Max's Opera Cafe
Max's Opera Cafe
  • Address:
    601 Van Ness Avenue
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    Neighborhood:
    Civic Center / Hayes Valley / Van Ness
  • Cuisine:
    American
    Price: $30 and under

Max's Opera Cafe

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://maxsworld.com/
  • Phone: 4157717300
  • 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.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Golden Gate
  • Public Transit: BART - Civic Center Station.

    SF Muni - Lines 5 Fulton, 31 Balboa,
    47&49 Van Ness
  • Parking: Valet
  • Parking Details: Valet parking is located beneath the restaurant on Golden Gate Avenue. Street parking is also available.
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.
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Max's Opera Cafe reviews from OpenTable diners
127 reviews since May 4, 2014
Overall Rating3.6
  • Food3.6
    Service3.5
  • Ambiance3.4
    Noise LevelModerate
85% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for lunch (52)great for brunch (39)neighborhood gem (39)good for groups (33)kid-friendly (27)late-night find (17)fit for foodies (16)special occasion (13)vibrant bar scene (11)hot spot (6)scenic view (2)notable wine list (2)romantic (1)Show More
  • Mother-Son Brunch
    OpenTableFanatic88VIP
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    I 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:
    great for brunch, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • What happened to my favorite?
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    I 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 shame
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Dining area too warm
    Maureensf
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    The 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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIP
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    Food is usually a pretty good portion and tastes decent.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pre Davies
    Priscilla
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    Perfect place before the symphony for an informal dinner. Piano was good but loud.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Quite accommodating
    Sharon
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    We 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:
    good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Prime Rib Night
    animaven
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    The Prime Rib is tasty, and I like the Baked Potato - it's good sized and just right.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    Checked 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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • I Really Like This Place
    KASSanFran
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    Great 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:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIP
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Portions are huge and food good. I frequent Max's whenever going to a show at Davies Symphony Hall or the Opera House.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Service great but
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    Service was great this time. But there were 3 bone chips in the ground lamb which was tasty and too generous.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food OK
    Goodtogo
    Dined on 7/9/2014
    Food OK but feel the quality has gone down a bit. For instance, the Guy's chicken salad is FILLED with cardboard tasting, chow mein type crunchy noddles, so much so that you can't taste the lettuce. Chicken is fried to the point of being too dry. This is the 3rd time I"ve ordered this dish, so it is not just a fluke, and someone at the table who ordered this salad was annoyed by the same observation. A comment from two other persons at our table said the mushroom fettucchini had too much herbs, "it was like having tough tree branches in the dish". They too had noticed the same thing the last time they ate at Max's. Time for who ever is in charge in the kitchen, to sample at least these two dishes and make some adjustments.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food and entertainment
    Pwh007
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    The beet salad was amazing along with the fried calamari and house wine. Great entrees too! Entertainment piano player and servers/singers were an added feature at this restaurant! Applause to all!
    Special Features:
    hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 7/4/2014
    Made a reservation early afternoon on July 4th for Max's at 5:30 p.m. When we arrived, we found Max's had closed at 3:00 p.m. that afternoon.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Only as a last resort . . .
    Love2EatVIP
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    We had a 6:00 reservation before a 7:30 performance. We were seated on time and our very nice server took our order. At 6:45 our appetizer had still not appeared. The server admitted for the second day in a row the kitchen was way behind even though not every table was filled. We gave up, ordered salads which were a bit tired but adequate.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Menu needs review
    knowgoodfood
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    This is a good choice for pre opera dining, but the menu has been pared so that Are few good choices.....I feel that it is more oriented to the economics of food cost in the kitchen and less to interesting and tasty food. What is going on here...???? A small inventory of food choices prepared in dishes that aren't reallyl working ....WAKE UP.. We used to love dining there... Now it is becoming tough to find a dish that sounds appetizing...I wnat to like you again.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Diverse Menu
    AlwaysHungry
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    Near the Symphony/Opera House. Something for everyone. Large portions!!! small ladies room, very crowded nearing show time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Canvienent but servicer can't reach
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 7/2/2014
    The servicer couldn't reach across the huge corner table so it seemed that it was trouble to give us our bill.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 7/1/2014
    They could not handle a crowd. We arrived 15 mins early and wasn't seated till 15 mins after our reservation time. Once our food arrived, we were only visited once. I had to get up to collect our bill.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Off night at Max's
    notthatpicky
    Dined on 7/1/2014
    My first disappointing experience at Max's. I have been there many times in many years and always enjoyed it, so this experience will not keep me from going back. But Tuesday night was disappointing. The service was slow and I had to ask for items that are normally supplied, such as a steak knife for the pork chop. They managed to under-cook the pork chop (too pink), yet make it dry at the same time. My companion's salmon was ok, but the broccoli was ice cold.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pre opera brunch
    Foodie2
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    We were delighted to get a table and be able to have an unhurried meal before attending the matinee performance at the Opera. We arrived earlier than our booking, but were still given a table. We had a delightful waiter and both the food and service were excellent. We will definitely go again.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great place to eat before an event.
    SocialGrammy
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    We had tickets for Showboat at the Opera House, so Maxes was ideally located for us. We have always enjoyed Maxes, and frequented the one in Ramon , in the many years that it was there, and miss it greatly. We enjoyed the piano music played during our dinner, as he played all the songs from Showboat which was very appropriate , and the young lady(who is a waitress there), has the most beautiful voice, and sang like an angel, as did the young male waiter. The entertainment made it a lovely dining experience. We always enjoy Maxes food, and it's a menu that works for us. We were seated promptly, and everyone was very pleasant.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing, Bland, Mediocre Meal
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    Service minimal, food mediocre (fatty, overcooked barbecued ribs; mushroom fettuccine bland – no amount of parmesan cheese or salt seemed to help). Our server spilled sauce from one of the plates on one of us; nonstop piano music made it almost impossible to carry on conversation. The ultimate chocolate cake however was delicious. Max's used to be our default pre-symphony or opera restaurant, but quite honestly did not enjoy the experience and would book somewhere else in future.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Sometime a Hit..then sometimes...
    PoorMax
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    Usually a good spot to dine with group prior to a performance. Lately, not so. Simple ordering turning into..wrong food, plates NEVER bussed, disappearing wait staff. This place knows there is a rush between 6 and 8, so why is management ill prepared? Has always been my go to place...I will try ONE MORE TIME. So sad....
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Max's Opera Cafe
    SusanVIP
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    Ialways enjoy dining at Max's. The service is friendly and attentive and the portions are more than generous! The food is delicious and reasonably priced.
    Special Features:
    late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • If there's nothing else available..
    daphne
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    Two good things to say about Max's is that it is located close to parking garages and the Symphony and Opera House. We chose it because, at the last minute, we couldn't get reservations at other nearby restaurants early enough to get to the Opera performance. We arrived on time for our 5:45 reservations and were told we had to wait in a cafeteria-type line to be seated. When seated, the service was slow. The piano music was entertaining, although it contributed to the noisy atmosphere; the interior doesn't appear to have been upgraded in years. The food was marginal, at best. The beef brisket tasted of liquid smoke. The 'famous' crab cakes tasted of filler. However, the portions were large and not expensive. Not a place for foodies.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Perfect before Opera.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    Met some pals at Max's Opera Plaza before a show. We were happy we had reservations as the place was packed by 5:30pm. The food was terrific; had a few cocktails, crab cakes, patty melt, and a burger. All our meals and drinks were delicious. Portions not huge but enough, which we appreciated. Service was great and very fast. We were also treated to a piano player and opera singing waiter during our meal. Festive and lively atmosphere, really set the mood for the entire evening. Highly recommend before a show or anytime.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Pre Opera Dinner
    Parshuuter
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    We had dinner here prior to an opera performance. The location is very convenient as it is one block from the War Memorial Theater and two blocks from Davies Symphony Hall. Max's is like an upscale casual restaurant with a good variety of food in a very nice environment. I had the BBQ short ribs which was on their seasonal menu and my wife had the Prime Rib special which they have Thursdays through Sundays. both were very good and very reasonably priced. Service could have been a little better as our waiter did not check back with us as frequently has I used to. I had to flag him down to get refills on my iced tea and coffee and we had to flag down another waiter to get the bread basket. It does get busy make a reservation.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • disappointing
    Miee
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    The food was not up to San Francisco standards. It was middle America diner style food, undistinguished and not tasty at all.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A pre-concert favorite
    msorangeblossom
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    We've learned the hard way to make reservations ahead of time and to go a bit early as the 6 pm pre-event crush gets over-whelming. The menu has changed a bit; the prices continue to rise. But we delighted in the spinach salad and shared a piece of Niagara cake, which is what we looked forward to. Our server was less than attentive and didn't offer to refill drinks or bring more bread. However, our one real complaint is that they have crammed the two-person window seating so close together that the customers have to realign themselves every time someone new comes to a surrounding table.
