Raleigh >Gifts & Novelties > Second Empire Restaurant
330 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC | Directions 2760335.780739 -78.644824
Open for Dinner Tuesday - Saturday 5:00pm - 10:00pm
Tavern opens at 4:30pm
Located in downtown Raleigh?s historic Victorian Dodd-Hinsdale House (circa 1879), Second Empire combines history, atmosphere, exceptional service and gourmet cusine 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 the AAA Four Diamond Award and the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since 1998.
Very disappointed and have never eaten there. I scheduled, several weeks ago, a reservation for tomorrow night for 12 people. A very important meeting for my employer. We received email confirmation of the reservation right away. Guests flying in from California today. A pretty big deal. We just got an email from the restaurant CANCELLING OUR RESERVATION! No reasons given... just we are cancelling your reservation... So now I am under the gun to find another impressive restaurant that can take a last minute reservation for 12 for tomorrow night! Unacceptable. If this is how they treat their patrons, I will never be one. I don't care how good their food is.
very pricy, but worth every dime. food is the best in town. i recommend for any special night out.
Best restaurant in Raleigh, NC, hands down !!!! – We just celebrated our anniversary in a party of 4 last night and the entire evening was just incredible. Service was impeccable, food for all of us was simply superb and the ambiance of this historic house is lovely. Upon arrival for our reservation, the maitre d' surprised us with a menu signed by the owner and the chef. He also presented us with a gift certificate from our jeweler and friend Margarita, which was not only extremely thoughtful and generous, but a huge surprise since it was not expected. We travel all over the country and also abroad and after eating there last night, we agreed this is absolutely the finest food and best service available in Raleigh and we can't wait to return.
Love it... – My husband and I love Second Empire. We go there for every special occasion – the lamb is to die for!
Everyone seems to complain that SE is too expensive but I believe you get what you pay for. The portions are perfect and the staff has always been professional, pleasant (yet non-intrusive) and the atmosphere is beautiful.
We look forward to celebrating with Second Empire for years to come!
A little too much hype – The food was good and the atmosphere was romantic but I expected more for the price.
My boyfriend took me here for our Christmas date and I was definitely not wowed like I thought I would be. The prices are a little too high for what you are getting. I will however say that the meals were delicious.
TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE, STALE OLD FOLKS HOME! – Terrible experience. Food was WAY overpriced for the quality. Waiters were not very friendly and the atmosphere was stale at best. Avoid this place and visit other restaurants and this is not a very friendly place to have a meal.
Totally honest review of Chef table in Kitchen – I normally don't post about restaurants but I wish I had read more about dining at the chef table. I booked a table for my husband and I for a nice celebration dinner. He went on the web-site and found something called the "chef table" nad booked us there instead. Please note you must secure the reservation with a credit card, which was okay with us.
When we arrived we were taken into the kitchen. Wow, the lights were SO bright in there (of course, they need to see what they are cooking) and it is very loud and hot. I thought we would be seated in the corner of the kitchen with a nice view of what was happening....nope, we were seated right in front of where the food was coming out; it was a bit uncomfortable to say the least. Everyone from the dish washers to the servers staring at you and trying to get around our table. I was so nervous and felt 'on display'. I also expected a warmer 'welcome' but everyone was so busy running around it never happened.
We sat and (yes I looked at my watch) almost an hour before anyone brought us something to eat, and that was because I finanlly asked someone for bread.
They encourged us to get up and walk around the kitchen and ask questions and help out. I felt very out of place....and I adore cooking. Everyone we met was very nice and kind...very hard working people. We had three courses of food, which were yummy but tiny and we also got to taste 3 wines. The chef picked everything and his selections were nice.
I wish I had been eating the same food in the dining room and I wish more had been explained about eating at the chef table. Our bill was $331.00 for 2 people and I am certain I could have gotten 3 courses for so much less in the dining room. I am sure it is worth a bit more to have the kitchen experience, but for what we got, I found it over priced. I also felt it was rude for them to add over $50.00 in gratuity; it was out of line. First, not a sole even waited on us; we would have had better service in the dining room...and second, we agreed before hand to pay the money, why not allow two grown adults to leave there own tip? It was not like there were 6 or more of us.
I will return to the secnd empire and I will make sure I sit in the main dining room or in the tavern. I think the concept of this was nice but it failed to live up to the standards I would have expected. I hope this was helpful.
Terrible Tavern Service – Unfortunately we did not get to eat at the famed Second Empire. We made reservations 2 weeks in advance for a special family dinner celebrating 4 birthdays. We reserved a table for 4 in the tavern and were very excited about the meal and knew it was going to be an expensive meal but thought it would be perfect for the occasion. We arrived on time for our reservation, were seated and watched in amazement for 20 minutes while every other table in the dining room was taken care of by multiple servers. They didn't even notice us until we started to put our coats on. The staff was very appologetic but at that point it was too late. We were ready to order bottles of wine and appetizers and the waitress who brought us water said she "wasn't our server" and wouldn't take our drink order - I was shocked. Waiting 20 minutes for the server assigned to our table is too long.
One of the best meals I have had in my entire life! – My husband and I had the pleasure of eating at Second Empire for his company dinner. To sum up this experience in a single word it would be: amazing.
Not only was the taste of the food amazing, but also the presentation and the way the chefs combine the different flavors. We both had the salmon which was cooked perfectly.
The atmosphere is quiet and intimate, but not so stuffy that we felt out of place. Would definitely recommend eating here for a memorable occasion.
A wonderful experience – We just dined at Second Empire last night, and I couldn't wait to write a review. It was our first time there and we splurged on the chef's cheese selections, wine, dinner, coffee and dessert. Be prepared for a sizable bill if you choose to linger over a long dinner like we did, but it was truly worth every penny. Every bite was amazing. The sauces and accompaniments chosen for each dish are unique and compliment the meat or fish perfectly (I noticed there were vegetarian options upon request too). Also, I've been to fancy restaurants where the food is delicious but in tiny portions - not so at Second Empire! Despite my best efforts, I couldn't finish my meal, and even my husband had a hard time finishing his! After dinner, we lingered over some of the best coffee I've ever tasted, and waited until we had room for their perfect chocolate souffle.
Aside from the food, the atmosphere was wonderful too. The host and wait staff were more than personable - they treated us as genially and warmly as if they were entertaining us in their own home. Upon hearing that it was our first visit, our waiter gave us a brief history of the home, the restaurant, and the chef. After dinner, the host gave us a quick tour as well, showing us the additional dining rooms downstairs.
Our experience at Second Empire was truly a culinary treat, and a relaxing, pampering experience. We will be back again and again.
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