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: (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: 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
226 reviews since July 23, 2014
Overall Rating4.8
  • Food4.7
    Service4.8
  • Ambiance4.8
    Noise LevelModerate
99% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (204)romantic (169)fit for foodies (124)notable wine list (85)neighborhood gem (69)good for groups (41)hot spot (15)vibrant bar scene (11)scenic view (11)late-night find (8)great for brunch (4)kid-friendly (3)great for lunch (2)Show More
  • Favorite Raleigh Restaurant
    Lynn
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    We went to Second Empire to celebrate our anniversary and can't wait to go back. Every dish was delicious and had a unique blend of flavors.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012VIP
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    It is located in a beautiful historic home, and the atmosphere is classic. We were there for a birthday, and Second Empire did a good job of making it special. Service was professional. Our lead server, was very good and communicated specials, food options, etc. well on our first visit. Dishes were well prepared. Flavor was layered in at every level, ingredients were fresh. My duck was cooked perfectly. Scallops were wonderful and fresh. If you are a crab cake fan, theirs is one of the best I have had. We had a vegetarian in are party, and they had options not on the menu. Bar is tight, but nice.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Proposal dinner
    Theproposal
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    I chose this place to propose to my girlfriend at. I was looking for a nice restaurant in Raleigh, and this one won me over. I was skeptical about the food, and the price. However, I was not let down on anything. The food was amazing, both the first course and the entree. I will say, they give you a TON of food in that restaurant. I was practically full off the first course alone. However the food was great, we requested a more secluded area and got it right away. I will admit the restaurant was slightly loaded that I expected however, that comes with the territory. If you stick a couple hundred people in a house, you're bound to have some noise. They were very accommodating for everything. They helped my photographer out with the whole ordeal. They also didn't mind what so ever that he was out and about taking pictures around the beautiful home.
    Special Features:
    romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Especially Special!
    DeliciousVIP
    Dined on 11/13/2014
    How can I describe adequately the wonderful ambience, friendly efficient staff and delicious food we experienced at the Second Empire Tavern? The Tavern appeals to us because it is casual and best suits our personalities. My husband loves to joke and the staff were so kind to take the time to listen and interact with us on a personal level. The restaurant was busy but their efficiency did not suffer as they are well-trained and professional. The food was amazing and the variety of flavors in each dish were delicious and well partnered. We will be returning to Second Empire very soon. It was a perfect experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Special Night
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/11/2014
    I felt very welcomed at Second Empire and the staff was very intentive to us. They made the night special as we celebrated our engagement. The chef signed the dinner menu for that night. It was very special.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/6/2014
    We had a great time celebrating my wife's birthday. She enjoyed her Duck and I enjoyed my Steak. The drinks were good and we all loved the bread!!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Pleasantly surprised
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/6/2014
    I have been to many highly star rated restaurants, but moving from CA and NY, my expectations were low. Needless to say, my expectations were greatly surpassed by Second Empire. The food was fresh and prepared excellently. Service was right on point and very attentive. We will definitely come back to try other items on the menu.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Anniversary Dinner
    Barry
    Dined on 11/5/2014
    We had a wonderful dinner at Second Empire. food and ambiance were both 10's.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Loved our evening
    LeslieK
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    We loved our evening at 2nd Empire. As always, the food was extraordinary! Our service was top notch. There was a vibrant table near us that was a little distracting. Other than that it was a perfect experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Romantic Dining at it's Finest
    Hope2goAgain
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    Our dining experience was all that we had hoped it would be: private, romantic and delicious. I've been in the area many years now and have always wanted to have the experience to dine in a historic home. It was every bit as wonderful as I'd imagined. We felt like we had gone back in time and much of the time had the entire upstairs room to ourselves. The service was exceptional. I ordered the soup and the steak fillet; both were very good. The steak was so tender and juicy. Someone else at our table ordered the shrimp. The presentation was eye catching and my friend said it was incredible. This beautifully appointed home is not only clean and elegant. Must try.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fine Dining
    Ztg56
    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.