Cafe at the Opera
Cafe at the Opera

Cafe at the Opera

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.patinagroup.com/sanfranciscowarmemorial
  • Phone: (415) 861-8150
  • 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
233 reviews since July 28, 2014
Overall Rating3.9
  • Food3.9
    Service3.6
  • Ambiance3.7
    Noise LevelModerate
88% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (96)fit for foodies (44)good for groups (32)great for brunch (14)great for lunch (13)neighborhood gem (11)romantic (11)notable wine list (3)late-night find (3)hot spot (1)vibrant bar scene (1)kid-friendly (1)Show More
  • Cafe at the Opera
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 11/23/2014
    At SF Opera, tasty and efficient brunch with excellent service enabling time for pre-opera talk.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 11/21/2014
    Dining here completes the opera evening experience. The Patina Group does an excellent job with their buffet menu and our wait staff was both helpful and very attentive.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dinner then Opera
    exp345
    Dined on 11/21/2014
    The very best thing about the Opera Cafe is it's location in the opera house. Dining here made dinner before the opera a very leisurely experience. The food was a fine selection of buffet fare - plenty of vegetarian options, everything tasty even if far from gourmet. We'll definitely return and skip the rushing to and from dinner somewhere else before an opera.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/20/2014
    Great food at a fun location!!! --- why do you need 50 characters??????????????
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great for Pre-Opera Dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/19/2014
    The Opera cafe is a great place to eat if you are attending the opera. Although it is a little expensive, the food is well prepared and the buffet has a variety of foods.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • cafe at the opera
    mickeyicecream
    Dined on 11/19/2014
    All six of thoroughly enjoyed our dining experience. Although the food choices are not broad, what was offered was tasty. We had a table near the food and the noise level was not bad. Our waiter, Louis, was most helpful. Our favorite part was our dessert during intermission, which was at our table when we arrived. Our lava cake was warm and delicious, along with coffee promptly served. One cannot match this for convenience and ease when attending the opera; but, having good food and prompt service made our opera dining experience a wonderful one. We will return again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food good, the rest was disappointing
    Wingflap
    Dined on 11/19/2014
    The layout was poor, service substandard but the food (except dessert) was good: The tables were too close together; getting in/out was awkward and conversation required raised voices. The long line of tables in front on the draped stanchions gave the room a very unappealing cafeteria appearance. Having the buffet table in the same room as the diners was also a huge mistake, underscoring the general “mess hall” look of the room. It was inappropriate for opera patrons who, let's remember, paid a lot to be there. Most of the food was pretty good, as usual. The dill sauce for the salmon was quite good. The desserts, however, were very disappointing; they tasted only so-so and there few choices other than molten chocolate concoctions. The coffee was good. The service was substandard; our waiter was absent much of the time and we had to go get help from the bussers and buffet serving man (both pleasant).
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 11/19/2014
    Food excellent but pricey for the a la carte menu. We were there before the opera
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food much improved. Service very attentive
    Gisi
    Dined on 11/18/2014
    Buffet Site Too small and narrow. Guests bump into each other and walking away from buffet disturb sitting diners by touching their chairs. The small tables for 2 persons along the red benches are placed TOO close. You can hardly enter between tables to sit down on red bench without disturbing your bench neighbor and there is absolutely no room to put down even a tiny evening bag. This all makes dining very uncomfortable. Obviously it would be easy to make your diners happy again.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Pre-Opera Meal
    2eatwell
    Dined on 11/16/2014
    As has been my experience several times, having a meal at the Café at the Opera was a very pleasant occasion for me this past Sunday. It is an ideal way to turn down the stress and prepare for the performance. Many thanks.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfect pre-matinee brunch at SF Opera
    daperfessor
    Dined on 11/16/2014
    Cafe opens at noon, 2 hours before curtain goes up. Buffet with all the usual brunch items, fresh fruit, tasty breads. Plus a selection of 8 prepared salads, perfect for vegetarians.For lighter appetites, they offer salads off the menu at about 1/2 the price of the buffet. Very tasty, well worth the price for the quality and convenience if you're attending a performance.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great place before the opera!!!
