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Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern Details

  • Dining Style: Fine Dining
  • Website: http://www.second-empire.com
  • Phone: (919) 829-3663
  • Hours of Operation: Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm Please note under special requests if you prefer tavern seating instead of the formal main dining room.
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary American, Southern
  • Executive Chef: Daniel Schurr
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • 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: Tracy Thorpe (919) 829-3663

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Harrington St.
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Parking is available on the surrounding streets and 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 and 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.
A word from 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.Continued
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Diner Reviews
  • "We went to Second Empire for our anniversary. The old house is wonderful. We went on a Wednesday night, the night and the upstairs dining room was fairly empty so it was quiet which was very nice. The ambiance was great. My husband didn't love his appetizer but I found mine to be very good, different, but good. Our entree was fabulous! The only thing I was disappointed in was dessert. I thought it just so so. The coffee was excellent which in our experience is rare. Of note; we were surprised by the expense. We are from the NYC area, everything equal we've paid less in Manhattan. So, if you're going to eat here save your pennies. It was a little over $200 for two people, a bottle of wine, apps, entree, tip."
    Dined on 7/2/2014
  • "I would suggest if anyone is visiting for the first time and wanting a special experience, stick with the formal dining rooms. The Tavern is truly casual. Still great food and service but a little casual if you are celebrating a special occasion."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Our dining experience Saturday was exceptional as always. The dinner was outstanding and the food was delicious. I would highly recommend this restaurant."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "There are three qualities that I want when I dine out: Ambience, quality of food, and good service. II Empire meets and exceeds all three of these. I gladly share these findings with many friends and associates."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "My husband and I had a beautiful dining experience. We were celebrating our anniversary And the food and service were a 10. I would recommend this resturant for anyone who loves great food and great service"
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "Had a wonderful Friday evening at Second Empire! We celebrated my daughter's 26th birthday with a perfect dinner! Ate in the Tavern are which was great - can order off both the Tavern and Main dinning room menus. Everything from the appetizers to the desserts was absolutely delicious! Top that off with outstanding service and a beautiful setting - great evening. A bit pricey - but worth it!"
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • "This is hands down a must go to in Raleigh,NC. I went there for my wedding anniversary and was greeted with people congratulating us as well as a signed menu from the chef. The service was a little leggy due to their attention to the customer they are serving at the time. It's not annoying at all because you get to enjoy the wonderful ambiance and feel a sense of importance when they do come to you. THE FOOD WAS AMAZING!!! You might say you found somewhere where the food is equally as good as Second Empire, but you will not say you found a place where the food is better."
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • "Pleasantly surprised. It was great good. I just don't know worth the price."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "Visited on a Tuesday evening to celebrate a special birthday. Attention to detail of each food course was outstanding. The menu selection was not overwhelming (a good thing), but each item offered was unique in some way and prepared in a way you would not find at just any restaurant. The food quality was excellent, and our serving staff was friendly, helpful, and flexible."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "Food was spectacular! service was perfection and staff was very accommodating to the needs of our group"
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "This establishment continues to impress. The food is made to order order ensuring quality. The a"
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "My partner and I dined in the tavern on a Saturday evening. Including us, there were two other tables in the room at which people were dining. The Manager made a point to greet and speak to the folks at the other two tables but not us. I found this a little odd and off-putting. It almost seemed that we were singled out. She should be mindful to not convey this type of message to patrons."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Every time we dine at Second Empire, the service and food are always on point and this weekend was no exception. It was a great setting for a truly special dinner. The Tavern is now my go to place for great food, wine, and service. Keep up the good work!"
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "This was my second visit to Second Empire and it was every bit as enchanting as my first, which was a number of years ago. There’s nothing about the experience that I would change. From the time you walk in the door, you know that you are someplace special and are going to have a delightful evening. From the smile that greets you, to the works of art that a brought to your table on plates. You’re going to love this place. The service is top notch and second to none. All staff members are very professional and expert at their craft. Bottom line, I would come back and have no problem recommending Second Empire to a friend."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Elegant and quiet restaurant in a historic building downtown. The food was very good and the service was diligent. My friend and I both enjoyed the subdued atmosphere where we could here each other talk. It is expensive though."
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "We enjoyed a great meal, and limited conversation with two other couples, who were there for anniversary celebrations. We had a wonderful meal. We will recommend the resturant to friends who want a special place for a special occasion."
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "The scallops were fantastic. Filet special was great. Good French onion soup. Unique desserts."
    Dined on 6/12/2014
  • "Arrived earlier than our dinner reservation, sat down at the tavern for a round. Staff was friendly and courteous. For dinner we were seated in a nice location. Unfortunately we were next to a large group who became very loud. (Restaurant had no control of their volume). It kind of bummed our mood, and made us want to rush to get out of there. HOWEVER the awesome staff did offer to move us, which we greatly appreciated, but did not want to move from our location."
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "The food and the service were great. I would go there again. The scallops and the duck were amazing. Great deserts as well."
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "This was my second time at second empire. Food was just as amazing and delicious as the first. Service and atmosphere was equally incredible!!"
