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Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.01mi
  2. Distance: 0.04mi
  3. Distance: 0.09mi
  4. Distance: 0.13mi
  1. Distance: 0.01mi
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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.

301 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
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Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Contemporary American, Continental

Hours of Operation:
Open 2 hours prior to all evening and Sunday Matinee performances only.

Cross Street:
Franklin St. & McAllister St.

Dress Code:
Smart Casual

Price Range:
$31 to $50

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(415) 861-8150

Website:
http://www.cafeoperahouse.com/

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.

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.

Public Transit:
For transit directions, visit 511.org or call 511.

Executive Chef:
Levi Mezick

Additional:
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
events@cafeoperahouse.com

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Cafe at the Opera Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.1

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.0

service

4.0

ambience

3.9

value

3.6

Noise

Moderate

81% would recommend it to a friend

Pre/post Theatre (70)
Special Occasion (23)
Quiet Conversation (9)
See All
People Watching (9)
Good Vegetarian Options (9)
Good for a Date (8)
Creative Cuisine (7)
Quick Bite (6)
Healthy (6)
Romantic (6)
Seasonal (5)
Disabled Access (4)
Fit for Foodies (4)
Fun (4)
Good for Anniversaries (3)
Kid-friendly (3)
Comfort Food (3)
Good for Groups (3)
Handcrafted Cocktails (3)
Great for Lunch (3)
Neighborhood Gem (3)
Sunday Lunch (3)
Afternoon Coffee (2)
Live Music (2)
Local Ingredients (2)
Tapas (2)
Tasting Menu (2)
Gluten Free Options (2)
Afternoon Tea (1)
Worth the Drive (1)
Great for Brunch (1)
Casual (1)
Cozy (1)
Organic (1)
Vegan (1)
Bar Seating (1)
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1138 reviews
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·Dined on January 7, 2018

The food was amazing! I asked for a glass of water and never got it. Other than that everything was awesome!

Tags: Fun, Comfort Food, Healthy, Good for Anniversaries, Seasonal, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience4
service3
value4

vip
 (Tahoe)·Dined on January 7, 2018

The convenience of the Opera Cafe prior to the ballet is a plus; however the buffet is just so-so. I did love the mussels, beef and wasabi potatoes.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service3
value3

 
·Dined on January 6, 2018

Very convenient spot to have dinner before a show. Service was fantastic. Food was ok. Buffet ordinary. Prices on the expensive side for buffet quality.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service5
value4

 
·Dined on January 6, 2018

Great ambiance definitely old school. Dessert is not included in the buffet was our only disappointment. Good coffee.

Tags: People Watching, Disabled Access
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value5

 
·Dined on January 4, 2018

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.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 4, 2018

The food was okay but the service was horrible. We had to wait for everything from water to our bill. Our waiter was older but if he can only do one thing for a single table at a time maybe he should retire.

Tags: People Watching, Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience2
service1
value2

 
·Dined on January 4, 2018

It's a very attractive place to have a comfortable and tasty buffet dinner prior to seeing a performance at the War Memorial Opera House. Not sure it's a good venue for any other reason.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on January 3, 2018

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.

Tags: Special Occasion, Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 29, 2017

We weren't sure what to expect with this being a buffet, but I'll tell you that this was the best buffet good we have ever eaten!!

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
·Dined on December 28, 2017

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!

Tags: Special Occasion
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food2
ambience5
service5
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 28, 2017

The Cafe at the Opera is always a great choice for pre-performance dining. The buffet is really good.

Tags: Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value3

 
·Dined on December 24, 2017

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.

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food1
ambience1
service2
value1

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 22, 2017

Lovely and convenient setting for dinner before seeing the Nutcracker. Service was excellent. Menu doesn't change much which is one drawback since I have eaten there a number of times. The chopped seafood salad was excellent.

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food4
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 20, 2017

"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.

1 person found this review helpful.
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food2
ambience3
service2
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 20, 2017

Nutcracker

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food4
ambience3
service4
value3

 
·Dined on December 17, 2017

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.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
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food2
ambience2
service3
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 17, 2017

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!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 17, 2017

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.

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food1
ambience2
service1
value1

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 17, 2017

We love going to this for a relaxing time before the ballet!
Lovely salads on the buffet!
Jan

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Special Occasion, Pre/post Theatre
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food5
ambience5
service3
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 16, 2017

Food was a nice mix, our server was pleasant but not very attentive. Overall experience was good.

Tags: Seasonal
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food5
ambience4
service3
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 14, 2017

The staff was wonderful especially the receptionist who remembered that it was my wife’s birthday and she picked out the candle I requested.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date, Kid-friendly, Pre/post Theatre
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on December 14, 2017

Friendly waiter and hostess
Ham was best I have ever had

Tags: Comfort Food, Fun, Quiet Conversation, Afternoon Coffee, Casual, Kid-friendly, Pre/post Theatre, Quick Bite
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Jacksonville)·Dined on December 14, 2017

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.

Tags: Fun, Quick Bite, Good Vegetarian Options, Seasonal
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on December 10, 2017

F0od fine, ambience fine. I do not recommend because had to wait 15 minutes for bill. I saw that everyone got bill at the same time. This practice must end!

1 person found this review helpful.
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food4
ambience4
service2
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 10, 2017

Very convenient prior to the Opera. Food was good, plenty of choice and nice service.

Tags: Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 10, 2017

Delicious food as always and very convenient for dinner before a show. They seemed to be rationing the salmon though— people were waiting for it to be replenished at the buffet table. Everyone at my table enjoyed it.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Pre/post Theatre, Good Vegetarian Options
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on December 10, 2017

Had dinner prior to the opera and intermission coffee with desert.

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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

 
 (Sacramento)·Dined on December 10, 2017

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.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 10, 2017

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.

1 person found this review helpful.
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food5
ambience3
service2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 8, 2017

We were thoroughly delighted by the experience. The buffet was bountiful, the food fresh, the atmosphere convivial. We will return for pre-opera meals.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Good Vegetarian Options, People Watching, Fun
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food5
ambience3
service4
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 7, 2017

Service was great. Food was good. Horrible cell phone reception so don’t try to meet someone there without knowing that!

Tags: Live Music, Pre/post Theatre, Bar Seating
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food4
ambience3
service5
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 7, 2017

Love how easy it is to eat here before the Opera and Ballet. Always delicious food and now a new cocktail menu!

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Disabled Access, Tapas, Good for Groups
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Detroit)·Dined on December 7, 2017

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.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
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food2
ambience2
service3
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 6, 2017

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.

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 6, 2017

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.

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food3
ambience3
service4
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 3, 2017

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.

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food3
ambience4
service3
value2

 
 (Naples)·Dined on December 3, 2017

Very good dining experience pre-Opera. You have a choice of the buffet or an a la carte menu. We ordered chopped salad with salmon and Dungeness crab. Very good. Service was also prompt and efficient.

Tags: Great for Lunch, Special Occasion, Pre/post Theatre
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food4
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on December 3, 2017

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.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
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food3
ambience4
service4
value2

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on December 3, 2017

Another great pre-opera experience at the War Memorial. Percy treated me like I was his only customer. Jonathan was awesome as always. Loved my chopped seafood salad. Will be back in June.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 3, 2017

Wish they would change the menu and include a soup and sandwich option at lunch.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
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food2
ambience3
service3
value2

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