Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

4.8
2913 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.
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!
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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Raleigh
6 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was an anniversary dinner and well done! Dinner was superb. Great drinks and deliciously prepared food. I had the veal chops which couldn’t have been better. My husband had the New York Strip which he thought spectacular. We’ll definitely return for more special dinners. Excellent wait staff.

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A
Raleigh
34 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Second Empire never disappoints. It is, by far, the best restaurant in Raleigh. The chef always offers the most creative menus, combining the freshest and most flavorful ingredients. In addition, the pastry chef is second to none. Her desserts are both delectable in taste and flawlessly pleasing to the eye. The ambiance and service are impeccable as well.

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OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We were there for a birthday celebration. Everything was wonderful. The only error was food was served to the wrong parties at the table. No other complaints. It was a wonderful experience

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KK
Raleigh
6 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very slick service, delicious food and a comprehensive wine list. A perfect birthday meal.

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JM
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I've tried many of the restaurants in Raleigh over the last few years but for whatever reason hadn't been to Second Empire. I was very impressed both with the service and the setting, reminded me of the Old Pink House in Savannah. Great place for a special occasion

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OT
Raleigh
16 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

5 spice duck was incredibly delicious, Hinsdale old fashioned a great accompaniment to dinner, wait staff also attentive and knowledgeable. This is a place where you feel that you are a VIP. Simply OUTSTANDING as fine dining can possibly get. Even though our requested waiter William was not available since he was serving a private party he graciously made his way to our table at least 3 times to welcome us, apologize that he couldn't wait on us this evening but checked on us to make sure we were well care for a number of time. Talk about restaurant professionalism, this establishment could teach lessons to a lot of people.

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OT
San Antonio
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dined with 4 friends prior to NC Theater. Joseph provides excellent service and was provided a great wine recommendation. Food was delicious.

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SL
Charleston
3 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waiter, William was excellent. He was knowledgeable about the menu items and wine.

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CJ
1 review
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

my wife and I enjoyed our anniversary (51 yrs) dinner at the Second Empire. Our server was the best, Destinee, she explained the menu, talked about the dinner specials and than gave us a couple of her favorites on the menu. She and her assistant were available to us but not in the way. We had a very enjoyable evening.

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SM
Raleigh
6 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience at Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern. This a late anniversary gift from a family member to my wife and I. We enjoyed every bit of the experience from the ambiance (renovated southern mansion) to the food to the excellent staff. Our waiter was attentive but not annoying. He seemed to know exactly when to approach our table and when to keep his distance. The chef is very flexible in altering dishes based on tastes and dislikes. For instance, I personally can't stomach cauliflower or Brussels sprouts but the chef altered the dishes to remove them. Unlike some pretentious chefs whose rule is my way or the highway. My steak was cooked and seasoned perfectly unlike my experience at a "famous" steak barn in the same area. My wife had the chicken breast and it was cooked and seasoned perfectly. This season had a lot of seafood fare which outweigh the land proteins this time around. But everyone should be able to find something they like. Make sure to save room for an after dinner aperitif and desserts - you will not be disappointed. This is no quick meal - take time to savor it and expect to spend 2 hours on dinner.

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OT
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I had a dinner gathering for my birthday. Such a nice and friendly atmosphere. Most attentive & kind host, server, everything. The chef was so kind as to sign a menu for me for my birthday. Also I had the lamb and it was probably the best I’ve had in NC (I’m from NY and know good lamb) 😂. I didn’t realize they closed around 11 and I didn’t feel rushed at all. I can’t say enough how great and welcoming of a staff they have here. Superb food and just everything. I can’t wait to tell all of my friends and come back to this restaurant soon! Thank you guys so much 😌

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OT
Western NC
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Anniversary

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on November 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome experience from appetizers through dessert.

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G
Las Vegas
8 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The best restaurant in Raleigh, period!

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RK
1 review
Dined on November 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic restaurant for a special occasion! The entire dining experience was amazing, and the meal truly memorable. Highly recommend!

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S
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great staff and amazing food. This whole atmosphere is great and is well worth the price.

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MP
Savannah
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I took my wife to Second Empire in January last year for our anniversary and we have been looking forward to returning. My brother brought my mom to town for a quick weekend visit and we knew immediately where we would be booking our dinner. Our server, William, was outstanding, well versed and explained everything with clarity and passion. The meal was superb. If you're looking to impress and have an amazing meal don't pass on Second Empire. Chef Daniel Schurr delivered on every aspect of the dinner and the entire team and atmosphere of Second Empire made it a memorable evening for everyone. I can't recommend enough...

