Max's Opera Cafe
601 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102Neighborhood:
Civic Center / Hayes Valley / Van Ness
AmericanPrice: $30 and under
Max's Opera Cafe
- Dining Style: Casual Dining
- Website: http://maxsworld.com/
- Phone: (415) 771-7300
- Hours of Operation:
Brunch: Saturday - Sunday: 10:00am - 2:00pm; Lunch: Daily: 11:00am - 4:00pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 4:00pm - 11:00pm
- Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
- Cuisine: American, Comfort Food
- Executive Chef: Carlos Salcedo
- Dress Code: Casual Dress
- Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
- Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
- Catering: We have on -premise catering services, perfect for office lunches, meetings and less formal parties. Max’s Delivery or To Go can bring our fantastic food to you. We will deliver within San Francisco, or you can pick up your order at a predetermined time, for a fantastic yet cost effective event. For an additional fee, Max's offers service staff for set-up and maintenance of your event. Please contact our Catering Department for more information.
- Private Party Facilities: Max's has a semi private dining area that can accommodate up to 48 people.
- Private Party Contact: Michael Adams 415-501-0222
- Entertainment: Max’s at the Opera Cafe features live music seven nights a week. Servers not only provide guests with superior service but entertain them as well. Diners can expect an array of musical styling's ranging from Opera to musical theater. The "singing servers" are accompanied by a live pianist, who from time to time will perform for the crowd. The entertainment begins at 6:00 pm Monday- Thursday and 6:30pm Friday –Sunday.
A word from Max's Opera Cafe
For over 25 years, Max's has served America's favorite foods with an upscale style at affordable prices. Boasting "everything you've always wanted to eat”, only at Max's will you find a corned beef Reuben, Chinese chicken salad, rib-eye steak, BBQ ribs and Roma pasta all on one table. And for those with a sweet tooth, Max's sinful; award winning desserts will keep you coming back for more.Continued
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Max's Opera Cafe reviews from OpenTable diners
126 reviews since July 31, 2014
- Ambiance3.6Noise LevelModerate
great for lunch (51)neighborhood gem (41)good for groups (37)great for brunch (29)kid-friendly (18)late-night find (16)fit for foodies (13)special occasion (10)vibrant bar scene (5)hot spot (5)romantic (3)scenic view (1)great for outdoor dining (1)Show More
- Can't beat Max's for pre-concert meal.Gourmetgal14Dined on 11/23/2014My husband enjoyed a delicious Reuben, loaded with corned beef and I had the ultimate grilled cheese. Nothing fancy, just delicious! Easy walk to the SF Jazz Center. Free parking in Sunday.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- music!frenchVIPDined on 11/20/2014the opera singer was fantastic. The prime rib special was pretty good, not spectacular but fine. I will go back and try other dishes. Service was great!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great spotOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 11/9/2014A real San Francisco gem - with especially reasonable prices and really good food! Perfect spot for a meal after attending matinee symphony performance at Davies Hall.Special Features:
- Did they obtain new management?OpenTable Diner Since 2004Dined on 11/8/2014I've been to Max's a million times since it opened. It was a great place to go before opera, symphony, ballet. But this time was a HUGE disappointment. Our table had no cloth and it was yucky sticky. The menu is far less than it used to be. The service was horrid. My lamb burger came with au jus rather than the tzatziki sauce, so they had to take it back, but the lamb burger was as thin as paper too. Very very disappointing, and I don't think I'll ever go back again. Not sure what happened, but they need to step it up.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 11/8/2014Portions always generous. Food good. Service was good and all priced reasonably.Special Features:
- Great Deli with ExtrasVirgocookVIPDined on 11/7/2014This is a great find. No matter what you feel like eating, you will find something on this menu. They have traditional deli food but also great appetizers. Watch out though - you better be hungry because the portions are large. Great to take home for another meal though. Very nice atmosphere - you can here your friends talk even though there is a pianist. The music is actually background music and does not overwhelm. A very delightful evening.Special Features:
- Convenient for the operasnuffyVIPDined on 11/4/2014BUT, it seemed that the staff is overworked...that there is a long wait between courses. We arrived at 5:20PM and just made the opera, arriving there two hours later, not having time to finish our dinner.Special Features:
- Slowest Service EVERNatashaDined on 11/1/2014I am a BIG fan of Max's. I tend to go before every opera or ballet performance I attend. Saturday was my first opera of the season so I booked a reservation for 5:45 for a 7:30 opera- wanted to take it slow since it was also an Anniversary dinner. We didn't get our food until 7:10. I was so annoyed that our dinner was rushed because of who knows what was happening in the kitchen.... The food was good but, my partner was so on edge he said he may never go back again. It took forever for everyone else to receive their food as well. Additionally, when I called Saturday afternoon to confirm my OpenTable reservation, the General Manager gave me major attitude- "why are you calling, didn't they send you a confirmation??" Unbelievable.
- Good before the ConcertfundinerDined on 11/1/2014We made 5:30 reservations (party of 3) and were seated promptly upon arrival. We ordered an appetizer, entrees and wine, then waited over 15 minutes for a single, shared appetizer. My glass of wine was served about halfway through the appetizer. Our entrees (crab cakes and pasta dishes) took also took a while before we were served. We arrived at Davies Hall around in plenty of time for the concert, but we missed most of the pre-concert talk which we had hoped to attend. Overall, the food was good and the portions large enough to satisfy the teenaged boy in our party. I just wish the table service was more prompt.Special Features:
- Terrible Experience...Don't Do ItOpenTable Diner Since 2003Dined on 11/1/2014It took about 30 minutes from the time we asked for water to receive any. And it took 75 minutes to get our food... and we had about 10 minutes to scarf it down before we had to run to the Opera. We barely made it in time. Our waitress was highly apologetic but only AT the time we received the food. It was nearly impossible to flag her down to request her assistance with tracking down our order. Not sure what the food tasted like since we had to eat it so fast. What a frustrating experience.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2006Dined on 10/30/201410 mins before we met our server. Asked for burger medium.. It was well done. Grandmas chicken was dry also. Good mashed potatoes. Asked for check when food arrived, cause who knows when we would have seen waitress again. Close to opera house. Not worth $40+ price. Go to McDonald's across the street instead.
- A Hearty MealCrochetsmithVIPDined on 10/24/2014Come to Max's Opera Cafe for good food and sizable portions. Basic American food like burgers and sandwiches as well as steak, chicken and salmon will be found on the menu. Don't miss the dinner rolls with the raisins and be sure to have some dessert before you leave. My favorite is the hot fudge sundae. It is well sized for sharing. Enjoy!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- cancel your reservations NOW!WhoMeVIPDined on 10/22/2014Thought we would give it one more pre-Opera try - what a mistake! Service nonexistent, 40 minutes for 2 salads and one had the core of the lettuce included. Need I say more?
- Another good mealOaktownMommaDined on 10/22/2014Max's is always reliable. They've changed their menu yet again but that didn't dissuade us from getting our usual wedge salad. The patty melt, medium rare, was divine and we finished off with our favorite macaroon crumble sundae. The service was a solid good. I tried two different red wines, both of which were undrinkable, but Max's may just not be the place for a nice glass of wine. This particular evening the noise level was high as the world series was on the tv. Always love the piano background music.
- A good spot before the OperaOpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 10/19/2014We have eaten here several times. For what they do, they do well. This was the slowest service we have ever had, but they were overwhelmed with a large crowd and some staff did not come to work. It is a good place, and a good value, pleasant staff, good sized portions of good food, and we will definitely return. Their motto: "This is a bad place for a diet."Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Memorable RestaurantWolfGirl67Dined on 10/17/2014My first dining experience at Max's Opera Cafe was in 1991 when my husband and I first moved to San Francisco from Iowa. It was a special night. We love that many of the waiters and waitresses are students in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. My husband is a classical musician. Whenever we attend concerts at Davies Symphony Hall, the Palace of the Fine Arts, SF Jazz Center, or the War Memorial Opera Center, we always eat at Max's. My daughter and granddaughters also love Max's because we always eat at this restaurant after attending a SF Ballet event. October 17th was my 67th birthday, and, of course, we celebrated at Max's before attending a concert.Special Features:
- down hillWhoMeVIPDined on 10/15/2014and falling further each visit. time for a redo of this long time "go-to" for pre-preformance light dinners
- Max's goes downhillshelikofVIPDined on 10/12/2014Max's has a new menu, much less interesting than before and omitting many favorites. Our waiter was hard to find and not good when he appeared. He brought a wine cooler with our champagne, but left the bottle sitting on the table. He never attempted to refill our wine glasses. The apparent manager didn't seem to understand English very well.
- Not up to usual standardNouninessDined on 10/1/2014I ordered a Caesar salad with chicken. Though the dressing was good, the chicken was overly salted--it was more than merely salty; it was salty as hell. The romaine lettuce could have been fresher, as well. My companion ordered the Chinese chicken salad and found that there too the chicken was much too salty.Special Features:
- Always satisfyingGPSFDined on 9/30/2014Close to the Opera, Davies Hall, and the Conservatory of Music, Max's is the perfect spot for pre performance dining. Good food. Good service. Reasonable prices.Special Features:
- What's Not To LikeJohnKVIPDined on 9/22/2014I have never had a bad meal or service at Max's. This is a great place to meet friends for good food and consistently good service. Try your best to save room for one of the huge deserts to share with your party.Special Features:
- no where else to gooperaloverDined on 9/21/2014Would never eat there except for the connivence when going to the opera. Ala carte menu hasn't changed and is too limited- buffet is not worth the price. There is no applicable answer for question 2, but I was forced to randomly select one just to end review.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 9/21/2014Serving staff were very helpful......................................................................................................................................................Special Features:
- Seen it's better daysjeckleinVIPDined on 9/19/2014This place use to be a special place. We went here before going to opera. All the good restaurants were booked. The place wasn't all that busy but it took several minutes (10+ minutes) to get service. I asked 3 times for water. When the food came the Salmon was over cooked, the potatos tasted bland (almost out of the box taste!), and vegetables were over cooked. The nats flying around the table (several of them not just one) were a nuisance. The overall atmosphere seemed dated and smell of the restaurant smelled of old grease. This place has seen it's better days.
