Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
About Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
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.
Raleigh, NC 27603
Contemporary American, Southern, French
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.
Harrington St./ Edenton St.
$31 to $50
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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.
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.
Private Party Contact:
Nicolle Roberts: (919) 829-3663
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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Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern Ratings and Reviews
Great food but this night the service was very slow. Ran of out tea, water and cocktail before ordered again. Took awhile to get bread and water/drinks and seemed folks were spread thin. Waiter was fantastic but seemed he was super busy due to running out of drinks. We love coming here but worst experience we have had.
Second time visiting Second Empire (anniversary) and it did not disappoint. The staff is personable and knowledgeable and the upstairs setting is perfect for quiet and intimate dining. The food is of excellent quality and reasonably priced. I would highly recommend Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern for an upscale and enjoyable experience.
My wife and I went to celebrate our birthdays. The service was excellent and we could actually have a conversation without shouting. First course I had the Scotish salmon gravlax and she had the French onion soup. Both were delicious. Entrees I had the barramundi and she had the filet mignon special. Both were cooked perfectly. Every dish was presented like a work of art. Absolutely no complaints with the food or service.
Second Empire is an outstanding upscale restaurant with great service, ambience, and gourmet cuisine. The service is excellent. The cocktails are inventive. Artistically presented entrees are centered around seasonal and local ingredients. Second Empire's quality and service is consistent and the attention to detail is present in all aspects of the dining experience.
Was really dissapointed in the food. Was our favorite place to go for birthdays and anniversaries. Found a metal pin in the starter dish. Although the manager came by to apologise, we feel that they did not sufficiently make up for this near disastrous experience. Of course they did not charge for the dish in question but no further gestures.
Dishes are unnecessarily complicated. Who puts sweet and sour chow-chow on braised short ribs. The taste is weird.
As always, Second Empire delivers amazing food for the pallet. The chef works his magic to combine unique flavors that delight and challenge your taste buds. The wait staff are attentive as well as informative to those less familiar with high-end menu items. The ambiance in the dining area is markedly formal, while the tavern is more relaxed. Either provides a great dining experience albeit a bit dark sometimes. And although the prices may be considered higher than your average fare.... the additional cost is well worth it. I've never once been disappointed by the food or the service at Second Empire.
Very cozy atmosphere. It reminds of a bed and breakfast. Went here for my first anniversary. Place exceeded my expectations. Service is great, food is great, cocktails were great. They even personalized and had the chef sign a menu for our anniversary. If you're considering a higher end restaurant in Raleigh, pick this one. I loved that I could have a quality conversation and not have talk above a loud drone.
Everything was perfect. Our party of three had a 9:00 reservation and we showed up a little early. The amazing staff catered to our every need. Our server seemed to be as knowledgeable as any chef about every ingredient in every dish. Amazing experience from the cocktails at the bar to appetizers to the perfectly cooked entrees. 100% will return when in the area again.
Wanted to take my wife out for a special dinner for our 25th wedding anniversary. Second Empire, for the most part, did not disappoint. We both loved almost every thing about our evening out. We had a late reservation which turned out to be perfect and made us feel like the dining room had been reserved for us alone. Excellent service - attentive but not overbearing. The food was delicious and presented extremely well. One thing that I did find bothersome however, was the fact that Second Empire appears to have no dress code or desire to enforce one. Any establishment that wants to consider itself to be of a certain caliber needs to expect its diners to respect the restaurant. their staff, and its other paying customers by at least attempting to present themselves in respectful attire. I saw one couple, (and these were not youngsters by the way), so appallingly under dressed I was embarrassed for them. The man was wearing shorts and hiking boots with a t-shirt up top. His female companion was similarly attired, sporting a knapsack on her back. Are you kidding me? The Appalachian Trail is west of here. Start respecting your business Second Empire. Set some standards, some dress codes, and start enforcing them. That is really my only complaint about the experience.
This was a wonderful dining experience for a special night out. The atmosphere was very elegant, the service from the waitress to the bus boys was spot on.
The meal was very well prepared and beautifully presented. The chef does a wonderful job and it shows.
It is well worth going for that special night or even for an elegant night out.
First of all, the setting is in a beautifully restored 1876 home in Raleigh, NC, providing a Southern & historical ambiance beyond compare...
The filet mignon was outstanding with vegetables and risotto. They provided a birthday dessert for our celebration. Very nice..
Our server was very customer focused and efficient.
It was our anniversary today and Second Empire is our anniversary tradition. The service, food, and classic building make it a great place for a special occasion. I have recommended Second Empire to several people and will continue to do so. Thank you for another delicious anniversary.
But for the quality of the food, we would rate our experience as even less than we did. Second Empire is supposed to be a fine dining experience. To us, that means both the restaurant and the fellow diners are respectful of each other and contribute to an atmosphere that is friendly and, for lack of better phrase, a place that one dresses up. To us, that means men wear dress pants and a blazer, at the least. It also means that women wear dresses, skirts or pant suits that are dressy. Instead, we experienced fellow diners in jeans, untucked shirts, no socks. One diner went so far as to come in wearing torn and shredded blue jeans...where was someone in management to step up and say the attire was not appropriate for the restaurant or respectful of the other patrons? To my way of thinking, either get some standards or lower the prices.
2nd Empire is our"go to" restaurant for celebrations and a special night out. We truly enjoy the experience and have taken friends and family to share amazing meals. The staff has always been attentive and effusive in the desire to give us a wonderful and memorable experience. Which is why this occasion is so disappointing. The management is amazing and always takes great pains to make us feel welcome . This visit was no different. They were wonderful. Our waiter and the assistant were another story. I understand that they had a large (and VERY LOUD) group in the room with us and taking care of that table made their job more difficult. However they get paid to handle difficult tables and still provide good service to every table in their area. On this occasion the waitstaff was invisible. Normally we are inundated with attention but this time we had to wait for everything including water. Normally we can change items or add items to an order but this time they wouldn't even listen to our requests. And they actually brought us something we didn't want and had specifically asked to have. The food which is normally amazing was no better than a chain restaurant and wasn't close tho the standard we expect from 2nd. I realize that it was a Tuesday night and there was a large and loud table next to us but it truly didn't seem as though they wanted to try to make this a good experience much less a wonderful one. 2nd is known for incredible food, impeccable service, and a world class experience, but for us they struck out looking this time. We will go again because we believe that everyone can have a bad night and this place can truly be amazing but if this becomes the norm for a night at 2nd empire you would be better off at Lonestar or Longhorn at least they are trying to make you feel welcome. In conclusion they management is truly wonderful and this bad experience is (hopefully) a one timer and is the responsibility of the waitstaff and the kitchen
As always Sevond Empire is the place to go for a special occasion. The services is always top notch and food always has a nice mix of food types. This is fine dining and very few of these types of places still exit. The old home setting is lovely and attention to details
This restaurant was perfect for my 25th wedding anniversary. The staff was attentive and knowledgeable without being intrusive. The Chef has been there for 20 years and made amazing food and paired it with wonderful wine. A perfect place for a special occasion!
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