Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

4.8
2755 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Contemporary American
Top Tags:
  • Special Occasion
  • Romantic
  • Good for Anniversaries
Located in downtown Raleigh’s historic Victorian Dodd-Hinsdale House (circa 1879), Second Empire combines history, atmosphere, exceptional service and gourmet cuisine for an unforgettable dining experience. Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern features our award winning Contemporary American Cuisine in two dining atmospheres. Upstairs enjoy the ultimate dining experience in an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere of charm and grace. Downstairs in the Tavern and beautiful Atrium room enjoy a more casual environment. The Capitol Room, Raleigh Room, Pine Room and Atrium Room are available for private parties seating up to 50 people or various combinations of rooms for parties up to 300 people. Second Empire is very proud to be the recipient of the DiRoNA Award (Distinguished Restaurants of North America), the AAA Four Diamond Award (Raleigh’s only restaurant with this award) and the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since 1998.
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Delivery or takeout
Dining Style
Fine Dining
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Cuisines
Contemporary American, Southern, French
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Hours of operation
Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm

Please note under special requests if you prefer tavern/ atrium seating instead of the formal main dining room.
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Phone number
(919) 829-3663
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Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
Daniel Schurr
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Private party facilities
Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern offers four private dining rooms for day or evening receptions and/or dining. We offer our Pine Room which seats 40 people, the Raleigh Room which seats 25 people, the Capitol Room which seats 25 people and the Atrium which seats 50 people.
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Private party contact
Nicolle Roberts: (919) 829-3663
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Harrington St./ Edenton St.
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Parking details
Parking is available on the surrounding streets & our private lot in the rear of the Restaurant. Additional parking is also located behind the Restaurant in the Reynolds Building parking lot.
There is a public parking lot across from Second Empire on Hillsborough Street owned by the City of Raleigh & is available for parking, however, there is a $3.00 parking fee that must be paid online. If you do not pay you will be towed.
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Special events & promotions
Thank you for your interest in planning a special event at Second Empire. The Special Events Package will describe for you the areas of our restaurant that are available for your special dining, business and entertaining occasion.
For further information and to make plans for your special event, please call Nicolle Roberts, our Special Events Coordinator at 829-3663. She will gladly offer recommendations in your planning and design a menu for your event.
The Owners, Chef, Management and Staff have combined their efforts, commitment and talents to develop and present for you a special and unforgettable dining experience.
Thank you again and we look forward to seeing you!
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Gift Card
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Chef's Table, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
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5.0Dined 3 days ago

Was not sure what to expect but all in all the experience was amazing. We went for our wedding anniversary and my wife dressed in a cocktail dress and I wore a jacket. We were not out of place. The meals were very well prepared. It was definitely creative fine dining. As appetizers we had the quail and pork belly.l, and for our entrees I had a pork dish and my wife duck. It was cooked perfectly. Also, i though it is worth a mention our server William was outstanding. He was very attentive and didn’t miss a beat. All in all it was a fantastic evening.

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5.0Dined 3 days ago

We loved our server and all the staff who helped. They did absolutely everything possible to make sure we had a wonderful experience. The food was fabulous – I only had one issue. I ordered paella and the majority of it was fish, not the seafood. So I felt the overall value of the dish was low. I did not say anything to the server about the Paella being disappointing. I have no doubt if I had, she probably would’ve brought me something else – but it wasn’t important enough for me to disrupt the dinner. In every possible way everything else was outstanding. Everything else was creative and delicious, and we had a wonderful 39th anniversary!

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3.0Dined 3 days ago

Not too good, very unusual for this restaurant. Food was barely warm and restaurant was not busy at all. Disappointing for this many $$. First time we ever had a problem.

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3.0Dined 3 days ago

I am a big fan of Second Empire, we dine here frequently for supplier meetings, as well as, for personal gatherings. The food is always wonderful, this trip we were a bit rushed. Our dinners came out less then 5 minutes after we finished apps, even though we asked them not to rush as we were doing a wine pair along with our meal. Waiter was very courteous, staff is always on point.

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5.0Dined 3 days ago

The service and food reached beyond my expectations. It was an amazing experience. I actually didn’t want it to end.

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5.0Dined 4 days ago

Fabulous food. All four of us loved our meal. The ambiance was lovely. Don't live in Raleigh but will definitely dine here whenever we return

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5.0Dined 4 days ago

Our anniversary dinner was delicious with every item perfectly prepared and plated. The entire dining experience was enhanced by Josh, our excellent table server. We will certainly be returning and will encourage others to do so.