- Always a Reliable Standby!JaneVIPDined on 9/19/2014Max's is our go-to restaurant when we don't feel like a fancy, expensive dinner before the opera or the symphony in San Francisco. It is conveniently located within walking distance of both Davies Symphony Hall and the War Memorial Opera House. The food and service are consistently good. Their salads are always outstanding, especially their shrimp louie. My husband loves the Rueben and fries. The wait staff is generally well-trained and friendly, although often short-handed because on weekends, the place is always very, very busy. I recommend making a reservation, which is possible, if one thinks about doing it well ahead of time (like at least a week). Then one avoids sitting in the waiting area worrying about being late for the concert.Special Features:
- not what it used to beoperafoodieDined on 9/14/2014My brunch experience left much to be desired. I ordered lox, onions and eggs, a favorite of mine in various Max's establishment. But the lox was watery and the eggs were dry. The peach cobbler, that had held such promise in the menu picture was tasteless. It was very noisy as well. The one bright spot was the service. The waitstaff was very attentive and couldn't do enough for us. Bring back the Max's I used to know.
- Good for GroupsABDineVIPDined on 9/14/2014Overall experience was good. Food was good and service excellent which was nice since we had a large group. Only drawback was the ambiance. The restaurant was very warm and everyone in the group took notice.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Always great food, but service?jonesdljsfVIPDined on 9/12/2014Always enjoy the great deli menu and good food. Usually service is very good, but not this time. It was still early, but they were overwhelmed, so we weren't even served by our designated server. However, the worst part was I know I left my credit card in the wallet with the check, but the next day they said they didn't have it. Caused me to have to cancel the card, which is more of a hassle than anything.Special Features:
- Food Quality SufferingUpMarketVIPDined on 9/12/2014Years ago I loved Max's Opera Cafe. In more recent time, the food quality has been sliding badly. This last trip was my last. I will not go back, which I find sad because it has been such a great institution. However, our dinners were tasteless. An old standby, Guy's Chinese Chicken Salad is covered on top with sliced fried chicken that is more fry than chicken and very little flavor. I kept getting bites that were completely fried breading without chicken. The salad underneath had far too much dressing and was not nearly as robust as it has been in the past. Similarly, my dining companion's meal was also notably lacking. Adios, Max's. There are too many restaurants offering much better quality in the neighborhood.
- Mother-Son BrunchOpenTableFanatic88VIPDined on 8/9/2014I had a terrible week and my mother came into S.F. to cheer me up by taking me to brunch at Max's and I couldn't any happier. Love the food options and the fact that is an upscale diner makes it easy to bring casual to special occasions to the venue. Love Max's.Special Features:
- What happened to my favorite?OpenTable Diner Since 2007Dined on 8/2/2014I ordered my old-time favorite, sausage & shrimp with peppers, and the sauce that it was in was pretty bad and not like I remember it. Also, it was served with rye bread toasts which I never would have paired it with. Unfortunately, I would not order it again, what a shameSpecial Features:
- Dining area too warmMaureensfDined on 8/1/2014The food and service were very good but we were so warm. There are bright lights that shine down on the tables in the first dining area near the kitchen.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIPDined on 8/1/2014Food is usually a pretty good portion and tastes decent.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Pre DaviesPriscillaDined on 8/1/2014Perfect place before the symphony for an informal dinner. Piano was good but loud.
- Quite accommodatingSharonDined on 7/31/2014We were dining at Max's before going to the symphony. We got stuck in traffic and were 30 minutes late. Ic alled snd they held our reservation and rushed our order. We had a fabulous dinner and were on time for the symphony! Thanks, Max's staff!Special Features:
- Prime Rib NightanimavenDined on 7/31/2014The Prime Rib is tasty, and I like the Baked Potato - it's good sized and just right.Special Features:
- The following 513 reviews are from the Max's Opera Cafe reviews archive.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIPDined on 7/27/2014Checked in with the host sat down and wanted to order a glass of wine. No one came so I went to the bar and ordered my own. Later in the meal I wanted another glass but only a 1/2 glass. I was told they do not do that. I have been to many restaurants and they will do this Bad policy not to especially since I had already a glass. Service was not good as I had to ask other waiters to please find our waitress. I have been here other times usually before ballet or opera. Not my favorite spot to go but it is close. Nothing wrong with it just not my cup of tea.I would recommend this to a friend.
- I Really Like This PlaceKASSanFranDined on 7/26/2014Great service & good food! Just basic hearty down to earth food. Lots of room to eat comfortably! I hate eating at those restaurants when everyone in the restaurant has to shift places when one diner has to make a bathroom run.Special Features:
- OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIPDined on 7/25/2014Portions are huge and food good. I frequent Max's whenever going to a show at Davies Symphony Hall or the Opera House.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Service great butOpenTable Diner Since 2007Dined on 7/18/2014Service was great this time. But there were 3 bone chips in the ground lamb which was tasty and too generous.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.