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
We fully enjoyed our meal and would high ...
We fully enjoyed our meal and would highly recommend this restaurant. The house wines (Amarone and Pino Grigo) were excellent. Excellent presentation and very attentive service. Price was reasonable for a quality restaurant in a state capital.
Extremely attentive and efficient staff ...
Extremely attentive and efficient staff that was very knowledgeable about the menu and wine selections. The food presentation is only surpassed by the wonderful taste of this classically trained Chef's menu. The layout of the restaurant located in a mid-19th century house gives one the feeling of privacy and seclusion but is never forgotten by the multi-person team that is assigned to insure your dining experience is superb. Second Empire rivals any restaurant I have dined in while living in Colorado and California as well as numerous Michelin-starred eateries I've had the pleasure of visiting in my twenty years in Europe.
The food, location, service, ...just eve ...
The food, location, service, ...just everything was outstanding. The entrees are exceptional with a variety of flavors expertly blended. You will have more than enough to eat. You can share a starter with no problems as you will be very satisfied when you leave. My wife and I had the crab cakes and grouper (hook of the day) and it was some of the best while still in the 'reasonable' price range. Don't forget to let the staff know that you have a special occasion and they have a surprise gift for you.
Excellent intimate atmosphere. The chees ...
Excellent intimate atmosphere. The cheese plate was very good and had unique variety. Ample wine list to compliment their menu. Service was exceptional without being overbearing. Pace of the meal allowed you to enjoy your company. Only criticism would be the attempt at mingling too many flavors in a dish inhibits potential of the dish.
Overall, I would not hesitate to make a second reservation.
We were pretty disappointed for a $200 d ...
We were pretty disappointed for a $200 dinner. Honestly, I think this is one of those "over hyped" type of places. Service was very slow, but when we were visited by the waiter we felt rushed. We will keep on without returning to this restaurant. Don't fall prey to the high marks like we did.
We ate here to celebrate my father in la ...
We ate here to celebrate my father in law's 85th birthday. The staff was so attentive and went out of their way to wish him a happy birthday almost every time they passed our table! The food was absolutely delicious as well - definitely try the lemon blueberry bread pudding for dessert! We will definitely be back!
We ate here for my husbands birthday. Wh ...
We ate here for my husbands birthday. While we have been here before, those visits were company dinners. So it was nice to come just the two of us. Our waiter was very attentive and knowledgeable about the menu and gave us great recommendations- especially the dessert!! My husband received a menu signed by the chef and a free dessert for his birthday! Once again- you did not disappoint!
Food and service was great. But I rated ...
Food and service was great. But I rated the ambiance fair b/c of a strong and offputting smell down in the tavern/atrium area, as if the kitchen is not venting properly to the outside. Noticed for second time there.
My tuna appetizer was a wonderful explos ...
My tuna appetizer was a wonderful explosion of flavor. My wife loved her salad and crabcake entree. I had the filet which was beautifully presented and incredibly tender. My only criticism is the steak was not as flavorful as I would have expected. It was a little bland. Overall, we greatly enjoyed our dinner as we celebrated my wife's birthday.
The service was very personal and specia ...
The service was very personal and special for the celebration of our 32nd anniversary! We were seated at a lovely table by a bay window (as requested) with a sweet view of a church steeple and neighborhood. The staff were all very personable and warm; giving attention to detail. The food was very fresh and attractively presented. We were given a menu with our name and anniversary date printed at the top along with the chefs signature. It was a lovely evening!!
Thank you again for a wonderful meal! On ...
Thank you again for a wonderful meal! One of the appetizers, the gravlax, was outstanding...we are still talking about it! We tried the duck for the first time there, it was served with a port sauce, and it was excellent.
We had a lovely meal and excellent servi ...
We had a lovely meal and excellent service at Second Empire. We were celebrating a birthday and the chef signed a copy of the menu for us to take home. The food was innovative and delicious. It's nice to be in a place where people are not wearing jeans and flip flops. It feels elegant and worth the price.
Our 34th wedding anniversary was spent d ...
Our 34th wedding anniversary was spent dining at Second Empire. This was a new experience for us as it was our first visit. My wife is an Interior Decorator and was very pleased with the decor and ambiance. We could enjoy excellent food and carry on a discussion without screaming at each other. The Staff were attentive, personable and knowledgeable. I appreciated the venue manager coming to our table to visit with us for a minute or two. I would highly recommend Second Empire for any special occasion. We took a peek downstairs at the Tavern and decided we will go back in the near future because it seemed like a great place to meet friends, have a drink and enjoy a casual meal.
the service and ambiance was wonderful. ...
the service and ambiance was wonderful. Everything we ordered was disappointing. the app was the spring roll, it was ok, but something funky tasting in it.. our entrees were the duck which was really fatty and the filet which i ordered med rare and it came out med well. it was still flavorful but still not what i wanted. our bill came to 125 bucks which since our food was disappointing the bill was as well. the environment of it was cool and the service was great but i would not return due to the food. This was our anniversary .
This was my first time to this restauran ...
This was my first time to this restaurant and it's a great find. Excellent menu and all our dishes were excellent. Best Australian lamb I have had, and I'm Australian. The meals were excellent value for money. The parking was tough. You guys need a valet service to solve this.
One of my favorite restaurants in Raleig ...
One of my favorite restaurants in Raleigh in a restored Victorian home! Charming. Very creative menus. Fine dining upstairs in intimate rooms with fireplaces or downstairs in the Tavern with a more 'clubby' feel. Two separate menus for the two venues. Great wine list with lots of 'glass' options.
Restaurant was beautiful. We sat on the ...
Restaurant was beautiful. We sat on the first floor. Food was great however, our service wasn't what we thought it would be. Everyone raved about the level of service but we just thought it was sub par. Waitress was nice and informative but she seemed busy and the young kids who handled the extras (bread, water, coffee) weren't really attentive at all. Had to ask for extra bread, water, warm coffee. I also asked the hostess as soon as we got there that I parked in a lot that had a code to it, so I can pay online. I didn't realize this until I got in the restaurant so I simply asked her if she or anyone else knew the code since it was close by. She never got back to me to let me know either way.
All good but the chef likes to push too ...
All good but the chef likes to push too quickly to turn the tables. Unless you are in a hurry, order one step at a time AFTER you finish each course. No dress code so you will see suits and golf attire with shorts which lowers the classiness. Service is among best I have experienced in 65 countries. Attention to detail flawless. Waiters and hostess made it more memorable than the food which was surprising. Advice: BYO Wine, go slow, share courses to enjoy them all, relax for 2 hours and tip 20 to 30 percent if they keep you happy.
First time visit. Was an early Father's ...
First time visit. Was an early Father's Day celebration. Food was wonderful. Service was so nice and knew what we needed before we did. Only one issue. My husband ordered Cream Brûlée and I ordered Chocolate Souffle for dessert and they both seemed under-done. Overall though, this would not deter us from coming back. We have been wanting to dine here for awhile and know we will be back. Thank you
This was my third visit to this restaura ...
This was my third visit to this restaurant. I have never been disappointed. Food and service has always been excellent. We live about 65 miles away, but whenever we need to be in Raleigh for anything we try to have dinner at the Second Empire. I would highly recommend this excellent restaurant to anyone who appreciates fine food served in style.
The Second Empire is one of my favorite ...
The Second Empire is one of my favorite restaurants. The menu,which changes seasonally, is always interesting. The wait staff is knowledgeable and their service is friendly and polished. For quiet dining, we go to the restaurant. For a more lively night out, we go to The Tavern.
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