Permanently Closed - Cafe at the Opera - Ground Level

4.0
1239 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Contemporary American
Top Tags:
  • Pre/post Theatre
  • Quiet Conversation
  • Special Occasion

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About

This restaurant is permanently closed. A night at the opera or ballet is an elegant event, deserving of a remarkable culinary experience. Our gorgeous setting offers an ideal environment for pre-performance or intermission dining at the War Memorial & Performing Arts Center.
We are located on the lower level of the War Memorial Opera House. Our menu is offered in buffet and à la carte format, keeping performance start time at the forefront for all visitors.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Contemporary American, Continental
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Hours of operation
Open 2 hours prior to all evening and Sunday Matinee performances only.
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Phone number
(415) 861-8150
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
Levi Mezick
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Catering
Host your next event at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, and Patina Catering will create an unforgettable experience for you and your guests. A variety of breathtaking historic venues in the Opera House, Davies Symphony Hall and the Veteran"s Building perfectly complement Patina Catering's unrivaled cuisine and impeccable service. Perfect for weddings, galas, corporate parties and pre- and post-performance events, this is San Francisco's premier choice for events of all sizes.
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Cross street
Franklin St. & McAllister St.
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Parking details
Parking is available in several lots in the surrounding area. Please call lots for current hours and rates.

Performing Arts Garage

*Patrons dining in the Opera House may enter through the North Carriage entrance of the Opera House (adjacent to the War Memorial courtyard) up to two hours prior to curtain.
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Public transit
For transit directions, visit 511.org or call 511.
Additional
Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Cocktails, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 1239 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.0based on recent ratings
3.8
food
4.2
service
3.9
ambience
3.5
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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M
5.0Dined on June 30, 2018

We did the $45 buffet. Variety of meats, salads, & vegetables- with fruits and cheeses for dessert. Carving station with prime rib. Everything well-prepared, interesting and tasty. My companion is vegetarian and appreciated all the good choices.

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OT
3.0Dined on June 30, 2018

We made a reservation, and were seated fairly quickly. The chef’s trout special turned out to be salmon, and salad was fairly ordinary for the price. We decided to have our dessert at the first intermission, but by the time we sat down, the first bell rang, so we had to bolt our good coffee with our ordinary cookies. Our waiter was very nice, if a bit overworked. It seemed like he was working tables all over the restaurant, instead of in one section, which seemed very inefficient. I expected to pay more at the Cafe because it is in the Opera House, but the value for the price was not good.

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AJ
5.0Dined on June 28, 2018

The buffet was much better than I was expecting. Dishes were replenished often. The cold table featured a variety of salads (e.g stone fruits with greens, shredded celeriac with kohlrabi, sliced heirloom radishes with greens). The hot table had a carving station for roast beef plus platters of moist salmon filets, pieces of boneless chicken thighs, and many vegetable dishes. Coffee is included in the $45 price--a good value in this area and convenient for pre-opera dining.

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KT
2.0Dined on June 28, 2018

This basement dining area is roped off for a mainly buffet pre-theater/opera dinner. Regulars enjoy the benefit system, the comfortable vibe, and friendly staff. It is convenient and certainly a great option for those who might have mobility issues in your party. In contrast to the very good options within walking distance I found the value to price low but still a very necessary service.

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j
4.0Dined on June 27, 2018

Pre-opera dinner

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ES
5.0Dined on June 27, 2018

This restaurant is perfect when attending the opera and you want a lovely and convenient place for dinner beforehand. Ask for Rusty to be your server. She’s wonderful. Limited menu and limited wine list but CONVENIENT.

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OT
4.0Dined on June 24, 2018

The buffet was varied, but I did notice that the carving station was missing and the price was the same. Food was well prepared though staff seemed unable to replace empty trays fast enough for the number of diners.

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f
4.0Dined on June 24, 2018

The restaurant usually has a carving table and we sorely missed it. The meal was not worth the price.

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ES
5.0Dined on June 21, 2018

Open 2 hours before performance. There are à La Carte or buffet options. Nice and spacious. We had a fabulous waiter. Food was excellent.

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SB
4.0Dined on June 20, 2018

Cafe at the Opera is perfect for a pre-opera meal. The buffet was ample and quite good.

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MP
3.0Dined on June 17, 2018

I went for brunch. Buffet choice was very limited, mostly greasy food. Price did not include coffee or tea. Overall, food was overpriced.

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SM
5.0Dined on June 17, 2018

We love coming here before the Opera and Ballet. A sumptuous buffet. We then have champagne and coffee and dessert waiting for us at the intermissions as well - very elegant.
We always ask for a table in Chiang's section - the best service and most affable person.
Never disappointed.

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I
3.0Dined on June 17, 2018

Had pre Rheingold dinner and pre Gotterdammerung brunch. Everything was acceptable. Location in the historic lower level of the War Memorial Opera House is convenient. The dining room was listless bordering on dismal. Bar area had warmer lighting. Buffet was uninspired. A la carte trout was replaced by salmon in a good sauce without mentioning the change. Decent wines by the glass. Good a la carte desserts. Servers worked hard. I expect more beauty and spirit from Patina Group Restaurants.

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OT
5.0Dined on June 17, 2018

The Ring
Convene t and satisfying

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OT
4.0Dined on June 14, 2018

For two consecutive performances, one with preorder, they run out of a fruit cobbler.

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GA
5.0Dined on June 14, 2018

A lovely are in which to soak up the pre-performance ambiance of the opera, fine wines, and a lovely, varied buffet.

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C
2.0Dined on June 14, 2018

Cafe at the Opera is overpriced -- a mediocre buffet at $45 (some of the food was pretty good, other items not very good at all). Don't rely on a la carte, an overpriced array of smallish salads. Great if you have a time crunch, but I'd skip this if at all possible.

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JB
1.0Dined on June 14, 2018

There was a disgusting buffet. The serving dishes were often empty for some time which was ok because the food was unappetizing. Many salads and not much in the way of meat. Lots of potatoes and some gluey pasta. Yuck! $45 seems like a lot for this. The a la carte selections were a couple of salads and some charcuterie, all cold. Stupendously bad when it is SF and the opera!

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RM
2.0Dined on June 13, 2018

$45 for a very limited buffet, featuring the equivalent of chicken McNuggets and child's plate spaghetti. No dinner plates at the buffet. No dessert. I think this concessionaire is being terminated by the Opera and the poor quality is either the reason or the consequence. But my wife's seafood salad was OK.

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AC
5.0Dined on June 13, 2018

If your going to the Opera or Ballet this is the place to have a relaxing dinner before the performance.

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M
5.0Dined on May 6, 2018

As usual . . . excellent food and superb service in a wonderful environment. For what more could one ask?

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C
5.0Dined on May 4, 2018

Brilliant idea, buffet before the ballet. Delicious food, good service, what a treat.

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a
5.0Dined on May 4, 2018

Had a lovely buffet dinner before the ballet and thoroughly enjoyed it. The food was delicious and very nicely presented; the service was attentive without being intrusive, and we especially liked that the tables were far enough apart for comfortable conversation. There were several delicious cold salads, a platter of fresh fruit, cheeses, breads and a number of hot entree choices on the buffet. Everything was so tasty and well seasoned. The setting is elegant and the air of anticipation before a special performance just adds to the enjoyment. The chocolate dipped strawberries and truffles we ordered at the end made it absolutely perfect!

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MR
3.0Dined on May 3, 2018

While the convenience is the primary reason for dining in the Opera House and the food usually is very good and appropriately hot or cold, both of the recent times we have found the food barely warm and a bit untasty. By the time we get to the server, the beef has been down to the final well done tip of the brisket and the server willing to cut up small bits for a serving. Tsk!

Compared to previous season and years' buffet, this year's has been just ok.

The server just disappeared after we got started and then mis-heard our coffee order for two and came up with one.

