Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
About Cafe at the Opera
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.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Contemporary American, Continental
Hours of Operation:
Open 2 hours prior to all evening and Sunday Matinee performances only.
Franklin St. & McAllister St.
$31 to $50
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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.
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.
For transit directions, visit 511.org or call 511.
Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Cocktails, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Special Events & Promotions:
Weddings, galas, corporate parties, pre- and post-performance events. To receive more information about our private event options, please contact:
Catering and Special Event Sales
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Cafe at the Opera Ratings and Reviews
It’s the best place for a pre-Opera meal. It’s rather loud in the basement of the San Francisco Opera, but that’s part of the fun. Most diners opt for the buffet. The food is uniformly excellent, although I have noticed over the years that the selection has diminished somewhat. Instead of both salmon and roast beef, this time there was just salmon. The service can be a bit slow, if you want dessert (extra) or coffee. Still, it’s good value for the money, good food, and you can’t beat the convenience.
This restaurant serves a buffet pre-opera performance. If you have the time to eat anywhere else we suggest you do so. The price is pretty stiff for what they serve. Roast pork, warmed over salmon till it was dry, spaghetti in a bland cream sauce. Grilled veggies kept heated until they became soggy. If you stick to the cold salad bar you would be wise. As for desserts - so many of them had nuts that with nut allergies it was tough to find anything to eat (strawberries - but we are allergic to that too!). Has anyone there heard of chocolate mousse or tiramisu? They also have a menu, but it is pretty limited. Service was a challenge - had to hunt down a waiter to pay the bill in time to make the opening curtain. In short - there are many better choices in the neighborhood near the Opera - the only thing to recommend this place is for its convenience to the theater.
Good spot for dinner prior to the Opera. The food is good. The buffet is quick and a good deal for all you can eat. Nice selection of tasty sides and salads. The service is fine as long as you leave enough time. Arrive no later than 6:30 for a 7:30 curtain.
The buffet is ok, but a bit expensive for what you get. Also they were very slow to refill empty offerings, and we had to wait standing around for at least 5 minutes to get the main meat offering. They definitely struggle with the fact that everyone comes at the same time, because of the opera.
This used to be a good place to get a salad lunch before the Opera. However, a recent menu change made the salad portion size so small that it was not a good lunch. It seemed more like a small appetizer. The change was not indicated on the printed menu. We were very disappointed. We had been looking forward to lunch and left hungry.
The restaurant is super convenient if you are attending a performance at the Opera House but it is a bit pricey for what you get. We didn't mind it too much since we know it supports the opera operations and the serving staff are very good and attentive. The food is good -- and if you get the pre-show buffet ($45 pp) you won't go away hungry. If you go with the a la carte menu (about $20 for salad), the selection is pretty limited but the portions looked reasonably sized. The bar has a good selection of cocktails and the wine list, while not extensive, is good.
I love eating here before the opera. A bit expensive but really makes the evening fun. The more I eat here, the better I like it. For a buffet, the food is pretty good. We had some questions about the food and the chef came out to talk with us about it. If you are heading to the opera, you can be relaxed because you are in the building. But even better, if you don't want to eat everything, or have a snack at intermission, you can plate out the food, and the servers, will cover it for you, as you have your table for the whole show. You can also order your drinks and dessert and when you come down at intermission, everything is waiting for you. For a show with 2 intermissions, coming down for a break, is pure luxury. Love it.
Everything was average. The servings we had from the a la carte menu were skimpy for the price. I wish they would bring the food up a few notches to match the quality of the operas performed. The nearby restaurants in all price ranges are excellent. Next time we'll skip the convenience of eating at the opera house and walk a few blocks for a better meal. By the way, the diners next to us were disappointed in their food too, and even had trouble getting utensils from the waiter. Eventually one of the women got up and found her own knife and fork.
The A la Carte menu has a very nice, simple to assemble section. This is important for us who attend before the Opera, and want a fairly light meal. The staff is excellent, and you get your bill quickly, as they know curtain time is getting close. It is so relaxing to already be in the Opera House, and to be able to spend some time talking and reading about the Opera before the performance while enjoying the meal.
The food is well prepared and is very tasty with some creative touches. The price for this buffet is pretty steep ($44.00) does not include a non-alcoholic beverage nor a dessert. There are other restaurants with full service and excellent food where I could pay less for same or better quality. However, we like the convenience and ambience of dining at the opera house prior to the opera and we know that we will enjoy the meal.
I was pleasantly surprised with the elegant ambience and the excellent buffet food considering so many negative reviews here. Yes, at $45 the buffet is expensive, but all the offerings on it range from good to excellent. The variety makes it worth the price.
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