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.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
See all photos
Max's Opera Cafe reviews from OpenTable diners
123 reviews since June 26, 2014
Overall Rating3.5
  • Food3.5
    Service3.5
  • Ambiance3.4
    Noise LevelModerate
83% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for lunch (41)neighborhood gem (40)good for groups (33)great for brunch (25)kid-friendly (18)fit for foodies (14)late-night find (12)special occasion (12)hot spot (5)vibrant bar scene (4)romantic (2)scenic view (2)notable wine list (2)great for outdoor dining (1)Show More
  • Ballet Tradition
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 3/22/2014
    We have been season subscribers to SF Ballet for many years. For at least 20 of those years we dine at Max's before the performance. We have never had a bad meal and we have learned that sharing a sandwich or entre makes it possible to also have dessert - they have wonderful desserts! We do not share those...
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, kid-friendly, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Be sure to make a reservation
    BzerkeleyVIP
    Dined on 3/16/2014
    Be sure to make a reservation if you are going for weekend brunch. Best reuben in the Bay! Convenient to Davies, Opera house, etc. Not five star dining but very good west coast deli food.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food not up to par
    tqmon
    Dined on 3/16/2014
    We went for a Sunday brunch with the extended family. They must have fouled up the order as it took a really long time. All those who ordered egg dishes did not like them much with the eggs all way overcooked. I guess we know not to go for Sunday brunch again. One person pordered the pastrami sandwich, which was up to Max's usual standards.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great before event
    Boater
    Dined on 3/16/2014
    We went before the ballet--wonderful and great menu!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Totally disappointed
    SSPaVIP
    Dined on 3/15/2014
    Been going to Max's for yrs! Think they sold it & it's been going downhill since. There we 5 of us. My husband & I asked for the large Guys's Chinese Chix salad, but substitute grilledchicken for the fried chicken. 2 of another item ordered came & only 1 CC Salad - small with the wrong dressing. When we finally got the "large" salads, it was basically some lettuce & maybe (max) 1/2 chicken breast. Let's put it this way. I was still sooo hungry afterwards,On our way out, I asked the manager for a raisin roll to go (we never got bread either). I was still hungry afterwards. Oh, & the drinks didn't come until we had to ask again after our food came. Let's just put it this way... I could have shortened the review & just written - sucked!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • I think we were all happy
    mary
    Dined on 3/12/2014
    I think we were all happy with our meals. my salmon was crispy on the outside but moist inside. I'd like to know how that was done
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Food falls Short
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 3/11/2014
    Cold. Dry and Greasy Best attribute Convenient location
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not the best Max's around
    PADiner
    Dined on 3/11/2014
    My guest arrived early and was seated - she texted me that she was already there. When I arrived and checked in at the front, the hostess, didn't even look for my reservation, but told me to go find her. I wandered around in the very crowded restaurant, but didn't see her. Another host arrived and claimed I didn't even have a reservation. He offered to put my name down for a 45 minute wait. I finally found my friend by calling her cell phone. The poor service at the host station was an indicator of how off track this Max's was as we had problems with our server forgetting to bring us drinks and other things we'd ordered - they are either way understaffed or treat their staff badly for the service to be so bad.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • We had dinner before the symphony.
    millievanillieVIP
    Dined on 3/7/2014
    We had dinner before the symphony. This is always a place that'll work as it is nearby and convenient to the symphony hall and most often we can get in, especially if reservations are made in advance. We've eaten at Max's many times and it's just a good place with reliably good food and drink and sufficient service. Nothing to really rave about for as a 5-star place.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Home cooking
    Welchman
    Dined on 3/3/2014
    Enjoyed a fine meal that reminded me of family home cooking. Nice piano bar and excellent wait staff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • ballet staple
    foodandfriends
    Dined on 3/1/2014
    Max's offers a "known quantity" for pre-ballet dining. Our server was new so there were issues but it all worked out. Sit chat eat all will be good.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • If you are going to an event
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 3/1/2014
    If you are going to an event at Davies - it's convenient to eat here. The food is OK - but the service is poor. The vibe lacks any energy or enthusiasm
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • My father has heard so much
    DiamondNtherough
    Dined on 3/1/2014
    My father has heard so much about Maxs and couldn't wait no longer to go try it for himself... What a great birthday experience he loved it!!! Coodles for me... Yay
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene, special occasion, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • So average
    MistereksVIP
    Dined on 2/28/2014
    Not much here but overpriced, very average deli food.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great improvement
    Musiclover
    Dined on 2/28/2014
    Menu has expanded over past. Excellent choices and our selections were well presented, by a friendly and knowledgeable server and delicious.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Conveniently located
    Thos
    Dined on 2/28/2014
    Max's is conveniently located close to the Opera House and Davies Hall and has a quirky, fun atmosphere complete with an occasional singing waitperson. The wine list has very drinkable wines at popular prices and the portions are generous while the food though not haute cuisine is very good.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good food and service great...
    petaluma1853native
    Dined on 2/28/2014
    My wife and I enjoyed our meal before going to the symphony.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very good for before a concert.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 2/28/2014
    Very good before a concert. a lot of food, so you can share a plate. Make a reservation for any time after 5 PM.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, kid-friendly, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • pre-ballet
    supersusan
    Dined on 2/25/2014
    this is a reliable convenient restaurant for pre-ballet dining. I've been coming here for years. On my most recent visit, they prepared a pastrami sandwich for my companion "off the menu." She loved it! My linguini dish was excellent--lots of salmon! The sauce was not overpowering. What can I say--always good! Service also allows you not to rush--tell the server and he/she will make sure you don't have to rush.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Only a block from the ballet
    snash
    Dined on 2/25/2014
    Only a block from the ballet and Davies Hall. Always dependable. Happy to be able to book a table with open table, thank you! And I always ask for Michael as he is terrific!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • My daughter and I likes chicken
    KimmyVIP
    Dined on 2/23/2014
    My daughter and I likes chicken matzo soup. My husband likes pastrami sanwich. The service is good. Love this place
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Dinner on the go!
    ninav364VIP
    Dined on 2/22/2014
    We had a dinner with an old friend - between the visit to Asia museum and a concert in the area. Thanks for the OpenTable, we had a reservation and got a table soon, as the place was a mad house. Local crowd likes the extensive menu, so did we. Our server Evan was very attentive and changed burnt latsces for me twice. Other than that, chopped liver and salads were good. I am not sure i want to came back at the same busy time of the day, but they definitely have some rare dishes on the menu.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ballet
    Domo
    Dined on 2/22/2014
    Before or after the ballet this place is perfect! We absolutely love coming to Max's. I've recommended it to many people, and introduced several friends to it. Thanks for your service and the fun food. Reminds me of New York.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Nice place for a bite to eat
    Mallen
    Dined on 2/21/2014
    Nice place for a bite to eat or a meal after the symphony. Menu has a good selection of sandwiches, small bites, and entrees - and all six people in our group left satisfied. Service was very good - waiter was efficient, friendly, and just seemed like a nice guy. We had a good time and will keep Max'sin mind the next time we go to a concert in the neighborhood. Live piano music made dining even more enjoyable.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Reliablly Great
    evie
    Dined on 2/21/2014
    I had the Pan Seared Salmon w/ quinoa and it was awesome. My usual cheesecake was perfection. I always enjoy my visit to Max's.
    Special Features:
    romantic, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Best Deli outside NYC
    JBW1
    Dined on 2/20/2014
    Overstuffed sandwiches, variety of sides (all very good), excellent service. Full dinner mains also very good. Reservations honered. The perfect place for a meal before the opera, symphony or ballet. Not bad afterwards as well.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great chicken livers!
    NighOutVIP
    Dined on 2/18/2014
    Oldie but goodie with a lot of character and no yuppies... portions are very generous, food is all american good....we went before the movie at Opera Plaza and had good time.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Max's is a long time go to
    kathyVIP
    Dined on 2/1/2014
    Max's is a long time go to place for pre and post show dining. They have a pianist in the evening, sadly we only caught one tune before he packed up. Service is always friendly. Portions have shrunk while prices have risen slightly. The restaurant was fairly empty; we came in at 9:45 and ordered the Russian cabbage soup, chopped liver appetizer and beef brisket. Desserts are good. Order the small size if available; it's plenty.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The hamburger was tasteless.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 2/1/2014
    The hamburger was tasteless. I asked for a pickle, but it never came. The waitress forgot my cabbage soup, then brought it with the hamburger. The soup was good but greasy. It took a long time to get the bill. It was a busy night and they seemed understaffed. I should have ordered the Rueben,
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We went to the San Francisco
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 2/1/2014
    We went to the San Francisco Ballet GOOD FOOD And with in walking dist. of the Opera House
    Special Features:
    late-night find, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Close and Charming
    fan4life
    Dined on 2/1/2014
    Max's Opera Cafe is located close to the Opera House, within walking distance and provides an extensive selection of food choices. It is crowded and noisy and the receptionist could not find our Open Table reservation until the manager came over and found it was first on the list. The service was prompt and excellent, and the food good.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great for pre-SF Ballet lunch.
    Balletgoer
    Dined on 2/1/2014
    Max's is very accommodating and provides quick service, but you never feel rushed. Love their food, especially the salmon salad! It's best to make a reservation on performance days.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • It was fine
    OpenTable Diner Since 2002VIP
    Dined on 1/31/2014
    We went for dinner before the symphony. I felt really young, as most of the crowd was the older, symphony/opera/ballet crowd. But other than a bit of slowness getting our drinks from the bar, it was fine. Max's has really cut back its menu from a few years back. But it was still fine. Not outstanding, just fine.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food, indifferent service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004VIP
    Dined on 1/29/2014
    We can always count on consistently good food here. But the place needs a major overhaul with slitting banquettes, etc. Our server couldn't have cared less, no water refills, no asking whether we liked our meal and flagging her down for the check.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Diner style with class
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 1/26/2014
    Went for lunch before the symphony and the service was fast. All of our meals were more than enough, as a matter of fact, I shared some of my salad with another and still had leftovers to take home. The waitress was very accomodating and the wall above the service area was very entertaining. Didn't have enough room for dessert, but, they really looked decadant.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Where did the GOOD Max's Deli go?
    serve2allVIP
    Dined on 1/25/2014
    Yes, the matzo ball chicken soup was very good...but what happened to the brisket? Cold, dry brisket sandwich tasted like rubber. Traveled from Berkeley just for a taste of authentic deli and wound up with a miserable brisket sandwich on 2 day old rye bread. What a shame...
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Not the Old Max's
    BobinsfVIP
    Dined on 1/15/2014
    Have been going there for many years, often before the symphony. For the past few months, the menu has been greatly slimmed down. Half the fun used to involve pouring over many pages of possibilities. Now it's all reduced to a single double sided sheet with mostly salads, sandwiches, and a few main dishes. The Cobb salad I had was mediocre, though my partner's Thai chicken salad was quite good.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pre-symphony regulars
    MusicloverVIP
    Dined on 1/11/2014
    We always eat here pre-symphony. The food is reliably delicious, and the prices are reasonable. The waitstaff is always friendly and attentive. And they have us in and out in time without feeling rushed. The portions are huge, we never make it to dessert, bu walking past them on the in, they all look very tempting.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Huge portions
    RobertaM
    Dined on 1/11/2014
    I am a bit fan of Max's and have been coming here for years. This location features some wonderful singing servers which is always fun. The portions are ginormous so be prepared to get a to-go box or split your entree with someone. Salads are healthy and fresh. Servers are always helpful and happy to adjust for my dietary needs. Great place to meet friends before a play, the opera, symphony or City Arts and Lectures event. They will have something for everyone.
    Special Features:
    Great for Lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always great for lunch
    Ginnycats
    Dined on 1/9/2014
    Always enjoy great food, generous portions, excellent service at Max's Opera Cafe. A great place to dine before or after the opera, symphony or ballet.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.