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 lighter fare menu and more casual environment. The Capitol Room, Raleigh Room, Pine Room and Atrium Room are available for private parties seating up to 55 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.
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 deposited in the box located on the South side of the parking lot. If you do not pay you will be ticketed $30.
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 48 people, the Raleigh Room which seats 30 people, the Capitol Room which seats 24 people and the Atrium which seats 55 people.
Private Party Contact:
Marilyn Akers: 9198293663x
Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
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Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern Ratings and Reviews
UPSTAIRS AT SECOND EMPIRE
IT IS A BEAUTIFUL RESTAURANT AND FIVE-STAR ALL THE WAY. THE FOOD AND SERVICE WERE SUPERB.
Genuine Service and a Great Kitchen
From the moment we walked in the front door, the staff was friendly, smiling and supportive of our anniversary meal. Our table was well dressed, the staff attentive, and the menu had something for both of us. The food was portioned correctly - not the tiny amount some places serve, but not the ridiculous "American portion" dished out in large chain restaurants. The reduction sauces were some of the best I've ever taste - complex, deep, and filled with complementing flavors. We went off menu for two of the specials and were very pleased. I'd recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a fancy evening out.
One of my favs. But for whatever reason, ...
One of my favs. But for whatever reason, service was beyond S-L-O-W. Wednesday night, very few patrons. But every place is entitled to a "not as good as usual " evening. I look forward to returning.
Second Empire never disappoints. The bui ...
Second Empire never disappoints. The building itself is rich in history, the menu offers something for everybody and it's absolutely exquisite, and the staff delivers some of the best service in the city. If you are looking to impress or have a special night out this is the place for you.
Absolutely positively outstanding. Vaugh ...
Absolutely positively outstanding. Vaughn, our waiter, and his team were incredible. Second Empire has never disappointed.
Excellent atmosphere and food
Excellent atmosphere and food. Will definitely go back again and take family.
Ranks in my top 5
Very close to Outstanding, however, my steak was a little thin for a NY Strip and a slight bit tougher that expected. Nevertheless, the taste was very good. Service was prompt and attentive. However, I would rate it overly attentive. An experienced waiter would have a better awareness of our needs and not made us feel rushed - a stern voice worked fine to slow things down. The restaurant ambience was outstanding as the home was beautiful. We would definitely come back.
ONE WORD: EXCELLENT.
Excellent food; Excellent service; Excellent atmosphere. Would highly recommend.
We made a last minute reservation for ou ...
We made a last minute reservation for our anniversary dinner, and both the food and service were wonderful. I definitely recommend this restaurant. The prices are very reasonable for what you get, and the service is great. Make sure to leave time to find parking.
Alex was a fantastic server. Very polite and knowledgeable. He took very good care of us throughout the evening.
Overall a nice time and meal
Server was attentive and friendly. Choose a selection of three cheeses as the appetizer and they were very good. The mahi mahi and steak meals were quite flavorful and tasty with nice presentation though the steak was not as tender as might be anticipated and expected. The key lime pie for dessert was delicious. There were a lot of couples present. If there is a negative, the parking lot for the restaurant is way too small. When we arrived for a 5:45 reservation, it was full as were the surrounding spaces on the street. Took me a good 10 minutes to find a spot about 4 blocks away. The restaurant itself was not packed at that time.
The lamb as always is outstanding. They even had my name on the top of my menu since I was celebrating my birthday
Great dinner, great setting, and not too expensive
Great dinner, great setting, and not too expensive
In general second empire is one of the b ...
In general second empire is one of the best restaurants in down town Raleigh. We especially love the tavern area because it's less stuffy but usually has the same impeccable service and both menus. This time the service was not as good as usual. Slow, mixing up tables and putting knifes back on the tables that were used for cheese and clearly put on the pile of plates to be taken away and replaced. I don't expect that at a restaurant like SE. New silverware every course please !!! The food is usually really good, this time it seemed less balanced. But it will still be a place we will go to when we want to have a more "adult" dinner.
An AMAZING experience
Second Empire was absolutely my FAVORITE restaurant experience in Raleigh. The food was perfect. We started the evening with signature cocktails which were prepared perfectly (the Hillsborough Sunset... try it). For our first course we had the foie gras and it was tender and to die for. Our waitress picked out a perfect wine pairing for our entrees. My fiancé had the Mahi Mahi catch of the day, but she liked the sides with the Icelandic Char better. The waitress recommended switching the Char for Mahi Mahi and the chef has no problem customizing dishes for customers. I had a 28-day aged Angus Filet Mignon with polenta and it was delicious. A definite must dine.
Great dining experience. It would do well in any city coast to coast.
Great dining experience
Our experience was fabulous from start to finish: from the moment we stepped inside this beautiful restaurant we felt the high quality of customer service. The food was excellent and very creative in textures, and the service was great. Even the wine pairing that was suggested to us was perfect. We will definitely be back. Thank you to the entire staff!
Never fails to impress!
We've been to The Scond Empire several times through the years and have always been impressed. Rachel waited on us and remembered us from the previous occasion. She's fun and the ultimate professional. The foie gras was superior as was my steak. The wine recommendation was right on target. I look for ward to returning in the near future.......
This is a first-class restaurant that gets everything right. Service, food, atmosphere are all among the finest in the area. Creative menus, with surprisingly large portion size. This is a Raleigh institution for a reason. They deliver on expectations.
