Empress Tavern

4.5
1191 Reviews
$31 to $50
American
Empress Tavern is a restaurant in downtown Sacramento. 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.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
  • Contactless payment available
  • Sealed or wrapped utensils used
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
What 1191 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
4.4
food
4.6
service
4.6
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
84% of people would recommend it to a friend
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H
vipHappy
Central Coast
11 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Heather was our waitress, great customer service! She really made us feel at home! Food & drinks were delicious

OT
OpenTable Diner
Sacramento
8 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2020
Overall4food2service4ambience5

What a cool location. Great bar. Very average and overpriced food. I ordered fried chicken, burned on the outside raw on the inside. Instant potatoes, cold bottled brown gravy. I would come here to drink,but not eat!
Prime Rib was good, but for $55 very small and sides were ok. Big bone on plate with a smattering of marrow,
Seemed like a very inexperienced chef. He tried but fell very short of the mark.

AD
AndyD
1 review
Dined on June 24, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Beautiful ambiance, delicious food, attentive service, and well crafted cocktails. An absolute must for a great dining experience in Downtown Sacramento.

T
Trish
Sacramento
2 reviews
Dined on June 24, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I shared the kale salad with a friend but wish I had it all to myself. It was the best salad I've ever eaten! I can't stop thinking about it!

H
juleahH
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 20, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love this place! Everytime I go the food is amazing and served beautifully. The rotating movie themed cocktails are reason enough to go. The attention to detail they put into everything makes it an unforgettable experience each time.

JM
JeanM
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on June 19, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Fabulous food, service, and atmosphere! The strawberry cheesecake was amazing. Do it!

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on June 19, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing! Super cute and loved all the added touches!

JM
JMcCarthy13
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on June 17, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Atmosphere was great, our server was wonderful, and the food was delicious!

d
dawnt
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on June 12, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent dining experience post COVID-19. Social distancing was appropriate, staff wore masks and patrons wore masks when entering/exiting and moving about the restaurant. We were welcomed and provided a taste of champagne and a nice card at the table to acknowledge our special occasion. The food was delicious. The bartenders were on point. Can't wait to go back.

BA
BillA
1 review
Dined on March 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wow!

Top notch in every category from ambiance to presentation.

The food was prepared to perfection and the service was excellent.

As a saucier I was so impressed with the overall experience that I brought my mentor The Shaman Chef out with me the next day and enjoyed the Empress two nights in a row.

We hope you will consider hosting our new blog, the Spirit of Food, and let us record an episode at the Empress

CW
CarolW
1 review
Dined on March 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The food was excellent - flavorful and perfectly prepared. The wait staff was helpful when asked for suggestions and timely in the service. Wish I lived closer, but it is well situated for attending events in the area. Will definitely go again when in the area.

RW
RodW
Sacramento
20 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

we had great service and food was very good. very convenient when going to the Crest theater

RR
RaquelR
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Perfect restaurant for a nice and intimate date night!

MT
MagdalenaT
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on March 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food & Wine were delicious and the ambience was perfect for my blind date

GS
GeorgeS
New England
4 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2020
Overall3food2service4ambience3

Way too loud and overpriced. Service is great. Limited menu and not all items are available.

PK
PeterK
1 review
Dined on March 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything is always impeccably stellar at Empress Tavern. The food, decor, atmosphere, service, etc. They truly focus on amazing food, outstanding service, and an overall idyllic dining experience.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Great service. Overpriced food.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

food was excellent with terrific service

OT
OpenTable Diner
Palm Springs
3 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved the environment and food was off the chart! Waiter Jordan is one of a kind!

A
vipAron
San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience3

My birthday, with my grown kids(2). We are elderly and when asked for a booth...was told they are reserved in advance. I use open table and did not see where to add that in.
The cocktails were fantastic, especially on the happy hour menu.
The food was great, the halibut was tasty, the steak cooked nicely, the Brussels spouts was a tasty excellent side, the vegetarian pasta dish great too.
The walnut ice cream was excellent and has me searching recipes because I’d love to recreate that tasty treat.
Our server was the best...she gave us time and suggested a few wines to go with our meal.
Great experience, just a bit loud for folks 70 plus who have hearing problems.
We’d come back....and I guess call ahead to make sure we could get a booth!
It did quite down about 7:30 pm when we were getting ready to leave.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on February 20, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Heather was very friendly, helpful and went above and beyond to accommodate my family which included my 7 year old hard core vegan. Thank you again Heather, you rock!!!

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wait staff was extremely helpful and courteous. Erica was our waitress and she was excellent. My wife loved her halibut, I found my roasted chicken mediocre, it was on the dryside...I expected better for the price. Overall the atmosphere and service was fantastic. I'll just order something different on our next visit.

SS
SharonS
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall2food2service3ambience1

To noisy. Description of menu items did not match what was served. Too pricey for what you received. Would not recommend.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was incredible! The bone marrow and complimentary whiskey luge was to die for! Service was amazing and even though it was a little loud it wasn’t enough to bother us or deter us from an incredible date night. 10/10 would recommend!

CB
CarrieB
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Experience was fabulous. Our meal was a bit rushed - didn't look so busy that our table was needed, but waiter was very quick to take plates away.
Very noisey!

GG
GabrielG
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall3food2service4ambience4

There wasn’t much flavor in the food. Soup was too watery. Desert was a Nutella crepe and they sold out of the other Valentine’s Day desert option. Terrible value for $90 a person.

N
Natasha
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience5

The food was great! The place was gorgeous and unique. Tucked away like an underground gem. The service was super efficient and courteous just not very personable but who cares when everything else it wonderful. We will definitely be back!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was wonderful, the menu for Valentines was delicious.

A
Angel
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall1food1service4ambience3

Went there for Valentine’s Day 2020. They failed to mention anywhere (when you reserve a table) that they will not offer their regular menu and instead do a preset dinner. It wouldn’t be so bad if not for the fact that they charge you $90 per person for what ends up being a worse version of Chef Boyardee ravioli, a $2 skirt steak, and coconut jell-o.

It was truly a pathetic excuse for a meal. If you are looking for a place in this price range I would recommend Morton’s, Ruth Chris and Mulvaneys B&L over this place.

Empress Tavern
Responded on February 17, 2020

Hi Angel, I'm sorry that you and your date were disappointed in the meal you had on Valentine's Day. There was an alert to let you know we had a special menu when you booked through OpenTable but I apologize you felt blindsided when you sat down. It's pretty common with restaurants to do prix fixe menus on busier holidays, we also offered an ala carte menu in our bar and lounge. We wish we had this feedback during the meal so we could make it right, we hope you give us a second chance.

Report
LC
vipLinoC
London
7 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall2food1service3ambience3

The preset menu made no sense. Cost was huge, and they ran out of their signature drink. Very loud, desserts were poor both in flavor and texture.

Empress Tavern
Responded on February 17, 2020

Hi Lino, we apologize for the confusion you felt on our prix fixe menu for Valentine's Day. We wish we had this feedback during the meal so we could try to make it right, we hope you give us another opportunity.

Report
DE
DavidE
Sacramento
6 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience5

I would come back for another meal because the Valentine's Day dinner probably not indicative of normal meal.

The steak and side dish were slightly above room temperature. The acorn squash was bland and too big. The coconut gelatin was hard and rubbery. The celery-leek soup and soft Hawaiian bread were tasty.

Noise level were too high. I could barely hear my date. And the $16 glass of wine was expensive for a small serving.

The Valentine's Day meal was $275 tax and tip included for 2. I won't come back next year for V-Day.

SB
SusanB
Los Angeles
13 reviews
Dined on February 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service. Great food. Enjoy the experience and will be back soon

BH
BrittanyH
1 review
Dined on February 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was fantastic, and our server was incredible.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall3food2service4ambience4

The halibut was served overcooked on a plate only sprinkled with bacon bits. This presentation was because my fiancée didn’t want the carbs so she asked for a veggie substitute instead was up sold to a complete separate side of Brussel Sprouts.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Concert at the Crest

OT
OpenTable Diner
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall4food3service2ambience5

This is our 5th time going and each time before was great. Tonight we enjoyed the bar service but once we sat it was poor. Food was also disappointing in comparison to previous visits. We’ll go back only because we’ve had great experiences during previous visits, but if we have another night like tonight we probably won’t.

MT
MikeT
1 review
Dined on January 28, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food and a staff that makes you feel welcomed!

RT
RachelT
Tahoe
13 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience2

The food was fantastic but it was so loud it was hard to hold a conversation.

LD
LisaD
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall3food5service5ambience2

Small menu, but very good food. Noise level was too loud, not a great place to go for a nice, quieter evening out.

BW
BettyW
1 review
Dined on January 24, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience3

The food, service and decor was very fine. But the noise level was beyond deafening. We sat at the base of the brick vault and the sound seemed to funnel right down on our heads. It was enough to blast us with ringing in our ears. We couldn't carry on a conversation at all. We loved the food, but it was difficult to relax. Perhaps padded wall coverings would help. If you go, don't sit at the base of a vault.

FAQs

Empress Tavern offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (916) 662-7694.

Empress Tavern is rated 4.5 stars by 1191 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.

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