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3.0Dined 4 days ago

They dropped the ball several times, mainly with service, ordered a nice bottle of champagne and after initial pour, we had to pour it ourselves from then on with several servers hanging around and nobody checked on us. The first drinks were made wrong and server apologized and said they would remake them and not charge, but when the bill came there was a charge and he said they didn't charge for the 1st ones that were wrong and took back. Said he misunderstood the manager when he said they would comp them. I wasn't expecting anything except to fix the drinks right. I will think hard about going back, there is too many nice places to get a 225.00 meal for 2 to get a mediocre experience.

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5.0Dined 4 days ago

Took my wife for her birthday and the place was fantastic. The server was very knowledgeable about the menu and sold you on every item that was described. The atmosphere was great and the food was amazing. Highly recommend this spot!

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5.0Dined 5 days ago

Visited Second Empire based on online reviews - we were not disappointed. Beautiful dining room - we opted for the tavern - excellent service, and an interesting menu. The food was excellent - dishes we enjoyed included the paella, Barramundi, and the 330 summer pasta. Varied and well priced wine list + full bar. You know you are in a good place when the server asks what type of gin I prefer for my Negroni.

Word to the wise: order the chocolate souffle - epic!

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5.0Dined 5 days ago

This is our favorite anniversary venue. The food is always so delicious, the service is impeccable, and the ambience is perfect for a dinner for two! We also love sitting out on the front porch in the rocking chairs after our meal! Perfection!

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5.0Dined 6 days ago

Good surprise in Raleigh. Top notch. Highly recommend

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4.0Dined 7 days ago

Our reservation was honored and we were seated with no wait. Initial approach by server was timely and bread delivered. We ordered starters...gazpacho and foie gras...and it took one hour from time we were seated until the starters arrived. After that, pace of entree and dessert delivery was fine. Entrees of crab cakes, barramundi and lamb were delicious. White peach sorbet for dessert was wonderful. The restaurant was not crowded, so hard to understand why starters...one of them cold soup...took so long.

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5.0Dined on July 7, 2018

This restaurant is the best Raleigh has to offer. The food, service and ambiance are extraordinary.

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5.0Dined on July 7, 2018

The food and service were quite excellent and the noise level was low – what is the perfect place for A low-key 10year anniversary

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5.0Dined on July 7, 2018

Outstanding experience. Our first time coming here and we were celebrating our wedding anniversary. The waiter started off by handing us a personalized dinner menu with our anniversary date and number of years printed on it, along with a hand written note from the chef. The service was just superb. We had an early reservation, so it was like we had the room to ourselves. Food options were incredible, especially the house special foie gras and filet we ordered. Just Awesome!

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5.0Dined on July 6, 2018

As usual, Second Empire lived up to its own very high standard. My wife and I were celebrating our wedding anniversary and everything was done to make the evening special. We were given our favorite table and our waiter, Matthew, was/is a real professional - his descriptions of the specials stimulated us both to order them. The filet with an interesting set-up including spaghetti squash was completely excellent. We must mention the bread which is also too good and must be resisted after the first serving! If anything, the meal was served a little too rapidly but we are only talking about a matter of a few minutes. We have yet to experience a bad meal at Second Empire so we keep going back!

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5.0Dined on July 6, 2018

Second Empire does not disappoint. From the ambiance to the seasonal menu with local sourcing of ingredients. Destiny, our server, was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. It was definitely an anniversary to remember!

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4.0Dined on July 6, 2018

Everything was great. The food and wine. Only have a few flies on our drinks and cannot drink it

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5.0Dined on July 6, 2018

Incredible seating, incredible wait staff, Destiny was an incredible waitress, outstanding cheeses and bread to start, incredible lamb chops. even the lemons were insanely fresh! will definitely be back.

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5.0Dined on July 3, 2018

Love this place and have been a decent amount. Only reason why I voted it a 4/5 for value is that it is not a place to go if you are looking for a "good value". But you get what you pay for and good value is relative. What you get here is really, really good so you need to be ready to pay for that. Definitely going back.

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5.0Dined on July 1, 2018

One of the best meals I have ever had with great service. Not the cheapest place but worth every penny!!

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5.0Dined on June 30, 2018

My husband and I had an incredible meal at Second Empire. We were looking for a special place for dinner during our weekend getaway in Raleigh, and Second Empire far exceeded even our high expectations.

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5.0Dined on June 30, 2018

My husband and I went to celebrate my new job, and as always, both the food and service were outstanding. We will be back!

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5.0Dined on June 29, 2018

Wonderful service and the food was outstanding! The perfect place to have our anniversary dinner! Destiny, our server, was amazing and made our night so special!

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5.0Dined on June 29, 2018

Excellent presentation, taste and service. This is the best restaurant in Raleigh.

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5.0Dined on June 29, 2018

An extraordinary dining experience. The food was the best I've had in NC - including the Chef and the Farmer. Josh, our server was also the very best. He knew this restaurant's "stuff." How different meals are prepared, types of foie gras, purveyors of various elements of the meal, etc., etc. And he knew his wines quite well. Kudo's to all.

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5.0Dined on June 29, 2018

My wife and I had a second excellent dining experience in the downstairs dining rooms.

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5.0Dined on June 29, 2018

A friend and I went back to Second Empire to celebrate her birthday. We know that we love the food and the entire experience, so this was a great place to go. They did everything right and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

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5.0Dined on June 29, 2018

Everything is delicious every time we go to Second Empire: the staff, the drinks, the food and ambiance are always stellar. We could not recommend Second Empire more!

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5.0Dined on June 27, 2018

This is our 3rd visit in the past year. This is fine dining with options I don't think you'll find elsewhere, e.g., barramundi, etc. Lots of options on the menu, from seafood to steaks and everything in between. For the absolute best experience and that very special occasion, the Chef's Table is unbelievable. 5(?) courses with wine pairings along with very special service and attention. The main dining room has the same outstanding food and service.

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5.0Dined on June 27, 2018

Second Empire is an elegant restaurant with a creative, diverse menu. The service is impeccable with the best trained wait staff in Raleigh and, perhaps, the Research Triangle....maybe in the entire state. I really cannot say enough about this place....the food, the ambiance and the service. It will always be my choice restaurant for celebrating a special occasion or simply enjoying fine dining.

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5.0Dined on June 27, 2018

When I made the reservation, I asked for a table in a quite spot. We got a great table in a bay window. We had three servers and they were all great. Best dining expereince we have had in a long time.

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5.0Dined on June 27, 2018

The Second Empire is an intimate dining experience. The service, atmosphere, and food are elegant and inspiring. A romantic atmosphere, the Second Empire is perfect for an intimate celebration with a loved one or special friend.

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5.0Dined on June 24, 2018

We celebrated our anniversary and it was THE perfect spot. Very romantic. Its the best food we have had in Raleigh and the service was unparalleled. We got a personalized menu signed by the chef. It was a great experience. I recommend sitting downstairs by the windows. The view of the street was very nice.

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5.0Dined on June 23, 2018

Anniversary

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5.0Dined on June 22, 2018

Excellent service, ambiance, perfect for an anniversary meal. Both our meals were very tasty... seasoning/flavor excellent, presentation, serving size, etc. were very good. First time dining there but will definitely put on our special places list....wish we had not waited this long to experience 2nd Empire. Next visit...will try the 2nd Empire Tavern.

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4.0Dined on June 21, 2018

We went for our anniversary. The host confirmed our reservation in advance by phone, asked if we were celebrating anything and when I said yes, our anniversary, he asked for my husband’s first name. We got there and I heard them ask everyone else if they were celebrating but not us. (I could hear bc it was eerily quiet.) Cut to the chase on this, never so much as a “Happy anniversary” or “how is you anniversary going by anyone?” Kind of weird once they’ve asked.

Now for the food. The bread was the best bread I’ve ever had at a restaurant and to make it even more unbelievable, it was salted. Yum. For dinner, I had the duck - also amazing. My husband had the pork belly appetizer which would have been unremarkable if the collards weren’t so fantastic. He also had the lamb which was good. Chocolate soufflé was surprisingly boring and toffee ice cream was too sweet for my taste.

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5.0Dined on June 21, 2018

Awesome service
Very friendly
Very good food
Eating something better then always only a hamburger and fries 🍟

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5.0Dined on June 20, 2018

We celebrated a birthday here on Wednesday. It's now Saturday and we're STILL raving about the food at Second Empire. Everything was delicious. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g!

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