    Rosie
    Dined on 11/16/2014
    Enjoyed the buffet and the service. Would go again. Very convenient before the opera.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Service getting worse and worse
    redgardencat
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    My friends and I have dinner at Cafe at the Opera before we attend the Opera on Saturday nights. The service is deteriorating noticeably. They encourage one to choose the buffet, since they make a lot more money on it and don't have to serve you. If you want something else, you have to FIND a waiter and request a menu. I will say, the waiter did fill our water glasses with regularity. At the end of the meal, however, it's nearly impossible to find the waiter again to get the check. It took so long to get it and have it taken care of, we were almost late going upstairs to the opera. I know they can do better.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Preperformance dinner
    Lonnie
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    Timely seating, excellent buffet style choice of foods.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/13/2014
    The food at the Opera House Cafe is always very good. Great selection of food from the buffet. My only complaint is about the new seating arrangement. They installed a wall of booths that have tables placed too close to each other. Every time I got up to visit the buffet I had to squeeze past the other dinners chairs. I also could hear their conversations since we were so close to them. I really prefer the old seating at separate tables. Other than that, we had a very nice meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pre opera only
    EatWell
    Dined on 11/13/2014
    Extremely convenient for pre opera dining. The food is good, there is no ambiance and the service is very slow. The great advantages are there is no rush to get to your seats and you can return to your table at intermission to have your dessert and finish your wine.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very good food, Poor service
    redgardencat
    Dined on 11/13/2014
    We enjoy eating at Cafe at the Opera primarily for it's convenience. There are many good restaurants around Civic Center in San Francisco. - The Cafe at the Opera is quite pricey, but my associates like it because one is already in the Opera House, and can just walk upstairs for the performance. The service is abysmal. You have to practically lasso and rope a waiter to get a menu, as they much prefer that everyone order the overpriced buffet. Then at the end of the meal, you have to lasso them again to get your check. I will continue to eat there, as the food is excellent and my friends want to, but if it were up to me, I would allow a little extra time and choose another restaurant nearby.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dinner before the Opera
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/13/2014
    It is very convenient to have a restaurant in the Opera House. Our service was excellent, the food was excellent. We had the Ala Carte menu, but I understand the buffet is very good. We had no trouble with slow service and we were able to go to the Lecture on time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Winton1
    Dined on 11/9/2014
    Just the thing for a relaxed brunch before the opera. Can get to your seat on time. Can read your program while dining so there's no surprises about the production. Very convenient.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • BEFORE OPERA
    Nancy
    Dined on 11/9/2014
    Cafe at the Opera is a fantastic place for brunch or dinner before the opera or ballet. The food is tasty, nicely presented buffet style and has good variety. Service is wonderful and the ambience of the newly redecorated dining room is lovely. Leaves me time to attend the Lecture before the opera.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Cafe at the Opera flawed but OK
    raimondo
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    The selection was good at the buffet, but they did not offer any desserts other than from a separate menu. The service was slow. We had a reservation for 6:30 (the opera started at 7:30), and the staff of the Opera House kept us in the foyer until exactly 6:30. They should have let us in early.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Traveling Opera fan
    Corky
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    A good spot for a bite before the opera. We had reservations but were 30 minutes late due to traffic. they were helpfull and seated us right away. The buffet had some fascinating dishes, I liked the lamb and the butternut squash with cranberries while my husband got some good salmon and enjoyed the cheese tray. I don't know what the guy before said about cafeteria food, I found things I would never cook and got to try all sorts of food. And then my traditional "steak & potato" eating husband could find food he would eat too.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not remarkable
    veroVIP
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    We dined here in a pinch since our favorite restaurant had no reservations available. It was o.k.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • For a special evening!
    SFStand
    Dined on 11/4/2014
    Whenever I have the time to enjoy a beautiful meal before the opera, my number one choice is Café At The Opera. The buffet is simply grand! The quality and presentation are first rate. I love having dessert at intermission. Putting everything together, one couldn't ask for a lovlier way to spend an evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great experience
    Happyalbanians
    Dined on 11/4/2014
    Third time my wife and I enjoyed this place before her birthday present. "A night at the opera".. Friendly service, great ambience
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great new seating arrangement!
