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Party Size
For 2
Date
Mon, 5/21
Time
9:30 PM
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You must make reservations at least 5 minutes in advance of the time at Empress Tavern.
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Booked 31 times today

Empress Tavern

4.4
780 reviews
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$30 and under
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American
Top Tags:
  • Pre/post Theatre
  • Good for a Date
  • Handcrafted Cocktails
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.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
American, Farm-to-table, Meat
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Hours of operation
Lunch
Mon–Fri 11:30 am–2:00 pm
Happy Hour
Mon–Fri 3:00 pm–6:00 pm
Dinner
Mon–Thu 5:00 pm–9:00 pm
Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
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Phone number
(916) 662-7694
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
Michael Thiemann
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Private party facilities
Email events@empresstavern.com for all private dining inquiries.
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Private party contact
events@empresstavern.com: (916) 662-7694
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
10th Street
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Parking details
No valet, street or garage parking only.
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Chef's Table, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 780 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
4.4
food
4.5
service
4.4
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
84% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined 6 days ago

A little pricey, but definitely worth it. Delightfully playful drink menu and an interesting array of entrees. A thoroughly enjoyable experience.

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5.0Dined on May 13, 2018

The whisky luge was a great recommendation. Loved our server!! Miss the pork chops though—please add them back to the menu😊

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4.0Dined on May 13, 2018

We enjoyed our meal and our drinks. We will probably go back sometime.

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5.0Dined on May 13, 2018

What a wonderful venue on its own but so convenient when attending an event at the Crest.

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5.0Dined on May 12, 2018

Been to this place a few times for drinks and really liked it. The most recent time we ate and had some drinks and the food was pretty legit. Cool looking place has a good vibe too check it out!

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5.0Dined on May 12, 2018

Food was amazing. Loved the open kitchen and service was impeccable.

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4.0Dined on May 12, 2018

A lovely place to enjoy a special evening. The price for a meal with appetizers, entree, a few drinks and coffee was a bit high, but the food is great and the service is outstanding

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5.0Dined on May 6, 2018

Delicious food! Had a wonderful time with wonderful service.

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4.0Dined on May 5, 2018

Very cool ambiance but don't expect to have a conversation. Small menu, interesting wine list, food good and portions adequate. Delicious cheesecake. May go back on a weekday versus Friday or Saturday night in order to talk to my dinner companion.

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5.0Dined on May 5, 2018

Ambiance,Food and service were fantastic

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5.0Dined on May 1, 2018

Great staff and even better food! I had mentioned that it was was our anniversary and they went out if their way to make the night feel special

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5.0Dined on April 29, 2018

The scallops were amazing! Some of the best we've ever had!

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4.0Dined on April 29, 2018

Service was a little slow this time but waiter was friendly. Food was not as good this time. Both times we've visited we ordered the spare ribs with mac and cheeae and potatoe sides. First visit was excellent. This visit the ribs were overcooked and dry amd we had had to ask for extra bbq sauce. The mac and cheese was dry and sticky.

Overall a good experience. We'll be back to give it another try. The decor is beautiful and the staff is great.

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5.0Dined on April 28, 2018

We arrived early not realizing there was a show starting within the hour. But we did manage to squeeze into a seat at the bar. The people were friendly and the servers were hopping. We had a great time as we waited for our friends. As we sat for dinner the server was awesome and the food was great too. An excellent evening.

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3.0Dined on April 28, 2018

Service was good. Place was very loud though and hard to hear anyone talking. Food was decent but definitely nothing I would rave about. Glad I tried it but not on my priority list to go back.

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3.0Dined on April 28, 2018

We loved the restaurant. The food and ambiance was wonderful. However, when we were seated, we waited about 10 minutes before anyone came to our table. I noticed that a server was talking to the table next to us(from listening to the conversation, it sounded like it was her friend) so I asked her if she could get our server, turns out, she was our server. Throughout the rest of the meal, we received very slow service.

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4.0Dined on April 27, 2018

Great service, very accommodating but a bit noisy. Food was good

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2.0Dined on April 25, 2018

I was really looking forward to going to the empress tavern prior to the concert at the Crest theater with Robert Cray.
However , I was disappointed. Service was great, food was not. The plates were cold, the prime rib that was supposed to medium rare was really rare and was barely warm.
The scallops were barely done and the serving size was not what I call an entree.

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5.0Dined on April 24, 2018

Amazing and Unique food! Gorgeous Restaurant and Bar Area-Love the Brick and all of the History behind this hidden Gem in Sacramento!

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5.0Dined on April 24, 2018

Went here before a concert at the Crest. First time for us. We were very pleased. The prime rib was phenomenal and my husband had the roasted chicken. We shared a salad at our waiter’s suggestion and it was plenty. I’m no chicken hearts fan but the hubby loved them. All in all, a very enjoyable experience.

