Max's Opera Cafe

4.1
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1414 Reviews
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$30 and under
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American

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Pre/post Theatre
Casual

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About

Max�s Opera Caf� is a place where people can enjoy an upscale dining experience at reasonable prices. It has a diverse range of dishes, including Chinese chicken salad, a corned beef Reuben sandwich and rib eye steak. This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to menu items on offer at Max�s Opera Caf�.

Many patrons come to Max�s Opera Caf� for its extensive desert menu, many of which have won regional awards. To add a little substance to your evening, order a complete three-course meal that includes salad or soup. The options are seemingly endless and every member of your party is sure to find something that pleases them.

Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
American, Comfort Food
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Hours of operation
Brunch: Saturday - Sunday: 10:00am - 2:00pm; Lunch: Daily: 11:00am - 4:00pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 4:00pm - 11:00pm
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Phone number
(415) 771-7300
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Carlos Salcedo
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Private party facilities
Max's has a semi private dining area that can accommodate up to 48 people.
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Private party contact
Michael Adams: (415) 501-0222
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Catering
We have on -premise catering services, perfect for office lunches, meetings and less formal parties. Max’s Delivery or To Go can bring our fantastic food to you. We will deliver within San Francisco, or you can pick up your order at a predetermined time, for a fantastic yet cost effective event. For an additional fee, Max's offers service staff for set-up and maintenance of your event. Please contact our Catering Department for more information.
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Cross street
Golden Gate
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Parking details
Valet parking is located beneath the restaurant on Golden Gate Avenue. Street parking is also available.
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Public transit
BART - Civic Center Station.

SF Muni - Lines 5 Fulton, 31 Balboa,
47&49 Van Ness
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Entertainment
Max’s at the Opera Cafe features live music seven nights a week. Servers not only provide guests with superior service but entertain them as well. Diners can expect an array of musical styling's ranging from Opera to musical theater. The "singing servers" are accompanied by a live pianist, who from time to time will perform for the crowd. The entertainment begins at 6:00 pm Monday- Thursday and 6:30pm Friday –Sunday.
Additional
Bar Dining, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 1414 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.1based on recent ratings
4.0
food
4.2
service
3.9
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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E
San Francisco
61 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Two of us got the chicken pot pie, which was huge. We could have shared one. Everyone had food that was delish. No room for dessert, as the portions are big.

BS
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

My children and grandchildren went to Max's for Rosh Hashanah dinner and everything was great. The brisket was some of the best I've had. Service was very good even though our waitress had a large station. We will be back.

J
San Francisco
118 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Max's is our go-to eating establishment before an evening opera in San Francisco. We can park once and walk! The food is dependably excellent, the service efficient and friendly, and the prices reasonable for San Francisco. My favorite dish is either the shrimp or crab Louis. It has beautifully fresh greens and vegetables, and loads of fresh crab or shrimp. Actually, ALL their dinner salads are superb! Another delicious entree to try is their Paella -- wonderfully seasoned and chock full of a variety of fresh fish.

OL
Seattle
82 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

I continue to enjoy Max's Opera Cafe and plan to visit again when I return to SF in November. I always recommend Max's to friends asking where to go near the opera house and will continue to do so. My only wish, stated in my other very recent review, is to provide a few menu choices of some of their more popular dishes in a smaller size for those of us who cannot finish the very generous portions and don't wish to waste food by having to leave it behind instead of taking it along to the opera house (I would not do that).

LH
Sacramento
5 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

The egg white omelette was tasty but a small portion of it was not cooked through. I ordered decaf tea and was served decaf coffee, then regular tea, and on the third try, decaf tea.

OL
Seattle
82 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

I would ask Max's to consider a "small plates" menu selection for the older customers who don't want a huge meal but love Max's food, like me. When I'm on my way to War Memorial for opera, I don't want to take along a "doggy bag" but hate leaving so much on my plate. Everything I have ever ordered there is delicious so it would be great to get some of these wonderful dishes in a smaller size. Thanks for considering.

SG
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We were seated at a nice table next to the piano player. It was a tad noisy but we enjoyed his playing along with our meal. Would recommend it to others in the area for the evening.

F
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We like Max's Opera Cafe due to the safe Valet parking downstairs and the proximity to the War Memorial Opera House. They are very attentive to the patrons that are planning to get to the performances on time and are very accommodating to ADA clients as well. The menu has something for every taste, from child to senior, and there are also ways to order to not fill you up too much! It is always a special treat when there is someone playing the grand piano, as well!

RO
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My daughter, her two teenagers and I had a light dinner here shortly before going to the Orpheum Theater for a stage play. We parked right outside the entrance, were promptly seated and then had a great meal! There’s a very large variety of dishes for adults as well as picky teens and they are not stingy with the food! Service was outstanding, and with the live music playing, the ambiance was perfect. Looking forward to returning here!

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 3

Lunch date was magnificent. The service was impeccable.

CH
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We went to Max's prior to the Opera. We were running a little late but they honored our reservation. I went ahead and ordered even though my husband was still on his way. Food came out incredibly fast.

Max's is known for it's large portions and hearty meals. But I decided on the Mediterranean chicken. Still a sizeable portion, but lighter fare nonetheless. Would definitely get it again.

MM
San Francisco
50 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

Don't order the beet salad!! My daughter and I each ordered this relatively expensive salad. It was mostly lettuce, and the lettuce was wet, diluting the flavorless dressing to the point where there was almost no flavor. The serving of not-sweet beets was skimpy as was the feta cheese.

The pours of wine by the glass were fine, and the service was also fine, as expected. Beware, if you are short, that the benches in the booths are very low. We moved to one of the few tables for two with 'regular' chair.

I have eaten many beet salads over the years, and this one was by far the worst.

T
San Francisco
31 reviews
Dined on September 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Max’s is a great place for dinner before a show. Burgers were juicy and tasty.
Our server was very attentive. The piano player was good.

t
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Enjoy the piano playing & player, he is very capable & friendly, I go there as much for him as the food.

JG
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Good food as always. The soup, salads, and salmon entree were all fresh. The portions are generous. Our server was prompt and helpful. The desserts here are all excellent, but be aware that the portions are also quite generous. Best to go here when you're really hungry.

k
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food choices that accommodate all palates
Arriving hot and quickly
TASTY!!
Great Server, lovely gent from Mexico
And at 4 pm on a Wednesday.
I mostly eat various Asian cuisines AND Max’s is a prize. Thanks!

DM
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 5ambience 3

Should have listened to the prior poor reviews. We went here before seeing Hamilton so it was. A special night out with our family. Unfortunately, the food was from mediocre to really bad. My son ordered the pulled pork
sliders and they were dry and tasted over charred. The rest of our meals were not great either and even the cocktail I ordered didn’t seem to be made right. The service was very good though. They just need some new cooks!

OT
Las Vegas
5 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lunch with a coworker was lovely. Always enjoy the ambience and excellent service at Max’s!

p
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on August 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Nice place. Good food and service. Nice atmosphere.

S
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 3

We have enjoyed eating a couple times a year at Max's Opera Plaza over the course of many years, but we will not be going back. The food was dismal. The cabbage soup tasteless, the bread, that we had to for order as an extra to accompany the soup, dry and tasteless and the Guy's Chinese Chicken salad, a favorite of mine for many years ,was horrible. Clearly the bed of Napa cabbage had been dressed hours or days before, the chicken had been fried some time in the past, and was now loosing it's once possibly crispy crust, into the salad, which was a total limp mess. The chicken itself had been cooked to death, and was tasteless.

OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 3

Typically I really like Max’s, but I hadn’t been in a while. Waiter was lackluster. Chicken salad was soggy and the fried chicken on top of the salad appeared to be precooked and reheated for the salad. Cheesecake dessert was great. Portions were large but didn’t make up for the lack of quality.

J
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 2

While the food is always good, the service has been lacking the last four times I have been there. It is convenient to have dinner at Max’s before the opera which is why we go. But this may have been the last time. My husband waited more than 25 minutes for his iced tea. The bread my friend ordered came at the end of her meal. We never got refills on water. The staff seemed harried and disorganized. They seated our large group right next to the piano. We came to dine, eat good food and visit. We were drowned out by the piano. We are going to start looking for an alternative location before opera and symphony performances.

MH
1 review
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Max’s has always been a go-to for me, but over the years the food has become less memorable, the ambiance has become more fast food like, and the service from start to finish has suffered greatly. (I finally had to ask the hostess for my check)

M
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Grabbed a bite before seeing Hamilton, Max's never disappoints. Portions are good, price is good and service was excellent. And get the carrot cake.

PE
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

If you're looking for just plain old good American diner food, this is the place to go. A little more expensive than the typical diner, but the quality and generous portion sizes can't be beat. All sides are made in-house, like their potato salad and coleslaw that we had with our pastrami and corned beef Reubens. My daughter had the Chicken Piccata, and my granddaughter couldn't decide on whether to have the kid's grilled cheese or chicken tenders. She finally requested the grilled cheese and just one chicken tender, which the kitchen was happy to oblige. The desserts are humongous, and will easily feed four. We ordered a creme brûlée, but the thick sugar crust was over-torched, giving the dessert a slight burnt sugar taste, which I mentioned to the GM on duty on my way out. The coffee, BTW was good and strong, just the way I like it.

F
San Francisco
99 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

Conveniently located to go before or after the movie, it is a place where most customers are retired and wait for the concert at the opera or the philharmonic in the evening. The food is simple and all right, but not truly remarkable. It looks like if an American family without culinary specific knowledge was in charge. I believe this is what the clients wants , and therefor, nothing wrong with this idea. For me, I wish a chef was elaborating and preparing the menu, but that is because i am a food and wine snob. There is a "pianist" playing some old jazz classics, same comment than for the food, i wish he was not self taught...

PN
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 1ambience 3

Poorly staffed, especially on a SF Symphony night. Horrible service, even the hostess had to help out serving tables. Food is good here but service makes me not to want to return.

LI
London
74 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 3ambience 2

I always love Max's but this time not so much. My Chicken Pot Pie was raw ... the crust was still gooey. We ordered a small dinner salad and the waiter brought the wrong item. We kept having to flag down the server or busser to ask for more beverages and/or ice and this was before the restaurant got buy for lunch. Overall the quality of the food seems to have gone downhill. My niece's hash and eggs just didn't seem fresh, more like it sat in a chafing dish for a long while. We won't be returning for a while. Very unfortunate.

M
Miami
27 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 1

Imagine ordering a deli sandwich and having it served on dry,stale bread that fell apart when you touched it so you could not pick up the sandwich.
The meat itself was not corn beef as you know it but a low quality imitation.
The coleslaw was tasteless and the potato salad was sour tasting.
Then imagine the table itself was black and peeling and sticky.
That was my experience.
Horrible.
Never go there.

f
San Francisco
52 reviews
Dined on July 16, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

Love the old timey feel and piano bar. Food used to be more flavorful.

Z
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

The service from the waitress was fine, but the service from the manager(?)/host (Andre) was OUTSTANDING!!! He was very friendly, easy to talk with and provided a lot of information. I was very sorry that he wasn't able to share the tip from our bill. It was an extremely wonderful lunch on a Saturday!
Thank you.

N
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Seated promptly. Friendly waiter. Food came quickly. Large portions. Good food.

E
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

Huge portions,good food, reasonable price! And good location for opera house and Orpheum theater

t
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The restaurant was nearly empty - it was 4 pm when we arrived. The food was outstanding. The server was good. Would go back if I was in the area again.

MR
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Piano is too loud, but he played nice music. The Philly cheesesteak is outstanding. I've been ordering it for 25 years.

w
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We often dine at Max's prior to the opera and after the Nutcracker each year. The ambiance offers a festiveness, the service is always excellent, and the food is consistently good. We are grateful to have Max's so conveniently located by the opera house and look forward to many future meals there.

WE
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Max's has something for everyone. We enjoyed our food the service and the convince.

V
San Francisco
117 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Nice menus with something for everyone from sandwiches to salads to pasta and main plates. Good drink menu as well. Generous portions - be hungry. Nice dinner before the theater. It’s not fancy food but good comfort food. Nice.

DS
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

There is a great menu selection, always some thing to satisfy every craving. Excellent friendly waitstaff and they are sensitive to customers who're there to make a performance so there is never slow service. My go to restaurant when attending the opera or symphony. Love the piano lounge, just like an old time NYC restaurant

KA
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 2

Although we mentioned to our server that we had a show to attend, service was very slow. We had to wave him down for basics, such as utensils, and even for the check. Convenient location is the main factor in choosing this restaurant.

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