Prelude at the Opera House - Lower Level

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215 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Contemporary American

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Pre/post Theatre
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.
What 215 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.0based on recent ratings
3.8
food
4.1
service
4.0
ambience
3.4
value
Noise · Moderate
78% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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W
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The service was wonderful. Rusty’s section is always well taken care of.

O
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Salad dressing excellent; Rustee great server. Well done.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

Attending an Opera performance

m
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

Probably will do sone other place next time. A la cart menu is very limited.

W
New York Area
36 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

Convenient and reasonably quick.

BK
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

Food was excellent, service although very polite was a bit slow. We had the buffet which is rather pricey but all items were very good. We particularly like the Jonathan apple salad. A la carte menu is very limited to a few salads. We were the very first ones seated but waited a long time to get checked out and barely made it to the pre talk on time.

J
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My mother and I had a beautiful meal at Prelude prior to seeing The Marriage of Figaro. The service was perfect and the food was utterly delicious. One recommendation -- use real whip cream on Irish Coffees. For $15, it should not be Redi-Whip.

TM
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Definitely THE way to enjoy a night at the opera, relaxed, hassle free, arrived with plenty of time to take in the lecture beforehand, nice to have dessert waiting at intermission. Our server (Percy) and the entire waitstaff could not be more professional, amiable.

EB
San Francisco
37 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

We used to patronize this cafe regularly and at the time I thought the food was very good and the value very high. The quality went down drastically under the new management a few years ago and we stopped coming. We heard that there was a recent improvement, so we tried it. The food is better than it was recently but not yet to the older standards. Some of the salads were quite OK, others were below par.
The salmon was very good, the chicken confit was very dry and not so good, the meat dish was too tough.
The restaurant is very convenient when you go to the opera or the ballet, so we may use it occasionally,
but we still miss the old days.

C
San Francisco
49 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 5

We just went there because of the convenience of being at the Opera House, but the food is nothing to write home about, and the service is not the best. Our server forgot to bring my glass of wine and I had to remind him.
I'll take a break from this place.

OT
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Always enjoy for people watching before opera.

G
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

The food quality has become better. Everything was tasty and — I am happy to say not everything had pepper. However, the buffet constantly ran out of food and the wait was a long time. The restaurant was not full — it was due to the small buffet portions. At these prices that should not happen ! Service was very good.

a
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 3

very mediocre food considering price; convenient but nearby restaurants a better bet

c
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

I had a dungeones crab dish that was delicious.

The apple tart for dessert was disappointing . The crust was hard as stone and the filling nondescript.

CB
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on September 17, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 3

convenient -- especially with an impaired walker... good value
easy parking at that hour
etc.

LF
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Convenient, civilized. Brunch was very good and just what we needed. Service was thoughtful and accommodating (one of our party was in a wheelchair). Wish it was a little less expensive.

G
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Ii enjoy having the opportunity to eat at the opera house before an opera. The wait staff are very much helping to make sure that those of us who want to attend the lecture beforehand can do so without a lot of trauma. This time, the buffet choices were great--very much like a brunch. And I found lots of items to try!

M
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food choices are good, as well as presentation and taste.

OT
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 4

Waited for 10 minutes before to be seated due to busy hostess.
Beef was too chewy to digest.
Ordered a cookie platter that never arrived. Didn’t pay for it.

OT
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Our server Rusty is a delight. She is helpful, fun and a true asset to your restaurant.

R
San Francisco
156 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We eat here frequently before the opera. The convenience is impossible to beat. I particularly like coming back at intermission to find a piece of cake and beverage waiting. My wife prefers the al la carte menu. It’s very limited but she finds things she likes. I tend toward the buffet, and the food is actually very good. They keep it fresh and even things like fish are not over cooked. Service is outstanding. I’m not sure how the waiters make it with. no turn of the tables, so I try to tip well. Overall, this makes the opera even more of a pleasure.

OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 3

Impeccable service. However, the food was incredibly pedestrian. It was unattractively presented and not very tasty. The service was first rate, however.

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

Great spot to eat before the opera, will for sure go there next time.

LF
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 4

Buffet food was excellent, service dreadful.
Largely ignored by waiter after initial contact. Late service at intermission made us have to wolf down dessert (never a good thing).

OT
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great seafood

NB
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dan was great! Food was great, drinks were great, ambiance was great.

h
Las Vegas
5 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The food was very good, but more options would be nice. Also, please include dessert. For that price, one would have expected dessert to be included.

RO
San Francisco
29 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

They should probably hire more staff. It took a while to get seated and then for the waitress to come over. Food was so-so. Disappointed

PJ
San Francisco
27 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

The restaurant offers a buffet and menu options. The buffet is tasty and plentiful and generally those seated next to us look at our plates and probably wish they opted the buffet.
The dessert option is sliced melon and pineapple and cubed cheese. How hard can it to have pudding or cake to avoid making the buffet end up being like a senior hostel.

n
1 review
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We enjoyed the timeless atmosphere and the polished, professional service. The buffet menu was not in any way innovative, but the salmon was well-prepared, the Cesar salad was very good, and there were several excellent vegetable dishes. Would definitely return.

JB
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

Buffet is a tad expensive, the ala carte salad menu is limited and portions are small for the price. You are paying for convenience. I will continue to patronize it but would not necessarily recommend it.

MJ
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Convenience to the opera is the prime recommendation. It is also wonderful to order dessert & coffee for intermission and return to the table already set with one's selections. Decent options for vegetarians and for gluten free diets. Certainly worth experiencing at least once.

h
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 5ambience 5

The food has taken a major nose dive! I love the location and the servers are fabulous but the buffet is just awful now..... The beef was disgusting last week and I had to pull chewy grisle out of my mouth as did my companion. The week before was pitiful in its offerings as well. For the price, the food should be great..not barely edible!

W
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I like there are choices to add to the salad..I choose the steak which was done perfectly, tender, and sufficient portion....the lettuce was a bit problematic..it looked nice but somewhat awkward to eat
Sorry there was not offer of a roll as there used to be
Price is bit high for a salad....

OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

We decided to try the house dining option before Carmen. It was excellent. We were seated immediately and served quickly. The buffet had a good number of options, all tasty. The service included an option to return to the same table for dessert during intermission, which we did. The dessert was waiting, very fresh, on the table when we got there and took all the hassle out of the intermission chaos. Prices are a dollar bargain but nothing about the opera is and the efficiency, quality and convenience we enjoyed made it bargain in reality.

G
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

You are attending the SF Opera. You want to dine beforehand. You don't want to have to find parking at a restaurant AND the event location. What to do? Prelude at the Opera House serves a purpose, but don't confuse it with a "regular" restaurant. What you get in convenience, you will lose in other areas.

You won't be able to sit with any type of privacy. Tables for two are placed side by side each other. If you happen to sit next to two old hens who cackle loudly for your ENTIRE MEAL, you won't be able to talk to your dining partner. I can use that term because I'm an old hen myself. I just know how to cackle quietly...

The service is not that great. You'll be seated and get a menu. Then maybe you'll get your order taken in a timely manner. Some of the servers seemed on point, while our seemed rather bothered that he was there, yet again. I swear I haven't seen someone raise their eyebrows and roll their eyes that much since--well the last time I was at the opera, but that was a performer!

The food: again, it's convenient but not outstanding. The salads are quite interesting, I will give the place that. If you are wanting more than that, I hope you aren't super hungry. The variety at the buffet is not outstanding: one vegetable, one starch, a non-beef meat dish (TINY pieces of chicken), cheese, bread, and fruit. Yes, there are a number of salads in the buffet, but they are also the only items available on the a la carte menu. The prime rib slicer gives you the world's smallest piece. That made me sad...

The dessert was outstanding, but then again, it's hard to screw up chocolate.

Again, it's pretty good for where you're at.

SF
San Francisco
36 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

We enjoyed our Carmen pre opera dinner and intermission dessert at Prelude this week. The service was very professional. It is a very convenient spot for dinner. The buffet was varied and the food was decent if not overly exciting. It is a bit pricey but you are paying for location, location, location. We particularly enjoyed adding on the desserts at intermission. A fun break in the opera. It is also relatively quiet which is a huge plus in San Francisco.

AF
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Attractive, tasty food, but small portions for price. Location is certainly a plus!! Service was good.

SS
1 review
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

Food not worth it. Waiter was good, convenience was very good

DW
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

Having eaten downstairs at the Opera House for years, this visit was a real disappointment. The people on the service staff were very kind and helpful, but they were obviously overextended, so people had to wait a while . The buffet offerings were slow to be replenished because there weren't enough people to oversee it. The food was good, not particularly exciting, but good. The bar drinks were very good

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