Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

4.8
3039 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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OT
Raleigh
9 reviews
Dined a day ago
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 5

The meals all lacked identify. No distinct experience from one to the next. Wait staff knowledgeable however was attending 4+ tables simultaneously. Felt like eating at a Panera. Very disappointing.

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

One of the most wonderful meals I’ve ever had, period. Impeccable service. Wonderful recommendations. My teenagers enjoyed it just as much as I did. We will definitely be back. A truly memorable dining experience.

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G
Charlotte
147 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We dined in the Tavern and always enjoy the more relaxed atmosphere but still the same great food and impeccable service. Caitlin took care of us and did a fabulous job making suggestions for food and wine. This is one of my favorite restaurants in Raleigh and they upheld their reputation this time too.

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AB
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was one of the best restaurant experiences ever. We will soon return.

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r
Raleigh
7 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

The food is very good and well prepared.

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

Food was delicious. Service was impeccable. Would definitely return to this restaurant for a special occasion.

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

Love this restaurant. The service was impeccable, the food was outstanding and you can't beat the setting.

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OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved this place for a romantic dinner with my husband for his birthday. We dressed up and enjoyed the food and ambiance. He got the bone in strip steak which he said was one of the best he's ever had in his life. The house is beautiful and historical. It is a high costing experience, but definitely worth it. The servers are also friendly and knowledgeable about the food and wine pairings.

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OT
Chicago
8 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Wife and I decided to try to a local favorite in downtown Raleigh. Service and atmosphere was excellent. Cream Brûlée dessert was awesome. Calamari was good but prefer a red spicy sauce. We both had the Filet which was cooked to perfection. My only recommendation is to have less around the Filet so you can taste more of the steak seasoning. Asparagus was perfectly cooked as well. Great wine by the glass selections on the menu.

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e
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Pear martini was wonderful. Soup was great as was seafood salad.Paella was a little disappointing but fillet mignon was excellent. Key lime pie was great. Overall a wonderful experience. A bit pricey though.

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OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a favorite place for dinner!

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FP
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

If you like tasting poetry and food parings, this is the place to go. Great combinations and flavor. I highly recommend for the sophisticated palate.

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JC
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Pre-theater dinner on Valentine's evening. Early time of 5:15 so noise level was very comfortable. Soup, appetizer, entree, drinks and dessert were all fabulous. Service outstanding and our server and his assistant paced everything perfectly so we were able to make it to performance without feeling rushed through our meal.

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m
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went here to celebrate my girlfriend's birthday.
the service was excellent, as was the food.
the only problem we had was it's extremely hard to manage the entrance steps with no rails and I'm paralyzed.

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PL
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Hands down one of the best restaurants we’ve been to in Raleigh

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C
Raleigh
7 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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OT
Salt Lake City
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2019
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 on February 12, 2019
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 on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

Ordered filet mignon medium came out on the rare side.

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NM
Raleigh
238 reviews
Dined on February 10, 2019
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
11 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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OT
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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OT
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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