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
I've been to Second Empire so many times it's almost hard to write a review. It continues to be a special, classy, and delicious experience. I personally prefer the quiet of the upstairs (formal) dining room, the downstairs (pub, or what used to be a pub anyway) level just gets a little too congested and noisy for me. The food this evening was outstanding and if I had to snipe at just one point was that we told our server it was a special night, had no plans other than dinner, and didn't mind if dinner came out slowly. Despite that, the appetizer hit the table just a few minutes after ordering, and the entrees barely a few seconds after we had finished the appetizer. So our special-occasion dinner barely took more than an hour, when we'd have been happy to enjoy the atmosphere there for 2.5. It was a slow night, so it's not like they needed the table. Anyway, it's just a great place for anniversaries, celebrations, or anytime mom & dad are paying!
Been dining at SE for years now. Always enjoyed the cozy, casual atmosphere in Tavern for Special Occasions. However, it has been a while, and noticed something different this time. The once advantage of having the "Tavern", as well as the "Main Dining" Menus to choose from have been replaced with a more condensed, single menu.. in other words, less selection/options. While it maybe good for the bottom line, I found it a bit disappointing. Service was top notch, as has been the case every single time I've dined at SE, so No lacking there. That said, the entrees were probably the biggest let down. The Filet Special was not very appetizing, mostly due to the odd ingredient combinations (Pineapple?), and the Short Rib was sort of more fat, than beef..it was OK. Don't know if there is a new Chef, or if I just stumbled upon an "Off" night? Luckily, our Server really redeemed the meal though, the Wine choice our server help us choose was delicious!
This is true, fine dining at its best. Our family was in town for thanksgiving and we wanted them to see just how great the food scene is in Raleigh so we took them to second empire. My husband and I started with the quail appetizer and it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. I had the duck and it was also delicious. The service is impeccable and they make a great cocktail. The chocolate soufflé cannot be missed. Great place for an anniversary dinner or special occasion.
We live in Wilmington, NC, and always, always go to the Angus Barn when we are in Raleigh. The Angus Barn was booked solid on Friday night after Thanksgiving so we went to Open Table and found Second Empire. The food, service, and ambiance were perfect. It is located in an older, possibly historical, house on Hillsboro St., a far cry from a barn. The server was excellent; I found his speaking voice to be overly loud when speaking with us and when he moved to other tables- the only possible negative.
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.
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