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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, 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: Marilyn Akers (919) 829-3663

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Harrington St.
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • 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.
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
  • "I had a great time at Second Empire, food was good and service was awesome"
    Dined on 8/23/2014
  • "We went as a result of the downtown Raleigh restaurant week. We had never tried 2nd Empire; it was a very neat experience as well as delicious food."
    Dined on 8/23/2014
  • "This is a great place for adults to share a fabulous special occasion, like we did for our 20th wedding anniversary. Great service, great food, no rushing, low to no noise. Thanks for a great evening and a hand signed menu from the chef!!"
    Dined on 8/23/2014
  • "Just very small portions hubby was grateful for excellent bread"
    Dined on 8/23/2014
  • "We attended during restaurant week. Overall, it was a nice dinner, but we felt misled that it was more a "tasting menu" than an actual meal to enjoy. We were encouraged by our waitress to order a cheese tray or extra apps, as the meal portions served for restaurant week were very small. We ordered the 30.00 cheese plate to supplement our meal. The smoked salmon salad was dry and underwhelming and the mixed green salad was very plain. Both were a small bit of greens centered in a small plate. The fish main course was 3 ounces. Literally as big as a fifty cent piece. Nice, but gone in 3 bites. (The choices were fish, sausage or chicken.) Desserts looked like mini-cupcakes. Based on this experience, not sure we would return."
    Dined on 8/23/2014
  • "Great ambience and service. Food variety good. Reasonable priced wine selections with many choices."
    Dined on 8/22/2014
  • "Great dining experience! Our party of 4 especially appreciated the generously-sized tables--no crowding here--and spacious, elegant dining room. Well worth the regular prices, and an amazing value during Downtown Restaurant Week."
    Dined on 8/22/2014
  • "We loved Second Empire. The menus were not the usual fare we see. Our selections were all delicious, particularly the clams(appetizer) and meatballs(entree). We will definitely go back"
    Dined on 8/22/2014
  • "I was here on a special date, and found the Raleigh Restaurant Week Menu to be disappointing. I've been here before and the menu for that night was very limiting, and not a representative of the potentially great food here."
    Dined on 8/21/2014
  • "Waiters and Manager were attentive to our needs. The presentation of the food was excellent! I plan to go back to this place - even if it is not Restaurant Week."
    Dined on 8/20/2014
  • "The ambience was unique. The service was friendly and attentive - just the right amount of "hovering". The salad was fair, nothing unique. Nothing but lettuce leaves. Fish entrée was marginal. The biggest disappointment was the pace of the service - almost felt like fast-food. Not enough time to really enjoy the ambience. Felt like the goal was to turn over as many tables as possible and not to provide a unique dinning experience. Enjoyed the wine. After hearing so much about the restaurant we were disappointed."
    Dined on 8/20/2014
  • "Great service, romantic ambiance, very tasty food. Just the best place to be with my lovely wife for our anniversary celebration."
    Dined on 8/20/2014
  • "We tried this restaurant for the prix fixe menu. The salad, entrees, and dessert were delicious. We asked to change to a different table, and staff complied cheerfully. We would have dinner here again and explore the full menu, including desserts."
    Dined on 8/19/2014
  • "We both agreed that the service was impeccable from the moment we walked in to the time we left. Our only thing was the food was under whelming. We did not experience a WOW. We may have set our expectations up too high."
    Dined on 8/19/2014
  • "Second time there and both times were great. Would like to try your Tavern next time."
    Dined on 8/19/2014
  • "Waited 30 minutes past our reservation for the seating area I requested. After that, everything was amazing. Drinks, food, service all extremely good."
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "We had dinner downstairs in the tavern next to the bar. The food, cocktails and wine list was EXCEPTIONAL as usual. You can order off both the tavern or main dining menu and enjoy a more casual atmosphere."
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "Very good experience here. Excellent food. Great service. Not really pricey for what you get. It's a no brainer."
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "My husband brought me to Second Empire before we went to the Josh Groban concert. Everyone at SE was so friendly and professional. They really made us feel special. The food and wine was delicious. Everything was perfect! We are definitely coming back. Thank you for help making it the best night ever."
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "It was a dinning experience. It is a great place to take a special friend."
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "The atmosphere and the food is always superb, but the service was not up to the usual standards. Not bad, just average, but you come to expect more from Second Empire!"
    Dined on 8/14/2014
  • "I had my retirement dinner at Second Empire and everything was first rate. I want to retire again so I can go back next week."
    Dined on 8/14/2014
  • "What a terrific place for a special occasion, like an anniversary. The choice of restaurants was a surprise to my wife. When we arrived by Raleigh Rickshaw, she was immediately captured by the appearance and took a series of pictures of the beautiful exterior. I used the "message to staff" feature, so the staff acknowledged our special occasion and even provided a personalized menu, signed by the chef (nice touch). The menu had many excellent choices, but the Lamb & Sweet Breads was perfect for my wife. We both had the Rabbit and Beet salad. Nice presentation and mouth watering flavors. We split the bread pudding and savored each bite. We had an outstanding dining experience on our memorable occasion."
    Dined on 8/8/2014
  • "We went to Second Empire to celebrate our wedding anniversary. The chef autographed our menu and the menu had. Happy Anniversary and our names written on it. Our waiter was prompt and attentive. I had the crab cakes and highly recommend this dish. Pure crab, no fillers with just the right amount of filling. Make sure you save room for their chocolate soufflé! Heaven! Highly recommend this neighborhood gem in downtown Raleigh!"
    Dined on 8/6/2014
  • "Great choice for birthday celebration. Ambience was wonderful--much quieter than most restaurants. There was a rather loud party next to us, however, they left shortly after we arrived. Service outstanding and the food was delicious."
    Dined on 8/5/2014
  • "Outstanding food, great ambiance and phenomenal service!"
    Dined on 8/5/2014
  • "For some reason the meats that I ordered were dry and tough. Not what you would expect from a restaurant of this star rating. Maybe it was just a bad night for the kitchen staff."
    Dined on 8/5/2014
  • "Delicious and great staff! Been to the best restaurants from all over the world. Look forward to returning for more. Thank You"
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "The chef signed a menu with my name printed at the top because it was a birthday dinner. Nice touch that showed they care about special events."
    Dined on 8/1/2014
  • "I've been to Second Empire several times, and we always enjoy the food and service. But it is darn expensive. I like the tavern, but this time it was too loud and we had to move. The upstairs is a bit stuffy, so it's too bad there isn't a happy "in between.""
    Dined on 7/31/2014
  • "This restaurant instantly hit the top of my favorite restaurants. Excellent food, service, and atmosphere! It was my anniversary and the chef have us a personalized menu with his signature right on it. Excellent experience! Would recommend this restaurant even to people i don't know!"
    Dined on 7/29/2014
  • "The restaurant added nice touches to our anniversary dinner. Surprisingly each of the wait staff knew about it and expressed anniversary wishes. A commemorative menu was used with our names on it . The food was wonderful and not rushed. A really pleasant evening! Thanks."
    Dined on 7/29/2014
  • "This is our number one choice to bring any of our out of town guests and family. We love the ambiance but even more the fantastic food. It is so hard to choose an entrée as they are all so good! Great variety that is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. The service is great, very attentive but not annoying so. The roasted red pepper and cauliflower soup was incredible. I could have made a meal out of just that! I am still thinking about the crab cake with curry sauce. It was so delicious! There was so much crab meat just barely held together. I would have never thought to add a curry sauce to this dish but I have to say it was phenomenal. Can't wait to go back!"
    Dined on 7/26/2014
  • "We made last minute dinner plans for my wife's birthday and invited some friend to join us. Second Empire was a great experience! I can't believe we have not visited until now. We will definitely be back. The service was top knotch. The food was savory and delicious!"
    Dined on 7/26/2014
  • "A perfect place to celebrate life's special private moments. An intimate dining experience with consistently wonderful food, attentive service and a romantic atmosphere."
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "This is the annual birthday dinner spot each and every year"
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "We found Second Empire online while looking for places to go in Raleigh. Friends in NC had heard great things about it but had never been. The house is gorgeous, the service exemplary and the food is amazing. The presentation is beautiful and the flavor combinations are so creative. If it were polite to lick our plates we would have done so. We had Citrus Shrimp and Rabbit as our two appetizers. Both beautiful and delicious. Then we had duck and grouper as our entrees. The duck and accompanying tartlet and sauces were beyond delicious! The grouper was flaky and light complimented with the perfect sides and sauces. We were so full but still made room for the Cherry Apple Cobbler Bread Pudding. The perfect finish for an incredible meal.Wow!"
    Dined on 7/24/2014
  • "the swordfish was a bit dry and almost tasteless (my tastebuds weren't up for it?), but swordfish has a subtle flavor at best. the relish and greens that came with the swordfish were outstanding, as was the appetizer (cheeses) and the dessert (cherry apple crumb... and chocolate). Nice atmosphere, neat building."
    Dined on 7/23/2014
  • "This was a fine dining experience. The service was impeccable, and the food was fabulous. We had wonderful wine and enjoyed a great evening with friends. Thanks to the staff for making it special!"
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "We went to celebrate my wife's birthday at a quiet dinner for just the two of us. We are "pescatarians." The chef called to review the availability of fish. We had a 3 cheese plate as an hors d'oeuvre; shrimp ceviche; I had grilled swordfish and my wife the red grouper. Everything was excellent. Rachel was an excellent and attentive server. The Charles Krug Cabernet hit the spot. Having eaten at fine restaurants around the world, this is a World Class place here at home!"
    Dined on 7/19/2014