Our waiter was way too intrusive, consta ...
Our waiter was way too intrusive, constantly interrupting a business dinner with clients as if his agenda was far more important than ours.
I watched a TV show about fresh scallops in Norway in the afternoon and thought about it the rest of the afternoon. Needless to say, I ordered the scallops and they were every bit as delicious in appearance and taste as they appeared on TV. The rest of our party had the filet special and the lamb chops all cooked to perfection and tasting as good as they looked. Great job and we will see you again soon.
Lovely and Delicious
I took my grandson to the Second Empire for a special time together. It was fabulous - very elegant and the food was original and excellent. The service was perfect and the ambiance superb. I recommend the Second Empire for any and all special occasions.
Amazing. I will be back.
Amazing. I will be back.
31 st anniverary dinner ....
Have wanted to go to Second Empire for some time. 31st anniversary dinner gave us the reason. We were not disappointed. Outstanding outing. Pricing is a little "dear" ... but the event was first rate. Not for every night, but great for special occasions. A real gem.
Wonderful dinner after I proposed to my fiancee! The staff was very considerate and made the evening special.
Best of the Best!
This is the best restaurant in all of Raleigh. I have gone several times and I am always more impressed than the last time.
We celebrated our Mom's 75th anniversary and just feel in love with the place. The experience begins before you even walk with the lighting, porch and grand glass doors. The hosts and servers were beyond helpful is guiding us to the table, helping us decide which wine and foods go well together...BUT, my favorite detail-Personalized menu for my MOM signed by the chef. The brick interior walls in the tavern made us feel like we had stepped back in time to a wonderful place you only see in the movies. The vibe was fun, friendly, romantic and you knew you were in a special place and there to celebrate. The bar was quaint (and still had a TV for the UNC game-score!). Now the food-WOW. Best calamari-hands down. The cheese plate was plenty to share for 6 people (3 cheeses). We each ordered a different entrée and no one had any critiques-no one. I almost forgot-the French Onion Soup-If you are a lover of this, go NOW because they are changing the menu soon. Delicious. Thank you for an unforgettable experience. We will be back and have shared with others. Thank you.
Great 10 year anniversary
They allowed me to bring the centerpiece, wedding album, and Champagne flutes from our wedding. Gave us a signed menu from the owner/chief. Wife was impressed. I purposes at Second Empire so they gave us the same table too.
We went to second empire to celebrate my ...
We went to second empire to celebrate my birthday. The service and the food were amazing and we were seated in The Atrium. However, the noise levels were high to the point where I couldn't really hear my partner seated across the table from me. I guess that's something that is a part of The Atrium's atmosphere, and it didn't bother me too much.
Reservation in dining room, atmosphere was pleasant and quiet- food was very good, great experience. A 'must add' to the list.
Fantastic Food and atmosphere!
Fantastic Food and atmosphere!
My partner and l have been several times to second empire and always enjoy the restaurant, however, a restaurant of this standard I do not expect the waiter to clear my plate when my partner was still eating, this was very disappointing!
Celebrating An Anniversary
My boyfriend and I celebrated our anniversary there this weekend. It is definitely a place that you will want to get dressed up for. It is very quiet and romantic. The food is French inspired and delicious. Is it the most creative meal I have ever had? No, but it had a lot of flavor. I would recommend for a special occasion, but not an every weekend kind of place.
My wife and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary. This was our first experience and were very pleased. I had selected them looking for a special occasion type of place. The ambiance of this old home was perfect for our occasion. I had gotten a call to confirm our reservation and was surprised to find a custom printed menu awaiting us. Nice touch. Also a management note. I heard a radio ad for the restaurant that also nudged me into making the reservations. So you ad worked.
Another amazing experience at Second Emp ...
Another amazing experience at Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern!
Food, Service & Atmosphere was impeccable !
Second Empire was the start of an amazing night! Although we were running late, and need to get to the ballet after dinner our waitress was absolutely perfect! She took time to take our pictures and was extreamly helpful in suggestions from the menu as well as the wine list. The food was fantastic both in taste and presentation ! Ambience was perfect for a special occasion. Our next time visiting this restaurant we will not make plans afterward, that way we can take our time and savor all that Second Empire has to offer!!
One of the best filets ever had.
One of the best filers eve. Great presentation and portion perfect. Choc soufflé outstanding.
S U P E R B !
Valerie and Cheyenne were a splendid team of servers. They added to the experience. Food was fabulous. We had the Filet M. Perfectly done warm center. The cheese and wine selection were a fun addition. Only negative thing was the limited "by the glass" wine selection. But, we ordered a bottle anyway.
Excellent Experience Again
Restaurants sometimes have trouble making a good second impression I've found. One good dinner is hard to match. Second Empire was just as wonderful the second time. My Strip Steak and my wife's Sea Scallops were both perfectly prepared. This restaurant is now a must do when we visit Raleigh. I'm getting hungry again remembering that dinner as I type.
An incredible experience
I have been to Second Empire twice. Once at the chef's table in 2010 and once at the tavern for dinner in 2016. Despite my visits being years apart, the extraordinary level of service and amazing food never wavered. So much so that I drive an hour and half to eat there without thinking twice. Always an elegant and delicious experience.
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