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
The food was delicious & the staff was extremely polite & very attentive. We would certainly recommend eating at the Café before enjoying a wonderful show. We also complimented the head Chef who cut & served the best salmon that we have ever had. We had a wonderful dinner & we were just steps away from seeing a fabulous show. We had a perfect night.
This was very convenient as it is in Opera building. The Waiter was very attentive and the food we ordered excellent but expensive, although probably not for San Francisco and convienience of being so close to your seats! What they have done is curtain off a hallway and make an eating space which is very good idea; you can gaze at beautiful high ceiling of the opera house. We also pre ordered coffee and dessert for intermission and it was there waiting for us at our same table! You can’t linger over your coffee though as the intermission was only 15 minutes.
What was supposed to be a Caesar salad was actually four 6-inch long romaine lettuce spears! It made the "salad" totally unmanageable as I and my friend tried to cut the huge spears into bite-size edible portions! Was it too much trouble to cut up or tear the long spears into a real salad? The dressing was delicious and the portions of chicken breast were ample, but having to serve as "kitchen prep" was extremely annoying and for amount of the "salad", someone could have been paid to make a real "salad" instead of just laying four 6-inch lettuce spears on a plate! Service was attentive and responsive! Next time I'll order either the charcuterie and cheese or fruit and cheese platter hoping the contents will be in bite-size portions!
The restaurant was overpriced with an inadequate selection of food. We visited on 12/23 prior to seeing the Nutcracker. Ambience was poor with overhead bright lights and little noise control. We were unaware that this venue offered only a buffet for $45 plus $10 for a very small dessert. The prime rib was good but the rest of the offerings were poor.
"Meh" - the location is convenient for a pre-Nutcracker meal, however, the food is served buffet style and rather uninspiring. Also, the waiter, who provided slow and inattentive service to us and all tables around us, included 18% gratuity on our bill, but did not mention it when he dropped the check. I believe that is very poor form indeed.
The food was barely okay. Any place in San Francisco can and should do better than this. Extremely overpriced. Generic menu. Poor quality of food. On the bright side, the servers were all very nice. And it's convenient, if you are attending an event at the Opera House. That's really the ONLY reason to eat here.
Whenever we go to the ballet we have a wonderful lunch or dinner at the Opera House Cafe. It was very special yesterday, we really enjoyed the selection of vegetables of every kind, as well as the entree's. Our waiter was so friendly, and we all felt so happy to have such a wonderful lunch before we saw the ballet. We have been coming there for years, and I hope to be able to enjoy the Cafe at the Opera for many more years to come. Thanks for a wonderful lunch yesterday, the chef did an excellent job!
Overall, one of the worst dining experiences I’ve had in 20 years living in the Bay Area. If the restaurant is focused primarily on a buffet, it should be clearly listed as the prime option.
Additionally, the food quality was poor.
For the cost, this should have been significantly better.
The one bright spot, at least there were a few good wine options. We drank our dinner.
If you are going to the ballet or opera this is a find! In the basement of the opera house. This restaurant is steeped in history. I could feel the energy of generations of people who had sat where I was eating before an anticipated performance. Food was good, service attentive, location and ambiance is ideal.
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.
As the buffet has improved the service has slipped up. Love, love, love all the vegetarian options! Please get a manager on the floor to oversee the flow of service. We waited about 15 minutes for the server to come by to pick up the check and credit card; it should be an automatic gesture to swing back by to complete this transaction after leaving a check at a table.
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.
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