Cafe at the Opera
Cafe at the Opera
  • Address:
    301 Van Ness Avenue
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    Neighborhood:
    Civic Center / Hayes Valley / Van Ness
  • Cuisine:
    Contemporary American
    Price: $31 to $50

Cafe at the Opera

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.patinagroup.com/sanfranciscowarmemorial
  • Phone: 4158618150x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Open 2 hours prior to each performance

    More info can be found here: http://sfwmpac.org
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Continental, Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: Dean Rona
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar/Lounge, Cafe, Chef's Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Area, Smoking Area, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access
  • Catering: Host your next event at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, and Patina Catering will create an unforgettable experience for you and your guests. A variety of breathtaking historic venues in the Opera House, Davies Symphony Hall and the Veteran"s Building perfectly complement Patina Catering's unrivaled cuisine and impeccable service. Perfect for weddings, galas, corporate parties and pre- and post-performance events, this is San Francisco's premier choice for events of all sizes.

Getting there

  • Public Transit: For transit directions, visit 511.org or call 511.
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: PARKING
    Parking is available in several lots in the surrounding area. Please call lots for current hours and rates.

    Performing Arts Garage

    *Patrons dining in the Opera House may enter through the North Carriage entrance of the Opera House (adjacent to the War Memorial courtyard) up to two hours prior to curtain.
A word from Cafe at the Opera
Committed to Chef Joachim Splichal's impeccable food and quality service, Café at the Opera is available for pre-theatre dining. Located in the lower lounge of the Opera House (Lower level), the Cafe serves an elegant hot buffet beginning two hours before every performance. Lighter fare is also served before performances and during intermissions at Patina's Café Express and Dress Circle Café. Please note that reservations can be made for Performance Ticket Holders only.
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Cafe at the Opera reviews from OpenTable diners
136 reviews since April 23, 2014
Overall Rating3.9
  • Food3.9
    Service4.1
  • Ambiance3.6
    Noise LevelModerate
85% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (67)great for lunch (20)great for brunch (18)fit for foodies (17)good for groups (15)romantic (12)neighborhood gem (10)kid-friendly (8)late-night find (2)notable wine list (2)scenic view (1)Show More
  • Vera
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    Although Café at Opera provides convenience to have lunch before performance the food itself is overpriced and mediocre
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Mixed opinion
    ElandJess
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    The convenience of this place is the highlight. The food is good but not worth the prices. The ambience is terrible and depressing. There are no windows or music, and low ceilings. We did, however, LOVE pre- ordering dessert and coffee for intermission. Both berry crumble and lava cake were delicious.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Excellent food
    Operawoodside
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    The food is excellent! Very high quality, seasonal and fresh. Very good for dietary issues such as gluten free or vegetarian. Plenty to choose from. Having desert wait for you during intermission is such a luxury! Great service. Room ambiance is only so-so.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A cafeteria by any other name....
    BecFin
    Dined on 7/9/2014
    Patina's venue at SF Opera House is looking (and tasting) more and more like a large corporate undertaking--which it is. Food selections and quality range from mediocre to decent, and have deteriorated noticeably during the past few years. Convenience for performance patrons is the only rationale for dining here. Service is excellent, since it is a buffet....
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Buffet
    Plush
    Dined on 7/9/2014
    We decided to try the food here initially due to the convenience of attending the opera immediately after. The buffet seemed more varied and interesting relative to the a la carte, so we did the buffet and it did not disappoint at all. From the Japanese beef stew to the melt in your mouth crusted salmon with the butter sauce, the diverse salads: potato salad with edamame as well as, the cucumber salad with shrimp. All were palette pleasers. The seating was comfortably spaced, with quiet conversational atmosphere. Will definitely return.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Foodie5
    Foodie5VIP
    Dined on 7/8/2014
    Great place to dine before the Opera. Buffet has good food selection and the convenience for going to the Opera cannot be beat.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Visitors
    Suki
    Dined on 7/8/2014
    We enjoyed the atmosphere, good food, friendly and attentive service. Not a lot of food, but just enough. Quick service and the specialty of having our dessert and drinks ready at our table for intermission at the Opera. Just being at the Opera House is pretty special. We had a la carte salads and checked out the buffet which looked very good and gourmet.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious Buffet
    Eliza
    Dined on 7/8/2014
    The Opera Cafe is not only very convenient, but offers a delicious selection of foods at it's buffet. We have never been disappointed. It's location within the War Memorial Opera House makes this spot such a good choice, especially when dealing with time and parking issues in The City. The waiter was very professional and had our table ready again for intermission. After the opera we enjoyed walking around the dining area and looking at the portraits of Opera stars from the past. You will have plenty of time to enjoy a wonderful meal and walk around the inside of the stunning War Memorial Opera House.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pre Opera Spot
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIP
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    Seafood salad was excellent but on the pricey side. But it is good to support the opera and staff and very convenient pre-performance spot.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Pre-Opera Dining
