Prelude at McCaw Hall

3.7
2571 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Contemporary American
Welcome to Prelude - on the Promenade Level of Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center. Sophistication, artistry and signature dishes designed by our Executive Chef await your visit. Prelude features the freshest local produce, artisanal products, a large selection of Northwest wines by the glass and half bottle, and our sublime take on cuisine executed by the Spectra culinary team. Our seasonal menus provide the perfect prelude to a Pacific Northwest Ballet or Seattle Opera performance - or offer an exceptional dining experience on their own. Dinner reservations are encouraged prior to show time. Prelude also offers Brunch before Sunday shows and Intermission.
What 2571 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.7based on recent ratings
3.6
food
4.1
service
4.0
ambience
3.3
value
Noise · Moderate
79% of people would recommend it to a friend
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d
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

My martini had 7 fruit flies in it. The fruit and cheese plate was good. The pork and polenta was dry and looked like it had sat out for awhile. Server was nice but very busy and passed by less frequently than I would have liked. I have enjoyed previous meals at Prelude and was disappointed this night. I was there for the Ludovico Einaudi concert and suspect Prelude was low staffed and did not expect their usual traffic.

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IM
Seattle
1 review
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 2

My wife & I hadn't eaten at Prelude for a couple of years but we used to eat there regularly before concerts, etc: it's convenient, the menu used to have a good range of choices, the food was usually decent, and it always felt like reasonable value for money.

Last night, we attended a concert at McCaw Hall so we decided to eat at Prelude beforehand -- we were quite disappointed by the experience. The menu has shrunk significantly and, based on what we ordered, the quality of the food has declined -- but the prices are the same.

We shared a decent but unimaginative charcuterie plate to start; next, we both ordered what the menu describes as "Grilled Salmon on Brioche" and which is basically a salmon burger -- the salmon was overcooked & quite dry, the brioche bun was limp & greasy, and the accompanying potatoes were lukewarm.

For dessert, we shared a lavendar creme brulee which didn't taste of lavendar at all and the creme was rather lumpy. This came with a tasteless cookie which was a cookie in name only.

We don't get to Seattle very often these days but I'd be surprised if there aren't better restaurants in the immediate area which, while they may not be quite as convenient as Prelude, will provide you with a more memorable dining experience.

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d
Central Coast
4 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had reservations just before a concert- it’s a small and quaint little area of the McCaw Hall at Seattle Center. We were greeted warmly and seated immediately. Our server, Charles was delightful! He recommended a wine for us after letting us sample a few. We didn’t even KNOW we would like a Malbec! Thank you Charles! The food was wonderful- we shared a charcuterie then for the entree we had the lamb and beef boulonnaise. The dessert was just as tasty- we each shared a crème brûlée and a chocolate almond mousse with macaroon. Served with a amaretto on the rocks and brandy respectively-We are definitely coming back!

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OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 3

The salmon was tepid temperature, potatoes were cold, but not fresh, portions pretty small, overpriced.

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PW
Seattle
9 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

The wait staff was excellent. The menu offered a nice range of options. Foods were very well flavored and presented, although both main courses were somewhat overcooked. This is an excellent pre-performance choice, and we'll return.

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JN
1 review
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Best server ever! Enjoyed the easy access to McCaw Hall.

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H
1 review
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We live out of state and traveled for a performance so taking full advantage of McCaw Hall had to offer was a must. The food selections were good. Plenty of food for the price. A little dissatisfied with the dessert options. There weren’t any totally gluten-free options and the other ones had nuts. It would have also been nice to have a choice that didn’t have a taste of alcohol to it. Otherwise, quite enjoyable and it was a lovely way to begin our evening -thank you!

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f
Seattle
10 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We always enjoy a delicious evening at Prelude before a ballet performance and the option of having dessert waiting for us at intermission is such a treat.

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BT
Seattle
11 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

This restaurant is very convenient when attending an event at McCaw Hall. Very attractive menu descriptions. However, food may not always live up to the descriptions. Pricing is on the high side. Again, based on the actual item served.

Urge management to put more effort into getting the food to the table while still "hot".

Wonderful staffing from the front desk to the wait staff.

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GF
Seattle
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Easy and convenient service was polite. A wonderful way to spend time before a show and avoid traffic.

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J
Seattle
6 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Always a lovely option before a ballet. Great food and service.

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KB
Seattle
3 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Unfortunately one cannot expect a great meal all the time, but this time we were all well pleased with the menu and service.

