Prelude at McCaw Hall

3.6
2441 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$31 to $50
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
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.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Cuisines
Contemporary American
icon/ic_clockCreated with Sketch.
Hours of operation
Dinner/Brunch:
Prelude opens 2.5 hours (Opera performances) and 2 hours (Ballet performances) prior show start.
icon/ic_phoneCreated with Sketch.
Phone number
(206) 615-0404
icon/ic_new_windowCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_paymentCreated with Sketch.
Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
icon/ic_dress_codeCreated with Sketch.
Dress code
Smart Casual
icon/ic_private_diningCreated with Sketch.
Private party facilities
Opportunities for private events abound at McCaw hall. Whether planning a large party in the dining room or looking for a private space, or larger events our team is experienced and ready to handle the details for you. For larger parties please ask for our Catering Director and we will be happy to put you in contact with her.
icon/ic_contactCreated with Sketch.
Private party contact
Susan Cuturilo: (206) 615-0254
icon/ic_cateringCreated with Sketch.
Catering
We apply our extensive experience in both large and small-scale events at most any location in the Seattle Area. For over 20 years, our culinary team and experienced sales staff have created custom menus and unique special events to successfully support world-class events for small groups or thousands of people. You can be sure we have the expertise to handle every detail of your event, from site coordination, to rentals, to securing a pleasant service staff. Contact us to learn more.
Open Google Maps
icon/ic_locationCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_neighborhoodCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_cross_streetCreated with Sketch.
Cross street
4th & Mercer
Additional
Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Entertainment, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Private Room, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 2441 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.6based on recent ratings
3.5
food
3.6
service
3.8
ambience
3.2
value
Noise · Moderate
75% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
Sort by
Newest
Filters
M
Seattle
6 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We enjoy going to Prelude before the ballet. This time because of traffic we barely made it, but had a table instantly and our salad quickly. And our bill quickly. Most of the time we have had to wait to have our order taken and wait for a meal, or even a plate for the harvest table. This time things were quicker. Of course it is always nice to relax, but after the hurry of traffic, sometimes that is difficult. A nice way to start a nice time at PNW Ballet!

Report
Helpful
LK
Seattle
3 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 5

Our service was very poor on Sunday. Our waiter completely forgot one of our orders. He he hadn't come by to check our drinks, she would never have gotten her simple barley salad. The food is still only average. How great it would be to have a good chef in there who prepared the food on the spot. It's too bad because the setting is nice and so convenient for performances.

Report
Helpful
c
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

After a two-hour or so drive from Bellingham, we just wanted to be able to sit and relax, have a delicious meal (including coffee), and NOT have to get up and walk quickly -- or run -- to get to McCaw Hall on time. We enjoyed sitting and enjoying the atmosphere, sipping our coffee, and then leisurely enjoying our meal when it arrived (which was fast). Our server was terrific, helping to reorganize our table so we could share a couple menu items more easily. The food was delicious, and it was prepared beautifully. We both realized that sharing our main dish was perfect -- with the salad and our coffee, it was perfectly filling. We look forward to doing this again!

Report
Helpful
RM
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

The entrees and first courses are quite good but overpriced. The deserts are unappetizing, poor, stodgy and overpriced. The quality has definitely gone down hill. There is some lack of co-ordination between the wait staff and the kitchen. While the restaurant has to serve large numbers in a fairly short space of time it could do a lot better and it is often not busy, no doubt because it is poor value. It is taking advantage of a captive market, visitors to McCaw Hall.

Report
Helpful
J
Seattle
9 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Great for pre performance dining

Report
Helpful
N
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2018
Overall 4food 2service 4ambience 3

The food here has been going downhill in recent years, too bad. It needs a management shakeup. I glimpsed one the cooks (is there even a kitchen?) talking with a server with his fingers in his mouth, piratical beard, scruffy, and huge gold nosering. Great pre-concert location but we'll probably start going somewhere else.

Report
Helpful
F
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

This may be our favorite restaurant before the ballet. It's a little more expensive than we like and our food restrictions sometimes limit the menu for us, but the dishes are original, delicious and satisfying.

Report
Helpful
GO
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dining at the Prelude is always a great way to enjoy the afternoon at the ballet, making it a great outing for a memorable day.
Cheers, G O’Connor

Report
Helpful
HS
Seattle
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Our server was great. I always appreciate that! Very responsive to our requests.

Report
Helpful
c
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 2

Reminded me of airplane food. I think it is made off site. The cod was supposed to be pan seared and it was not seared at all, it was mushy, watery and flavorless for $28.00. Pricey menu with not a lot of choices. They were nice about taking the cod back and not charging us.

Report
Helpful
TJ
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

My husband and I enjoyed a date night dinner here before attending the ballet. Since the restaurant is in the venue, they know you are on a timeline, and while they don't make anything feel rushed, your meal arrives promptly. The wine list is several pages with plenty of options and has some impressive picks. Our server made sure that we knew about the perks and ins and outs of service during intermission, including holding our drinks at our table for us. It is always such a stress to get from dinner to the venue in traffic, this took all the worry out of it!

Report
Helpful
OT
Seattle
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 5ambience 3

Great Prime Rib dinner!

Report
Helpful
M
Seattle
5 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Our server was excellent. My fish was perfectly cooked. However, portions were small especially for the price, and the menu is somewhat pretentious.

Report
Helpful
AB
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 3

First it must be noted that the staff is attentive, the timing of the courses well done, and the ease of dining in the theater is a draw.
The meal was disappointing on many levels and I hope that there will be renewed attention to the quality in the kitchen to offer a pleasurable experience once again.

Report
Helpful
EG
1 review
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic dinner before the Ballet with my best friend. Great service with quality food.

Report
Helpful
DH
1 review
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service. I was very impressed. From a restaurant that is only open during performances I didn't expect much. However, my expectations were pleasantly exceeded on all counts. This crew knows what they are doing and I trust them with my dining experience.

Report
Helpful
DK
Boise
14 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Great option for pre and/or post theater event (ballet, opera, etc.). Service is excellent and the food is delicious. I had soup, which was creamy and flavorful. The location is great as one does not have to worry about being late for a performance. However, the price of a meal is fairly steep and the ambiance is lacking. For example, the lighting could definitely be improved upon. Music in the background could enhance the experience and perhaps some flower (or a flower) on the table.

Report
Helpful
A
London
52 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 2

I have had season tickets to the ballet for more than 10 years, so I have eaten at Prelude at least a couple of times per season. On the plus side, there are more vegan options this year!!! On the not so good side, the prices for the vegan dishes are outrageous. For the cost conscious, the Market Table is more affordable and and it fills me up as there is plenty of vegetarian options. All the food is all very tasty and well prepared. The desserts are delicious! The wine selection is good.

Report
Helpful
RR
1 review
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 5

I usually come here preballet for dinner w my family. On the last time, our service was beyond poor-waitress forgot about our table, then messed up our bills enough where we almost missed the start of the ballet. Then we ordered decaf coffee and none of us could sleep that night. I suspect we got caffeinated. Food is usually pretty good. Not stellar but this night the chef got excited about smoking. Our rolls smelled like a campfire ,which made them inedible, and the chocolate cake was dry and smelled /tasted so smoky we didn’t finish it. mostly the service ruined the evening.

Report
Helpful
JS
Seattle
51 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

I only go to Prelude because it’s convenient when going to the opera or ballet . However, the food is overpriced for the quality. The service, although the servers are very friendly, they always seem so harried and not able to provide their very best service. I don’t think this is their fault, when one sees service such as this, it comes from the top. Either there aren’t enough servers - guests want their food quickly due to wanting to find their seats in the theater, etc, and this doesn’t happen, or the management mistreats them and they’re under undue stress so can’t perform their best. Also, Prelude or McCaw Hall mustn’t pay very well as the attire worn by employees ranges from too big (the managers jacket and pants), to completely inappropriate (the lead hostess’ fuschia flowered leggings which exposes her behind and the leggings riding up into the front and back of it). All of the above, food quality, subpar service, poorly dressed employees, shows a disrespect for patrons paying good money to see the performances, who take the time to dress well for the evening. It’s time to step up Prelude and McCaw Hall. If you and your restaurant manager(s) can’t run Prelude the way it should, step aside and let someone else do it. Prelude often is the downer of the evening.

Report
Helpful
R
Seattle
12 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 5

Both the food and service seem to have gone downhill. It’s convenient for performances at McCaw but not much else.

Report
Helpful
M
Seattle
7 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious food, we always get the Harvest table, and good service. We enjoy going there before the ballet!

Report
Helpful
HS
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a good time!! with a good meal!! and good service!!

Report
Helpful
SC
Seattle
1 review
Dined on August 25, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

I wish the menu was healthier. Rich grits and the. Sitting for 3.5 hours for the opera...not a great combo.

Report
Helpful
OL
Seattle
61 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Although a few details were slipping through the cracks by the end of this production's run, my out-of-town guest was quite impressed and I come off as a great hostess. Thank you!

Report
Helpful
e
1 review
Dined on August 23, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

This is the third season my mom and I have been attending the Opera we chose to have dinner at the Prelude for the convenience , however over these past few seasons we have seen the food selection and quality of the food diminish. We will be looking for another place for dinner for our next Opera!

Report
Helpful
s
Seattle
10 reviews
Dined on August 19, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

arrived 12:50 for 12:45 reservation, brunch before opera. surprised there were not more people. made for quiet atmosphere. Server was reasonable prompt, we placed our orders. bread brought promptly. but a bit of a wait for first course (2 salads and 2 bisque) and then longer wait for entrees which did not come until almost 1:30. Had to rush to get to our seats before 2. With so few dining, don't know why service was slow. first course food was better than average but entree's were average...which has been our experience at least the last two years. And still think prices are high. Our order which included two glasses of wine and 1 tea and first course + entrée for 4 came to $164 total or $82/couple. Seems high for a simple brunch.
We dine for convenience if timing is tight...we come from Kitsap Peninsula via ferry.

Report
Helpful
OL
Seattle
61 reviews
Dined on August 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I enjoyed the menu created for Porgy & Bess so much when I had dinner there before a performance that I came for Sunday brunch even though I was not attending that performance. I thoroughly enjoyed this and plan to do it for the next production. I wonder what menu surprises they will create for "The Turn of the Screw"? Kudos to Prelude for their culinary expertise and creativity.

Report
Helpful
GB
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on August 19, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 5

Food took an exceptionally long time to arrive. We were late to the preview lecture when there should have been ample time

Report
Helpful
C
Seattle
1 review
Dined on August 19, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

We dined on the weekend of a change in food vendors. Server was inexperienced and not competent. Order arrived 40 minutes late. Ox tail was 90% fat!
We like the concept, and hope the management gets the details under control.

Report
Helpful
s
Seattle
1 review
Dined on August 19, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 2

Visited Prelude before a Saturday night opera performance. The menu is very limited. Our reservation was 5:15p and we finally got our check 10 minutes before the show at 7:30p. The service was slow and certainly not outstanding. This is the third time I've been to Prelude. Kept giving them the benefit of the doubt. But this is definitely the last time.

Report
Helpful
M
Phoenix
7 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 4

We had been to Prelude several times previously in conjunction with the Seattle Opera and had great experiences, but not this time. Waited inordinately long for our order to be taken for pre-opera dinner. Food did not seem to be of the previous quality. Ordered coffee and dessert to be set up for intermission, but it wasn't set up when we came to the table, I finally had to flag someone down, and no one seemed to know why; it took three people checking on it to finally get it to us - by that time with little time to enjoy it. Understand that there was a recent management or vendor change; hope they get their act together.

Report
Helpful
OL
Seattle
61 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I commend Prelude for designing menus to reflect the flavor of the opera onstage. I loved both my choices: the cheese curd dish followed by the shrimp and polenta. Always a lovely wine selection to go with.

Report
Helpful
S
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

Had to request bread and butter twice. Never asked if we wanted coffee or a dessert...but the bill came anyway.
One of our party wasn’t very hungry and was hoping for a cup of soup...not a lot of options for a “snack”.

Report
Helpful
NW
Seattle
1 review
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 4

I’ve eaten here 3times and every time it’s been a different experience. First time terrible service, mediocre food. Second time great service, great food. Third time mediocre service, poor food.....eggs were over cooked and hard. Menu changes were not for the better. Don’t know if we’ll be back. We patronize because of it’s convenient location in the lobby of McCaw Hall for a pre opera performance meal.

Report
Helpful
KO
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

We have enjoyed lunch prior to the Sunday matinee of the Seattle Opera for many years. Prelude Restaurant is a convenient place to have lunch as we have a rather long ride to get to Seattle for the performance. The service is good, the food is good and sometimes outstanding. My one complaint this time is that there were no gluten free desserts available. In prior visits, we could just order ice cream, but that item has been taken off the menu. So please, gluten free dessert options, the more gooey chocolaty the better or, at least, ice cream as an option.

Report
Helpful
GG
Vancouver
5 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Good service and food; like especially the idea of intermission dessert and coffee

Report
Helpful
CM
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As usual, the food was great and the service was excellent. But for me, the best thing about Prelude is that it’s right in McCaw Hall.

So we park once, take the skybridge, and then have a delicious, relaxed pre-Opera brunch. That gives us just enough time for the lecture and to get to our seats. Perfect!

Report
Helpful
JB
Seattle
6 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 4

While in the past the food was good, this time the main dish of Ox Tail was 90% fat--not tasty. The service was slow and confused. It took a few different times to get things correct,

Report
Helpful
JG
1 review
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 3

My wife and I are season subscribers to the opera, and we thought we would give Prelude restaurant another try at the beginning of this season. Terribly disappointed again, as always: limited menu; pretentious; awfully slow service (not enough servers available, so the wait was considerable); horribly over-priced. Cannot recommend that you patronize this restaurant. Go somewhere else for a bite to eat before the performance or production. This restaurant is an embarrassment to McCaw Hall. Everything else about the Hall and its productions are spectacular and fun and fantastic. But, dining at the Hall is just not a very good or very satisfying experience...and we have dined there multiple times. We are slow learners, I guess.

Report
Helpful
1
2
3
62