North Box Restaurant

3.8
43 reviews
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$30 and under
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American
Located on the north mezzanine level of the historic War Memorial Opera House overlooking the magnificent main lobby, North Box Restaurant offers California cuisine with global influences, created using locally-sourced ingredients and serves as an ideal destination for pre-performance or intermission dining for any Ballet and Opera goer.
What 43 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.8based on recent ratings
3.3
food
4.3
service
4.1
ambience
3.3
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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GP
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Service was a problem; the restaurant appeared to be understaffed.

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LH
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Although what we had to eat was good, the menu is too limited. The price is too high for what you get.

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ML
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

A very nice alternative for dinner before the symphony!

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OT
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Delicious light dinner of a lovely head of butter lettuce spread open like a lotus with a tasty dressing and a side of fish. Good choices of wine and champagne. Just right.

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CS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Best value at the Opera House. Keep your table for intermissions services for free. Great servers. Thanks!

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FR
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

Great service, adequate food, nice and easy for a pre-ballet lunch and intermission treats.

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D
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

The biggest plus for the North Box restaurant is the convenience of the location for dining/drinking before the performance and during intermission(s). You are however, paying a premium price for that convenience. We ate lunch before a Saturday matinee. The menu is limited. We ordered the kale salad. The portion of the kale salad was very small for $17. I was expecting an entree-size portion. The salad was tasty but not over the top. We added chicken (and extra $7) which was flavorful and moist. Even with the chicken we were still hungry after the salads. We observed the green goddess salad which looked more plentiful. We had the panna cotta dessert which was different but very good. Brut or wine are nice to have but pretty pricy. The nice thing is they will keep it cold for you so you can return to your table to finish during intermission. They changed the glasses, napkins and utensils in between; a classy touch.
For the matinee the North Box doesn't open until 1:00 PM for a 2:00 PM performance. We felt rushed to eat our meal. It was fun to overlook the floor below but the temperature in the restaurant was stifling - hot air rises.
Overall the service was attentive. Our waiter had everything ready for us when we arrived back at the table during intermission.

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c
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

I miss the charcuterie plate offering they had in the past. Please bring it back! It was a great accompaniment to the cheese plate!

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w
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

The best thing about this site is that you can return at intermission for dessert!

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SC
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

My husband and I each had a salad with added protein. For me, it was MORE than enough. For him, he was still hungry. Our daughter (13) had the cheese and fruit platter - she was THRILLED!!! Don't go expecting a gourmet meal. That isn't what North Box is about. It's about convenience so, with that in mind, it's the perfect spot for a snack before the performance. A bit of advice, order your dessert(s) before the performance starts so it's waiting for you when you make your way to your table at intermission. And - remember, the table is yours for the entire performance when you reserve it ahead of time. For us, this is why we reserve at North Box. It makes going to the ballet feel really decadent and is a much more relaxed way of doing it from start to finish.

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P
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on January 24, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

I think the new menu is too limited, and preferred the menu when Patina had the food contract at the Opera House. The current operators discontinued serving non alcoholic beer which Patina had available. The service is good, and it is a great place to grab a bite and/ or drink if attending the Opera or Ballet both of which we do.

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h
Los Angeles
6 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 1ambience 4

the location is the only thing that reccomends this place, as the food and service are deplorable.
on par with a Dennys, but that is an insult tothem. stay away!

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M
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 3food 1service 4ambience 5

The food was sub-par. The salmon was not fresh, the dark meat had flavored the entire fillet with an old "fishy" taste. The avocado on the salad was black, having been set out way before being served. It was also mushy and flavorless. The $3.00 bread was 4 pieces of dry, cold un-remarkable French baguette and the butter was frozen and could not be spread.

Luckily the lettuce was fresh.

I would expect this location and type of restaurant to be pricey. Fair enough. But I cannot understand why the food was so bad. Surely with the prices charged, the management could come up with fresh food...or change the menu to reflect what is possible in that limited space.

I noticed whole plates of food untouched at other tables where the diners had finished. I can surely understand why.

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OA
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

It was fun to eat at the Opera House before the performance, but pricey for what you get. There shouldn't be a minimum price. Not all people are hungry and we ended up wasting money and food. Otherwise, it was good (chicken a bit dry on the salad).

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s
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on December 19, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

The location of the North Box cannot be beat; it's quieter there than downstairs. Having a table along the balcony wall is fabulous and it's perfect timing before a performance with the option of pre-ordering for intermission. It's a lovely way to accompany a performance at the Opera House. Would love to have a few more choices on the menu though our salads were very nice. Haven't tried all the desserts yet; the panna cotta was nice; the cookie platter was sorely lacking. Service is outstanding!!!

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SL
1 review
Dined on December 19, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

It’s pricey but expected for being in the same building as the performance. Small menu but what we ordered was tasty. Cheese plate was tasty, they did not skimp on the cheese. Had the arugula salad and the squash was yummy. Totally worth paying extra for the chicken because the portion was big. Was pleasantly surprised that with a reservation for dinner, we actually had the table for the whole performance. Preordered after dinner drinks and dessert for intermission. It was so convenient! We were there for the Nutcracker and there were quite a few kids. Definitely kid friendly and has a kid menu.

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P
1 review
Dined on December 13, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 4

Not good. Went for lunch to enjoy the festive atmosphere of the Opera House prior to San Francisco Ballet's incredible production of the Nutcracker and was completely disappointed. That space deserves better.

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 2

With three salads, raw beef poke, and no main courses, the menu is non-existent. The service is slow. You will be better off pretty much at any other place around the Opera.

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BH
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The North Box Restaurant is very convenient. The menu is quite small with mostly salads. I had the Wedge with Chicken and it was really good and plentiful. The presentation was very nice as well. The wait staff was very attentive and we had a very good overall experience.

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DH
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 3food 1service 4ambience 4

This year's menu is a big step down from last year's menu.
I like to have a hearty salad, such as last year's Fisherman's Wharf salad,
with mixed seafood, veggies, and greens, or a Cobb salad, or a chicken salad.
The salads on current menu are mostly lettuce with a garnish of some other
vegetables and nuts. The added chicken portion is too large and too expensive.
The added prawns are few in number and very expensive. Service is very good.

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SQ
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

In sync with many other reviews in regards to the new caterer... in a nutshell:Overpriced, extremely limited menu with so/so food, mostly friendly waitstaff in a convenient setting. I have been attending the Opera as a season ticket holder for quite a few years and dined here often.
I have tried the new caterer twice: 1st experience: we had a very nice(but overpriced) pasta dish and a salad (no bread was offered) which us 2 ladies split...experience was ok..
Last(&final) experience: Walked up to register where Hostess was going over menu and taking an order from a couple at the register while 3 waitstaff stood behind chatting. So I went to my table(with my name on it) where she made a point to track me down and reprimand me publicly(in a rude and nasty tone) about not sitting down without checking with her. I suggested this was a sit down venue and perhaps she should have had the couple sit down and send one of the 3 waitstaff to take their order...she was not happy! We soon placed our order for a split salad and asked if we could have bread. Our waiter was friendly and took the order then returned with our wine. Eventually our salad showed up (after 3 other later arrivals were 1/2 through their meal) and it was the wrong salad. The quality of the salad was just ok ( $17 for a Green Goddess(mostly lettuce) and addtl $7 to add some chicken. The bread was horrible! Stale and dry(as if purchased in a plastic bag a day or 2 ago) Later that night we both had stomach issues.
So ..recap: As with other diners: Spend your money on one of the many wonderful restaurants within 2 blocks of the opera house. Do not ruin your evening by starting out with bad/overpriced food.

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w
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

This a basically an expensive cold food snack bar. We went because it is convenient before the opera, however the service was so slow that we were late to our seats! And all we had were salads, cheese and wine. Won’t be going there again. Arrive early and go to a real restaurant.

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k
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 4

My salad had that "crunchy" unclean/dirt texture. They provided another, but it was the same. The waiter was very nice about it and very apologetic. He was great. However, it is important that restaurants clean the lettuce properly, especially with all the problems that could happen.

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f
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Pre Opera, just the right amount of food! Servers and all the staff are fantastic!

