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
194 reviews since June 25, 2014
Overall Rating3.8
  • Food3.8
    Service3.6
  • Ambiance3.5
    Noise LevelModerate
84% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (90)fit for foodies (29)good for groups (25)great for lunch (14)neighborhood gem (12)great for brunch (11)romantic (11)kid-friendly (3)notable wine list (3)late-night find (1)hot spot (1)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • Good buffet, poor service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 10/21/2014
    There were too few wait persons, and the one we had ignored us as soon as big groups who bought several bottles of wine arrived. He didn't even bring the coffee we ordered, and it took him ten minutes to take our credit card and ten more to process it. So we missed the start of the opera talk.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sunday Brunch At The Opera
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    I asked the waiter for coffee. After a suitable wait I asked again. After another suitable wait I asked another waiter for the manager. He inquired to my need and immediately brought coffee. It was a brunch, there is not a lot of service required. I left a ten per cent tip on two brunches. In regard to the food, I am very pleased to see that onions are no longer included in EVERY dish. I will return.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • mamaravioli
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    The food is good, the location in the opera house is very convenient, but our service, this last Sunday, was woefully slow.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great spot for opera dining
    CSKOPERA
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    This is a fine buffet and short menu for days or nights at the opera. New decor is rich red and setting inviting. Service efficient and friendly especially Rustee our favorite..
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Overpriced
    peterVIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    This was too expensive for what they offer, which is a rather limited buffet, which ran out of some things.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Convenient and yummy
    violyn
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Cafe at the Opera is a perfect prelude to an opera. It's conveniently located in the Opera House, which is wonderful for an 89 year old handicapped lady. The food is always delicious, with a wide selection of options. I'm not normally a big vegetable eater, but Cafe at the Opera prepares them so creatively that I always pile more veggies on my plate than meats.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Operacafe
    ariamuncher
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    The overall experience was very pleasant and delicious! Excellent way to start an Opera Evening.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Most convenient before an opera
    RoyAtTheOpera
    Dined on 10/13/2014
    When you are going from work to an evening at the San Francisco Opera House, the Cafer at the Opera down stairs proves to be the most convenient place to have dinner. The dinning is buffet style, although you can order things on the menu. The waiting stuff is very prompt and attending for your wine and etc. The dinning can be as long as two hours or as short as 30 mintues. It's all up to you. If you order a bottle of wine and did not finish before the show. They can save it for your pleasure at the intermissions. I have been using this cafe for more than 15 years.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • diner
    DINER
    Dined on 10/13/2014
    Charming ladies to meet you at the door. Efficient and fast wait staff. Well prepared food. Arrived, served on time, and then off to hear the opera lecture. Wonderful experience.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Okay but badly lit!
    Ursula
    Dined on 10/13/2014
    The new configuration of the cafe looks nice, though with the buffet moved into the center of the dining space, there's less room than ever. The new a la carte menu had some tasty salads. But the tiny table lamps which might have given the space a cozy glow, don't show any light at all. The overhead lighting is ghastly!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • great place for nice pre-opera meal
    roscoe
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    my only concern was the service was a bit slow- we would have had dessert but service was too slow so had to cancel our request
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Corliss
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Lovely meal in just as lovely setting. Buffet best deal!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    it is very handy before an opera. It is pleasant, food is good and quick!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Dining before the opera or ballet
    ajrreview
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    A wonderful place to dine before the opera or ballet, great food and great atmosphere
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • SF Opera House
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    A great place to dine before the opera. The buffet belies its name. Each item is excellent combining into a medley of flavors.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Dinner before the opera
    JnJKVIP
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    I do not like the new arrangement for the tables or the buffet food. If there are two of you; you are lined up with other couples and it is impossible to escape hearing everything going on around you. Of course you can start a conversation with your neighbors, which is fine. The buffet is now in a dark space in the middle of the tables. Interestingly the tables all had cute little lamps which produced no light. Previously I had noted that the food was not as good but this time I found the food and especially the salad selections admirable. They also had selected a better variety of cheeses. I find it is still deplorable that they cannot produce espresso coffee. Apparently they had bad experiences with their espresso machine in the past!
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good food
    Likesgoodfood
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    Elegant location,good variety of food,good service,convenient to opera
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • opera night
    katedog
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    worked out perfectly... we got just what we wanted... easy dining, right there at the opera house, such good food, no rush, very comfortable, service very good. all very tasty and satisfying...nice way to start the evening... we'll be back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Suzy
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    Very convenient to say the least. Good service and good food. Would enjoy again. Love that this is available, a great asset for the Opera House.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, late-night find, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    The food was OK. There were very few servers to be found for a large dining area. A rather mediocre dining experience. Main plus is proximity to the opera.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    I like to dine at Cafe at the Opera when I intend to attend the opera. It's just fine for that purpose.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great before performance
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    Cafe at the Opera is of course extremely convenient for opera goers, but it's also a wonderful dining experience. Wide variety, esp salads, all fresh and interesting; very reasonable and quiet (seldom found these days) though it's self-serve, it's easy and bonus is you can try everything!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food OK, service lacking
    BelgoVIP
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    Let's face it. People go here because of the convenience when you're going to the opera, especially when there's a 7:30 PM curtain. The food is decent for a buffet. For a buffet, though, the waiters can be surprisingly difficult to get a hold of. They don't put waiters in sections, but have them running all around, so getting their attention can be difficult...
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • pre-show dining
    Buffin
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    My wife and I enjoy dining here before going to the Opera. It takes the stress out of the timing of going to a restaurant and then walking to the Opera House. The Cafe has been remodelled recently and is more comfortable and more formal in feeling. We prefer to eat a la carte than do the prominent buffet which most appear to select; my wife enjoyed a seafood salad and I my steak salad. Service was somewhat gruff.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    Food was quite good overall, but desserts were not so great. Service is excellent!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Cafe at the Opera update...
    Oper
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    The Opera Cafe has some new decor changes-upholstered chairs and banquettes. The food features seasonal fare. It is a convenient place for dinner before an opera. On our recent visit the service was very good. Better than times in the past.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disaster in the Opera House Cafe
    Sally
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    The renovated Opera House Cafe is a disaster. Attached banquettes line the eastern side of the room. The food is now located in the center of the dining area and not in a separate room. There was not enough room to serve yourself at the buffet, carry your plate and be in line waiting for someone to move along the table. The wait staff who is experienced had trouble taking off the used plates and putting clean dishes in front of you. Difficult to get a drink served. Along the banquette three of the tables were unable to get the wait staff attention to provide the check so we could pay and leave. Assuming the changes were to separate the eating from the bathroom entrances and separating the bar from the tables, bad idea.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good buffet style dining
    plrsf
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    Nice way to enjoy a meal before the Opera. Friendly staff, good quality food served buffet style.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Diner
    DINER
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    Select dinner at buffet. Much quicker and very tasty.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Buffet
    BonnVIP
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    We always enjoy the buffet at Cafe at the Opera. The service and the food are very good.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Horrible Seating
    Pete
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    The small tables for two are way too close together. It's virtually impossible to squeeze into the inside seats (the bench). Who approved this design? They obviously didn't try it out.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice but service mediocre
    Foodlovers
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    We decided to try the Opera Cafe before seeing the opera "Norma". The hot buffet food was good, the room pleasant, and the service was fine for the first half of our dinner. Obviously there are not enough servers and ours was a bit overwhelmed when the restaurant really filled up. I never got a chance to order a dessert for he simply did not come back, and we had to look for him to pay the bill. We finally paid it in the bar area. Also, with just one drink, no dessert or coffee, the bill was close to $100.00, way too much!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not the old Cafe
    jufyVIP
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    We used to go to the Cafe before a ballet, eight times a season. Then we stopped to try more local fare. We came back before seeing "Norma" mainly for convenience. We thought the food tables were crowded. The salad table had mostly empty platters and they were not replaced very quickly. The food was just okay although some of the salads were delicious. Our service was terrible. We sat waiting for clean plates while our server set several other tables. We are not coming back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Horrible service!!!!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Expect poor service and long wait if you order off the menu and do not have the buffet.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • wammy
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    We were attending Opera after dinner, there should have been coffee or tea and desert, if there was it was never offered or did not see it.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Remodel misses
    SeniorfoodyVIP
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    The Cafe at the Opera has remodeled the dining room since our last visit. In the past the buffet was held in the area near the bar with the various items spread in a straight line. Now the buffet items are bunched in the center of the dining room. In the past there was room to walk around the tables without worrying about bumping into other diners now one needs to be constantly on the alert to avoid bumping. I love the buffet and the food is always very tasty but this development takes the pleasure out of the experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Forgot to check me in
    Forecaster
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Didn't check me in on open table system so they thought I was a no show. Credit card records will prove I was there.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great surprise
    Foodie2
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    Went to the Opera to see Norma and we haven't been to the city for a night out in years. We wanted a place for dinner close by and stress free. We ended up at the Cafe at the Opera. Our reservation wasn't until 6:15 pm but we got there early. We asked if we could be seated early and they immediately seated us at a table. We chose to do the buffet since we had plenty of time and we were both hungry. What a great choice. The food was really varied and very good. We found a nice wine on the wine list. We're both foodies and enjoyed trying all the offerings. If you want good food and to be onsite, this is definitely worth the price. Made for a fun, relaxing, stress free evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Easy dining for Opera
    Athanasious
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    This is the first time I tried the Opera Cafe and it probably will not be the last. The food was okay and reasonably priced on the a la cart Menu; I would like to see more variety, however. The best part is not having to rush to make the curtain ... it was a lot of fun to finish eating, walk out on the Opera House portico for some fresh air before the show and easily make it to our seats.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • loyal2patronage
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    We took the buffet option - excellent food and service. Lots of choices. Fun to have dinner first, then go to the lecture in the Opera House and then back for dessert before the curtain rises! Wait staff very accommodating.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate