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Tavern at Second Empire

330 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27603
(919) 829-3663
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Ranked #6 of 1,201 restaurants in Raleigh
Certificate of Excellence 2013
Price range: $31 - $80
Cuisines: American
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Large groups, Doing business, Local cuisine, Outdoor seating, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Harrington St.
Description: 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.
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150 reviews from our community

85% Recommend
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Morrisville, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2014

Okay, the Tavern at Second Empire certainly has the food down pat. The service, not sure...but that could just be me. My wife and I arrived late on a Friday night and after the host checked to make sure they are still serving, we headed down to the bar. Now, I know that the tacit agreement is that you let... More

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Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2014

We hadn't dined at Second Empire for ten years (upstairs in the elegant dining room, not the tavern). I had forgotten how lovely the rooms are amidst colorful paintings. Service was outstanding, with all servers alert, considerate, and knowledgeable. (Even the staff at the bar and greeters were very friendly.) We had wine by the glass, as all four of... More

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Clayton, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2014 via mobile

This beautiful place made me feel like I was in France and no other reausteraunt. The food just like it was fresh from France And the value was perfect for all of the that and I wish to go back.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Raleigh, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2014

This is in the basement of the Second Empire, which is excellent. The Tavern is a brick walled, hardwood floor upscale casual place. They have their own menu but you can also order dishes from the upstairs menu as well, which makes it a very nice choice. The atmosphere upstairs is very formal and excellent. The Tavern is smaller, more... More

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Avon, NY
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2014

We celebrated our Anniversary here last week. We reserved the Chef's Table and had a wonderful experience. Eating in the kitchen gives you a unique advantage and at Second Empire the kitchen was impressive. First of all the kitchen was immaculate! This is something we all want to hear about our favorite restaurant. The chefs and staff made us feel... More

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Greensboro, North Carolina
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2014

We had not planned on such a fine dining experience when deciding on Tavern at Second Empire, but are glad that we stayed. When we asked to be in the more "casual" tavern section of the restaurant, we assumed it would be just that - a tavern. The white table cloths and impeccable wait staff were a few notches above... More

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Saint Paul, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2014 via mobile

I was here with a group for a business dinner. The selections were limited but well varied. The first course offers a lot of unique opportunities to explore and the main courses are well presented and flavorful. Service was excellent and the pacing was wonderful. Our dining room wasn't overly crowded but it was a mid-week dinner. I highly recommend... More

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Raleigh, North Carolina
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2014 credit card Amex Card Member Review

Second Empire is great for that special occasion, excellent food, fine service, and gracious atmosphere, outstanding wine list.

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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2014

As a younger guy about to be freed from the bounds of a student budget, I haven't eaten in too many legitimate gourmet restaurants. I'm not sure if Second Empire is considered "gourmet", but it is what I imagine an excellent gourmet experience to be. The food is unbelievably good; the mussels appetizer was one of the best things I've... More

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Lincoln, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2014

This is a hands-down elegant setting upstairs which serves well-prepared food presented by a well-trained, knowledgeable waitstaff. The wine choices were quite good (Perrier-Jouet by the glass is a plus).

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