    BlueMoonVIP
    Dined on 11/4/2014
    We were encouraged to finally try dining at the SF Opera restaurant because of the wonderful new seating plan, which seems so much more private, comfortable and defined than it was previously. And, come to find out, we've been missing out on a delicious buffet! Kudos on the seating improvements...we will definitely make this our go-to choice for pre-opera dining from now on!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pre-Opera Dining
    2eatwell
    Dined on 11/2/2014
    I have come to look forward to having a good meal and some time to turn down the dials prior to a performance at the S.F. Opera. This past Sunday, that is exactly what happened: I had a very good meal, and excellent service. Many thanks.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great and convenient
    JeannieG1
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    We really enjoyed having dinner at Cafe Opera before Tosca. Drinks, wines and dinner/buffet was delicious!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food for the opera
    dragoncatrocky
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    Before the opera, there is nowhere better to eat than the Cafe at the Opera. The roast beef is delicious, as are the other buffet items. I didn't like the brussels sprouts, however. The dessert was delicious too. Thank you!
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Overpriced cafeteria
    OutofTownDiner
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    For average American buffet, it cost $37.50/person. The setting was like Victorian furniture in a cafeteria setting. Considering the majority of patrons are seniors, the cafe had no soft food for these clients.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very good, very convenient
    SFoodfan
    Dined on 10/30/2014
    Recommended for very good food, and attentive wait staff. A low stress start to a night out at the opera. Buffet choices change often and all the food is delicious. They offer a carved meat and several other entrée choices, for instance: beef bourguignon, chicken with mustard sauce, and a fish option. Two or more vegetable choices and at least 5 different salads, plus fruit, cheese, and dessert off of the menu. Decent wine list. Very enjoyable.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 10/30/2014
    The changes are probably the opera's, not Open Table's; however, it's much more crowded now, many fewer vegetarian options, pretty ordinary overall.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Buffet a bit overpriced
    NancyH
    Dined on 10/30/2014
    We opted for the buffet as we weren't sure how fast the service would be for the a la carte menu. As it turned out, the service would have been fine, as we could see from the table next to us. The food at the buffet was very good, and the selection was adequate, but dessert was extra. For the convenience it was good, but I'd rather not pay that much. If we go again we'll opt for the a la carte menu.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A good start
    brainporter
    Dined on 10/30/2014
    Prior to an opera, that starts as early as 7.30 p.m. it was a viable option to eat here. When having arrived I was immediately forwarded to the buffet. Only later on it turned out that a la carte dining was equally possible. The buffet was amply filled, so it was no problem with me, but others might have appreciated a better informed start of their dinner. However, I recommand it to anyone, even if the spectacle would start well bevond 7.30 p.m. I ate only wonderfull things.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Winton1
    Dined on 10/26/2014
    Always a treat to get yo the opera early, enjoy a leisurely brunch and get to our seats without fuss, on time for the curtain. Rusty, our server and her associate are great
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious
    graciesmom
    Dined on 10/26/2014
    The brunch was excellent -- a wide variety of salads as well as hearty food and breakfast favorites. I succumbed to the pumpkin pancakes with warm syrup as dessert -- yummy fall treat! It's so relaxing to go there before the opera and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very Convenient!
    ErikApril
    Dined on 10/26/2014
    We always enjoy the food and the service we receive when dining at the Cafe! We usually have the brunch buffet since we can try a little bit of everything. Nice selection of salads, breads, cheeses in addition to the entrees. A note to symphony goers: Our server told us that the Cafe will admit persons attending the Symphony by showing their tickets at the door.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • operalover
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    The buffet has definitely improved this season. Now it needs better cheese and more fruit. A small sweet to end the meal is needed.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Cafe at the Opera for Opera Buffs
    elizabeth
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    The cafe took very good care of us. Honored my request to be seated at the bar in front of the tv screen for game 3 of the world series. They kept our place to return for dessert at the second intermission, but the game was over. It was rather fun. I am an opera subscriber but usually go out to dinner somewhere nearby, but if you are pressed for time, this works very well; and the space is quite nice. Easy to talk with other people at the bar. Food was good enough, not great (too seasoned). Used the Al La Carte menu. Good drinks.
    Special Features:
    late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • slow service
    grandmak
    Dined on 10/23/2014
    After being shown to our table, my companion and I waited sometime for service. We were not sure whether we wanted to do the buffet or order ala carte, and we had to ask for a menu. Then we had to wait a fairly long time for our server to get back to us. The food came rather quickly after that. Since we had a lot of time and our salads were not large, we decided to have a dessert, and again our server was slow to respond. The salads (Fisherman's Wharf Chopped Salad and Ahi Tuna Salad) were good, but there could have been more tuna.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate