Empress Tavern

4.5
1025 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
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.
avatar copy

Private Dining

Book your next event with us

View details
What 1025 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
4.5
service
4.6
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
Sort by
Newest
Filters
c
Atlanta
5 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome eclectic venue, great bourbon selection, great food!

Report
Helpful
C
1 review
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The service was amazing! Our server was attentive and professional, very patient with a unique food allergy, and when my friend ordered coffee which was not on the menu, he snuck up to the theater concession to grab her a cup. The food was perfect and the vibe is elegant but laid back. Only thing to be aware of is that it is a very loud and echoey space.

Report
Helpful
LS
1 review
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome restaurant. We knew going in, it’s noisy. It’s in brick underground layer. What do you expect? And it’s chilly. Again...what do you expect? The ambiance and decor is great and the food was outstanding. I’d love to go back.

Report
Helpful
TF
Sacramento
6 reviews
Dined on May 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything the server recommended was excellent! Fresh gnocchi was so delicate and the Alfredo on it was light and tasty. Had fun with the Top Gun themed drinks too. My only complaint is that it is very loud. Luckily we got a booth that quieted some of the noise.

Report
Helpful
c
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Experience from beginning to end was absolutely lovely. Great service from staff.

Report
Helpful
OT
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Staff is friendly and polite, food was quick, filling, and delicious! This was the perfect mothers day with rave reviews from three generations of picky eaters!

Report
Helpful
FB
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 5

Mother’s Day brunch was not good. The food was cold and the service was very poor. This was shocking because we have only experienced great food and service in the past.

Report
Helpful
JD
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I took my wife and son to the Empress for Mother's Day brunch. This was the Empress Tavern's first attempt at brunch. They should run with it. It was arguably the best brunch experience we've ever had.

The location is great, the ambience is great and the food was fantastic. With the exception of the sketchy ingress and egress in and out of the place (you can thank your state politicians for the mess that is K Street) the Empress Tavern was a huge hit with us. We'll be returning soon.

Report
Helpful
OT
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 5

The food was decent, not as good as when I've been there before. The ambiance is wonderful. The waiter seemed to want to rush us out of there. I have had that same waiter before and had the same feeling from him.We must have been asked a thousand times if we were done with our meal. When I go to a restaurant, where I had reservations made and I'm paying a lot of money to be there I want to relax and enjoy the experience not be rushed.

Report
Helpful
DJ
Sacramento
5 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

Small menu. Food is good not great. Service was absent.

Report
Helpful
EC
Sacramento
3 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Good food but a little pricey. The mac ‘n’ cheese is always good! Nice environment.

Report
Helpful
OT
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Was very happy with everything! Service was great & the bartender must have served the fastest, properly-prepared old-fashioned I have ever witnessed!

Report
Helpful
EG
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 1food 5service 2ambience 4

I have visited the

Report
Helpful
MY
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It's looks like a throw back to a speak easy days with a great bar friendly service from jordan and even better cuisine I haven't tried the appetizer but everything I ate there was a triumph

Report
Helpful
BC
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 4

I have been here before many times. They have changed their menu and raised their prices. The food was not good. I had the “roasted” chicken. It was undercooked and saying it was roasted was a stretch...more like steamed. They ran out of Chardonnay at 6:30 pm on a Friday night! They gave my friend what they had which was about 3 oz and subbed with a glass of red but instead of a giving her a full pour of red they only gave her another 1/2 pour and still charged her. We talked to the manager who offered to reimburse us but it was about the service which I’m not sure he really got. We won’t be back. It was over $300 for 4 with tip and cocktails. Definitely not worth it.

Report
Helpful
m
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on April 29, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Excellent food and service.! Music was a bit heavy. A lighter more soothing choice of music would have set a more relaxed ambiance feel to the night. But overall enjoyed the meal selection and service.

Report
Helpful
OT
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Did not know what to expect, the place was fantastic! Love the decor, the speakeasy style entry and feel… Jordan was our server and he was a fantastic person and created a great first time experience for us! Totally enjoyed the buzz tower old fashion, definitely have a new way to have that drink! Definitely coming back also, thank you!

Report
Helpful
T
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My wife and I went to Empress Tavern to celebrate her birthday and had an amazing time. First the ambiance was amazing, with the walk down the stairs, the break walls, the open kitchen, and small alcoves with tables. The restaurant changes it theme every 6 weeks or so to reflective some movie. The time we visited it was Top Gun, which was awesome. The music was based around the 80's and the movie but it was not intrusive. The theme carries over into the drink menu which was outstanding and a lot of fun but also tasty. The food was very tasty, my wife had the ricotta gnocchi with prawns and I had the seared scallops. They both cooked very well served in just the right proportions. The best part was the service and our waiter, Jordan. He was awesome with his information about the menu and recommendations. He was very personable. As it was my wife's birthday I requested a Star Wars themed birthday card and they did not disappoint. I could not have asked for a better restaurant experience. We plan to go back as often as we can.

Report
Helpful
ED
1 review
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 1

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

Report
Helpful
KW
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had dinner before attending a show at the Crest. Dinner was fantastic!

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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.

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

Disappointing meal. Very loud and average food.

Report
Helpful
F
Sacramento
27 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Cool restaurant especially if you are going to the concert!

Report
Helpful
GQ
Sacramento
17 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.

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
BH
Sacramento
4 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Celebrating our Mims birthday

Report
Helpful
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!

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
MD
Jacksonville
49 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!

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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.

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

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

Report
Helpful
j
Sacramento
4 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!

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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.

Report
Helpful
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!

Report
Helpful
1
2
3
26

Tweets by Empress Tavern