Dressing Up for a Night Out: The Best Restaurants in Raleigh, NC with Dress Codes

When it comes to dining out, sometimes we want to dress up and have a fancy night out on the town. And in Raleigh, North Carolina, there are plenty of restaurants that offer just that. From upscale steakhouses to elegant Italian eateries, there are several restaurants in Raleigh, NC that have a dress code.

The Importance of Dress Codes

Some may argue that dress codes are outdated and unnecessary, but for many restaurants, they serve an important purpose. Dress codes not only create a certain ambiance and atmosphere for the restaurant, but they also help maintain a level of professionalism and respect for the establishment. Restaurants with dress codes often have a higher standard of service and food quality, as they cater to a more sophisticated clientele.

It also allows guests to feel like they are part of a special experience, rather than just another meal out.

The Best Restaurants in Raleigh with Dress Codes

If you're looking to have a special night out in Raleigh, here are some of the best restaurants that require a certain dress code:

The Angus Barn

The Angus Barn is a legendary steakhouse in Raleigh that has been around since 1960. Known for its rustic yet elegant atmosphere and mouth-watering steaks, this restaurant has a strict dress code. Men are required to wear collared shirts and closed-toe shoes, while women are expected to wear dresses or skirts. But don't let the dress code intimidate you - the Angus Barn is known for its warm and welcoming atmosphere. And with delicious dishes like their famous Chateaubriand and decadent chocolate chess pie, it's worth dressing up for.

Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

Located in a beautifully restored Victorian home, Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern offers a fine dining experience like no other.

The dress code here is business casual, with no shorts or flip-flops allowed. This restaurant is perfect for a special occasion or a romantic date night. The menu features a mix of Southern and European-inspired dishes, all made with locally sourced ingredients. And with an extensive wine list and impeccable service, Second Empire is a must-visit for those looking for an upscale dining experience.


Mandolin is a farm-to-table restaurant that focuses on Southern cuisine with a modern twist. The dress code here is business casual, with no athletic wear or hats allowed.

The restaurant itself is housed in a charming 1920s bungalow, creating a cozy and intimate atmosphere. The menu changes seasonally, but you can always expect to find delicious dishes like fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and buttermilk fried chicken. And with its relaxed yet refined ambiance, Mandolin is the perfect spot for a special night out with friends or family.


Vivace is an upscale Italian restaurant that offers a sophisticated dining experience. The restaurant boasts an open kitchen and wood-fired oven, creating an inviting and lively atmosphere. The menu features classic Italian dishes like homemade pasta and wood-fired pizzas, as well as more modern options like grilled octopus and lamb chops. And with an extensive wine list and knowledgeable staff, Vivace is the perfect spot for a special occasion or a romantic dinner for two.


Located in the luxurious Umstead Hotel and Spa, Herons is a five-star restaurant that offers a fine dining experience like no other.

The restaurant features an elegant dining room and a beautiful outdoor terrace, perfect for a special occasion or a romantic evening. The menu changes seasonally and focuses on locally sourced ingredients. Dishes like seared scallops and braised short ribs are just some of the mouth-watering options you can expect to find at Herons. And with impeccable service and a stunning setting, this restaurant is worth dressing up for.

Dressing Up for a Night Out

While some may see dress codes as stuffy or unnecessary, they can actually enhance the dining experience. By creating a certain ambiance and maintaining a level of professionalism, restaurants with dress codes offer a special and memorable night out. So next time you're looking to have a fancy dinner in Raleigh, consider one of these restaurants with dress codes.

Not only will you enjoy delicious food and impeccable service, but you'll also feel like you're part of something special.