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AK
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome food and service. We really enjoyed it. The environment and building are great.

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SJ
New England
6 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food, service and atmosphere. Very good experience.

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TI
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great location, great food and wonderful Atmosphere. Second Empire does not disappoint.

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KC
Raleigh
8 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Second Empire is arguably Raleigh's finest restaurant. The food is inventive and wonderful, and the service is exemplary. We've dined here several times, and have never been disappointed.

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JD
1 review
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our anniversary meal was excellent. The chef signed a menu for a bit of commemorative touch which while not necessary to make the night was an excellent touch of class that second empire always provides!

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JK
1 review
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My wife and I visited for dinner to celebrate my her Birthday....everything was just excellent and I had the best steak I have tasted in Raleigh and my wife had the most tasty scallops in town....the service was excellent and the whole staff was courteous and friendly the minute we walked in the door....The menu was just right along with the cost....we will definitely visit again soon

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OT
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We celebrated a birthday in the tavern and could not have had a better experience. Service was exceptional and personal, which was felt right when we entered the restaurant and continued until we left. The staff, including the chef, made it a very unique and personal experience. The food was delicious (salads, filet mignon, scallops, ice cream) and they have a great drink selection. The tavern/bar area was casual enough to be comfortable but still had a feeling of elegance. If you haven’t been, we recommend adding it to your list.

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OT
Miami
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was a wonderful evening. The food and service was outstanding. The staff was extremely accommodating when we needed to add a family member last minute. I highly recommend this restaurant.

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TN
1 review
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great atmosphere. I’m glad we discovered this place. Very upscale and good for dates or special occasions

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PM
1 review
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Super staff. Excellent wine list. Wonderful experience.

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RP
1 review
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I was expecting a nice environment for a special occasion. I got that. I also got superb food, some of the best I've eaten in the Triangle. The service was knowledgeable and professional.

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KL
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

The food was very good. We were a party of 4 and all of us had excellent choices. My lamb was a little rare for me but....it was the way the Chef recommended it and it truly was a treat to have. Portions were just right. Presentation was Outstanding.
Now...the service. Jeremiah was our Waiter and he was truly amazing. This is the second time he has served me and on both occasions his professionalism and manners were Perfect! What a joy to have such good food and to be served by such a Professional.

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OT
1 review
Dined on October 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Very amazing gem in the middle of Downtown, took my wife for our anniversary. Great atmosphere, great service, and a Fantastic Chef who has been their for 21 years. The wine selection is fantastic, we each got a Merlot from Napa Valley. As a first course we got Calamari and Madagascar Prawns. The playing of the prawns was amazing, and the taste was even better. The batter on Calamari was light, with homemade dipping sauce. For dinner my wife got the New York Strip, cooked perfectly, and I got a rack of lamb, also perfect. We were so full we actually passed on desert.

I was one of few men without a jacket so I would recommend men wear a jacket. Of course my wife was dressed perfectly with a dress. Aside from me feeling slightly under dressed the place was great, entrees varied between $25-$40 with first courses in the $10-$20 range. For what you get the place is actually very reasonable.

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AK
Raleigh
7 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent place for our anniversary dinner. Third year in a row!

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e
Raleigh
25 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went to the Tavern area which has a slightly more casual feel than the main restaurant. Menu is the same and was excellent. One of the few places that have sweetbreads on the menu - a personal favorite. Good choices of wines by the glass.
Service was professional but not stuffy and server had good wine recommendations.
Overall an outstanding experience

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TB
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food, table side service & atmosphere! It was our first time dining & we will be sure to return.

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K
Raleigh
56 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Never disappoints! It’s sounds kind of crazy but my favorite thing was the autumn salad. We each tried to different fish dishes and a delightful key lime pie.

Service was very good as usual!!

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r
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

everything was top notch. my only complaint is that our 2nd course arrived at the same time as our entree, so that our entree was not hot when we began eating it.

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TW
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome awesome awesome. My wife enjoyed her b day.

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K
Baltimore
3 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely atmosphere. Great service. Would highly recommend it. We are in Raleigh for only two nights and this was special

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JA
New Orleans
15 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent as always! Our G0-TO in NC. WE love it here and appreciate all the attention and the wonderful food.

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RK
Miami
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The meal was wonderful! They were easily able to make adjustments to accommodate gluten free on most items on the menu. Both the presentation and taste were great! The service was also very personable! We enjoyed our meal and plan to return for more!

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KM
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was AMAZING. From the food to the service. Will definitely be back again!

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