Prelude at McCaw Hall

3.7
2506 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 2506 People Are Saying
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Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.7based on recent ratings
3.6
food
4.1
service
3.9
ambience
3.3
value
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75% of people would recommend it to a friend
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TR
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 4

My spouse and I have had worse meals, but I do not remember when. We lunched there on Sunday before the Pinocchio ballet performance.

Our server made us feel as if she did not care for us or maybe her job. Certainly other tables seated after us had bowls of bread appearing long before we did. Ours appeared deliberately slow. When she served our main entree she made an brief effort at being nice in order to salvage a tip. I wish she were the worst of the meal experience.

The appetizer bread, all two small pieces of it (one each) had the smell and taste of stale about it. Doubtless it is frozen and then reheated in the “kitchen”. The endive salad was teeny and horrible tasting. I usually do not eat salad with dressing but in this case I had to use all of the dressing to make it palatable. It was unfortunate I was hungry or I would have left it.

Likewise the main entree was horrid. I don’t recall the exact name but they describe it as rib eye steak on a ciabatta bread. Folks, it’s just lunch-sliced beef, i.e., a French dip sandwich. The ciabatta bread was also stale.

You pay to play so I do not begrudge the prices, especially considering the venue. The corner location, the fact that many customers are dressed up, white table clothes, uniformed servers, the overall ambiance - this restaurant has so much to potentially offer but falls flat.

The restaurant needs to be top notch. That starts with fresh ingredients and I do not even care if the bread is frozen but it needs to be fresh! Same goes for the salad and entrees. Food vendors should be challenged and then held to task for quality of product. Same with wait staff; they need to properly serve each and every customer - that may require training to remind them this is supposed to be an elegant dining experience and requires different handling than a diner. This all falls of course at the foot of the manager, who needs to bring this restaurant around. It does help support the ballet after all.

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GO
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful menu choices, prepared to perfection. And our server was fabulous, attentive and fun!!

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NB
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 4

We had friends with us for lunch and they only ate about 1/4 of their quich. I had the waffle and it was OK. With the cream and berry topping it was quite sweet and very soggy. My husband had the eggs benedict and the eggs were more runny than usual. We will probably not eat there again and will enjoy the Donors Lounge. This was our third time to try but will be our last. We are season ticket holders so have tried over the years.

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t
Seattle
9 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 2service 5ambience 5

The eggs Benedict were odd. The bread it was served over was strange...spongy, soggy....almost like raw pie crust. Weird. My friend had the Harvest Table buffet...soups, tapas style selection. .. which was EXCELLENT! I should have gotten that.
Atmosphere and service ere outstanding!

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l
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

Convenient to dine leisurely before the opera. Limited menu but enough choices to find a dish. The soup was quite good but the pasta dish was very mediocre. My husband enjoyed his chicken. Frankly I found it expensive for what it was.

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J
Seattle
33 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

A definite go to if you are attending a performance at McCaw Hall. Service has been consistently outstanding. And the food good. Not great, but good. Mostly it’s the convenience of its location when paired with an event there.

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OT
Seattle
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good menu offerings and well prepared dishes.

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J
Seattle
1 review
Dined on February 27, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 3

We arrived at 6:15 for dinner before the opera at 7:30. Our entrees came at 7:07. The opera does not allow late seating, so we gobbled our dinner and ran off. Just the opposite of what one would want for dinner before a show! Terrible service. Even if we didn't have a show to get to, the wait for dinner was extremely long.

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PH
1 review
Dined on February 27, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

The rolls were hard and dry. We asked for fresher ones. The waitress had to be reminded to bring fresh ones. The replaced ones were also hard, cold and dry. The waitress was very impersonal. The main courses were good. For the price, I expect better service and quality.

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r
Seattle
10 reviews
Dined on February 27, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Overpriced, poor service, and refusal to split the check between three guests made our experience less than pleasant.

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MA
Seattle
67 reviews
Dined on February 27, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 2

The menu is very limited. The food is mediocre and the prices are ridiculously high for what you get but it is the only option for dining within walking distance of the Opera House if you are not into Thai food.

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T
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined on February 27, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Our waiter was the best. He answered multiple questions, and made our meal very enjoyable. Also he determined that the chowder did have clam sauce in it which was important for this person allergic to shell fish! I remember that the Harvest Table used to have labels. That was very helpful and instructive. We would really appreciate that practice returning.

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JE
1 review
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Always a delight to have lunch before the opera. We had an especially wonderful waiter on the 24th. Food was yummy as usual.

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GJ
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 4

well I never like to be so negative...I usually have a wonderful experience at Prelude...but somehow something has gone terribly wrong...Sunday it was difficult to find something on the menu that seemed edible in a good way...but this time we struggled, finally settled on something called quiche, which turned out to be a horrible pot filled mostly with dried potatoes. And the fresh fruit on the side, which I thought would save me was slathered with some horrible sauce so that the fruit was ruined. Sometimes less is more. I will really have to check to see if they have changed their chef/menu before i return. Really really bad experience prior to opera.

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M
1 review
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

This was our second brunch at Prelude before the Opera. The wait staff are excellent and the ambiance was great.The items on the menu look great and appealing, but the food is always tepid or cold. Desserts are terrible, I've had the apricot almond cake and the chocolate cherry cake. I must say there isn't a lot of places to go for a brunch in the area at 11 AM outside of fast food. Prelude has a captive audience with people wanting to get into the Opera house and not walk around looking for a place to eat. We have sampled several restaurants in the area. We may return again only because it's convenient .

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O
Seattle
8 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 5

Very convenient--dine here before every opera performance, excellent service. Cuisine usually very good but this time was disappointed in boring quiche (no crust, very little spinach, heavy on artichokes). Fruit salad with it was enjoyable. Apple/chocolate dessert also disappointing--those two flavors aren't complimentary. Plus the apple layer was frozen solid--hope no one broke a tooth!

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EB
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

If you are attending a performance at McCaw Hall this restaurant has location going for it.

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F
Seattle
26 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 5ambience 2

Great before opera performances; relaxing and avoids being late due to traffic conditions. Food usually excellent

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JS
Seattle
53 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

I recommend this restaurant with hesitations. My guest couldn't meet me until 6:30 and the show started at 7:30, so this restaurant is very convenient when attending a performance because one doesn't have to rush to get to the theater and the wait staff understand the need for patrons to get to their seats on time and I'm sure there's communication with the house manager as to how many people are in the restaurant and need to have time to get to their seats. However, the food has never been worth the price and has always been subpar. Thursday evening both my guest and I ordered the halibut, it was raw in the center and inedible. We didn't order a tuna steak which is just seared on the outside and raw in the center, we ordered halibut and expected it to be cooked thoroughly. We were both unable to finish our fish. Plus the fillet was on less than a quarter cup of yam puree and maybe a tablespoon of the corn salsa topping. It was very lonely on the white plate, plating for food is very important to the service and basically we were served a halibut steak with garnish for $29.00 each. It certainly wasn't worth that price. A little greens of some sort, which would have cost the restaurant pennies, should have been added to this plate. Fortunately the manager did right by us and took the price of one of the meals off the check. It's so disappointing that the management and owners of Prelude don't have enough pride to serve food that is worthy of the beautiful performances one sees at McCaw Hall. The ballet and opera companies work diligently to produce a product worthy of this stage, I wish Prelude would do the same for the plates at their restaurant.

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BM
Seattle
1 review
Dined on February 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ballet attendance

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BR
Seattle
1 review
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food used to be BIZARRE a few years ago. Now incredibly good. Beautiful setting. Wait time terrific. Our favorite date place before PNB.

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have been a PNB Subscriber for over 30 years!!! The menu on Sat. Feb 2nd, was the best and delicious lunch I have had there, and I eat lunch there every time I go to a Ballet performance. A great lunch and a magnificent beautiful Sleeping Beauty performance! A great day.

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NE
Seattle
5 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

The service was excellent and very prompt in offering drinks, placing our order and serving our meal. My daughter ordered a salad that was excellent and the vegan entrée which she was pleased with. I, however, didn't make as great of a selection. I opted for the fish entrée which was a bit dried out on the ends so just okay. I was glad to have time to enjoy coffee following our meal.

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R
Seattle
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 4ambience 3

Food was poor. Halibut small, dry and tasteless. Served w small amount of corn relish—seemed straight from the can
Pumpkin soup seemed like cool purée w little taste.
We often dine here before the opera and this visit was weak.

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JK
Seattle
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

My husband and I have dined at the Prelude prior to every Opera we've attended and I've always had good things to say, but not this time. We have no problem paying for a quality dinner, however; although we thought the salad bar was nice enough, we thought our fish entrees were rather bland and boring with little presentation and had the texture and quality of something one might buy from the freezer section at a supermarket. My cappuccino was pathetic and only warm, with far more foam than actual coffee. My desert wasn't at all the delight I was hoping for and reminded me of a parfait I might find in the yogurt section of the same supermarket the fish came from. In contrast, I had a wonderful meal at the Puyallup Olive Garden recently and I have nothing but delicious reviews for them, from the start of my meal, down to my cappuccino and dessert. The Prelude not only needs to freshen their tired decor, but they need to do better with the kitchen help, chef, and wait staff.

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L
Seattle
8 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 5ambience 2

The very small slice of halibut was very dry. The dessert was mediocre.

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O
Seattle
1 review
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

So nice to go to the opera and eat at the same locale. Delicious, reasonable, and convenient.

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F
Seattle
1 review
Dined on January 23, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

The service was great. The soup and salad were very good but the halibut was dry and over cooked. Too pricey.

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AN
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server was particularly attentive to our needs. The seasonal cuisine was delicious, especially the pumpkin soup! Very nice selection of wines, also.

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KY
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

unique service in that they serve during intermission of opera/ballet

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MA
Seattle
67 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Prelude is the one of the few option for pre performance dining at the Opera House. It is better now than it has been but the prices are way out of line- $50-$70 for a half bottle of wine!!

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IR
Seattle
14 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

We are opera season-ticket holders at McCaw Hall and patronize Prelude prior to a performance. We've had outstanding meals and really bad ones. They precook all of their meals as they have to feed lots of people in a very short time prior to the opera.

On our most recent visit I had the halilbut. Sometimes their fish is dry, but this was perfectly cooked and tasted great. The corn salsa was a nice touch, and the yam puree light and delicious!

My husband ordered the lamb meatloaf. The meat was quite dry and tasted like (dry) sausage. A sauce might have helped! Or maybe mixing the lamb with pork. The greens served with it were fine, but the polenta was very bland. All in all, his was a disappointing meal.

We will continue to patronize Prelude prior to our opera visits. It's simply so convenient to eat there prior to a performance.

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OT
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

We enjoy dining before events at McCaw Hall.

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B
1 review
Dined on January 16, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

Running out of a main course (halibut) by 6:15 is not good. Nor is serving supposedly hot food at a tepid temperature. Nor is failing to return a credit card until it necessitated the customer running to make a performance on time. (We advised the staff in advance we had a time constraint). Prelude seems to have lowered its standards lately. I want them to be a success. The place is so convenient and the food in the past was excellent. But their management needs some work right now.

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D
Seattle
6 reviews
Dined on January 16, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

Very disappointed.
Generally we loved Prelude and looked forward to each of our visits before the Opera performance we attend that night.
Unfortunately on January 16, the dream crashed into a quasi nightmare.
My wife and I arrived at 6:13 pm for 6:15 pm reservation, as stated in the reservation, for my 75th birthday celebration as mentioned in the reservation. We were shown a nice table, alas with no privacy such a two person booth. We placed our orders at 6:29 pm. Our truly delicious appetizers arrived fairly promptly followed by the wine (we had to remind our attendant to bring the wine!), then time passed. At 6:59 our attendant came to see us to report that our choice of main course (we both had chosen the halibut) was no longer available. Given the time, we accepted to be provided with the lamb meat loaf, which turned out to be excellent but not quite halibut. The dish was served promptly at 7:10 pm and we had to leave the restaurant at 7:20pm for the performance (I am handicapped and walk slowly), skipping desert and coffee. Undoubtedly, the fact both main courses were comped was a nice gesture, but nothing can compensate the fact we were looking forward to a great celebratory dinner and we ended up with a sub-par experience. We will lower our expectations for the eventual next time, but alas the prices will not reflect the very mediocre outcome we will now expect. The choice is clear for us: stay away from Prelude.
Fortunately the performance of the Opera was outstanding and got us out of our funk in no time.

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BA
Seattle
46 reviews
Dined on January 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The food was excellent and service exceptionally courteous and helpful. Great for per-opera dining.

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LJ
Seattle
1 review
Dined on January 16, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Specially selected choices for entrees with many thoughtful complimentary appetizer choices. Service was exceptionally good

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KK
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 2

Terrible service — waited a half hour for a waiter to come to our table. Food takes forever to arrive. This is unfortunate given the fact that the only possible reason you would go to this restaurant is because you’re attending a performance there. The salad bar — which we’ve resorted to to ensure finishing our meal on time — is overpriced and is usually out of many items, which are not restocked. The place has potential and is certainly convenient but needs much better management.

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AC
Seattle
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 3

There are only 4 entrees on the menu. We were there at 6:30 on a Saturday evening (an opera performance night). I ordered the halibut and was told they had just run out. I went with my next choice of the lamb meatloaf. It was very bland and very dry. The waitress noticed I wasn't really eating it and asked if I would like her to bring me the halibut instead as that it was now available. I have no idea how it would occur that at 6:40 there would be no halibut and at 7:00 it would be available for me to have as a replacement. That bothered me a lot.
The meatloaf was taken off of the bill which I appreciated. I did not replace with the halibut because I didn't feel there was time prior to the show. My husband had the prime rib, which was good.

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AD
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Would recommend for convenience (since this venue is at the Opera House).

They tend to run out of menu entrees very quickly. Arriving at 6:15 for a 7:30 show means your choices will likely be limited.

Also, get your order in right away. Once the food server leaves your table they may not be back for a while.

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