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4.0Dined on April 22, 2018

We had gone to the UC Davis Picnic that day and this was a great way to end the day. The food was more than generous on their servings. It was tasty and presented well. The best part of the meal was the "tea" that was spiked, but served in an old fashioned tea pot and tea cups!

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3.0Dined on April 21, 2018

Ambience was cool and location us great. Appetizers were odd, for my taste. Salad was basically lettuce then they drowned a nice cut if prime rib in a gravy/onion straw mixture that over powered he flavor of the rib. For $45 I want to taste meat.

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4.0Dined on April 19, 2018

Ambiance is fantastic. One of the coolest restaurant interiors I've seen. Food was ok but not great. Actually gave back the salad. Cocktails were right on as was the service

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5.0Dined on April 14, 2018

We had a beautiful time at Empress Tavern. The food and service were perfect. We enjoyed the atmosphere and the food was superb. We will definitely visit again and very much appreciated the thoughtful service and delicious food!

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1.0Dined on April 14, 2018

Our waiter, Neill, ignored us most of our meal. We had to ask for water twice, bread came after our meal, our Scallops were cold inside, the pickled broccoli consisted of approx. 1/2 a flower, our drinks were nasty tasting, and never did find the sauce that was suppose to be on our dinner. We told Neil how displeased we were and he said "Oh" and then just took our plates and glasses. He asked if we would like dessert but before we could answer, he placed bill on table and walked away. This place is AWFUL !!!

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5.0Dined on April 14, 2018

This was our first visit to this restaurant prior to going to the Righteous Brothers concert. It was a very nice restaurant with superb service and very good food. We really enjoyed and will be back

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5.0Dined on April 13, 2018

We ordered the steak tartare appetizer, the asparagus with hollandaise, and the chicken rotisserie dinner. Then we ordered a French roast coffee to share at the table. The ambience, as always, was spectacular! I was looking forward to having their fried chicken, but he had been taken off of the entrie menu and placed on the to "feed four" family menu. This is one of my favorite spots in Sacramento to eat. The way the restaurant is set underneath the crest theater is so unique. Entering the restaurant is like entering an old time speak easy. I always enjoy taking friends and family here for the first time.

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5.0Dined on April 12, 2018

When I reached the bottom of the stairs to enter the Empress, I was wowed! Coved brick ceilings, chandeliers, bar area and open kitchen - it's stunning. My husband and I went to celebrate our anniversary. It's not a quiet restaurant. Tables for 2, expect to sit very close to your neighbors. It's very lively and you won't get much intimate conversation but it has a great vibe. Cocktails are great. I was hungry when I got there so we opted to get the meatball appetizer. SO good!! But also SO big!! I was stuffed when my scallop entree came. I managed to eat it all since leftover scallops don't sound appealing to me. They were cooked perfectly for me. My husband had the porchetta which is homemade, had a great flavor and he took home his leftovers!

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5.0Dined on April 8, 2018

We think this place is amazing and perfect for the serious foodie. Any place that turns my leftover bone marrow into a whiskey luge has a special place in my heart. Empress ROCKS!

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3.0Dined on April 8, 2018

Very loud. Could not even hear the server. Beautiful restaurant. Food average at best. Won't return.

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4.0Dined on April 8, 2018

Noisy but fun, food and service were great..........

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3.0Dined on April 6, 2018

Ambiance is a plus but the food taste and quality only average and definitely overpriced.

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4.0Dined on April 5, 2018

Only vegan option is deep fried gnocchi. Would like to see better vegan choices.

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5.0Dined on April 5, 2018

Puddles Pitty Party Performance @ Crest

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4.0Dined on April 4, 2018

Jordan was a phenomenal server. Attentive and quick. Food came out outstanding. Rage fried chicken dinner for 4, highly recommend. Lots of great good food!

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5.0Dined on April 1, 2018

Great spot below the Crest Theatre. Perfect pre-show spot. Loved the cellar atmosphere. Tea service cocktail for two was a hoot!

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5.0Dined on April 1, 2018

The service was great, very helpful and honest. We both ordered the salmon and it was delicious. The GSM wine blend was a nice surprise at a reasonable price. This is a great location if you are attending an event at The Crest.

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3.0Dined on March 31, 2018

I wanted to love this but I just couldn't. The food was amazing, but didn't make up for the inability to communicate with my other dinner guests. We were literally yelling at one another in order to be heard. I've been in bars and clubs quieter than this restaurant. The ambiance is neat, nestled just below the Crest Theater. I happened to like that there was no cell reception down there, but if you need to have that available then I wouldn't choose Empress. They have a seasonal menu, that is not updated on their website, so I wouldn't recommend trying to research the menu in advance.

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5.0Dined on March 31, 2018

Amazing wait staff. Such fun!! Can't wait to come back.

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4.0Dined on March 30, 2018

The food was excellent. The waiters attempts to be funny were more arrogant and offensive. He was not dissuaded by our comments so the meal, which was very tasty, became an effort for us to remain cordial.

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