Empress Tavern

4.4
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1170 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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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.
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Private Dining

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What 1170 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
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.

OT
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
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!

SS
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall2food2service3ambience1

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

CB
Sacramento
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
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
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
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
Sacramento
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
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
Sacramento
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was wonderful, the menu for Valentines was delicious.

A
Sacramento
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
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 3 days ago

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.

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LC
London
7 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
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 3 days ago

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.

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DE
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
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
Los Angeles
13 reviews
Dined on February 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

BH
1 review
Dined on February 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was fantastic, and our server was incredible.

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

Concert at the Crest

OT
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
1 review
Dined on January 28, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food and a staff that makes you feel welcomed!

RT
Tahoe
11 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience2

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

LD
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
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.

OT
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Heather is a fantastic waitress. Very energetic and accommodating. She remembered my wife and I the last two times we were there.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall1food2service1ambience4

Our order took over an hour to come out.

RM
1 review
Dined on January 16, 2020
Overall2food1service4ambience2

It could be the Dine-Downtown prix-Fixe meal we had, maybe they don’t put the effort into it, but that won’t ever bring me back. We go to the Crest several times a year so I was hoping to really like this. The food was completely bland. 3 of us went and we all said the same. Our waitperson was really good, but the rest of the experience not.

OT
1 review
Dined on January 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We arrived a half hour before our reservation as our Broadway show finished earlier than we had anticipated and they graciously seated us. We did the Pre-Fixe dinner for Dine Downtown and had very attentive service and the food was delicious. The ambiance was pleasant and the noise level was loud, I suspect due to the numerous brick barrel vaults. We will definitely add them to our list of favorite restaurants downtown.

OT
Sacramento
5 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love the ambiance and the setting, feels very 1920s on the East coast with the beautiful set up they have. Staff has always been exceptional and the food is amazing. Whether a date night or happy hour I would highly recommend it.

M
Sacramento
7 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience3

The food and place was great. The noise level was a bit too loud for us. Service and staff were excellent.

a
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food from beginning to end!

OT
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall3food3service5ambience2

Extremely loud in this place, cannot even hardly hear the person you are with right across the table from you.

SJ
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on January 8, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Thanks It was a pleasurable experience though noise level was high

OT
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great dining experience. Food is perfect and portion were decent

s
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

It's loud. I recommend looking into the services of professional acoustic engineering. Currently one must lean into conversations.

BB
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Food and service were excellent. The ambiance and decor are great. Unfortunately, the noise level makes conversation difficult if not impossible.

DS
Sacramento
17 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love their changing cocktail menu. There is always something unique to try. Their food always comes out delicious too.

GF
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and service! The location was awesome under the theatre and near everything on K Street.

BG
Las Vegas
11 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

We went on New Years eve so it was a special menu. Really cool atmosphere. The soup was bland. But the steak was really good. Overall I'd say 9/10. One of my best food experience in Downtown Sacramento.

PW
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall3food4service4ambience3

Neat setting and a great bar environment, place was clean as a whistle, attractive cocktail menu, some clever menu options. Great Parker House style rolls. Main courses were solidly good but not amazing. Noise level was intense and loud - hard to talk to people at your table, let alone hear them.

OT
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was very good as always , waiter was excellent and I love the ambience.

V
1 review
Dined on December 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As always, outstanding service by staff and delicious dinner. Thank you Chloe and staff!

KM
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on December 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and wonderful service. We sat at a prime table and felt very pampered. We were celebrating our wedding anniversary and it was super special

RH
1 review
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Had a great time celebrating our office year end party. The food is actually a 4.5 star what keeps it from 5 stars is my spouse requested her Rib Eye as medium well plus and was far closer to medium - unfortunately she doesn't like to return food...

OT
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great experience! Friendly staff, good food and drinks.

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