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "Our family had a small gathering in the tavern for Father's Day. Delicious meal & great setting. One member had The Paella & another the duck for something different. Very enjoyable & the service was excellent."
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "Ambiance was lovely but the food was very mediocre for the price. Great service though."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "My fiance asked for a steak dinner for his 30th birthday and I opted not to do the predictable Sullivan's or Angus Barn experience and chose Second Empire. It was super fancy and he felt like a king. They presented him with his own menu signed by the chef, which was a very nice, personal touch. Also, everyone who greeted him throughout the night called him by name and wished him a happy birthday, which I think he really enjoyed. The service was great, but sometimes a little overbearing. As attentive as they were, we weren't quite sure how the second round of wine we asked for got lost in the shuffle, but no biggie. I've been a waiter and things happen. Overall, we loved it and would definitely recommend it for special occasions."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "We were treated with exceptional service and dignity from the moment we walked in the back door. We loved the chef's signature and note on our menu and we noticed later the menu had been dated for our special day. In the past two years we had missed our anniversary outing as life got in the way. This year we wanted it to be extra special and IT WAS. The waiter was so respectful to give us time to enjoy each other and we noticed that. From the wait staff to the impeccable flavors of the appetizers (cerviche) to the cheese board to our entrees to the decadent desserts and wine, we were pleased and honored to be there. We love Second Empire and will be back to enjoy your tavern experience as well. An incredible evening!"
    Dined on 6/11/2014
  • "My wife and I dine here frequently and always have an excellent experience. It is one of Raleigh's greats and has been for years. The food is always delicious, well prepared, and price reasonably for the high quality and portion size you receive. The staff is as professional and passionate as any you will find anywhere. We will be back soon and tell others to go."
    Dined on 6/10/2014
  • "My wife and I went to Second Empire to celebrate our anniversary. We had an outstanding dinner. This is the first time I have given all fives in my review. We were welcomed and congratulated on multiple occasions, as well as given a menu signed by the chef. We had a leek and potato soup for out first course. Our soup had a wonderful maple syrup sausage and corn confit blend. For our entrée, I had the duck and my wife had the lamb. Both were outstanding, with a myriad of different tastes. We shared a key lime pie for desert, and it was deliciousl. Just a delightful evening, especially with the courteous and friendly service from Jeremy and Neal. A real treat, and well worth the two hour round trip to Raleigh."
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "Unbelievable atmosphere, food and service, a trifecta!"
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "Valet Parking please. A little bit expensive for what you get. Salads, cocktails....too expensive Scallops were fabulous. Lamb was fair at best.. Server was busy.Would have liked to have seen her a little more.Cordial. Third time there."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "Really enjoyed Second Empire. First visit with some friends. Food, wine and service excellent. I've traveled extensively and Second Empire compares well with restaurants across the country. I'll certainly return."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "Second empire is always our downtown restaurant of choice for great food for special occasions. We have been there many times and this visit was exactly like the past: great food, attentive and professional service. What we also like is that they do not rush you like other popular restaurants. All in all, another fine meal and we will visit again soon. "
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "Dinner was absolutely perfect. My wife's shrimp and grits were a delight. My filet was cooked perfectly. We chose to eat in the tavern rather than the dining room. Although there is more history in the restaurant, we enjoyed the atmosphere in the tavern. Just a great night."
    Dined on 5/29/2014
  • "Great food and beautiful historic house. Pricey but worth it. "
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "A wonderful dinning experience. Very consistent. Great Wine selection. "
    Dined on 6/5/2014
  • "Everything at this restaurant is excellent. It is pricey, but you should expect that going in to it. They do a great job of mixing different flavors and textures to create unique dishes. Everything that my wife and I had was delicious, except for the desserts. She had the baked Alaska and found that it was just okay. She said that the lemon overpowered all the other flavors. I had the chocolate souffle and I would never order that again. It was flavorless from the cream to the chocolate. I was extremely disappointed in the desserts. Next time we will just go to Hayes Barton since you get twice as much dessert for the same price. Why is filet not a standard steak option on the menu? Do they use it as a "feature" to double the price of it?"
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "I proposed to my girlfriend there. They treated us with such respect and kindness, server was very friendly and knowledgable of the menu and history of second empire. The filet mignogn was mealt in your mouth good! Please go and try it out! "
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "We're been to the Second Empire Tavern a number of times. We find it comfortable, with great food (you can order off the restaurant menu or the tavern menu). You are never rushed - you can take as long as you like OR tell your server that you have to make a curtain time and get your food and eat comfortably in the allotted time. mary"
    Dined on 5/29/2014
  • "Charming facility. Service was good. Food was very good."
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "Recommended by local friends and they were spot on. Best filet I've ever had. I am very specific about how I like it cooked and the chef nailed it. All three courses were delicious and well presented. I will definitely go back when in Raleigh. "
    Dined on 5/28/2014
  • "everytime I go here... I wonder why. food is just average. way too many ingredients to come together as an awesome dish. simplicity would be best here. the actual restaurant is in a historical house... which is very nice. "
    Dined on 3/5/2014
  • "The service was totally outstanding which only made the meal that much greater. "
    Dined on 5/24/2014