Prelude at McCaw Hall

3.6
2472 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 2472 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
3.9
service
3.7
ambience
3.1
value
Noise · Moderate
79% of people would recommend it to a friend
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B
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
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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BA
Seattle
43 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
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 2 days ago
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 6 days ago
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 6 days ago
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
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
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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d
Seattle
9 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

It is very convenient if you are going to the opera or ballet.

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OT
Seattle
7 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 4

Generally, the menu choices look more enticing than the food quality. Unfortunately, food is fair at best. Service on this occasion was above excellent. I eat there on opera nights because it’s a special occasion.

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DA
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Reservations New Year's Eve (our anniversary). We arrived 3 minutes past our reservation time of 7:30pm, waited for hostess, waited while she discussed what to do with us and stated they were wrapping up and was unsure if she could seat us. We confirmed we were not going to the ballet and after the hostess telling a waitress we were going to her section, a man (I assume manager) came up behind to hear the conversation and said "we can't seat them, we are done in the kitchen!" At this point the clock where we were standing said 7:40 - only ten minutes past our reservation time! No apology or compromise was offered by the Manager. We were dropped there by Uber, were left with nowhere to have dinner on our anniversary and little chance of getting seated anywhere else on the very busy New Years Eve. We were hungry, I was in tears, and had to walk (in high heels) all over lower QA just to find a place to have appetizers. Mind you we are in our mid 60's too so do not have the physical stamina as someone younger might have. By then we were cold, our feet hurt, and we still had to make our way back to our NYE event at the Science Center as it started after 9pm. I have a foot condition so could barely stand by the time we got there so it adversely affected our entire night. Nothing on the website said anything about seating restrictions, and what restaurant can't seat you if you're three minutes late - or even ten minutes! I've waited a half hour or more at a restaurant past my reservation time to be seated. The treatment we received was callous, absurd and unacceptable.

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PR
Seattle
3 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 4ambience 3

Nice helpful waiter but the food was really bad. Our prime rib was one thin slice that was 50% fat for $34. The harvest table was an assortment of Safeway quality cheeses and packaged vegetables.
The only reason to eat here is for the convenience.

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C
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

The server was attentive and excellent. The food was, for a place that must serve many pre-theatre-goers in a very short time, very good.
The music was loud, intrusive, and did not go with the restaurant's ambiance, BUT, after we requested a change, the staff met our request, and we finished our meal, able to converse, while still enjoying some really nice music in the background. We appreciate having this restaurant "in-house" at the Opera House because we travel 60 miles for a show... and can park one time in the Opera House garage, dine, and attend our performance with great ease!

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N
Seattle
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 1

We have eaten at Prelude before events at McCaw Hall and had relatively good meals. On December 27, 2018, prior to The Nutcracker, we ate with our 5 year old granddaughter. Our meal of quiche and a salad was pitiful. The quiche was like leather —-probably having sat somewhere for a week! —- and the salad was slimy and was made from old lettuce, and it was frightfully expensive for what we got. Our granddaughter had chicken strips (and they weren’t strips but rather the size of slabs and we’re rubbery and cold) along with tater tots which was the only thing she ate. The lighting at Prelude is grim and for 2 adults and one child it was $74.00. Never again!

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O
Seattle
1 review
Dined on December 26, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Lovely!
Gracious service and well prepared food.
Thanks!

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RT
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

Our food arrived less than 5 minutes after we ordered, I think it was pre-cooked. Tasted and looked like it had been sitting around for a while. Extremely expensive and the food was lukewarm and terrible.

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AC
1 review
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Sunight was the best server. She made our experience great.

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T
Seattle
8 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

The food is nothing special and it’s overpriced but it’s a festive scene before the Nutcracker and we enjoyed ourselves. The menu is very limited and they don’t even have raw sugar or stevia for a latte. A 1950’s basic white sugar menu. Nice servers.

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CS
Seattle
1 review
Dined on December 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

In the past Ive enjoyed a rare great Alsace Wine gewurtztraminer
and a really wonderful cheese platter ( big enough for two).

Last year the Chef created a small buffet style table with
salads cheeses fruits veggies meats sauces and soup

This year our visit included a fantastic Halibut Chowder
was really outstanding.

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BR
Seattle
1 review
Dined on December 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

I ordered a vegan dish after asking wait staff about it, however it was entirely not what I expected. It included a large square of tofu that was so tough I needed a steak knife. They very kindly let me choose a different dish, which was a lamb meatloaf. That was good although heavy on pimentos. We were there before a show, so lots of noise and excitement. Also very brightly lit.

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EB
1 review
Dined on December 16, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 5ambience 1

Very generic. Food arrived Luke warm and I told the waiter. She brought another and it was Luke warm too. Great location if you’re going to McCaw Hall, but absolutely no atmosphere.

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GG
Seattle
1 review
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 3

We always attend the Prelude when attending McCaw Hall. The food choice and quality was exceptional this year. The tables are always close together but we were spaced out so we had some privacy to talk. The waitress was less then attentive and that was the only exception to a great experience and meal.

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OT
Seattle
28 reviews
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Lighting was poor due to burnt out bulb above our table. No candles on tables (would have helped).

Limited menu but everything delicious and gluten free options.

Best reason to go is convenience when attending a performance at McCaw Hall.

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YC
1 review
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The meal itself was wonderful - the dessert (Eggnog Brulee was superb!) and our server, Charles, was absolutely fabulous. He enhanced our dining experience overall. We will definitely be back when we atten a performance at McGaw Hall!

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on December 9, 2018
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 4

Recommend getting a dessert and coming back to your table during intermission to enjoy!

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SA
Seattle
1 review
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

I didn't know what to expect because I had read unfavorable reviews. But was pleasantly surprised. We went for brunch before the Nutcracker. The convenience is worth it. I had the quiche and loved the sweetness. My daughter chose the Harvest table and enjoyed it equally as well. We thought it reasonably priced and the staff attentive.

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V
Seattle
11 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 4

The prices for the entress outweigh the quality. The place was not busy, my wife and I ordered a couple entress. We got them in a timely manner but the quality was poor. My wife ordered fish. I ordered a meatloaf dish. Both were hard and dried out. They tasted as if they'd be sitting under a heat lamp for an hour. It was obvious our dishes were not made-to-order I felt cheated for paying what I did.

If you want to sell a fine-dining experience then please make the food fit your pitch. That counts most.

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OT
Seattle
1 review
Dined on December 3, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 4

An annual event to see the nutcracker ballet

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MT
Seattle
1 review
Dined on December 2, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

The wait staff was inexperienced but pleasant. I hope they get up to speed soon.

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SH
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

I thought having the restaurant associated with the venue was perfect for bringing in children. I was not however as excited with the menu selections. My quiche was dry...and the pastry base sweet and just did not work with a savory filling. The same held true for another member's waffle with ham and mornay sauce...the waffle was just too sweet. She said it tasted like cake. The soup was very nice and the crudite selection also nice and I would have done better there than with what I ordered. The children's menu was 'OK' but I think your chef needs to know a bit more about kids...they usually eat very little when exited, specially young little girls ...A child's option on the cruite table would have been better for us.... It was our first time at Prelude and now we know...over all it was worth the few issues and we will come again. Our server was excellent and more than helpful.

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R
Seattle
25 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Our food was inedible. Our server was nice, but nerver came back to check on us until the end. Our table for 2 was wedged between 2 larger groups of people...very uncomfortable.

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LD
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Good service, friendly and efficient wait staff. Very limited menu, especially for a youth-centered performance such as the Nutcracker. My teen didn’t qualify for the kids’ menu, but the very limited dining options made it necessary to choose among undesired menu options. Pricey!

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RC
Seattle
1 review
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Your attending a performance at McCaw Hall, Nutcracker, ballet, etc. Menu is short and quick for both adults and kids. Same with beverages. Servers and hostesses friendly, professional and nice! We all enjoyed the food from soup, salads, main course and deserts. Server was great. Eat, visit, enjoy your family, friends then attend your event. We look forward to returning in the future. Prime was perfect, halibut too and the lamb loaf was firm, moist and tasty. All vegetable cooked to perfection.

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M
Seattle
6 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
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!

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LK
Seattle
3 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
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.

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c
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
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!

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RM
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
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.

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

Great for pre performance dining

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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