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  • Max's Opera Cafe

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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 Details

  • 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.

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.Continued
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerGreat for Lunch
Diner Reviews
  • "Service was great this time. But there were 3 bone chips in the ground lamb which was tasty and too generous."
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/4/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "Near the Symphony/Opera House. Something for everyone. Large portions!!! small ladies room, very crowded nearing show time."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "The servicer couldn't reach across the huge corner table so it seemed that it was trouble to give us our bill."
    Dined on 7/2/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    Dined on 7/1/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/29/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "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."
    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...."
    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."
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    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."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "The food was not up to San Francisco standards. It was middle America diner style food, undistinguished and not tasty at all."
    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."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "This is a great spot for a quick bit before the Opera."
    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."
    Dined on 6/17/2014
  • "Food was wonderful, service was fine, reservation was available on time, request for specific table was honored."
    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."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 6/10/2014
  • "We weren't offered bread and butter. My spinach salad was lacking in taste."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    Dined on 6/1/2014
  • "The music and singing was truly enjoyable. We had a good time."
    Dined on 5/17/2014
  • "It was mother's day and when we arrived at 10 they were reluctant to let us in due to a shortage of cooks. I understand, but the way that they handled it was not good. The waiter was excellent. The food was good. The management was sub-par. I ware really surprised in that I had been there a number of times before,"
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "5 of us were dining, 2 of us decided to try the filets. Our food took a very long time to arrive, and when it did we discovered the "filets" were flank steaks rolled and tied, standing up looking like tall filets. We pointed this out, the manager comped both meals. Other meals were fine. Think I'll stick to my usual sandwich next time. "
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "Best Chicken Pot Pie I have ever had, and i've had a lot of average ones. Computer system went down and order was very slow to come, but worth the wait. Fairly priced. Kids were able to play outside and be seen through large windows."
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "Great place for lunch before the ballet. The staff will get you out in time, yet you will never feel rushed."
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "The food here is heavy...pastrami etc. in a rather elegant ladies decor near the opera house. An odd mix and not what we expected. The wait staff was attentive and talking easy, but the food was not even good deli fare."
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "They have a piano and the waiters do get up to sing which is always fun"
    Dined on 5/9/2014
  • "Always a treat to eat at restaurant. Menu has something for everyone. Desserts are the best. Staff always friendly, and might even sing a little! Pianist always enjoyable when there (nights)."
    Dined on 5/3/2014
  • "Tasty food, although some ultra foodies I know sniff at it. The latkes are good and crunchy, the soups are hearty, and everything is well-cooked. The wait staff is friendly and competent, although we did have to ask for bread this time. And I have never eaten one of their desserts all by myself: always order one with two forks. A great choice before/after events nearby."
    Dined on 5/3/2014
  • "Conveniently located close to the Symphony Hall, this is a great spot to get something to eat before the performance. The prices are reasonable and the food was good. Our waiter was very attentive and helpful, and he made sure we were not late for the show. We enjoyed the live music - a pianist and several singing waiters. All in all, a very positive experience."
    Dined on 5/2/2014
  • "I love taking guests to Max's! I have been going more often than ever as the staff has been amazing this year. Michael is my favorite server anywhere in the city and Mimi is a wonderful hostess and starts the evening off right! I have always loved the salads and now particularly like the Bistro Salad. Guests always love the wonderful Piano Man and can hardly believe it when our server goes to the piano and sings!"
    Dined on 4/29/2014