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A
London
62 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

In general, the vegetarian offerings are slim at Prelude, especially for somebody with an appetite. So, I often try the Harvest Table. It would be great if the Harvest table had vegetarian soup and sandwiches. Instead I am eating a 1/2 cup of hummous with crackers and piles of cheese.

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SF
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on May 20, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

I have mixed feelings. I have had wonderful pre show dinners here before however this time there was no table service and a very limited menu. The reason we’re explained (smaller show with fewer audience members). It was very clear that no reservations were required for this level of service and somehow we should have been given a heads up at the time we made the reservation. This dinner was a friend taking me out for my bd before the show and we thought it would be a nice table side service as had been my experience every time. They would not even provide coffee service and you had to decide at the time of ordering at the counter what you wanted for the full meal. Although the food (mainly appetizers and small plates) was good the level of service and choices was disappointing.

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JP
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on May 20, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 3

Menu VERY limited for non-opera/ballet performances. Food was luke-warm (obviously NOT prepared in an on-site kitchen).... Very expensive for steam table fare. No indication of change in menu for this performance on the website...made for a big disappointment (and too late to make other plans once we were there!).

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AR
1 review
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 2

Eat somewhere else before any performance. I read the poor reviews but wanted to see for myself how good or bad it was. Poor service, inattentive waitress, mediocre food selection and flavor, way over priced. A better tasting meal could be had at the food court next to the Space Needle for a lot less money.

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JE
Seattle
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

It was okay, but not as good as in the past. Both my mother and daughter ordered the same dish: Halibut. But my daughters portion was less then half the size of my mothers. And it was dry. I ordered the short rib which was good. Not great, but good. Hopefully we just caught them on a bad night.

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B
Seattle
5 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Very convenient when coming to pre-opera talk and opera.

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MC
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our previous experience had been really dissatisfying, but this time....total turnaround! Our waiter was great....knew the menu and made suggestions. The food was delicious, and we did not have to wait at all or for anything as we had our last dinner. A lovely evening!

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DB
Seattle
7 reviews
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 4

I feel the food is sub standard-I’ve been coming for years and have for the most part considered the food not very tasty and definitely as having poor choices as far as entrees and salads or soups. Could you use lease step it up a notch? I was just there this past Friday night—I ordered the chicken entree-/it was very dry and not much taste.

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BT
Seattle
12 reviews
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Prelude is a very convenient location when attending the opera and ballet. It is that convenience which draws us back each time. However, we strongly urge more focus on actual items served than on the fancy pictures and creative item descriptions. Food doesn't always measure up. That includes failure to serve entrees which are to be and should served "hot". A room temperature fish dish is totally unappetizing. All flavors are lost.

Urge management to read the reviews on this site with more attention to the 2 and 3 stars not the 4 and 5's.

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OL
Seattle
77 reviews
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

This time I indulged in the Harvest table buffet and was pleased with the variety, flavor, quality, appearance and overall imaginative array of items. As a frequent attendee of Seattle Opera, I plan to select this Harvest buffet in the future to see what other innovative choices they will present.

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O
Seattle
1 review
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

We were stuck in very bad traffic (rush hour and rain - the perfect storm!) and missed our reservation time by a half hour. (I did call and tell them that we would be late and that I didn't know exactly when we'd be there.) When we finally arrived, your front desk staff and server did an outstanding job of making us feel welcome, seating us and serving us promptly. We felt well taken care of, were able to relax from the stress of traffic and start enjoying our opera experience. So, service gets a big 5 stars from me.
I think your food could be better. We had the lemon chicken and halibut as our main dishes. They were pretty good but the rice noodles w/ the halibut were a little cold and under-cooked. Needed a bit more warmup in hot water before serving.
At intermission, we both got the brandy cherry mousse. It sounded great; it did not taste very good to either one of us. I would say if Peeps made a Cherry Easter Peep - this is what it would taste like. Very artificial and kind of odd. Blech.
But . . . the fact that you're dining right there at the opera and the outstanding service made this a very good choice overall for us. I just know you can do better in the dessert choices. Cheers!

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O
Seattle
3 reviews
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

The food arrived cold and had to be sent back to be reheated. The sauce on the short ribs was so salty as to be almost inedible. The short ribs were dry and not heated well. The wine pour I had was so short as to be laughable. All in all a very underwhelming dinner at a fairly high price. Not an overall pleasant experience.

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DD
1 review
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The plate sizes are great so you can order appetizers, mains and dessert without overdoing it. This allows for a leisurely experience with companions before the event. The service is friendly, personal and attentive. They keep an eye on the clock for you. I accidentally left my credit card and they tracked me down in the Theatre at intermission. Kudos to Prelude. A perfect rendezvous before the opera.

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KY
Seattle
8 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

My quiche was overcooked and lacked flavor but I went for the convenience and it's a lovely venue.

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JP
Seattle
3 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Food was acceptable, but nothing too special. The menu is very limited for brunch. Service was pleasant. The room is open, so not as quiet as I would prefer.

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FT
Portland
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 4

The quiche was so tasteless that we (wife and I) could not even finish it. The radish soup that my wife ate with quite good. Service was very pleasant. But I would never again pay the high prices that you are charging for such tasteless good. We ate there over year ago, and that experience was also bad. I thought I had heard you had a new food service, so we tried again. Bad decision.

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IR
Seattle
15 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

As opera season ticket holders we always have dinner at the Prelude at McCaw hall prior to a performance. When we looked at the menu before going to see Carmen, we thought there had been a mistake. It was the same as for the previous opera, four months ago. But, no, the mistake was ours. The same halibut, beef ribs and pasta entrees. The halibut had been good last time, so I ordered it again. It was dry. I sent it back, got a piece that was not as dry and ate it.
That's the story of Prelude restaurant. Sometimes it's good and other times not. But we never had to eat the same food from one opera to the next. So, when we go in August to see Rigoletto, I do hope the chefs put their heads together and come up with something more enticing for summer.

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BS
1 review
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

Dinner was tasty, although not as hot as I would have liked. $17 is pretty steep for a martini.

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BD
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a corner table in the back away from crowd and noise. Our waiter was friendly and most accommodating. The food was wonderful and the kitchen rewarded us nicely for their failure to get our order out in a more timely manner causing us to eat hurriedly. We did not complain and we will return at the next opportunity. Thank you.

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w
Seattle
1 review
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 4

It took an hour from giving our orders to be served, having to leave lunch not completed in order to make it in to the opera. Our meal was comped due to the delay.

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MN
1 review
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 4

The convenience of dinner here before the opera was not worth the poor service and mediocre food. We were served our bread & butter after our meal, had to wave another server down for drink refills, and the they were out of the Halibut, so the dry chicken with tough brussel sprouts was recommended by our wait staff. If I came here again, I would simply skip the meal and get desserts and coffee.

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c
Seattle
11 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

The atmosphere was noisy but you can't beat the convenience of dining right in the hall. Menu options improved since the last visit.

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WL
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

If you're going to the opera, park once. Prelude is overpriced only if one ignores its location and convenience. The wine list is more expensive than the food, but there are always one or two wines in the reasonable range.

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BT
Seattle
12 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

It was unfortunately that our waiter was required to cover such a large area. He did his best to make the situation as comfortable as possible for those he served. Was obvious there was a staffing issue.

Service time between courses was slower than we would have preferred. The unfortunate consequence was entree's which were "less than" hot. Well... actually just warm. The potential flavor profile was lost.

This is a wonderful location for a dinning room, being so convenient to the concert hall. Therefore, would urge management to review the comments in the 1 - 2- 3 star ratings for guidance towards improvements in the many aspects of the dinning experience. It's always good to see the good comments. But learning and improvement comes from understanding what could lead to more 4 and 5 stars.

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VB
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 5ambience 3

convenient location if you need to be right next to the theater. The brunch menu was limited and there was no decent kids menu. Service was very good.

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KB
1 review
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

Pro: beautiful delivery and nice, bar, and close when seeing a show at McCraw Hall! Service was good!

Con: no flavor in 3 dishes I tasted -the duck soup, smoked salmon egg, and the chocolate mouse dessert (clearly made then frozen and re-served)) way over $$$ given the tasteless food and serving sizes. Nothing starts out a date night like a bad meal :(
Should have just gone to Denny’s- then at least you knew what you were getting and saved some $$!

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KB
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Since I have matinee tickets and they had to be exchanged for an evening performance, I was a little dubious as to what our evening dining would be, as unfortunately the lunch menus have alot to be desired. I was very delighted to see a great menu, and I chose the Halibut entre. It was superb and delicious!! Served beautifully! Thanks!

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f
Seattle
11 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

great place to meet and get a delicious meal before a ballet performance

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