Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
About Prelude at McCaw Hall
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.
Seattle, WA 98109
Hours of Operation:
Prelude opens 2.5 hours (Opera performances) and 2 hours (Ballet performances) prior show start.
4th & Mercer
$31 to $50
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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.
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.
Private Party Contact:
Susan Cuturilo: (206) 615-0254
Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Prelude at McCaw Hall Ratings and Reviews
My daughter and I dined at Prelude before a Swan Lake performance. Frankly, I wasn’t expecting much, and chose the restaurant for it’s easy access to McCaw Hall. I was very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food and the extensive wine list. My daughter ordered the braised elk w/mushrooms, and I had the braised beef short rib. Both were excellent. The suggested wine pairings were spot on. Our server Charles was funny and engaging,and very knowledgeable about the menu & preparations. I would absolutely recommend this restaurant before any McCaw Hall performance. It’s so nice to come early, have no parking hassles or delays, and have a very good, relaxing meal before a performance.
I have been going to Prelude for many years before the ballet. The menu change has not been good. I had a mediocre meal in September and yesterday ordered a grilled cheese sandwich that had no resemblance to a grilled cheese. It was so dry the bread did not stick together and was terrible! I sent it back and had what was left of the buffet. The server saved the day in bringing me lox since there was none left on the buffet table. I am not coming back, sadly, unless someone tells me the menu has improved.
We have eaten twice at Prelude at McCaw Hall before a ballet. We have had their seasonal “buffet” twice, which is both interesting and delicious. For dessert we had the sesame gelato and the blackberry meringue, both of which were generous and delicious! The wait staff was been excellent every time.
Always pleased with the staff. Any delay in service can be attributed to kitchen staffing. That delay often means the hot items are not "hot" upon delivery. Example, Saturday night's consomme' was barely worm. (It also totally missed the mark on taste).
As for the food: choices are limited and unfortunately too much effort goes into making the menu exotic looking rather than concentrating on taste and portion size. There is a disconnect between those portion sizes and value. Might want to consider adding a vegetable side to many entrees.
We continue to frequent Prelude because of the ease of moving from dinner to the ballet or the opera. Otherwise, this would not be our first choice for evening dining.
We dined at Prelude because it is so convenient for the ballet. Unfortunately, my food was awful. The consomme was poured over cold raw cauliflower and dried mushrooms. I wanted hot broth and instead had cool broth because of the cold bowl and cold cauliflower. The mushrooms were fine but the cauliflower was dissonant. The consomme had a strong vinegar flavor. My next dish was recommended by my server; do not listen to the server. It was squid ink pasta stuffed with ricotta. The pasta was overcooked, limp and soggy. The ricotta filling was tolerable. What made the dish intolerable was the pasta ricotta pockets were floating in at least a quarter cup of melted butter. It was like a bowl of melted butter, awful. I had dessert at intermission which is nice. The dessert, billed as a chocolate cherry cake, had no cherry flavor at all in it. It was a tolerable petit four style chocolate mouse layered very small square piece of cake. The bread served at the table with dinner was very good and the wine was good. Otherwise meal a bust. Also, the server disappeared and we had to go find someone to pay our bill to. I really want to like Prelude but this meal makes it very very hard.
Service could be better in terms of promptness and attention to detail. We got assigned a small table in a busy area when there were clearly quieter tables. We had to be asked to be moved.
We then sat there for quite some time before our server came. Servers in this restaurant has an extra challenge. They need to know that everyone there is on a time crunch due ballet or opera start times or limited intermission times. Food ordered for intermission needs to be ready and waiting. Servers assigned to a given tables need to be dedicated to those tables.
When we went to see Nutcracker, our server was sullen and inattentive, the buffet food was so salty as to be inedible, the brownie dessert was dry and tough. Definitely not worth the exorbitant price. Very disappointed. We decided to give it one more chance yesterday for Swan Lake. Server was nice, courteous and attentive. But he couldn't make up for the lousy food. My grilled cheese was dry and burned black. One tiny piece of cheese didn't even cover the bread. My friend's grilled cheese was not burned but also dry and almost cheeseless. The fritters were ok, but kind of leaden. The arugula salad's dressing tasted like oil, vinegar and salt. Our server offered to bring another sandwich, but if it took as long as the first one to be delivered, we would have been late for the show. It took 35 minutes for our order to arrive, even though we'd allowed an hour for lunch, we felt rushed. The convenience of having the cafe close to the venue does not outweigh the poor experiences. We will not be coming back. We felt the menu was pretentious and trying too hard to be unique. We would much prefer decent food at a good price. We will discourage our friends from going there.
Use to love dining at Prelude before the opera or ballet. The menu has changed and now one of the entrees is "quail hash" as well as confusing other offerings. For $20 a person can go to a "buffet" table for cheese, frisce salad, cold cuts and a bizarre grain salad. Insulting. I very rarely write such a negative review but this one deserves it.
While the food we ordered was delicious, I was disappointed in the extreme lack of vegetables on the menu. Be prepared for meat/fish and carbohydrates. Wait staff was pleasant and efficient to the point of overly efficient as they tried to clear my mother's plate 3 times before she was finished.
Prelude is about the only viable option for dining before events at the Opera House. The food is variably mediocre. In this instance it was poor and the entrees delivered 70 minutes after arrival, 20 minutes before curtain time despite having been ordered 55 minute earlier. The quail with rice and kimchi was almost inedible.
