Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

  • Dining Style: Fine Dining
  • Website: http://www.second-empire.com/
  • Phone: 9198293663x
  • 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: Southern, Contemporary American
  • 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 9198293663x
  • Special Events: WHITE STREET BREWERY BEER DINNER OCTOBER 8, 2014 AT 6:30PM. Call now to reserve a space!

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.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern reviews from OpenTable diners
249 reviews since May 26, 2014
Overall Rating4.8
  • Food4.7
    Service4.8
  • Ambiance4.7
    Noise LevelModerate
99% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (223)romantic (188)fit for foodies (125)notable wine list (99)neighborhood gem (84)good for groups (45)scenic view (16)hot spot (14)late-night find (10)great for brunch (7)vibrant bar scene (7)great for lunch (7)kid-friendly (4)great for outdoor dining (2)Show More
  • A great experience!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    The staff were cordial and professional, and of course the food was fantastic. I'm not very knowledgeable about wine, but it seemed they had an excellent selection.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • atmosphere
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Your restaurant was beautiful! Our experience was amazing!We were on our second first date! We were a high school couple and and recently reunited 24 years later in hopes to be starting our new lives together. The second empire was a great place to start! We are hoping to come back and visit in the future.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Finally something off my list
    EGent
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    I have been wanting to come to Second Empire for years! We tried a few of the specialty mixed drinks, very good, with generous pours. Fresh bread, great cheese, and well made appetizers. For entree, I had the duck, and my husband had the ocean fresh fish (black grouper). Duck was amazing, fish was meh (a little overcooked). We both had after dinner coffee drinks, very good. KKey lime pie to go was amazing. All in all, I can't wait to go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfect Night
    PerfectNight
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    I brought my boyfriend to Second Empire for his birthday!! It was an absolute perfect place! Our server, Alex, was the most help! Had fantastic recommendations that were to die for! We will definitely be back!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Gem
    Seafoodlover
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    An excellent place for a special occasion. The charm and ambience, along with the excellent service made for a wonderful evening.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good date spot
    DinerDude101
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Great food, quiet restaurant and decent wine selection. Very reasonably priced too for what you get. Highly recommend!
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Very nice
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    Nice ambiance of the old southern house. The services was excellent. The food was excellent, but a little too many sauces for my taste. Good wine list.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Food was wonderful. Presentation taste and flow of service
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfect evening out!
    PeyJack
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    My husband and I have been extremely busy and needed some unplugged time, even if for just a couple of hours. The atmosphere was exactly what we were looking for. We sat upstairs in the dining room-the tavern area below did appear to be a little tighter in terms of personal space so if you are looking for space, make sure you reserve a table upstairs (whereas if you have a larger party, I would definitely suggest the tavern for the appropriate vibe). The food was delicious (we had scallops, grouper and topped it off with key lime pie) and I think very reasonably priced considering the quality coupled with the restaurant ambiance. Service was impeccable as well. Plus the restaurant itself is just beautiful! Definitely recommend!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Superb Evening
    luv2ndempire
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Susan and I agree ... best meal we have ever had. We have spent more in New York, Venice, and New Orleans but never had such a fabulous waitress (and hostess) like Rachel and simply delicious meal.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Impressive
    Bigron
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Took my wife there for her birthday. Everything was nearly perfect! Great place to take your lady! Enjoyed!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Restaurant!!!
    HAPPY4US
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    I will continue to enjoy the experience and the atmosphere that the restaurant provides. The staff are always excellent and the service is always Great. I and my company always enjoy the experience. And will continue to experience the great moments shared at such a great place!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, hot spot, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Our New Favorite Restaurant
    Chip
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    Wow. It couldn't have been better. We enjoyed this experience from the front sidewalk going in to the tour of the historic structure by the manager at the end. The Ribeye steak that I had was perfect. The degree of cooking (medium/medium-rare) was exactly as I wanted. My wife went on the light side with a salad and the soup of the day; both wonderfully prepared. If we return to Raleigh and spend some time there on our next flight out of North Carolina (we live 2 hours away in Wilmington), we'll definitely be back to try some of the other interested menu choices (althought that ribeye was so good I may have trouble choosing something else).
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Creative Food and Presentation
    Jabar
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    We took friends there visiting from Florida. They said it was one of the better restaurants they have been to. The ambiance of the old home just added to the enjoyment of the evening. The food was very good especially the creativeness of the presentation of the sides that accompanied the main course. We each had something different and of course shared. The service was first class. It is definitively worth the few extra $$$$.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A special place for special times!
    jsby
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    This was our second visit to Second Empire. I could not have selected a better place to celebrate my 65th birthday. The food and service were excellent. The presentation of our chosen entrees was second to none. All four of us thoroughly enjoyed our meals. The flavors and preparation were unique. Our server was both knowledgeable and personable. My special occasion was acknowledged with an imprint on my menu. We will definitely return.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great for that special date
    20andStillGoing
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Had our 20th anniversary dinner at Second Empire and they made it a dinner to remember.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Anniversary Date Night
    blspearson
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    Our first time dining here after having several people recommending it to us!! We loved it - food and service were first class!! When I made my reservations online, I mentioned that it was our 36th wedding anniversary - the chef had signed our "personalized" menu. They had printed on our menu - "Happy 36th Wedding Anniversary 08-27-2014" VERY nice touch!!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • AMAZING
    gmarich
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    From the moment you enter you are treated like the most important guest in the restaurant. Would recommend it to anyone living or traveling to Raleigh...
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Best birthday spot
    sofysofi
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    I had a great time at Second Empire, food was good and service was awesome
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • foodtour2014
    foodtouring
    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.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • romantic and enjoyable
    yummy
    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!!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Just ok
    Out2eat
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Just very small portions hubby was grateful for excellent bread
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Overall OK
    BethLVIP
    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.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great service and goof food
    John
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Great ambience and service. Food variety good. Reasonable priced wine selections with many choices.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Outstanding in every way
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Not Boring
    Soody
    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
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointed
    Smartmove123VIP
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Service was great!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A little disappointing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    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.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best restaurant ever
    Kenyan
    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.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not What We Thought It Would Be
    ThatCoupleVIP
    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.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    Second time there and both times were great. Would like to try your Tavern next time.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Waited 30 minutes past our reservation for the seating area I requested. After that, everything was amazing. Drinks, food, service all extremely good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Tavern was awesome
    BdayVIP
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • RaleighDave
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Best night ever
    GirlNPink
    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.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sweetdate
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    It was a dinning experience. It is a great place to take a special friend.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • rick
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Perfect
    CEW3
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate