Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

4.9
3024 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Contemporary American
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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C
Raleigh
7 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great atmosphere, service, and food quality. ahighly recommended!

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Salt Lake City
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful Anniversary dinner. Jason gave us excellent service and we loved the personal touch with the note of congratulations on our menu from the Chef. Delicious, thoughtful menu with so many amazing dishes it was difficult to choose but selected the Paella and the NY Strip - both superb.

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AK
Raleigh
43 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Elegance and comfortable are the 2 words that spring to mind. The food is absolutely delicious, and a wide variety of choices. The chocolate soufflé was superb.
The wait staff is impeccable; attentive without being intrusive, quite knowledgeable but not haughty.
The upstairs ambience is Old Raleigh Upper Class, yet cozy and inviting.
Perfect for special occasions!

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TF
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

Ordered filet mignon medium came out on the rare side.

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NM
Raleigh
238 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The triangle area now has many good restaurants but 2nd Empire has always been in the top tier. The formal elegance of the main dining room is complemented by the more casual downstairs rooms but the food dazzles in either setting. Chef has assembled a knowledgeable and attentive staff who serve the dinners with style and perfection. The menu is among the most creative in the region and there are dishes for seafood lovers, meat lovers, and vegetarians alike. The plates are works of art. We have dined at Second Empire many times and plan to return many times in the future.

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D
Raleigh
9 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Six family members celebrated my daughter’s birthday. She is a vegetarian and the menu isn’t set up for that but it was not a problem. They are willing to do anything for you! The recommendations were helpful and the food wonderful. Can’t wait to go again!

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Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

The food was good and the service friendly but the overall experience was rushed. We were constantly asked if we were finished and the courses came out quickly. It was my birthday, our first date since our newborn and we really wanted a nice long dinner and we were willing to enjoy multiple courses. Oh well.

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TM
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love how accommodating this restaurant is. It is by far the best food in downtown Raleigh.

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M
Richmond
7 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was perfect, starting with the friendly greeting, to the service, the food, the wine choices. We were celebrating a birthday and did not want to be rushed. Everyone respected that wish. I had asked for a quiet table and that request was accommodated. We especially appreciated that a staff member saw us taking a selfie and offered to take a picture of us. The menu had many choices, it was hard to decide what to try, and the wines we had were excellent. We’ve already decided that this is our go to restaurant for the next celebration.

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RB
1 review
Dined on February 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We tasted with our eyes. A wonderful experience with impeccable service and flavorful menu.

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RC
Raleigh
36 reviews
Dined on February 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The surroundings are beautiful, the food is very good and the service was exceptional. I would recommend this restaurant to everyone.

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JP
Raleigh
5 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Thank you all for making our anniversary a beautiful night!

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OT
Raleigh
21 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

This continues to be a place to go for a first class service and food experience.

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great server and dining experience

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CC
Miami
2 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A group of 4 had dinner early Saturday evening. The service was outstanding. We all had first courses, and then split two entrees. They were very accommodating with that, bringing out 2 plates for each entree. The food was fantastic, especially the pork belly app, the salads, and the cioppino. The paella was great, wonderfully flavored with tender seafood, chicken and sausage. The duck breast and sides also excellent.
We thought the tavern would be more casual, but it is as elegant as the upstairs, However, we were well-cared for despite feeling slightly underdressed. Great location near downtown. Highly recommended.

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MM
1 review
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome Service perfect food great experience. Server had great knowledge of menu and history.

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G
Charlotte
31 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A very lovely place, well trained staff and the food was excellent. ‘Feels’ like an experience and it is....

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San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Family Birthday

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DR
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Took my girlfriend here for our first time. Blows other local "high end" restaurants out of the water for price, quality of food, experience and service. We both agreed that this is our new favorite spot for eloquent dinning! The duck breast was absolutely amazing!!! Cant beat the historic setting for a romantic, quiet dinner.

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DB
1 review
Dined on January 30, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

A dining experience to remember! We were treated like royalty.

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TB
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on January 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome place. One of our all time favorite and consistent places for birthdays. We had Joe and Sharon. Very elegant

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e
Tahoe
9 reviews
Dined on January 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of my favorite restaurants in Raleigh. Paella and Cioppinno are hard dishes to find in Raleigh and they do a great job! The French Onion soup is also top knotch!