    2eatwell
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    For the good food and also for the convenience, the Café at the Opera is a fine place for lunch prior to a performance. It is a bit hectic during the final half-hour, but that is not the facult of the restaurant but of late arrivals. All in all, an enjoyable place to dine.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent Dining at The Opera
    gr8operadiningVIP
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    Our experience with Madama Butterfly performance, as well as our dining experience at The Cafe at the Opera, were very memorable. Further, we were able to reserve our delicious opera cake, chocolate, and strawberries with champagne for the intermission. Our dining captain was Mr. Chung (who is excellent and wonderful), and he prepared our brunch and intermission orders professionally and efficiently. My family member and I loved Madama Butterfly and our dining experience. We are so honored to meet Madame Butterfly, the beautiful and gracious Patricia Racette, in person. Very memorable and touching experience before my family member's surgery the next day.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Cafe' at San Francisco Opera House
    OperaDiner
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    Patina Group is the food vendor at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, and does an excellent job. Save driving and parking hassles trying to "make" the performance on time. Be there early, go to the basement bar and cafe', have an pleasurable drink, buffet dinner, and dessert, then to your seats and a glorious performance. Food is always extremely fresh, whether hot or cold. There's snap in the cooked vegetables, Expect fish, chicken, a carvery of beef, vegetarian, side dishes, many salads, fruit, bread, and cheeses. A clean second plate for a return trip is always provided. You will not be disappointed. Service is polite, and efficient. White linen bistro tables and comfortable straight chairs. Opera photos are on the walls.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Convenient, Good Choice!
    eveningonthetown
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    The Opera Cafe is not only very convenient, but offers a wonderful selection of foods at it's buffet. The selection of salads and entries are very good. We have never been disappointed. It's location within the War Memorial Opera House makes this spot such a good choice, especially when dealing with time and parking issues in The City. The service is very good and we find the wait staff very knowledgeable. You will have plenty of time to enjoy a delicious meal and make in the Opera Pre-talk.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pre-opera meal
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    Usually just want some light meal prior to the opera and Cafe at the Opera definitely fills the bill. Salads (a la carte menu) were just the right amount for wife and me, but those who want more can have the full all you can eat buffet with good selections. Really enjoyed the smoked chicken/heirloom tomatos salad and the flank steak/roasted peppers one was pretty good as well. Desserts are a bit pricey, but can skip that and just have dessert after the opera. Venue could be better and service is friendly but just OK. All in all, pretty nice
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Opera Dining
    SusieQz
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    I love the North Box Bar..Open & Airy with a view of the entry atrium. Great menu of Dinner Salads, Cheese and Charcuterie. Can also pre-order cheese or dessert to be ready at intermission. Decent wine list. Makes it easy to park early and be in the opera pre-show. Be sure to ask specifically for North Box Bar when making reservations.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • MADAME BUTTERFLY
    CaptainPinkerton
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    our waiter Gregory was a delight. he let us know we could finish our supper later during intermission as well as pre-order dessert. very nice to leave the house at intermission and return right to the table you had supper at 530 to finish and have dessert at 830 and the return to the opera.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Surprising good!
    catgetsdown
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    We wanted a place to eat close to the opera house as my elderly mother could not walk very far and we didn't want to have to drive to a different area for dinner and then back for the opera. The Cafe at the Opera was really good! There were a lot of selections for salads and entrees - the salads were very good and the roast beef - excellent. They also prepared mashed sweet potatoes - Japanese sweet potatoes - that was our favorite for the evening. Desserts are separate from the buffet - but reasonable. The price is pretty steep but when you think about parking somewhere else, driving back, circling because there is no parking, it's worth it.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The food good, ambience dingy
    HeatherH
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    We've never been to this cafe before, altho we've seen operas there before. However, not sure I would want to do it again, as the place felt old and tired. It could use a fresh painting, some plants, something that makes it look like a space the opera house cares about. It looked neglected and unthought about.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fred
    Dined on 7/2/2014
    hot and cold buffet was good; great carved beef; excellent and varied salads
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • opera cafe
    grandmak
    Dined on 7/2/2014
    My partner ordered from the menu and enjoyed his salad. The previous week I had done the same, and The Fisherman's Wharf Style Chopped Salad was very good. This time I did the buffet and while it was good I felt that I would have done better to order a salad at much less expense; I did not eat the prime rib, found the catfish good but a bit peppery, and the chicken had an objectionable sweet sauce; the salads were varied and fresh, the bread and cheese selection good. The Cafe at the Opera is a good place to have dinner and escape the rush between dinner at a nearby restaurant and the opera house. Another time we may partake of the more casual food available at the opera house. I
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great pre-event venue!
    jimmywesVIP
    Dined on 7/1/2014
