Top notch service. Waiter Alex was very helpful and knowledgable of all items on menu. Made us feel important. Taste quality of food was high level. This is a go to place.

Tags: Good for a Date, Romantic, Special Occasion, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

First of all this is a beautiful spot fo ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on September 16, 2016

First of all this is a beautiful spot for an elegant dinner. I had a friend in town and have always wanted to go to this restaurant. We ate in the Tavern area and were offered both menus to order from. We were escorted to the downstairs tavern by the upstairs hostess which was very nice. From my point of view, I have to say my meal was a disappointment. My husband and I both ordered the French onion soup. It was mostly all cheese that was so stringy it was impossible to eat in any kind of dignified manner. It was very salty.

For my main course I ordered the Crab Cakes. The presentation was beautiful but the crab cake tasted like an entire salt shaker was dumped into it. I did not inform the waitress until I managed to eat most of it. While not expecting a free meal, I did not feel my concerns were taken seriously. I don't think we will be going back.

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food2
ambience5
service4
value3

Best restaurant in Raleigh

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on September 15, 2016

Best restaurant in Raleigh

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

First time dining there. Great, elegant ...

 
 (St. Louis)
·Dined on September 11, 2016

First time dining there. Great, elegant atmosphere. Will return.

Tags: Comfort Food, Happy Hour, Neighborhood Gem, Cozy, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date, Authentic, Handcrafted Cocktails, Fireplace, Worth the Drive, Quiet Conversation, Local Ingredients, Romantic, Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

We had an absolute wonderful time. The f ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on September 11, 2016

We had an absolute wonderful time. The food was fabulous and the atmosphere was exquisite. We went there to celebrate our one year anniversary and we could not have picked a better spot. The restaurant is in an old Victorian house with so much character. The mood was romantic and cozy. The wait staff was superb. I would definitely recommend this place for a special occasion. It was a great experience.

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

We celebrated the upcoming marriage of o ...

 
 (Wilmington)
·Dined on September 10, 2016

We celebrated the upcoming marriage of our friend at Second Empire. The historic features are beautiful, service was perfect, and the food was amazing. The most tender filet I've eaten in my life. It's pricey, but worth it!

Tags: Healthy, Special Occasion, Worth the Drive, Historic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We dine ar Second Empire fairly often an ...

vip
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on September 9, 2016

We dine ar Second Empire fairly often and have always enjoyed the meal and the entire dining experience. That is, until last Friday evening, when we were underwhelmed by the service. The waiter was clearly overwhelmed and those helping him out were also inattentive at best. We are not difficult diners to please. Greet us, give us water and take a drink order and we're fine. We watched our waiter scurry about for a good bit before he greeted us and said he'd be back for our drink orders (no issue)...we sat for about 20 mins...watching as he came in several times, turned in circles, got napkins for the demanding (& loud) ladies behind us and did nothing at all to flit over to our table for basic drink orders (issue). By the time he made it to us for that we had reviewed all the menus and wondered if there would be an opportunity to know the specials...finally he makes it to us and proceeds to take a drink order and gives us a rundown of the specials. He had to be asked what the fish in the off the hook special was...we ordered drinks.

Brought my drink but not my husbands as he explained that every appropriate glass was dirty...didn't offer any sort of different drink (that had a clean glass available) and tried to leave as he wasn't really ready to take our order. My husband had to tell him we were ready to order. One of the managers brought my husbands drink and plopped it down a bit later, without comment.

As always, our appetizers, meals and dessert were all quite delicious and well prepared.

Dining out is an experience that is made up of not only the food but also the service and environment. This particular evening was not a resounding success. Typically we are discussing when we can return but not this time.

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food4
ambience2
service2
value2

A great experience and worth the cost. M ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on September 9, 2016

A great experience and worth the cost. My fiance and I had our anniversary dinner and enjoyed every moment.

