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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
  • "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
  • "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