Prelude at McCaw Hall

3.5
2429 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 SAVOR 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
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Cuisines
Contemporary American
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Hours of operation
Dinner/Brunch:
Prelude opens 2.5 hours (Opera performances) and 2 hours (Ballet performances) prior show start.


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Phone number
(206) 615-0404
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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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.
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Private party contact
Susan Cuturilo: (206) 615-0254
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Catering
Catering by SAVOR... is not limited to McCaw Hall. 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.
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Cross street
4th & Mercer
Additional
Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 2429 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.5based on recent ratings
3.4
food
3.5
service
3.8
ambience
3.1
value
Noise · Moderate
72% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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M
Seattle
5 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!

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HS
1 review
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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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.

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OL
Seattle
60 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!

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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!

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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.

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OL
Seattle
60 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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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OL
Seattle
60 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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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,

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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.

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D
Seattle
6 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 2

I've dined at Prelude a few times before an opera. As a season ticket holder, I like the idea of dining in the same complex as the theater. My previous experiences have all been quite positive but Saturday's dinner was poor. I understand the purpose of the restaurant so won't fault it for the crowded conditions and high noise level. I prefer quiet restaurants and the noise level was quite high, which is typical. Saturday's poor experience was notable because the food took an extraordinary long time to arrive and only came after we spoke with a gentleman who I assume was the manager. Service was confusing with one server telling us she would be right back, then a different server told us she would be helping us. She took our drink and food orders, bringing our drinks quickly, but then we didn't see her again for over a half hour. We were told that the restaurant had a new company providing the food which was the root cause of the chaos. When the food arrived, most of it was very good. The soup was cool (which was brought out at the same time as the entrees). The staff deducted the appetizer from the final bill. I may be persuaded to try another restaurant in the area before the next opera.

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PT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Would like to see more item selections on the Harvest Table, like chicken tenders, meatloaf, shrimps, etc. and more variety of crackers. The cold cuts this last time were very difficult to eat on a cracker.

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B
Seattle
1 review
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Great way to do an event at McCaw Hall! Get there early for a stress-free meal before your event!!

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e
Seattle
1 review
Dined on July 1, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

Menu very limited, portions very small for the price, very limited options for small or side plates to turn them into a meal. Except for the chicken, which was a good portion & tasty, very small portions of protein. Outrageous $12 for a very mediocre glass of wine. Waiter was very accommodating about finding a way to get a green vegetable without paying $17 or $20 for the mixed salads. Proximity to the concert hall really the only thing to recommend it. Next time we will walk out to a restaurant on Mercer for far better value.

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t
Seattle
3 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The service we received was great. Charles was an excellent server. The food was pretty good. The noise level was moderate. I would dine there again.

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PL
1 review
Dined on July 1, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 3

Making reservations thru OpenTable was great
Very convenient to eat prior to Bill Clinton event
Would consider for convenience
Staff friendly but not attentive
Had to repeat requests for plate or coffee
Salmon over cooked
Chocolate dessert rich but disappointing
Crab avacado salad not good value—add some lettuce
Butter over flavored

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CB
Seattle
3 reviews
Dined on June 11, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We always enjoy our evenings at McCaw Hall more when we dine at Prelude first. Great food, and opportunity to relax before the show. Early bird gets the best parking, too.

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BT
Seattle
8 reviews
Dined on June 10, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Convenient location when attending the ballet or opera. Unfortunately it's "hit and miss" when it comes to the meal. Menu always looks inviting as well as the presentations. Taste and quality often fail to live up to expectations and billing (descriptions). The cioppino "really" missed the mark on Saturday.

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SH
Seattle
19 reviews
Dined on June 10, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 4

The setting for the restaurant is very lovely and it is very convenient if you are going to the opera or ballet. But I wouldn't choose this restaurant if I weren't going to a production at McCall Hall. I think it is a bit overpriced for what you get, and the quality of the food isn't always the best. Last Saturday I had an eggplant and sausage pasta which was very dry and lacking in flavor. I couldn't even taste the eggplant. The little buffet, however, was very good, which is what my friend had.

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l
Adelaide / SA
9 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First time back in many years and Prelude just keeps getting better!

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SN
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2018
Overall 5food 2service 3ambience 4

Very disappointing menu. The food was quite ordinary and not not very tasty.
The services a bit uneven.

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RL
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 1

First of all the menu is severely limited. This is because none of the food is prepared onsite in a real kitchen and it shows. Second the prices are way out of line for what you actually get. Third our table was totally uncomfortable because like most restaurants in Seattle they somehow feel it is necessary to blast air conditioning on you just because it is June. The meager portions combined with cafeteria quality food and an uncomfortable indoor environment, all at an exhorbatent price means I will not go back.

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