    If you're going to the opera this is definitely the place for your pre-show dinner. Food is excellent. Service is great for a Buffett. Convenience can't be beat! Have your dessert, drinks or coffee during the intermission. It's a total evening.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 7/1/2014
    Very convenient if attending an event at the SF Opera House. Buffet seemed overpriced ($38), but nice choices and reasonable prices on the dinner menu.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    I had seafood salad ordered off menu - dressing was poor and seafood was soso - mostly out of a can I presume.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good food at the opera
    dragoncatrocky
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    A visit to the opera is complete with a dinner at the downstairs Cafe. They have an excellent buffet with fresh food and prime rib. The service is good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • foodielover003
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    The ambiance was nice, the service excellent and the food delicious! Great venue to people watch also. I would recommend this dinning stop to all attendees of the opera!
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Makes dining before the opera easy
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    My dad and I had dinner before the opera recently at the Cafe. We ordered dinner off the menu, rather than having the buffet. Dinner was fine, nothing to write home about. Desert, a rhubarb-berry crumble, was out of this world. Service was slow, and the ambiance was a bit dreary. But it sure made things easy.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • This Cafe is convenient
    Mary
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    This Cafe is convenient if you are going to a show at the Opera House but the buffet was ordinary. Some nice salads but the meat offerings were weak. The cat fish was awful. Must be cheap.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Miles Berger
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    The Cafe makes us feel pampered and special. It adds to a wonderful evening at the opera. The intermission dessert is a great treat. The buffett is one of the best meals in town! We love it!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ballet
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    Since there were 2 people with me I got a much better table than when I dined here alone and was seated to the side.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Unexpected Decline of the Cafe
    Consumerist
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    We have been going to the Opera Cafe for years. This time was really awful. Not the service, not the table, but the food: overdressed salads, overdone chicken. Something has evidently changed. We brought two guests who were equally surprised. They had never been to the Opera Cafe and are unlikely to return. what a shame.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Dining pre-opera
    Jody
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    Always elegant and delicious ....................................
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Madama Butterfly
    Shannon
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    For years we've always eaten at the Opera Cafe before the show for convenience sake. I have to say the menu for Madama Butterfly was the best we've ever had! Hats off to the chefs!,
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    Outstanding place to dine when attending the opera. "One-stop-shopping:" dine, go to preopera talk, then the opera; all nearby.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Convenient for the opera
    LisaS
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    The food is very nice and the service great for a buffet. The biggest draw is that it is so convenient before the opera. You can linger without worrying about making the performance.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • TimB
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    great food and service, as well as convenience to opera upstairs.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great choice before the opera
    LDSPVIP
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    Located right below the main lobby, with early entrance provided through the north carriage entrance. Bis, diverse buffet for roughly $35. We also arranged for a small bottle of champagne and desserts at intermission, so they held the same table for us (to celebrate a birthday). We tried the fruity "special" cocktail and appreciated the very fast table service. Advise you to go early, as you get the table for the whole time before the opera (they don't seem to do multiple seatings).
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Patina Group disappoints!
    BarbaraFVIP
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    We had high hopes. The buffet is so uninteresting looking; food displays are unimaginative and unappealing. The a la carte menu is extremely limited and they never say that all the options are salads e.g., the flank steak offering looks like an entree but turns out to also be a salad! Better descriptions would be less deceptive. The hostess staff never smiles--bad first impression--although our waiter was pleasant. The room is dark and dismal, very depressing. It could be spruced up a bit. And then there's the constant stream (and noise) of opera patrons going to and from the restrooms, the entrances for which are right in the dining room. There must be a way to partition that traffic lane from the dining tables.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    i can't believe a fine organization like the san francisco opera could present us with a truly horrible "restaurant" like this. BAD EVERYTHING!!!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • nightingale
    Dined on 6/25/2014
    We had a very favorable time, with excellent food and excellent service. The timing was perfect to enjoy our meal in a relaxed atmosphere and not having to rush to make the performance. Also, because I had a recent surgery, it was easy to have dinner and make the opera.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great dining at San Francisco Opera
    naparoseVIP
    Dined on 6/25/2014
    This is a perfect spot for dining before you enjoy the opera. The buffet food is very good. Price is a bit high especially if your appetite is small. Probably better to order a la carte.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate