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
124 reviews since June 27, 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 (19)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
  • I have been going to Max's
    JSB94118VIP
    Dined on 6/19/2011
    I have been going to Max's for over 20 years. The food and service are good, and the portions are quite generous (note that half-portions are available for many of the desserts - I particularly like the classic NY cheesecake, which is much more authentic than most local restaurants, and is not too sweet).
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Always a winner!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 6/17/2011
    I recently went here twice recently and found it to be an efficiently run restaurant with very good service and tasty, well prepared food. All of this even when they were very busy. The singing and piano was great fun! A really great choice for either before or after the Opera, as it was for me.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A reliable place for a pre-opera
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003
    Dined on 6/17/2011
    A reliable place for a pre-opera or pre-concert meal. We arrived very early for a quick dinner. My wife's lamb burger was blah and my brisket sandwich mediocre, but the service was efficient and we got to the opera in plenty of time. But this is not a gourmet delicatessen - it's no Katz's or Carnegie.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Perfect for taking my grandson
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIP
    Dined on 6/8/2011
    Perfect for taking my grandson to before a concert. Something for everyone on the menu.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Very enjoyable, good casual
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 6/5/2011
    Very enjoyable, good casual food for reasonable prices, extremely pleasant service. It may have helped that it wasn't terribly busy when we arrived, but we were very well taken care of.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Max's is always predictably
    BillVIP
    Dined on 6/5/2011
    Max's is always predictably good. There menu isn't meant to stun a newcomer, but food is always well prepared and ample. Never had a bad meal there.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • I ordered the corned beef
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 5/29/2011
    I ordered the corned beef sandwich. Very tender and rich (yum). I'm glad they serve smaller portions.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A place for meeting friends
    Mila
    Dined on 5/27/2011
    A place for meeting friends - it allows for quiet, private and relaxed conversation as the seats are not that close together. The best sandwich and salad selection in town. Also try Matzo Ball Soup and Crab Cakes. They are awesome. Prices also are very reasonable.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We had a nice family graduation
    dpcolevalleyVIP
    Dined on 5/26/2011
    We had a nice family graduation lunch, the server was very nice and accommodating. Would definitely recommend!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • It's been years since my last
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004VIP
    Dined on 5/21/2011
    It's been years since my last visit, and my recent experience confirmed my negative opinion. Max's is all about quantity over quality. My lunch was composed of over-cooked and reheated B-B-Q pork and soggy sweet potato fries. Never again!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We ALWAYS come to Max's for
    wineandfoodloverVIP
    Dined on 5/16/2011
    We ALWAYS come to Max's for lunch when in SF. It's great for dinner, too. Portions are huge. Prices are reasonable. Food is delicious. Service is excellent. Nuf said.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Max's
    Frederick
    Dined on 5/8/2011
    As always, service was excellent and the food reliably good. A great place for lunch and/or brunch.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • One of the reasons I love
    Gran
    Dined on 5/7/2011
    One of the reasons I love this restaurant is because I really feel that I am in New York City. (Compliment!) Food was very good, service was excellent, and the two waiters that sang had terrific albiet very different voices. And, our "special request" made during our booking was graciously granted. Bravo.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Our party of four showed up
    Lagatamacha
    Dined on 4/22/2011
    Our party of four showed up earlier than our reservation time by 45 minutes. The hostess was non plussed and seated us immediately. Our wait person arrived within moments of sitting and was the same friendly accommodating person even after her section became packed with diners. The food that we ordered arrived at the appropriate temps, hot or cold. The Rueben was great, as was the grilled chicken wrap, and the grilled veggie wrap. The fries were excellent, as well. Deli food at its best with attentive service. Max's is always noisy, but he excellent vocals by the piano bar musician soothed the Friday night.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A good choice for a prelude
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 4/19/2011
    A good choice for a prelude to the ballet or opera. The food is just average and needs a lot more flavor but the portions are large. A small salad is enought for 2 people. Just ok in my book but I think most people would enjoy the variety of foods they offer and be satisfied.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good solid food, and no frills.
    Bruce
    Dined on 4/3/2011
    Good solid food, and no frills. tuna salad was delicious. fun place, could be noisy, but we were there when it wasn't busy. fun.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We arrived 10 minutes early
    OpenTable Diner Since 2000
    Dined on 3/26/2011
    We arrived 10 minutes early and were shown to a table in the lower area which was just fine for us. The server was very pleasant and accomodating. There was one mishap.I ordered the chicken breast with steamed veggies and very little feta cheese. The dinner was served and there was way too much melted cheese on the plate. Next time I will ask for cheese on the side. I am sure the server would have taken the plate back but we were going to the symphony and we were concerned about the time. We are even coming back this coming Saturday as we have a concert to attend.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Going to the ballet gives
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 3/22/2011
    Going to the ballet gives few dining options but Max's works. It is not the best restaurnat but they do try to please and the environment they provide is nice. The food is ok but good enough. There are few healthy vegitarian option, with the exception of the salads.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • I still feel lethargic from
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 3/18/2011
    I still feel lethargic from the smallish portion of the meal I was served--long on fat and salt, low on taste. I will never return.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • My only regret is that my
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 3/14/2011
    My only regret is that my brisket was dry. We ate dinner after 8 PM, so I guess the brisket was cooked all day.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Max's is not a place to have
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 3/4/2011
    Max's is not a place to have dinner. It is where you eat. The location close by the Opera House and Symphony makes for a convenient stop with out any expectations. Food plentiful, but for the most part not very good
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food and atmosphere just what
    ceejay
    Dined on 2/25/2011
    Food and atmosphere just what we expected for our group of 7. 9Pm Friday night, average crowd. TERRIBLE WAITER. very long waits for food and even for dessert. he was unable to pour wine correctly, even. very inept. If new someone should have been helping him. Inexcusable by crowd (lite). Won't bring guests again tho I am a fairly frequent solo guest.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food good, not great, but
    hiedVIP
    Dined on 2/25/2011
    Food good, not great, but hearty and portions enormous! Very long menu that takes some time to go through, but there is plenty of variety, including meat and fish dishes, sandwiches, salads, etc.. Location is convenient for concert, ballet and opera patrons, and easy to get to on public transportation (38 bus). We enjoyed the experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Our waiter was really rude
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 2/14/2011
    Our waiter was really rude and inattentive. It was an early evening, the restaurant had only a few tables, but the waiters were NOT in gear to serve anyone. It took us a while and wave repeatedly before anyone would take our order; then he disappeared and totally forgot to bring us our food. We watched our plates got cold sitting on the counter for nearly 10-minutes, then we complained to the manager/host who (without any apologies) called out our waiter to bring us our plates. By then our hot sandwiches had become lure warm and soggy. He didn't check back again for at least another 15 minutes -- a big NO NO according to the Max's Law 16. With lots reluctance, the waiter gave us a slimmest slice of cake (per Law 16).
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Max's is the old standby for
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004
    Dined on 2/13/2011
    Max's is the old standby for symphony or ballet performances. Services can be a bit spotty, this trip in particular. Waiter seemed to have forgotten us for dessert and coffee. Had to forgo both in order to make the performance.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Our table was waiting for
    LILQLTR
    Dined on 2/13/2011
    Our table was waiting for us when we arrived. No waiting despite the long line of customers who didn't make a reservation on Open Table! Our server, Michael, was great.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The service was good, the
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 2/12/2011
    The service was good, the only thing I have to say is that we ordered the special dishes that were on the menu for Valentines Day, which were excellent by the way....but our waiter forgot to give us our choice of salad or soup that was supposed to have come with our meal. We would have reminded him about it, but we did not even realize that he forgot about it until after we had left the restaurant. We love Max's though, and we will definitely be back again.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • As a single older diner, I
    Sharmila
    Dined on 2/12/2011
    As a single older diner, I felt very comfortable and had an excellent dining experience. Great spot for dinner before the symphony (or other local events nearby.) Barbara Hoffman
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • when i worked in the city
    helloVIP
    Dined on 2/11/2011
    when i worked in the city we used to love to come to Max's. however, their menu has changed. Food is not as good anymore. the side are soggy and old, fries are soggy (used to be soooo crispy and thin and delicious), bread was soggy. i was also told that they would not make me a 1/2 sandwich at dinner time. really wasted food never seems like a good idea but ok. The singing was fun and our waiter was great. Seems like there has been management changes. too bad.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • good before the performing
    DanaVIP
    Dined on 2/4/2011
    good before the performing arts...I like that you can make a reservation now
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good selection of food and
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 2/2/2011
    Good selection of food and great food! However, tends to get quite loud and hard to talk with the bustle of activity. A little pricey compared to other places, but still a great. Despite a specific OpenTable request to be seated in a semi-private spot, the woman seated us right near the entrance of the restaurant, where it was the noisiest with people coming in and out and drafts of cold air created a less than pleasant dining experience. The waiters were very busy and seemed so rushed and in a hurry to take your order and spoke very fast, too. too bad there was no singing by any of the waiters that night. That was always a highlight.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • We were told even before we
    HungrymamaVIP
    Dined on 1/30/2011
    We were told even before we sat down that service would be slow since our waiter had four tables all seated at the same time. Whose fault was that? We had no mustard on the table when our sandwiches arrived. Weren't we supposed to get some bonus because of that omission? We had a very long wait for dessert. We finally told a server that if we didn't get it immediately, we would skip it. Naturally, it then arrived promptly. We have had worst service. I have forgotten where.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Max's has long been one of
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 1/28/2011
    Max's has long been one of my favorite deli's, but the food seems to have deteriorated lately. The meat portion of my meal tasted as if it had been carved for sandwiches in the morning and reheated and plopped on a plate. Vegetables were steamed and unseasoned. Potatoes tasted stale. Unfortunately, Max's is one of the few casual options for before or after symphony or ballet. Next time I'll stick to the salads.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We were seated too close to
    RonW
    Dined on 1/26/2011
    We were seated too close to the pianist and could not hear ourselves over the music. Next time, if there is one, we will request a table far away from the pianist and the vocalist. Food portions continue to be too large. Need to offer more small bite meals. Love the pizza that used to be on the appetizer menu, but it is not offered anymore. Bring it back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good food and ambiance, but
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 1/12/2011
    Good food and ambiance, but the waiter had to be asked for water and tried to take away our plates even though we were still eating.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Max's serves a very useful
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 1/8/2011
    Max's serves a very useful purpose: good food, good prices, nothing special, nothing fancy, but a great place to go. we love Max's and go frequently.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • I always like Max's in the
    MuttiB
    Dined on 1/7/2011
    I always like Max's in the City, if only for the nice musical background which is so much better than the terrible noise you have to endure during dinner in other places. The portions are very generous, the wine a bit on the expensive side, but overall everything is very pleasant and comfortable.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The food is always good, but
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004
    Dined on 12/31/2010
    The food is always good, but New Year's Eve was excellent. I had the Scampi with Skirt Steak. My husband had the Pan Seared Salmon. I wish they were open on Christmas Day, I would have preferred that over the horrible Waterfront that we ended up at. What a difference! There was some nice live music. Sometimes the wait staff even get up and sing. What a treat!
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, good for groups, great for brunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • They held our reservation
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 12/30/2010
    They held our reservation even tho we were very late (traffic) and were gracious about it.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, late-night find, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food was good thouhgh not
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 12/2/2010
    Food was good thouhgh not outstanding. Atmosphere was fun and exciting. Service was good. Unique in that the waitstaff performs (sings). Great location if going to the Performing Arts locations.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate