Empress Tavern

4.5
1006 reviews
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$30 and under
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American
Empress Tavern is an American Carvery in downtown Sacramento with a menu featuring rotisserie meats, craft cocktails and an adventurous battery of beers. The menu, conceptualized by Chef/Owner Michael Thiemann, revolves around a massive Rotisol rotisserie spinning a variety of proteins.

The space itself, situated in the basement of the historic Crest Theatre, is eclectic and unfussy with an open kitchen, 170 dining seats, large booths and a chef’s table for private dining. ​The Tavern inhabits a void underneath the Crest Theatre created in 19th century when Sacramento’s street level was raised due to flooding.

Empress Tavern is named for the Empress Theatre which was the original name of the theatre when it was built as a vaudeville palace in 1912.
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Private Dining

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Specials

Mother's Day Menus & Specials

Join us for a Mother's Day brunch! $50/person, $25/child 6-12, free for kids 6 and under.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

What 1006 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.6
service
4.6
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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ED
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 1

Loud with poor service. Food was good not worth the money to return

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BB
Tahoe
1 review
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

The food and service were excellent. My only negative comment is that the noise level was very loud.

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OT
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent experience before a show at the crest theatre. Food was excellent but portions a little small. Had the seared scallops for $41 and there were only 5 of them but they were scrumptious. The Mac and cheese was excellent.

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r
San Francisco
37 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 1

Disappointing meal. Very loud and average food.

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F
Sacramento
25 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Cool restaurant especially if you are going to the concert!

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GQ
Sacramento
15 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Food was very good and service was quick, it was extremely loud almost to the point of yelling to be heard.

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AJ
Central Coast
2 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 2service 4ambience 5

Was disappointed that my seared scallops did not have the sweet potatoes on it like it said on the menu.. the restaurant was busy so didn't want to send it back as we didn't have the time. Beautiful restaurant.. but for what we got food seemed expensive.

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DC
Sacramento
8 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The food was great, our group ordered 6 items to serve family style. Our server was great at dealing with our robust group. We had a drink at the bar before dinner, the bartender was a bit strange, not very engaging. 4 members of our party were dining at the Empress for the first time - they were very impressed.

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OT
Sacramento
2 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Celebrating our Mims birthday

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R
Sacramento
3 reviews
Dined on April 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went for our anniversary dinner and it was delightful. A nice booth with a hoot anniversary note. The service was perfect and food was delicious. The baked Mac and cheese was rich, creamy, and flavorful. The roasted chicken was perfect and orange creme brûlée for dessert was the perfect choice. Be sure to ask for the rolls and butter!

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H
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The King Salmon and a glass of white wine were the perfect dinner before seeing a show upstairs at the Crest.

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MD
Jacksonville
47 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Delightfully surprising visit for corporate dinner at the Empress Tavern. Server Russell was extremely knowledgeable and entertaining (the whiskey luge will long be remembered). Cocktail and dining menu were creative and delivered on presentation and taste. Perhaps the best dinner rolls I've ever had!

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SH
1 review
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First time visit and will definitely go back. Delicious food. I heartily recommend the brussel sprouts side dish, and the butter lettuce salad was amazing. My friends all loved their food too.

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B
San Diego
30 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Empress is nice restaurant to eat with friends. It gets a little loud.

Our waiter and the support staff were great and attentive.

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RG
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food nice place. Well worth it. We would go back

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j
Sacramento
3 reviews
Dined on March 20, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

This was my second visit to the Empress. I love the dark, tavern ambiance but would enjoy a bit of cushioning with seating arrangements. It seems like seating for 2 only has option of sitting in middle of room or back in the corner. Can't 2 people have a booth? Service was on point and heeded our need to get to theater on time. Beet salad and asparagus both needed something to make them flavorful and interesting. Roast chicken nicely prepared. Potato cooked perfectly but too much greenery on plate for me. Loved the hot rolls!

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SS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really wonderful restaurant, a gem. Food was excellent, service was above and beyond and the ambiance can't be beat. Would definitely recommend and return.

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EL
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

I took my husband and our neighbor who had never been. Russell was our server and it seemed like it was an off night for him. He didn't really want to spend time serving us so it seemed. Our bill was over $200 & we tipped really well so hopefully that made his night. Other than that, the food was outstanding.

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LL
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was excellent, but the noise level overrode the overall experience.

The restaurant was about 3/4 full.Although I was sitting next to my wife, we often had to lean in and ask the other to repeat something just said or asked.

I can't imagine a conversation with four people or more in a full restaurant.

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N
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 3

Very disappointed with the menu. I picked the restaurant because of the entree I had my first visit about 6 weeks ago. That item was removed from the menu. I ended up with just a salad as none of the entrees was appealing. The noise level is so high you can not hear the person across the table from you. Not a good choice for a nice quiet dinner.

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JO
Sacramento
5 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Enjoyed the fried chicken and the brussels sprouts. While the prices seem high, the portions are plenty, and the service was good. The server was knowledgable. I just wish it was less noisy!

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MH
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Really cool interior being underground. Food was really good. The drinks were fun and unique! Very noisy during happy hour!

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OT
Sacramento
3 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The service was amazing, I wish I could remember our servers name. The decor and vibe at the restaurant is really nice the exposed brick has been well done. The food was delicious. Not sure how they did the Brussels sprouts but I couldn’t stop eating them!

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OT
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved it!!! Great service and delicious food

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CR
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Empress Tavern is a great place to have dinner. The drinks, appetizers and mains were great, the service great and the ambiance was different than any place in Sacramento. I felt like I had taken a step back in time and it felt great! Once you enter through the big wooden doors and find your way downstairs, you are in a very unique fun place. This was a great place to eat before going to the theater. Speedy service with a watch on the time. I highly recommend this restaurant.

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OT
Sacramento
5 reviews
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, great ambience.

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MB
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I went to the Empress before a show at the Crest. So convenient! I was thoroughly impressed by the lay out of the place with wonderful brink walls and arches. The noise level was low, and the lighting was just right for a romantic meal. The food was outstanding (I had gnocchi, my date loved her roasted chicken). The waitress was attentive. One of the best dining experiences I've had in a while and will be back.

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OT
Phoenix
4 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Outstanding restaurants are few and far between. The food and attentive service were unmatched. The interior of the restaurant is so very unique and just is comforting. One must try the 'luge' whiskey across the bone marrow.
A potential drawback to the restaurant might be the noise level which may be a factor for some.

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EC
1 review
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I absolutely love Empress Tavern. This was one of the first places my husband and I visited when we began dating. They have a small menu that doesn’t disappoint. Wonderful bartenders and staff that are very warm.

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E
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Anniversary

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AF
1 review
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 5

The first two dishes were outstanding...brussel sprouts and the butter leaf salad, both fantastic. The main dish, the roasted chicken was disappointing. I told the waitress I was gluten free, so she assured it would be gluten free, which it was. BUT in order to make it gluten free, they took off the potatoes and never replaced it with something else. Surely a restaurant of this caliber, could have and should have, replaced it with something that was gluten free. It wasn't even explained to me that were were missing 1/3 of our dish. I only figured it out, when the girl next to me ordered the same thing and her plate was considerably larger. For $28, this is pretty inexcusable. And the chicken is supposed to served with chimichurri sauce, and all I saw was a red oil at the bottom of the plate. I make chimichurri sauce often, and this was a far cry from it.

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SB
Palm Springs
1 review
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Loved the food. Loved the ambiance. The waiter was friendly and his service was very good. My only negative is that it's so noisy.

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AM
1 review
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

This is a very convenient place to dine when going to a show at the Crest.
The food is good and the service has always been excellent. It can get a little noisy so it isnt the place for a quiet meal - at least on nights when there is a show or movie. But all in all a very comfortable place to eat.

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DC
San Diego
1 review
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

I made a post on FB and others interested in this unique establishment. Only thing disappointing was wine list - cab or merlots.

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LB
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Fabulous food, delicious cocktails and the service is always excellent! I love the ambiance and the fact it’s located next door to The Crest Theatre! 👍👍👍

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MS
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everytime I have been here we have always left happy.

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OT
Las Vegas
7 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good food and good service however we felt rushed by the server to finish so he could turn the table over. Everything else was great

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

I LOVE the food. It was just too loud to be able to visit with our party. 😞

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SM
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 2

It’s one of the loudest restaurants I’ve ever been in. It was a busy Saturday night and it was just deafening. We ordered the $60 18 oz. ribeye, and requested them medium rare. They came out medium well. We sent them back and they explained that the steaks are precooked in the “sous vide” method earlier in the week and then just put on to sear. Unfortunately they were distinctly “overseared “. The restaurant corrected the situation and brought out two more steaks medium rare. Still, over half of the 18 ounces was bone, gristle and fat—which I wasn’t expecting on a $60 steak. The lobster mac and cheese was fine, as were the Brussels sprouts. There were only three selections for dessert, and they were out of one of them. We split a peanut butter ice cream sandwich which turned out to be an “It’s it” frozen ice cream dessert, available at a supermarket. The service was attentive and accommodating.

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TN
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 3ambience 5

The restaurant is beautiful inside, but the noise level is way to loud. I was not impressed with the food. It was just ok, and way over priced for what you get. Would not eat there again.

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