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, French, 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

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
242 reviews since July 2, 2014
Overall Rating4.8
  • Food4.7
    Service4.8
  • Ambiance4.8
    Noise LevelModerate
99% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (222)romantic (183)fit for foodies (136)notable wine list (97)neighborhood gem (78)good for groups (43)hot spot (17)scenic view (12)vibrant bar scene (10)late-night find (9)great for lunch (6)great for brunch (6)kid-friendly (4)Show More
  • Fine Dining
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    The overall experience that we had was amazing, great good, awesome service, and a nice quite romantic evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Outstanding!
    Yummm
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    Amazing food (all 4 courses)! Beautiful atmosphere! Outstanding wait staff!! Everyone who works there was so pleasant. Made for a great evening.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Magical experience!
    wolfpackleah
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    Second Empire was incredible! We just celebrated our 5 year anniversary there and I can't wait to go back. Amazing food, amazing service, amazing atmosphere. The duck and swordfish entrees were unbelievable. Definitely start with the mussels though!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • WahooVIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Overall food & service were very good. My wife's paella was excellent; my meatballs were a bit too rare for my taste, but the dish itself was innovative and good. We will go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Exceptional!!
    jsby
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    This was our third visit to Second Empire. The wait staff is well-versed in what is offered, polite, patient, and fine ambassadors for this great venue. The food selection is phenomenal and well presented. Both of our choices were tasty and well prepared. We will return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • All Around Fantastic
    eatitall4fun
    Dined on 10/16/2014
    Everything about this restaurant was great. I had a speciacial occasion so I went in the day before and spoke with the Manager Nicole. She made sure that everything was perfect. There's no doubt she treats everyone the same, but I felt appreciated her commitment to me. I can't say enough to it justice. Wes
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Never disappoints
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/16/2014
    Always exceptional. Can't wait til the next occasion.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Perfect
    flyinsolo
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    Went for anniversary- could not have been better. Great food, great service and beautiful building!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Wonderful
    Lboh07
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    We had a reservation but unfortunately the couple before is did not want to leave, since it was our 10 year anniversary the staff was saving the bay window for us. We ended up waiting 30 minutes but we were sent to the tavern downstairs and my what a gem down there. The bar tender made me the best vodka martini I have ever had! And I've had my share fair of martini's. On to dinner, the off menu appetizers were amazing. My entree? Which was the lamb rib rack with sweetbreads was phenomenal. My husband has the off the hook special which was unfortunately not that great, the fish was over cooked and dry and covered with an over buttery sauce. But aside from that we had a wonderful time and the wine list was excellent
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A special place to eat
    LeighB
    Dined on 10/8/2014
    Second Empire has the reputation it does for a reason - the food was absolutely delicious, the service was just about the best we've ever had from start to finish (Padma is a fantastic server), and we found the price to be very reasonable given all of the above. It's a special occasion spot - especially the upstairs, where we ate, which is very refined and "fancy" - but we will certainly be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/8/2014
    Very attentive and friendly wait staff. Over all experience was great food and good times.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent
    Luv2Dine2
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    Excellent place to eat on a special occasion or if you are looking for fine cuisine and ambiance.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    The service was great, the duck was not. The first course and desert were excellent.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    Excellent food and service. This is the first restaurant we found that we will come back to again
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always a special evening
    DaveVIP
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    One of our favorites in Raleigh, and the best choice for a special occasion. Upstairs is more formal, and downstairs is more casual, but make sure you look at both menus as you can choose from either one which makes for some great choices. Wine list is flexible to not break the bank if you don't want to. Always worth the money for a special occasion at Second Empire.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Nice place
    Gnaff9093
    Dined on 10/2/2014
    We got a private room even though we didn't meet the minimum requirements. That was a treat. It was downstairs, wish I had gotten a tour since this was my first visit there and only saw our private dining room. Maybe next time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Tops in Raleigh
    RaleighWally
    Dined on 10/1/2014
    From the moment we arrived, we knew we were in for a great dining experience. The beautiful, historic old house, the attentive & knowledgable wait staff, the charm & elegance inside the multiple dining rooms...it was all great. The quality of the food & the presentation were excellent. Three of us had the black grouper special. It was wonderful. We had been to Second Empire 7 or 8 years ago & enjoyed it, but felt that it was expensive & that it was only for special occasions. But after this visit Second Empire will be one our regular downtown restaurants. Prices are very reasonable for this quality, with only two entres over $30. We will be back with friends to Second Empire very soon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    We had a great time and experience and will recommend it to everybody I know
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great dining experience
    James
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Being a fine dining establishment, Second Empire really hits the mark on all your expectations. The servers were extremely warm, polite, and knowledgeable about the menu. The from the foie gras to the torte, every dish was well prepared. The restaurant itself is beautiful and you creates a feeling reverence for the space. Second Empire is a great dining experience and I would highly recommend going for a special occasion or if you're just looking to treat yourself to some fine dining.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • grand, opulent dining room
    samt
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    outstanding wine lists, excellent and large meat dishes, interesting and subtle flavors, impeccable service
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • taste with your eyes
    table42
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    Spectacular dining experience! With each bite, the flavors meld more and more together. The cioppino, paella and swordfish are highly recommended!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great evening
    rlhughes501
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    Beautiful setting, great food, and very nice atmosphere. Our server, Jeremy, was very knowledgable and very helpful. The service was excellent. Second Empire is all you would expect for a special occasion.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Special Occasion Restaurant
    AnniversaryDinner
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    We went for our 8th Wedding Anniversary and had a fabulous time. The food was delectable, the ambiance lovely and service top notch. We highly recommend Second Empire for any special occasion.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A great experience!
    Stevegenic
    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
    secondfirstdate
    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
  • Awesome place & good food
    wsnyy0611
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    This is the 2nd time dine there, the first time was a year ago. That is an awesome place--very stylish and fancy old house. The service is great. The food tastes good, but not as great as it was a year ago. Maybe the chief is changed, although the menu stays the same. Overall, highly recommend this place to couples or families who are looking for special events or fine dining.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Second empire for special occasion
    Lisa
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    We celebrated our wedding anniversary with dinner at Second Empire. The restaurant made it very special with a signed menu and message from the chef. The restaurant is located in a historical home. We were seated in a beautiful alcove by the window. The food and service was top notch! Loved the citris shrimp salad and the grouper. Leave room for their award winning key lime pie...de-lish!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • 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
  • Historic fine dining in comfort
    Faith
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    What a beautiful setting and elegant feeling as you walk up to the property. We approached from the side street, which upon return to our car, I was intrigued by the "pub" on the street level and would love to return and try the ambience there as well! The dining room menu has many choices, and they are most happy to accommodate any allergy/diet needs. You won't be disappointed as you first feast with your eyes! The service was so personal and lovely.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • 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.