Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
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Please note under special requests if you prefer tavern/ atrium seating instead of the formal main dining room.
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.
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!
The staff was very accommodating. Our group thought the closing time was later than it actually was. We stayed past closing enjoying our desserts and conversation without realizing that the place had closed.
Staff showed kindness and patience. They did not tell us they were closed and did not rush us. Had we known the place was closed, we would have left much earlier.
We’ll be back to enjoy the great food and service. Next time we will mind the time.
Great food, excellent service. Great spot for date night.
An evening in the upstairs main dining room was perfect for several hours visit with relative having a birthday. The quality food, the beautiful preparation, and the great service are always standard for Second Empire. The choice of scallops was perfect, as were the recommended wine, and dessert of chocolate soufflé. Always a pleasure to dine at Second Empire in main dining room or Tavern (which I did 2 weeks ago).
It is a beautiful restaurant in a restored Vivaldi’s war era home. The chef does a wonderful job drinking foods from all regions of the east coast. Wish the restaurant was in Houston.
For a special occasion dinner Second Empire is a great choice. Varied menu, but everything had a unique touch that made it special. I am a lamb snob and the rack of lamb was outstanding. The bread pudding it came with was almost as good. My Ciopini app was probably the best thing we had. Great wine selection and service was top notch.
Clearly the best restaurant in Raleigh area. Superb food, excellent and polite service.
The service was great and the food was delicious. Jason, our server, went above and beyond to make it a special experience for my mother-in-law's birthday dinner. We will definitely be going back for future celebrations!
This was our second visit to Second Empire and both visits have been superb. The food, service, atmosphere and attention to detail is first class. Also, the staff really goes out out of their way to make sure it is a pleasurable and memorable experience. Easily one of our favorite restaurants and one of the best in Raleigh (and probably North Carolina) too.
It was our 27th Wedding Anniversary. We were given a special menu with our names and wedding anniversary date signed by the chef. Our dinner was delicious and dessert was to die for. They also gave us a complementary dessert. Wait staff was fabulous!
It’s my favorite restaurant and most definitely will be back.
Our server was outstanding. He told us the history behind the building and the restaurant. The food was excellent. Second Empire is one of a kind.
One of the best restaurants I ever been in.
Excellent, creative food meets perfect service and this all in a great ambiance. I’ ll go back!
There is too much to say about this dinning experience then this page can hold. The food was wonderful, the service was outstanding. I took my wife here for our 25th Wedding Anniversary, the staff went out of their way to provide a wonderful evening of conversation and food. The Pastry Chef even provided us with a treat of Key Lime pie, a dessert that we shared on our wedding night. Thank you to the Staff for this memorable evening.
My company gave my wife and me a gift certificate to Second Empire for Valentine's Day. We had never been and were really excited to read about the restaurant and to hear the rave reviews from friends. We were not disappointed. The house is a cozy and unusual setting for a meal out; while we sat in a somewhat brightly lit room off the downstairs tavern that did not have quite the ambience of the upstairs rooms, it was still very lovely. The service staff was extraordinary; from Ben who welcomed us to our table, to our main waiter Jason, to everyone who brought us water or bread or our meals, they were highly attentive and personable without hovering or being overbearing. Jason was especially knowledgeable, helpful, and engaging. He would have made a wonderful guest to share a dinner! The food was equally fantastic. We appreciated that the bread serving was four slices, not a whole loaf that we would have left behind. My wife began with the autumn salad ("Fantastic!") while I had the French onion soup. Both were delicious. The soup was extraordinary in that the outside cheese was perfectly crispy on the edges and soft in the center, without leaving the broth inedibly hot. For our entrees we chose from the menu; my wife had the Icelandic char ("Outstanding!") while I had the paella. It was absolutely marvelous; plenty of fish and just the right amount of rice, all with strong but not excessive spice. The wine list was extensive without overwhelming a novice like me. We had a sauvignon blanc that was a bit more buttery than our normal choices but was still plenty crisp and complemented our food perfectly. We were too full for dessert but I had a coffee (driving) while my wife had a Bailey's coffee ("Delicious!"). We look forward to returning, perhaps for a more casual stop in the tavern.
One of the best dining experiences we have had in a long time! Our server, Destiny, was engaging, knowledgeable and prompt; we couldn’t have asked for better. We will be back very soon!
Enjoyed our anniversary meal here. We received a personalized menu, signed by the chef, which was a great way to start our evening. Food is fantastic, but you need to be an appreciator of unique dishes. Sadly it wasn't our favorite ambiance, it felt a little tired and dark. Still a great evening, wonderful food, I would recommend to a friend for a special dinner.
Birthday for wife
I have been here several times and have never been disappointed!
It started of very well with personalized attention upon arrival and very informative walk through the menu, however after the first course our waiter disappeared for 30 minutes. This was disappointing because we had requested the wine list when our first course arrived to be able to enjoy some red wine with the filet and aged strip. We finished up the first course and the kitchen brought the steak and we were faced with the option of eating a hot delicious steak sans wine, or have a cold steak with red wine. When the waiter did return, my wife had already finished her filet and I was almost finished with my strip, it had already spoiled the mood for me. Come to find out our waiter was looking for a lost umbrella for another table which is absolutely mind boggling that the restaurant would put that responsibility on him, to the detriment of all the waiter’s other guests.
All in all our experienced was soured from what was a great level of service upon arrival through ordering, to poor service after placing our first and second course order.
Great food and service. My new favorite restaurant.
Second Empire is always a great experience and has yet to disappoint. The food is delicious, the ambience is elegant but not stuffy. The staff is very attentive to our needs. While it is an expensive place, the overall experience is among the best in Raleigh and worth the money.
A wonderful eating experience. This historic home has a warm, cozy and welcoming ambiance throughout. Someone obviously paid close attention to every detail and you feel like you're in someone's historic home (other than all the tables). There are different rooms (just like an old house would have) so every dining experience is going to be unique. While there were many people, the restaurant has many sound-absorbing qualities (including thick carpet) so its not too loud and tables are oriented so you felt like you could have a private conversation. Our server memorized, in careful detail, each of the specials (which took several minutes to articulate) and we were absolutely amazed with how much preparation that must of taken (and told him so)! Every employee was polite, friendly, professional and seemed happy to be there. The food was outstanding and so beautifully presented that my date took several photos. Top notch.
Absolutely love the fare in this beautiful environment. The staff are authentic & kind and nice effortlessly throughout the space. I especially love the downstairs alcoves that I learned served as the owners bootleg operation. The food is beyond delicious, perfectly paired Libations and umm desserts...worth the calories! They have delicious soups, salads, specialities adorned with fancy delicacies but not so fancy that you are left starving. Scallops, French onion soup, filets, salads, you can’t go wrong. Every-time I come to Raleigh I try to get here
Everything was perfect. Thank you
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.
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.
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.
This was one of the best restaurant experiences ever. We will soon return.
The food is very good and well prepared.
Food was delicious. Service was impeccable. Would definitely return to this restaurant for a special occasion.
Love this restaurant. The service was impeccable, the food was outstanding and you can't beat the setting.
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.
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.
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.
Always a favorite place for dinner!
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.
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.
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.
Hands down one of the best restaurants we’ve been to in Raleigh
Great atmosphere, service, and food quality. ahighly recommended!
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.