This wasn't a night I'd like to write a review about.

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PM
2.0Dined on April 27, 2018

Over priced. Need more choices. Buffet needs updating. Same buffet every time.

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f
4.0Dined on April 26, 2018

In my budgetspending $60 for a quick dinner before the opera or ballet is a special treat.
I had a fabulous dinner the last time I ate here At the buffetand this most recent time it was not nearly as good. I don’t know if it’s a different Chef on Wednesday then Friday? Or why it was so much less good.Last time there was both roast lamb and salmon and the salads were really very delicious especially the arugula/frizee salad And The Caesar salad.Even this time at the beginning the potato gratin was quite good and when I went back to get a little bit more it was completely different and terrible. So I guess all I can say is when it is good it is very very good and when it is not good it’s not worth the money.
Also this time I was seated in the tunnel between the bar in the restaurant and I should’ve asked them to re-seat me in a better spot. There were many tables available and it was fairly late in the dinner hour so there were a dozen that are tables that they could’ve put me at. I’m not sure why I didn’t say something but it left me with a bad feeling for sure. It’s hard not to think that they knew exactly what they were doing. But who knows?
I guess now my Special Treat buffet dinner before the ballet is going to be a C *%p Shoot. Sometimes good and sometimes not so good. Oh well… Such is life.

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EB
5.0Dined on April 25, 2018

service and salads great as always, with some interesting new ones like jicama and papaya salad
introduced a new dessert that was good - little churros with dipping sauces

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J
2.0Dined on April 22, 2018

very limited menu and expensive for what you get. The salad is just romaine lettuce

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L
3.0Dined on April 22, 2018

Having dinner with my daughter before ballet. Service was excellent and coffee and dessert at intermission (opera cake) was great. However food was like a caffitera. I has seafood Cobb and my daughter had Caesar with chic. Nothing to write home about.

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HA
5.0Dined on April 22, 2018

This restaurant is only available for people with tickets for the performance but the food
and service are excellent and it's the best possible choice for a full meal or a snack or desert
before a performance or even during intermission.

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M
5.0Dined on April 8, 2018

Terrific food and excellent service in an unique, historic setting. For what more could one ask?

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DS
5.0Dined on April 8, 2018

We always enjoy our visit to the Cafe at the Opera, the chef prepares great healthy tasty food, a large variety for different tastes, and the buffet is beautifully displayed. The service is excellent, very friendly wait staff with good recommendations if asked. Looking forward to our next visit to the ballet and the Cafe at the Opera! Sincerely, Deborah Secrest

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a
4.0Dined on April 8, 2018

Good place to eat before the performance at the Opera House. Good food and ambiance. Extremely good staff and service.

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SM
5.0Dined on April 8, 2018

Excellent and welcoming

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L
4.0Dined on April 8, 2018

I was somewhat apprehensive but pre ballet dinner was just right. A la carte or buffet. I had a Cesar salad with King salmon. Salmon a bit on the very raw sashimi side but it turned out being very fresh and excellent. Next time I will have a bigger appetite and try the buffet. One of the few places in town where you can hear yourself talk and eat without rushing before a performance. Positively surprised. Would have had a second cocktail if it wasn't for the performance....Small portions on the $$ side.

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L
1.0Dined on April 8, 2018

This spot is convenient—that's what it has going for it. If you like mediocre, over-priced cafeteria food then this is for you.

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S
4.0Dined on April 6, 2018

Attentive staff, sensitive to time and diet constraints. Quality food.

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L
4.0Dined on April 5, 2018

This is a quick and covient place to eat when attending a Ballet or Opera. We had a delicious Caesar Salad. I only wish they would add a little more to thier small menu.

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OT
3.0Dined on April 4, 2018

Wine is Very Overpriced
$14 per glass is gouging

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DW
3.0Dined on March 25, 2018

The buffet prior to the March 25 Ballet was disappointing, and not for the first time. Need some meat. Not worth $45.

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