The ambiance was great, server knew the menu well, and the food was spectacular.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, Local Ingredients, Cozy, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Enjoyed a special dinner in this unique ...

vip
 (Charlotte)
·Dined on September 9, 2016

Enjoyed a special dinner in this unique classic historical restaurant. Except for parking, which is awful, the evening was delightful. The building maintains it turn of the century look and atmosphere. We enjoy the charcuterie plate as an appetizer - was unique and tasty. We also ordered the fish of the day - a local NC fish - three tail. It was a delicate mild fish, not really flaky. It could have used a bit more spice, etc. to bring the taste alive. For desert we had the chocolate soufflé - took about 10 minutes to prepare and was delicious. With two cocktails and the above menu, the bill was quite reasonable.

Tags: Cozy, Creative Cuisine, Hot Spot
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

Each course had fresh ingredients, maste ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on September 9, 2016

Each course had fresh ingredients, masterfully arranged, beautiful in appearance and every layer complemented the next. Wonderful old historic home turned restaurant. The service was top notch. Can't say enough good things about The Second Empire. Go, you won't be disappointed.

Tags: Special Occasion, Notable Wine List, Good for Anniversaries, Historic, Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We really enjoyed our dining experience ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on September 9, 2016

We really enjoyed our dining experience at Second Empire Restaurant. What a beautiful and charming place. The staff was wonderful as well as our dinner. We highly recommend this place.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Pre/post Theatre, Good for Groups, Historic, Business Meals
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

Took my wife there for her birthday whil ...

 
 (New York Area)
·Dined on September 9, 2016

Took my wife there for her birthday while traveling through the Raleigh/Durham area. Actually we drove from Durham and it was worth every minute of the trip. The food was amazing...the service was to die for and the overall experience was top notch. The chef personalized and signed a message on a souvenir menu for my wife which I thought was a great touch. Soup to nuts, it was an amazing experience and the place was very beautiful and the service was exceptional from the reservations to dessert!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Worth the Drive, Cozy, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Great Beer, Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date, Fun, Notable Wine List, Business Meals, Bar Seating, Great for Lunch, Historic, Sunday Lunch, Special Occasion, Family Style, Quiet Conversation, Private Room, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We had six in our party. the service was ...

 
 (Richmond)
·Dined on September 8, 2016

We had six in our party. the service was impeccable. We chose to sit in the Tavern, although the upper level is absolutely charming and next time I'll ask to sit there. The food was creative and deliciously prepared and presented. The service was outstanding. All of us were from out of town and travel quite a bit, so the level of sophisticated taste was high. This restaurant met all expectations. The portions were perfect, well seasoned, and artfully presented.

I can't way enough good about this place.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Birthdays, Gluten Free Options, Good for Anniversaries, Cozy, Outstanding Value, Molecular Gastronomy, Paleo Friendly, Worth the Drive, Romantic, Good for a Date, Authentic, Creative Cuisine, Business Meals, Private Room, Neighborhood Gem, Good Vegetarian Options, Healthy, Special Occasion, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Never disappointed with the meal or serv ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on September 7, 2016

Never disappointed with the meal or service. Alex is a great server. Very knowledgable

Tags: Romantic, Neighborhood Gem, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

My husband and I were celebrating our we ...

vip
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on September 6, 2016

My husband and I were celebrating our wedding anniversary. Upon being seated, we were handed "souvenir menus" with a personalized anniversary message at the top. The food and ambiance were excellent. I thought that the service was impeccable and would have given it a plus 5 rating if that had been available. I would highly recommend Second Empire to anyone looking for a special dining experience.

Tags: Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Worth the Drive, Authentic, Special Occasion, Historic, Hot Spot
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We went to celebrate a special occasion. ...

 
 (Western NC)
·Dined on September 4, 2016

We went to celebrate a special occasion. Upon arriving we were greeted by the hostess and seated promptly. The waiter was attentive without being intrusive. We both liked the fact that we could order from either menu and could mix and match (i.e. appetizer from one menu and entree from the other menu). The food was attractive to the eye as well as very tasty. We spent a very pleasant, unhurried evening enjoying great food and excellent service.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Romantic
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

Incredible! Everything was impeccable! F ...

 
 (Columbus)
·Dined on September 3, 2016

Incredible! Everything was impeccable! Food was presented wonderfully and tasted just as amazing. Great French-southern fusion and the building is gorgeous.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We enjoyed our evening there, but we're ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on September 3, 2016

We enjoyed our evening there, but we're disappointed as the table next to us ,6 people and a fussy baby. If it wasn't for that it would have been great. Couples should be seated away from larger crowds. I would make an area for just couples and an area for larger crowds with a child or children. It is not romantic when you have a fussy baby next to you.

Tags: Special Occasion, Cozy, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience3
service5
value5

Years ago while employed at IBM, this wa ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 28, 2016

Years ago while employed at IBM, this was the place where I would meet my friends for dinner and drinks. I loved it then and I love it now. We had a magnificent time celebrating my son birthday, thank you.

Tags: Fun, Great for Brunch, Good for Anniversaries, Great for Lunch, Business Meals
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

It has become a family tradition to dine ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 27, 2016

It has become a family tradition to dine at Second Empire for a celebration of my husband's birthday, our son & daughter in law's wedding anniversary & my birthday. We have never been disappointed. We always look forward to a great meal & terrific service near the end of August!

Tags: Good for a Date, Worth the Drive, Good for Birthdays, Historic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value3

Food, service, and ambience was perfect ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 27, 2016

Food, service, and ambience was perfect for my wife's birthday. Was our first visit and will be definitely returning in the near future!

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Sunday Lunch, Casual
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Always a lovely evening with exceptional ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 27, 2016

Always a lovely evening with exceptional food, cocktails and service. Thank you for a pleasurable dining experience.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

If you want proper dining experience and ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 26, 2016

If you want proper dining experience and perfectly cooked food this is where you should go.

Tags: Business Meals, Seasonal, Great for Lunch, Quiet Conversation, Romantic, Fireplace, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Tasting Menu, Pre/post Theatre
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Absolutely one of the best in Raleigh. ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 24, 2016

Absolutely one of the best in Raleigh. The food was delicious and the service was the best we have ever had in Raleigh. Very quiet and enjoyable atmosphere.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Tasting Menu, Good for a Date, Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine, Romantic, Authentic, Local Ingredients, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Historic, Quiet Conversation, Business Meals, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Over priced and pretentious would never ...

 
 (Savannah)
·Dined on August 23, 2016

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.

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food2
ambience5
service3
value1

Fantastic experience; welcome, food, win ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 20, 2016

Fantastic experience; welcome, food, wine and service. Highly recommended!

Tags: Local Ingredients, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Notable Wine List, Good for a Date, Cozy, Good for Anniversaries, Quiet Conversation, Fit for Foodies, Gluten Free Options
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

The trout is a must!

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 20, 2016

The trout is a must!

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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

This was my first visit to Second Empire ...

 
 (London)
·Dined on August 20, 2016

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.

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food3
ambience3
service5
value2

Terrific place for a romantic dinner and ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 19, 2016

Terrific place for a romantic dinner and they have an awesome food menu.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Romantic, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Our server was rushed and sloppy. He spi ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 19, 2016

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.

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food3
ambience3
service1

We went for Raleigh Restaurant week. The ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 19, 2016

We went for Raleigh Restaurant week. The portions were so small we had to eat afterwards!

Tags: Special Occasion
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food3
ambience4
service4
value2

I ate there during restaurant week. They ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 19, 2016

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.

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience4
service5
value1

Absolutely terrible. The portions were s ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 19, 2016

Absolutely terrible. The portions were so tiny it was embarassing. Two bits for first course, 2 bites for desert and three bites for dinner.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List
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food1
ambience3
service4
value1

FABULOUS FOOD!!! Loved everything I tas ...

vip
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 19, 2016

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.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Lovely dinner.

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 18, 2016

Lovely dinner.

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food5
ambience5
service5

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