Permanently Closed - Cafe at the Opera - Ground Level
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Absinthe Brasserie and Bar - SF
August (1) Five
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The restaurant usually has a carving table and we sorely missed it. The meal was not worth the price.
Open 2 hours before performance. There are à La Carte or buffet options. Nice and spacious. We had a fabulous waiter. Food was excellent.
Cafe at the Opera is perfect for a pre-opera meal. The buffet was ample and quite good.
I went for brunch. Buffet choice was very limited, mostly greasy food. Price did not include coffee or tea. Overall, food was overpriced.
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.
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.
Convene t and satisfying
For two consecutive performances, one with preorder, they run out of a fruit cobbler.
A lovely are in which to soak up the pre-performance ambiance of the opera, fine wines, and a lovely, varied buffet.
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.
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!
$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.
If your going to the Opera or Ballet this is the place to have a relaxing dinner before the performance.
As usual . . . excellent food and superb service in a wonderful environment. For what more could one ask?
Brilliant idea, buffet before the ballet. Delicious food, good service, what a treat.
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!
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.
Over priced. Need more choices. Buffet needs updating. Same buffet every time.
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.
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
very limited menu and expensive for what you get. The salad is just romaine lettuce
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.
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.
Terrific food and excellent service in an unique, historic setting. For what more could one ask?
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
Good place to eat before the performance at the Opera House. Good food and ambiance. Extremely good staff and service.
Excellent and welcoming
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.
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.
Attentive staff, sensitive to time and diet constraints. Quality food.
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.
Wine is Very Overpriced
$14 per glass is gouging
The buffet prior to the March 25 Ballet was disappointing, and not for the first time. Need some meat. Not worth $45.