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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 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
  • "Second Empire is a great place to take a date or hold an intimate special occasion. Food is exceptional, service is helpful and never in your face."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "i went to this restaurant for two reasons - its architecture and its reputation for fine food. the staff made sure i felt connected by chatting with me, but not to the point of annoyance. the scallops were heavenly, and the semifreddo was memorable! it was such a treat to be surrounded by both second empire and victorian details, which the staff were well-versed in. if ever i'm in raleigh again, i will be back!"
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "We sat in the main dining room at table 22, the food and the service was outstanding. We both had the scallops and they were amazing. The sauce was full of flavor, the scallops were tender and artfully prepared. The presentation was superb. I would definitely return. We also enjoyed the dessert, I had apple cherry bread pudding and my friend had the chocolate mousse. Both were delectable. The overall dining experience was beyond compare and the prices were very reasonable for this type of fine dining. Hat's off to Second Empire, a truly magical place!"
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "We were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. The service was excellent and the food was delicious. The setting was perfect for our desire to enjoy a quiet setting. We will return."
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "I have been to Second Empire times, both for special occasions, romantic dinners as well as business dinners. With different ambiance to choose from whether upstairs or downstairs, the food is always excellent and the service is perfect. Its probably the best in Raleigh."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "Food was very inventive, ultra fresh, absolutely delicious surprises on the palate, very well prepared and hot! Crepe starter with fava beans and leeks topped with pork belly and monk fish was delicious and could stand alone or with either the seafood or the p. belly topping. Foie gras was delicious and hard to find anymore, so really enjoyed it. The duck is very popular and for good reason. This is beautiful historic setting with beautiful interiors so great ambiance. We recommend enjoying it rather than trying the chef's table experience. Wines recommended were perfect accompaniment to each course. The lower priced downstairs tavern, whose food comes from this same kitchen, lessens hit on wallet. Chocolate souffle was delicious."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "This was our first visit here and it was a special occasion. Food was very good. Monkfish appetizer was overcooked . They used a lot of ingredients but they did not always complement the food. Very good but could have been better for sure. One thing that was outstanding was he chocolate soufflé! Simply\wonderful!"
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "We visit Second Empire often. It is consistent and never fails to impress. Have never had a bad dish."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "Took my wife for our 39th wedding anniversary. Great food, great service!!!"
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "Dined in upstairs restaurant, we enjoy the lower noise level compared with the tavern. I had the mussels and the grouper, sauce and gnocchi were tasty for the former and fish was absolutely fresh tasting and skillfully prepared. My wife opted for polenta and the halibut. Again both were well prepared. Finished with bread pudding, lighter than many others. Server, Rachel, was great and staff very attentive."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "I had an excellent experience. The staff was attentive and friendly and treated my partner and I with the utmost respect and courtesy. Thank you immensely for making this date night such a success from the reservation to verifying the reservation to the excellent service and food we received!"
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "My husband and I went to Second Empire to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary and we had a fabulous dinner! The service was on point and very professional; the food was out of this world; and they even personalized the menu for us. It was the perfect place for us to have a nice, quiet dinner and enjoy time together (without our 2 year old!)."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "Our high-end restaurant sister/sister-in-law found this restaurant for our anniversary, and it was the best possible combination of high-end restaurant, presentation, and food with southern comfort and hospitality. For instance, we could always feel comfortable asking which wine went with which food! We would definitely go here again both for the delicious and beautiful food and exemplary service."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "My boyfriend and I have been to nearly every restaurant in the downtown Raleigh area. Not sure how we managed to skip over this place until just this week but it is now one our absolute favorites! There were so many delicious sounding options on the menu, it was difficult for us to choose. The food was cooked perfectly and it melted in your mouth. There were plenty of wine options to choose from that paired well with all of the entree options. The staff was pleasant, knowledgeable and diligent. I need to be sure to mention that the prices were VERY reasonable for the food, service and ambiance. We are already planning a return trip to take friends. I recommend getting a table in the tavern (you can still order off either menu)."
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "I celebrated my 68th birthday - treated by my awesome daughter. When she said - Mom - I want to take you out to dinner, anywhere you want, money no object - I thought immediately of Second Empire since I could never afford to go there myself. It was not disappointing - ambiance was luxuriant yet welcoming, drinks, appetizers and our dinners were divine - although Gina and I traded dinners - as she wasn't happy with hers and I didn't care for mine - but we loved each others - so I would highly recommend Second Empire for any special occasion, and hopefully on my next birthday - my daughter will once again treat me there!!"
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "My experience at Second Empire was magical. It was my husband's birthday & just perfect for both our taste buds. Service was amiable & almost felt like they knew us as regulars. The menu was perfection. Our family will be back for more occasions. Everything I'd heard and more."
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "Food was spectacular! service was perfection and staff was very accommodating to the needs of our group"
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "This establishment continues to impress. The food is made to order order ensuring quality. The a"
    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 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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "The scallops were fantastic. Filet special was great. Good French onion soup. Unique desserts."
    Dined on 6/12/2014
  • "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