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/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

5
4
3
2
1

4.7

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.7

service

4.8

ambience

4.7

noise

Moderate

98% 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
11 More
Best Ambiance
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
Romantic
Raleigh
Special Occasion
Raleigh
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romantic (179)
fit for foodies (102)
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notable wine list (75)
neighborhood gem (50)
good for groups (42)
late-night find (13)
hot spot (10)
vibrant bar scene (10)
scenic view (8)
great for lunch (8)
great for brunch (6)
 (5)
 (4)
 (4)
kid-friendly (2)
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1859 reviews
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food5
ambience5
service5

Service was great. Food was great.

Dined 2 days ago

Service was great. Food was great.

food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Bob from Wake Forest

Dined 3 days ago

The food was excellent and the service was extremely professional. Could not have found a better place to celebrate my birthday with my wife.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Our waitress Cheyenne was spectacular. S ...

Dined 3 days ago

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.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food4
ambience3
service5
value4

The waiter was excellent. The Food was g ...

Dined 3 days ago

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

Tags: romantic
food5
ambience5
service5

Food and service is always excellent

vip
Dined 4 days ago

Food and service is always excellent

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Everything was exceptional. The NY Stri ...

Dined 4 days ago

Everything was exceptional. The NY Strip Steak was one of, if not, the best ever.

Tags: romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great date night dinner!

Dined on May 19, 2016

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!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Anniversary Celebration

Dined on May 19, 2016

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!

Tags: romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Fabulous food. One of the best gems we d ...

Dined on May 19, 2016

Fabulous food. One of the best gems we discovered. The service, ambience, the visual presentation of the food, and the taste was superb.

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The service and food were outstanding! ...

Dined on May 17, 2016

The service and food were outstanding! Everyone went out of there way to congratulate us on our special occasion!

Tags: romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Incredible experience. The bartender in ...

Dined on May 15, 2016

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.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
food5
ambience4
service5

Delicious food and exceptional service - ...

Dined on May 14, 2016

Delicious food and exceptional service - just extremely quiet, almost uncomfortable quiet. But will definitely be going back. Swordfish and filet were amazing!

food4
ambience4
service5
value4

We had a lovely evening celebrating birt ...

Dined on May 14, 2016

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!

Tags: romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The best in Raleigh - it our favorite re ...

vip
Dined on May 13, 2016

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.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5

Great attention to detail from the staff ...

Dined on May 13, 2016

Great attention to detail from the staff.

food4
ambience4
service4
value4

A find that was staring at me all along.

Dined on May 12, 2016

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

Tags: romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Perfect location for a special weekday event

Dined on May 11, 2016

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.

Tags: romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience4
service5
value3

Great

vip
Dined on May 10, 2016

Booked this restaurant while visiting from out of town. Service was quick and food was excellent.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion
food4
ambience4
service4
value3

pleasant dining

Dined on May 7, 2016

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.

Tags: special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Not only was the food delicious but the ...

Dined on May 7, 2016

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.

Tags: good for groups, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5

Second Empire has been on my list of res ...

Dined on May 7, 2016

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!

food5
ambience5
service5

Delicious dishes, fantastic service (alt ...

Dined on May 7, 2016

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.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Year-aversary date

Dined on May 5, 2016

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.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Absolutely wonderful

Dined on May 3, 2016

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.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Terrific Tavern Dining

vip
Dined on April 30, 2016

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.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great food!

Dined on April 30, 2016

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!

Tags: romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience2
service5
value4

Worth the Trip

Dined on April 30, 2016

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.

Tags: romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great historic location

Dined on April 30, 2016

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.

Tags: romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

UPSTAIRS AT SECOND EMPIRE

Dined on April 28, 2016

IT IS A BEAUTIFUL RESTAURANT AND FIVE-STAR ALL THE WAY. THE FOOD AND SERVICE WERE SUPERB.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Genuine Service and a Great Kitchen

Dined on April 27, 2016

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.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience4
service3

One of my favs. But for whatever reason, ...

Dined on April 27, 2016

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.

food5
ambience5
service5

Second Empire never disappoints. The bui ...

Dined on April 26, 2016

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.

food5
ambience3
service5
value3

Absolutely positively outstanding. Vaugh ...

vip
Dined on April 26, 2016

Absolutely positively outstanding. Vaughn, our waiter, and his team were incredible. Second Empire has never disappointed.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Excellent atmosphere and food

Dined on April 24, 2016

Excellent atmosphere and food. Will definitely go back again and take family.

Tags: romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service4
value4

Great food, wonderful service.

Dined on April 22, 2016

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.

Tags: special occasion
food4
ambience5
service4
value4

Ranks in my top 5

Dined on April 22, 2016

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.

Tags: romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

ONE WORD: EXCELLENT.

Dined on April 21, 2016

Excellent food; Excellent service; Excellent atmosphere. Would highly recommend.

Tags: romantic, special occasion
food4
ambience5
service5

We made a last minute reservation for ou ...

Dined on April 21, 2016

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.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Foodie

Dined on April 19, 2016

Alex was a fantastic server. Very polite and knowledgeable. He took very good care of us throughout the evening.

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion
food3
ambience4
service4
value3

Overall a nice time and meal

vip
Dined on April 16, 2016

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.

Tags: romantic, special occasion

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