Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

4.8
2878 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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TB
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
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 3 days ago
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 3 days ago
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 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome awesome awesome. My wife enjoyed her b day.

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K
Baltimore
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
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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RK
Miami
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
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 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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KW
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Such an amazing dinner. The staff were all extremely polite and fast to assist. Great variety of delicious food!

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

The Filet was literally the best ever. It melted like butter in your mouth!

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e
Raleigh
8 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very nice restaurant!!! Beyond our expectations!

Everything was fantastic!!! We enjoyed the meal, the wait staff was unbelievable!!!

We will be back!!’

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KC
Raleigh
11 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have celebrated every anniversary at Second Empire, and tonight only reminded us why we go every year. The building is gorgeous, the staff are amazing, the service superb, and the food is fantastic. We have never been disappointed when we go and have suggested to friends, family, and strangers to go at least once. We will be back for our anniversary and other occasions every year!!!

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EM
Charleston
12 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have always had a superior experience at Second Empire. Service by Destinee was excellent and food was wonderful.

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

Thank you it's always a memorable experience and always, smelling good, beautiful and delicious. You arrive to surprised me ones again. See you soon!

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A
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 4

The food is divine here and the place is lovely. The main issue I have had every visit is that the food delivery is timed poorly. The kitchen tries to rush you through your meal. Even when I specifically requested not to be rushed and to hold the next dish until we were finished with our appetizer, it didn't happen on either of my visits. The waiter will tell you that the kitchen will time your meal and to please order everything up front but the kitchen served an appetizer and main course when we weren't ready. In my mind this keeps this restaurant from being top quality. You can't blame the waiter because he does not delivery the courses. Again, if you don't want to be rushed, don't trust the kitchen; order each course separately and as you are ready if you like to take your time and consume your food at the right temperature.

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DA
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on October 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This is a special place. Outstanding service with great food and presentation.

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OT
Raleigh
14 reviews
Dined on October 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

OMG, OMG, why wasnt I told bout this place before? Locals may be trying to keep this outrageous place for themselves. This place is TOPS. For a New Yorker to rave about a restaurant it's got to be good. As an experienced " Fine Diner" person, I have to say a day later and my husband and I are still raving about last night. To start off, an impressive home built in 1871 in second empire Victorian design beautifully restored, appointed and decorated.
The staff, OUTSTANDING is just not good enough for their conduct. From the moment you set foot inside you are warmly and plesently greeted by everyone. We were seated in a window bay with a view of the street in a lovely dining room. William an exceedingly warm and friendly waiter provided us with very knowledgeable insight of the history of the house, restaurant, menu and food. His recommendations were spot on sharing knowledge of his menu favorites with us.
The cheese plate combination an excellent suggestion, but I'm getting ahead of the cocktail specials of which we tried the Pear Cosmopolitan👍👍. I almost forgot about the outrageous homemade bread. For our entrees 5 spice duck and Australian rack of lamb ( yes I was hesitant thinking they could be gamey but assured by William they weren't ( they weren't gamey New Zealand lamb) the Australian were his favorite. He was correct.) OMG, both entrees, tender succulant and flavorful, cooked to perfection, tasty and creative presentation of vegetable accompaniment. Dessert was the homemade chocolate ice cream to die for. Thick rich and creamy. This was an awesome dining experience long overdue since retiring here from NY. We definitely will be back on a regular basis. I'm also booking for Christmas eve. Again the professionalism of everyone was outstanding and seemed to come from their hearts not at all rehearsed. Hell it would be worth it to go and hear William recite the specials and expertise on all items. GO and make a reservation you deserve to be pampered

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OT
Raleigh
5 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was a great experience. The food was delicious and my waiter was very entertaining and professional. He would explain the food preparation in such a way you could visualize the chef preparing your meal which made my hungrier lol.

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KZ
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Anniversary dinner with my husband. Food and service were excellent. They even created a special menu with our names on it signed by the chef. Would highly recommend for special occasions.

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JB
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We enjoyed the beautiful setting, the wonderful food and the attentive waiter. It all made for a wonderful evening.

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LC
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, wonderful service! Enjoyed rocking chairs on front porch after dinner.

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GC
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing. Truly great

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NK
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Inside atmosphere was lovely. Service very responsive and attention. Food excellent, except for a tough strip steak and dry/bland dessert. Also, we were approached by a homeless man, begging for money as soon as we walked out the door. That was very uncomfortable and brought a sudden end to our wonderful evening. I'm not sure how the restaurant can prevent that.

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C
Raleigh
47 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was delicious. My only issue was my meat was not cooked the way I ordered it. The restaurant made me a whole new order that was perfect. But everyone was just about finished eating when my new order arrived.

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AP
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Dinner was wonderful. We went to second empire the night we were engaged so it seemed fitting to come back for our anniversary dinner. The food was delicious, everything was laid out so beautifully. The staff was wonderful and helpful. We even received a custom menu signed by the chef wishing us a happy anniversary. We will definitely be back!

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M
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous from our server Xander to the food!

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OT
Greensboro
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Anniversary

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OT
1 review
Dined on October 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best steak I've ever had

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OT
Jacksonville
4 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was a dinner for our 25th wedding anniversary!! It was fabulous, food was amazing and the service was top notch..

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AG
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on September 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful restaurant, excellent ambiance, and great friendly service. The scallops were fantastic! Shout-out to our waiters William and Chris.

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OT
1 review
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Surprise birthday dinner for girlfriend’s birthday.
She received a signed menu to keep from the Head Chef.
Extremely hospitable staff and knew the ins and outs of the menu.
Food was delicious!
Experienced the Fois Gras as First then followed with the Filet Minion and Lamb Rack for entrees and chocolate soufflé for dessert.
Overall fantastic first experience and will definitely return.

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OT
1 review
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wedding anniversary

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l
Raleigh
23 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was beautifully delicious

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OT
Raleigh
30 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 5

With 3 table servers it was impossible to get any help. It was entertaining to watch that setting an empty table was more important then a guest.

Food was great !! We will try again

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A
Raleigh
8 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Our food was beyond reproach. The wine list was very interesting and well priced, with some unusual selections. My husband and I shared the calamari as an appetizer and it was superb. I had the scallops and he had barramundi for our entrees, both of which were beautifully prepared. Our only concern was the speed with which the food was delivered. We had barely finished our appetizer before the entrees were brought to the table; in fact, the appetizer plates were still in front of us. We noticed the same thing happening at other tables near us. The restaurant was hosting several large parties the night we were there but a restaurant of this caliber should be able to manage graceful service at all tables. One small note is that our server did not mention the specials to us as we were preparing to order. She otherwise did a great job.

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A
London
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great time. Great service. Delicious food. Who knew collard greens could taste yummy? We highly recommend.

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JH
Phoenix
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Our waitress was friendly and professional. A dessert was brought out for my girlfriends bday, which was very thoughtful

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DW
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Awesome evening! Service exceptional, food great...place amazing!

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MS
New Orleans
7 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding location, food and service. The setting for the restaurant provides a unique opportunity for a romantic dinner with very creative and flavorful food. The service is always impeccable.

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B
Raleigh
42 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I think this is now the best restaurant in the RTP area. The menu has something for everyone and the taste and presentation were outstanding. The wait staff was professional and helpful from the entrance to the exit. We will return soon!

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TS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service is outstanding. Wine was excellent. Beautiful ambiance. First courses are generously portioned. Delicious.

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