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 Dining, 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
Great service makes any food taste bette ...
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!
First of all this is a beautiful spot fo ...
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.
We had an absolute wonderful time. The f ...
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.
We celebrated the upcoming marriage of o ...
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!
We dine ar Second Empire fairly often an ...
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.
Enjoyed a special dinner in this unique ...
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.
Each course had fresh ingredients, maste ...
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.
Took my wife there for her birthday whil ...
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!
We had six in our party. the service was ...
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.
My husband and I were celebrating our we ...
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.
We went to celebrate a special occasion. ...
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.
We enjoyed our evening there, but we're ...
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.
It has become a family tradition to dine ...
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!
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.
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