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JL
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We visit 2nd empire every year for my elderly moms birthday. It never fails to impress us! The service is professional and impeccable, and I can never decide what to eat because everything on the menu is delicious. This year we had the rack of lamb, barramundi and sword fish. All were excellent! And the desserts are awesome, they brought my mom creme brulee with a candle, and she loved it! We will be visiting again soon, if you like elegant dining in a beautiful old house, this place is for you!

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J
Raleigh
6 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Attentive staff, very good service, and excellent food.

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TT
Raleigh
31 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

As always a great meal at Second Empire down in the Tavern.First this meal was enjoyed on a Saturday night so indeed that is figured into the experience..The server was as attentive as one could be attending to 17 guest at once (long periods between seeing him due to the lottery ball effect, bouncing around to each table) as the food was delivered by others.

This sometimes happens on the busiest night of the dining week and we indeed took that in..This in NO WAY deters us from returning..Great staff, Great food, Great experience ..

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MA
Greensboro
2 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Excellent meal and our waiter (William) could not have been better. Meal was pricey!

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OT
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was lovely. I have a dairy allergy and they took good care of letting me know what I could eat. We just love this place.

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JS
1 review
Dined on January 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My wife and I recently visited for our 3rd anniversary. The entire experience from the ambiance, to the impeccable waitstaff and of course the food, was incredible. For our first courses we had the chicken ballotine and the king prawns. The blue cheese came through really well in the ballotine but wasn't too over powering and we both thought the curry was phenomenal with the prawns. For her entree my wife decided to go with the swordfish and I went with the barramundi. Both were cooked exceptionally well. She liked how the collards were cooked and we both agreed that the mozzarella was some of the freshest we've found! As for my dish, the eggplant and red cabbage went so well together. My favorite part may have been the chorizo rice. It had a mild smokey flavor that really made the entire dish. Finally, the creme brulee. You really cannot go wrong. Perfectly executed with a bit of fresh berries to top it off. Do yourself a favor and check this place out. You won't be disappointed.

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MB
Raleigh
12 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic restaurant! The food was delicious. I was able to cut the steak with a butter knife. Dessert is a must when you come here. We will definitely be returning.

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PR
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I recently took my girlfriend here for her birthday. We were both blown away with the service, food and knowledge of the staff. Will definitely be back!

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I went here for my birthday and it was wonderful. I ordered the rack of lamb. It melted in my mouth. I felt as though I was eating something from off of Master Chef. My servers were Josh and Josh, they both were great servers. I will most definitely go back!

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OT
Raleigh
8 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great serivce..always eat at Second Empire before the Symphony!

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WG
1 review
Dined on January 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great staff and service! Friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive. Menu was DELICIOUS and meticulously prepared. I would definitely recommend to everyone.

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L
Raleigh
5 reviews
Dined on January 17, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

Food was good but not Outstanding. French onion soup was great. Paella ok. Scallops ok didn’t like the dark sauce
Diets cooked well just not anything g special as we expected. Lovely place. Great waiter

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B
Denver
1 review
Dined on January 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place for date night and if you want to dress up you can!!!

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P
Denver
1 review
Dined on January 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

You just cannot go wrong with Second Empire. I went with someone who is very gluten sensitive, and she had no issues whatsoever. The greeter was celiac! That completely put her at ease. I think she enjoyed the meal more than I did, which is saying something since I always enjoy the chef's creations.
Do yourself a favor and go for a special occasion.

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C
Charlotte
32 reviews
Dined on January 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding menu with fabulous complicated but clear and clean tasting dishes. Attentive knowledgeable staff. All in all a wonderful evening. One of the beat meals in years for all of our party.

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A
Raleigh
43 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Second Empire is easily the best restaurant in Raleigh. Expect a unique and savory flavor combination no matter what entree you order. The dessert menu is wonderful. The service is usually en pointe; however, there were a few large parties next to us who dominated our server’s time and attention. She was very courteous and accommodating, yet we felt she was being spread too thin on this particular night.

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LM
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food! Amazing flavors; duck, fillet, pork belly, foie gras. Everything was great in a true southern atmospheres. The best part is you can go to the tavern downstairs which is less casual which serves the same menu. The chef personalizes a menu for birthdays, nice touch.

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I loved it ‼️

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