    Special Features:
    late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing
    HappyCamperVIP
    Dined on 6/19/2014
    You'd think that a restaurant this close to the Opera House would be prepared to handle the pre-event crush. Max's wasn't ... at all. We arrived for our 5:45 reservation, were seated immediately, and then waited 45 minutes for the waiter just to take our drink order. The food wasn't bad when it arrived , but we had to rush out to make the 7:30 show. We will NOT be back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Opera lover
    Lnd60
    Dined on 6/17/2014
    This is a great spot for a quick bit before the Opera.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, good for groups, great for lunch, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Always a pleasure!
    dine4funVIP
    Dined on 6/17/2014
    We went to Max's for dinner before the opera and had a great time. Their menu is nothing fancy, just your basic comfort food with very generous portions and reasonable prices. I tried the chicken piccata this time, and my husband had the pork chop entree. Both were good. Our waiter was very helpful and attentive, and he still managed to sing a few tunes with the piano player. What more could you ask for! Their live music adds a lot to the dining experience there. Overall, always an enjoyable experience.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Grreatest deli in Bay Area
    barbsberg
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Food was wonderful, service was fine, reservation was available on time, request for specific table was honored.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • good for the symphony or opera
    SunsetFamily
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Max's is very close to the Davies Hall and when we have Sunday 2 pm tickets we go there for brunch/lunch. It is usually fun and tasty if not too exciting. This time a bit disappointing. My poached eggs (Benedict) were hard and when I asked to have them redone the waiter said, "That's just how we do them here." Hmm. Service is usually better than that, too.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The live music is the draw for me!
    nonicknameVIP
    Dined on 6/10/2014
    This is the best Max's in the Bay Area because . . . the pianist is the best! He plays all the standards, and more! The service is outstanding - all the servers are so friendly and very accommodating - as are the hosts! The location is great too! As for the food, well, it's Max's - something for everyone! While dining at Max's, we feel like we're in NYC with the boulevard traffic, and the vibe within the restaurant - it's energetic! Glad to live in a city that has such a fantastic, sophisticated restaurant/deli - with live music!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    We weren't offered bread and butter. My spinach salad was lacking in taste.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Bad service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 6/1/2014
    The service was not good. I was surprised. I had my 5 yr old daughter with me and normally restaurants fast track kids meals. Waitress never checked in on us and getting anything was slow.. The piano player and singer (short red head) were GREAT.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Where has my delicatessen gone?
    Brooklyn
    Dined on 6/1/2014
    Chopped liver appetizer still a gem. Hamburger skip it. Desserts great. A lot of the old deli menu is gone like Brisket? How could a deli not have brisket. It's the basis of corned beef. Good for opera/concert crowd. Otherwise take some meats and bread " to go" for sandwiches and enjoy. Don't forget the pickles.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • TakeGGBridgeVIP
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    The music and singing was truly enjoyable. We had a good time.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate