Permanently Closed - North Box Restaurant - Mezzanine Level
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August (1) Five
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My wife & I went to the North Box July 1 at the final performance of Wagner's Die Götterdämmerung. We had lunch there before the performance and returned for both intermissions. Our server, Joe, was superb. He was at our table within 2 min of our being seated and our meal came within 10 mins of arrival. He let us know that we could have the same table at both intermissions and pre-order what we wanted. When we returned, both times, our order was on the table already. Food was simple, with limited selections, but good. We both had the Caesar salad at lunch with the addition of salmon. The portions were generous, especially of the salmon, and very fresh, though I prefer Caesar salads a bit more "lively". Expensive for what you get, but offset to some extent by the location in the Opera House and the ambiance. I suspect the bad experiences of some recent patrons was a function of who was serving them rather than the restaurant in general. We intend to return whenever we are at the Opera House.
This restaurant at the SF Opera House is very convenient before attending a performance or at an intermission. Service is polite but extremely slow as the cold dishes are walked up stairs from the basement cafe. The food was decent, however I have two complaints--first, there was not a single by shrimp on my Fisherman's Wharf chopped salad; and second, the sliced meats and mousse on my husband's charcuterie platter were warm so that the slices glistened and were a bit dry and the mousse was somewhat runny. One nice feature of the menu is more champagnes by the glass than offered by the bar.
If you like salad and light fare pre-performance, this is the place for you! The men in our party were disappointed and wanted more meat on their salads, saying, "Wheres the beef?"
Definitely had the feel of a "ladies' lunch" place. However, we ladies enjoyed a glass of Champagne with our salads and left satisfied.
We go to the North Box maybe once a season during opera. It is more for the convenience and the fun of it all rather than the food. The food itself suffices, but isn't anything special. I frequently have to try and get the server's attention because they are far too busy. And it is costly for what you get. As I said, it's mostly just for the fun of it all ... eating before the opera and during both intermissions.
I confess this time I was rather less ecstatic. It would be nice to have a few new choices of food, and a hot entree would sure be appreciated.
Main course, a preordered salad arrived 40 minutes late. Poor dressing, cheap croutons, minuscule chicken a definition of mediocrity. Shameful cookie plate was a miniature overpriced embarrassment. An ineptly run, absurdly expensive and noisy operation that would fail quickly if not for its captive opera audiences
Great spot to dine lightly before performance or at intermission. Staff is attentive to the performance schedule; salads are very fresh and well prepared.
Seating was awful - long hallway - much warmer than the main dining area (where we ate the previous night). Drink order messed up (cosmopolitan is a rocks glass?), partner's Caesar salad was tasteless - overloaded with chicken (way too much for a salad). Service both nights was sub par - both rushed or very slow. The restaurant is convenient - just needs "normal" food selections.
Perfect for early, light supper before opera performance and dessert at intermission. Jose, our server, was great!
The North Box just wasn’t terribly satisfactory for a real dining experience. I think they do the best they can bringing food up from the basement, but the all cold selection leaves much to be desired. The best thing about it was the low noise level and more relaxed atmosphere.
We came to San Francisco for Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the opera house. We thought how convenient it would be to have dinner there before the performance. The selection is ridiculously small. The food is not tasty at all. We had a fabulous meal the next day at a different restaurant for a third less the cost that was delicious. If you have a discerning palate, I would not recommend eating here.
It was a nightmare experience. The poor, slow, inattentive service was worsened by being seated immediately next to a television monitor which began to transmit a lecture, at top volume, partway through dinner. We were advised that we could not be relocated, so we stopped eating and left as quickly as possible.
We booked 3 pre-opera dinners for 19, 20 & 22 July. On 19th service overall was acceptable (Nathalie was good). Only half a dozen cold main dishes on menu. Chose Fisherman's Wharf chopped salad. Fish content was minimal, mainly salmon, salad was dark green lettuce with some egg & tomato pieces . Not inspiring and very expensive for what it was. On 20th we returned, the menu had not changed. Chose smoked salmon terrine with potatoes and cucumber. When it arrived it was a small plate with a tiny slice terrine, the salmon interleaved with compressed potato, almost hidden under a few pieces of cucumber and greenery. It would have been meagre as a starter and a travesty as a main course at 24 dollars. It was rejected; we paid for our wine and left. Fortunately, in the lower level cafe area, a bar was selling wholesome, packaged salads so we did not face Wagner's opera on empty stomachs. SF Opera is splendid. Cannot understand why it tolerates North Box restaurant spoiling the evening in this way.
Your choice of A La Carte menu or buffet. The buffet selection is excellent. Many varieties of salads. Highly recommend the Little Gem salad, Summer Bean Salad and Ahi Poke Salad. Perfect pre preformance venue for a meal.
Father’s Day celebration was nice table was ready when we arrived . Service was good food was tasty and portions were generous .we were not rushed and considering returning again there.
Don’t expect great food or good prices. The service was very pleasant but really the only advantage of the restaurant is convenience for the opera house and the availability of the table with coffee or desserts for the intermission. Maybe book and have drinks only?
Took 50 minutes to get served then one entree was wrong. Had 10 minutes to wolf down food before we had to get to our seats
Located at the SF Opera - the North Box cafe is a little gem. The staff is wonderful and attentive. It is amazing how they time their service perfectly for the pre-opera and brief (20 minute) intermissions. They serve light fare only (tasty salads with salmon, chicken Caesar, and a fisherman's wharf assortment including dungenness crab) and nice desserts. Don't plan on a hearty meal here, but the chocolate dipped strawberries and truffles are lovely - and the atmosphere is simple, yet white tablecloth elegant.
This should be so much better than it is. It could perfect for pre-show dining. The choices are very limited. The fisherman's salad had wilted lettuce and about 5 miniscule pieces of fish. Half an hour before the curtain we asked our waiter for the cookie plate and were told they were "closed" but he would bring it. It had not arrived 20 minutes later when we left. In the meantime we had been given someone else's bill with his credit card inside. The waiter looked irritated when we pointed this out and then disappeared. it took some doing to get our bill. What a mess when this could be wonderful.
I must admit, I was a little disappointed. Whereas the ambiance of the North Box, by the bannister overlooking the glorious lobby is lovely, they changed chefs and the “small plates” were...smallish. Plus the wrong menu was posted online. The amazing salads (and buffet) is offered in the basement/dining room. The food was delicious, but one of those “food as art” experiences, 4 asparagus in the asparagus plate, 3 skewers of meat with 4 small pieces on each skewer (we ordered 2 plates each of those). But, the new busser tried to clear plates and filled wine glasses before we finished, poured tap water into the half full bubbly soda water glasses, and removed our cheese and fruit plate so it was gone when we came back during intermission. What I love about the NorthBox (and the basement restaurant) is you can return during the two intermissions is to finish your dinner, get tea and dessert and pay your bill. Food wise, the only thing I wouldn’t recommend was the fruit and cheese and meat plate. Grand total for four, $200 + tip.
Tiny servings but perfect for before the Ballet. Conversation can be carried on.
Extremely limited menu; inattentive service. A good choice to order a bottle of champagne re
pre-performance / intermissions.
It was lovely. I like the new menu. All the items we ordered were delicious.
I have always liked the North Box for a pleasant, reasonably priced and tasty light dinner before the opera or ballet. So I was looking forward to it before the ballet Saturday night. I made reservations for 3 at 7 pm for an 8 pm curtain. It took them a bit more than five minutes to seat us, then more than almost 10 minutes to take our order. Another ten minutes to bring my glass of wine. They brought the food an 7:40 pm and things got worse. They instituted a new menu on Friday, and they had clearly not ironed out the kinks. They’ve changed the menu to “small plates,” maybe 6 cold dishes and 6 hot dishes plus 6 appetizers. The beef skewers were absolutely terrible. Inedible. They were tough and overlooked. But I think they were a very poor cut of beef and would have been unacceptable regardless. The potatoes (a separate plate) were mediocre, the crab cakes were okay as was the asparagus. I had to go chase down the tab at 7:50 pm to get to our seats on time. All in all, it was a pretty unpleasant way to start our night. (It’s a good thing he Ballet’s Unbound B program was spectacular.). They need to get their act together, get a new chef, or go back to their tasty and reliable salads they made previously. I do NOT recommend them at the moment.
Our food was just right for a pre-performance dinner. We ordered the seafood salad & the steak salad. The steak was generous and cooked just right. The seafood salad was fresh. Both were ample servings. Our waiter, Natalie, is the best of the best. She really knows how to take care of customers. This was our first before the Ballet dinner in the North Box Bar, and we will definitely do this again. Good food, excellent service, and no rushing to the performance made it easy to really enjoy our evening!
Natalie is ABSOLUTELY THE BEST server ANYWHERE!!!!
She really takes care of the patrons and is especially attentive. Intermission can often be rushed, particularly when trying to sign the bill,yet Natalie is unflappable and sees that everything is taken care of without a hectic flurry. Her cohorts are supportive and competent but Natalie is the best!!!!
A delightful place to have a bite before the ballet. Quiet. Nice service. Quite decent food. Immerses you in just the right surroundings. Convenient. A bit expensive for what it is. Loved sitting at the railing and gazing at the gorgeous lobby ceiling. Also fun to sit on outer row and watch people arrive for performance.
We had a delightful server! I'm sorry that I don't have his name; a medium height fellow with
dark hair, clean-shaven, pleasant demeanor. He truly went out of his way in a very professional
manner to enhance our evening dining at the opera house. It was our first visit and we will
definitely return. Thanks.