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FL
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

I was not impressed, we'll probably not go there again.

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BY
1 review
Dined on October 17, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

Please bring back the Seafood Chopped Salad and Opera Cake for desert. Food was tasty, but some odd cardboard tasting bits -even in the desert- which I am sure are healthy for me, but not appealing- were not necessary. And be sure to eat lunch before, if this is your dinner meal. Best reasons to eat in North Box are the stellar service and the convenience.

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1
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 2service 5ambience 5

The first time we got mostly lettuce for the Green Goddess Salad
Very limited menu.

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PC
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 3

We are long-term subscribers to SF Opera. In past years we ate occasionally at the buffet/a la carte restaurant in the basement, but stopped when selection and quality declined noticeably. With this year's change in catering we thought we'd give the new folks a try again.

What a disappointment!

We ate in the North Mezzanine which features "small plates and salads". What we found was a very small menu featuring over-priced salads. The server did bring bread to our table, but the quality was akin to what you'd find in an Applebee's diner ... the baguette equivalent of balloon bread. Desserts were very small and lacking in flavor. The wine list was very limited and not interesting. San Francisco diners expect better than this - and the opera attendees are mostly used to far superior dining opportunities.

For an older couple who might be satisfied with splitting a large (but mediocre) salad and having a glass of very average wine this may serve a useful purpose. For us, it's a waste of time and money.

We intend to give the basement restaurant location a try to see whether the buffet or a la carte options have improved from the previous vendor - and will report here on what we find.

Otherwise, Chez Maman, the pasta at Dobbs Ferry, the high quality but pricier options at M Benjamin. Plaj and Barcino offer a much better range of dining choices.

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b
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 4

The menu was extremely limited - understandable due to location - but was better with the prior catering company. We missed the beef salad which was more substantial. I had the shrimp salad that had three tasty shrimp and a pile of tasteless lettuce. I think the little plate of sliced bread was extra. Bring back the little roll.

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OT
Seattle
7 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 4

Didn’t realize only salads were available

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MP
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Food and service were very good but the menu is quite limited. It is extremely convenient for dinner before the opera.

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OT
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

great location within Opera House; a tasty salad but a very limited menu

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A
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Having enjoyed the downstairs Cafe at the Opera House, we were curious to try the new upstairs option. The setting is quite attractive, although perhaps not quite as cozy and romantic as the downstairs location. We were initially surprised to see an extremely limited menu, with only about 6 items (and no real main courses - completely different from the online menu), but the selection suited us and everything we had was amply portioned, beautifully prepared and delicious: two lovely salads, a cheese plate and a beautiful dessert, along with a perfectly served bottle of champagne. Service was excellent, helpful and well-timed.

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P
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

It's okay for a pre-opera or ballet meal and/or drinks. It is in a nice setting and the service is excellent.

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ES
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

This is a dining spot in the San Francisco Opera house. We dined there pre-opera. The menu is very limited. The food quality is very good to excellent. We ate salads and enjoyed a glass of wine. Our server was attentive without being overbearing. The dining area is extremely quiet. it's a wonderful place to dine before sitting down for an opera.

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R
San Francisco
44 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 5ambience 3

The food was delicious although the menu is quite limited. I did not like string up against a bare wall. Something more can be done to make the surrounding s more attractive. Service was great. We

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n
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

The waitress was exceptional, she made us feel at home!

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DA
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

New chef, new menu. We liked last year's menu better. Bring back the Fisherman's wharf seafood salad! Good service, great ambiance.

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OT
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 5

New catering company took over the concession at the San Francisco opera unfortunately they don’t have their act together the food is decidedly miserable took forever to get anything didn’t have our regular table reserved which we’ve been going to for like the last 25 years very disappointed please bring back the old company they had their act together the food may not have been heard cuisine but at least they got it to you in an orderly fashion and time for you to make the curtain

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L
New York Area
45 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 4

Only have time to write a short review, in summary I would avoid dining any place in the war Memorial opera house until the new food vendor gets their problems worked out. Compared to years past the service is less the food is worse and the value is worse than it was. The quality in the selection of food have declined enough that I would not consider returning.

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