The staff was very nice, no delay in placing orders or being served. the food was definitely mediocre. the elk was tough and over cooked, the soup was OK except it had charred spice on top that was inedible (like little sticks). it was convenient because we were going to the opera but next time, i will definitely find someplace else.
had reservation, was seated in timely fashion. initial table had a ceiling mount LED spotlight aimed directly at my face. As I didn't have my sunglasses with me, so asked to be reseated and was placed in a cozy booth next to a wait staff station. waiter was prompt and polite. food and beverages were served quickly. had a pre-dinner house wine, which was quite delicous. enjoyed the risotto vegetarian dish. my date had the elk, which i also tasted. Elk is gamey normally, so it tasted as I would expect. The piece I sampled was tender. overall it is not as tender as typical steak and that is expected. Sauces were robust and delicious, not overwhelming. An enjoyable pre-opera dining experience. Service was swift. I believe we were out within 1 hour.
We have found Prelude to be a very satisfactory restaurant for dinner before an opera performance. The prices are on the high side, but the food, the service, and the general atmosphere are well above average. We enjoy having a reliable, convenient, and relaxing place for a pre-performance dinner.
The occasion was dinner prior to the Opera at the Opera house. The buffet was acceptable and is probably the best thing on the pre Opera menu. I had a salad ordinary but good) and an entree. I had the pork chops which were fine but the bed of garlic spinach was a soggy mess and the accompanying root vegetable was cold and hard. We each had a glass of wine which was probably the smallest pour for the highest price I have ever experienced. The best I say is the overall meal was mediocre.
The most impressive aspect of the night was (and always is) the attentiveness of the staff. Great service from check-in to table service.
The aim to be creative with the menu options is commendable. But, often misses the mark for flavor and portion sizes.
A bit pricey for what is being served.
Rather bizarre menu maybe trying to be strange for its own sake. All pre-cooked! Last week 4 odd entrees: Elk, rabbit, pork chop w/rutabaga or vegan risoto.; meat on tough side. And there was a parsnip soup that was bland and barely warm. Salad bar fairly decent though $15 for narrow rectangular self-serve plate. Service friendly. Have lots of help. Best reason is its right inside opera house and they can get a lot of folks in & out. So would recommend for convenience if you are going to opera. I don’t drink wine; maybe that is better.
We enjoy dinner at Prelude prior to every Opera! It’s a perfect get - together spot for friends of greater than forty-five years - good food, good wine, a rare dessert, perfect service, ambiance. We also attend the lecture before the Opera. It’s like we’re back in college!
Went to Prelude for dinner prior to Cosi fan Tutte. As usual, it was very convenient to park in the garage at 6:15 pm for a 7:30 pm Opera performance, and the 6:30 seating time was good in that we were able to get a table cleared by one of the early diners, and so it was very comfortable. The space itself is kind of modest with high ceilings. The food was excellent - parsnip soup was very flavorful, and the rabbit confit was superb. My partner had the elk which was a little robust, not being an elk connoisseur, I have no idea if elk is just like that or if it was the preparation. All in all very convenient as we dined in 45 minutes and had plenty of time to make it to the performance.
Food is overpriced but the trade for the convenience of staying in the same building as the opera that evening was acceptable. However there was a 30 minute wait between the salad and main course that was never explained - and the risotto was barely warm and of the 5 pieces of pork on my plate one was mostly fat. We will not return.
The food was simply below par and not good . I had risotto that was like left over lunpy
Oatmeal . I mentioned to server and she gave me a token for a entree next visit . I told seattle Ooera and they admitted the food terrible. Something needs to be done . The convenience to eat in house before performance is why people go . Not for me
This was convenient for before opera dinner, but allow extra time. I would prefer a broader range of choices. The carrot salad was only a few long carrot slices, so, pretty, but not satisfying or easy to eat. There weren't "Standard" choices. The "tasting" salad and cheese area was overpriced for amount. 4 entrees, and nothing labeled gluten free. Although we got our food with not too much of a wait, the table next to us did not get their main course. The food prep area seems to be slow, our server was fine. I think they are trying too hard to look good, and need to train servers to be more informed, and get the kitchen to be more efficient.
It makes me very sad but I'm not sure I'll come back. I've eaten here regularly before every opera I've attended. I really appreciate the atmosphere and convenience. The food and service have always been decent, with pretty tasty options and decent portions, but the last couple of visits I've noticed a real decline in both quality / quantity of food and service. My meal was basically two small slices of pork and a tiny pot of spinach drowning in milk. My husband's risotto was small in portion and very salty. Has something happened? I know I can't be the only one to have these comments. Can someone relay them to the restaurant? I want to keep eating here! Thank you!
Made reservations to Prelude prior to a performance at McCaw Hall to celebrate a family get together since the location was very convenient.
The dinner menu is very limited (4 items), however our group ordered 3 different items: the chicken, the salmon and the grilled broccoli, and simple drinks (water, tea, and a dry soda).
Our drinks were not brought out at the same time and there was a rather lengthy delay between delivery. Other diners received their bread...we had to request ours.
About the main courses:
Chicken: the chicken was dry and served with multi-color carrots of various sizes, some so large that they were insufficiently cooked and very tough.
Salmon: average, however the risotto bed it was served on was very unusual and not at all tasty.
Then the grilled broccoli: where to start. Literally, just a stalk of broccoli, with a few grill marks, served on a plate. Ahh did I mention this stalk of grilled veg was $20! Absolutely the worst "Fine dining" I've ever had.
Due to the very poor quality of the food, much was left on our plates.
Additionally our waiter essentially disappeared during service despite the low number of tables currently in service.
HInd site is 20/20 vision and our group would have had a much more enjoyable and palatable dining experience at the pizza place just a block away.
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