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Rack of Lamb - Prelude at the Opera House - Lower Level, San Francisco, CA

Prelude at the Opera House - Lower Level

4.1
4.1
456 Reviews
$31 to $50
Contemporary American
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.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 2 times today

Additional information

  • Dining style

    Casual Elegant

  • Cuisines

    Contemporary American, Continental, Californian

  • Hours of operation

    Open 2 hours prior to all evening and Sunday Matinee performances only.

  • Phone number

    (415) 861-8150

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Dress code

    Smart Casual

  • Executive chef

    Alfonso Mis

  • Catering

    Host your next event at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, and Global Gourmet 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 Global Gourmet 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.

  • Neighborhood

    Civic Center / Hayes Valley / Van Ness

  • Cross street

    Franklin St. & McAllister St.

  • Parking details

    Parking is available in several lots in the surrounding area. Please call lots for current hours and rates.<br /><br />Performing Arts Garage<br /><br />*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.

  • Additional

    Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Non-Smoking, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

What 456 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.1
4.1 based on recent ratings
  • 4Food
  • 4.3Service
  • 4.1Ambience
  • 3.6Value

NoiseModerate

Sort by

Filters

  1. o

    oldfolks

    San Francisco

    6 reviews

    4.0

    6 reviews

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall4food4service5ambience3
    First time in years; surprised that we could order for intermission and our order would be on our table when we arrived. Of course, you go there because of the performance and don't get in otherwise, but it's as good as most any nearby place you might get into.
  2. DS

    DaiS

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall3food2service1ambience3
    Upon entering, we were rushed to our table where we waited over 20 minutes while staff took orders from others who had arrived after us. As the only sustainable vegetarian option, I would not say the $25 slice of avocado toast was worth it. Important to note is that entry is for one opera ticket per person, not just opera tickets required to enter.
  3. k

    kerreckj

    San Francisco

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall4food4service5ambience5
    Buffet was pretty good. Not gourmet quality but for an occasional splurge and multiple trips through the line it was probably worth it. I would not pay for this on a regular basis.
  4. G

    Giovanni

    New York Area

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall4food4service4ambience5
    Comfortable setting for pre-opera leisure meal. The staff was very friendly and knowledgeable. Anything else OK
  5. RP

    RobertP

    Central Coast

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined 4 days ago

    overall4food4service4ambience3
    A la carte is the way to go. Deconstructed salad Nicole (sp?).
  6. MS

    MarjorieS

    San Francisco

    8 reviews

    5.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on June 19, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    The ala carte Fresh tuna niscoisse was excellent. Rustee, server, the best, who took great care with us. Always a pleasure to dine at Prelude.
  7. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Central Coast

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 18, 2022

    overall1food1service3ambience2
    The food was subpar, bland and lack any kind of flavor. The salmon’s texture was off, falls apart and not in a good way. The chicken which could have been described as “orange chicken” was greasy and rubbery. Each of the entree was very disappointing, the shortribs was bland and texture was soft as if the meat was poached and not grilled. And for the cost of $52/pp, the total meal was shameful. We both left hungry and extremely disappointed.
  8. RS

    RobinS

    Edinburgh

    35 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    35 reviews

    Dined on June 18, 2022

    overall4food4service3ambience3
    Basement restaurant at opera house. Good Shrimp Louis salad before opera.
  9. r

    rgb123456

    San Francisco

    21 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    21 reviews

    Dined on June 16, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    NICE 111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
  10. NJ

    NJBill

    San Francisco

    14 reviews

    5.0

    14 reviews

    Dined on June 16, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Always a pleasure. Attentive service, very good food, love the buffet. Can't beat the convenience, either.
  11. JM

    JamesM

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on June 12, 2022

    overall3food2service2ambience2
    Chicken overcooked and inedible. Service intermittent. No one came when you needed them. Crab Louis good.
  12. G

    Gastronome

    San Francisco

    9 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on June 12, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    I try to eat at the Prelude at the Opera House every time before I see an opera. I love having the buffet, as I can choose what items I want and how much of each I can eat, as I don’t want to waste food. I always love sitting in Rusty’s section—I have been doing this for about 10 years.
  13. SM

    SusanM

    San Francisco

    6 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on June 12, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience3
    We ordered off the menu. I had a seafood Louie salad; my friend had lamb chops. Both were excellent. We noticed a marked improvement in the service, much more attentive.
  14. SM

    ScottM

    San Francisco

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on June 11, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The food is excellent, and it's a nice place to relax and enjoy dinner before the opera, and a great place to enjoy coffee and dessert at intermission.
  15. r

    risotto

    San Francisco

    8 reviews

    4.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on June 11, 2022

    overall4food4service4ambience4
    It was good - food solid
  16. L

    Lenz

    Atlanta

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 5, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great food. Great service. Get the chocolate covered strawberries
  17. JH

    JudyH

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 8, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience3
    Mothers Day lunch was lovely. Thebuffet had wonderful selection and service was attentive. We loved having our dessert and coffee during interval of Swan Lake
  18. JA

    JohnA

    San Francisco

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 8, 2022

    overall2food5service1ambience5
    The food was verry good. The service was horrible. Their buffett lines only had one worker on each side which was no where near enough to handle the guests. Sine we could not serve ourselves we were at the mercy of these 2 horrible people behind the counters. I mentioned it to the head waiter and he told me that they were just short staffed. Also we only saw our waiter once. I had to ask many different waiters to find ours so we could get our check. it took so long I was almost ready to walk out. Their service was very unprofessional and I will probably will not eat here again even though I have dined here for many years for many performances. They have gone way downhill.
  19. m

    michaels

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    1.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on May 8, 2022

    overall1food2service2ambience1
    Overpriced
  20. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 7, 2022

    overall2food3service2ambience4
    Our server was just average. He forgot about us and when I asked for someone to get him he was just ho hum about it. First time back to the ballet since covid and the dining experience was just average.
  21. D

    Dineout

    San Francisco

    42 reviews

    3.0

    42 reviews

    Dined on May 7, 2022

    overall3food3service4ambience2
    Had excellent service at dinner from our waiter Chang. Friendly, attentive and efficient both during dinner and at intermissions. He clearly extends the effort to make sure you have an enjoyable experience. The buffet has a nice range of salads and multiple hot entree and vegetable choices. Very convenient dining venue when attending the opera or ballet at the War Memorial Opera House.
  22. LG

    LenaG

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 7, 2022

    overall3food2service3ambience5
    I love dining in the opera house Cafe. It is very relaxing and a great way to begin an evening of ballet or opera. The food choices are sufficient even for my limited dietary options. However during my recent dining experience my salad had a live insect crawl from it. They replaced that salad and then the replacement salad had a hair in it. Our primary service person was friendly but a bit informal.
  23. l

    lalalo

    San Francisco

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 6, 2022

    overall2food1service2ambience2
    Food was very basic and expensive for what it was. Service was poor.
  24. W

    Wizard

    San Francisco

    22 reviews

    4.0

    22 reviews

    Dined on May 5, 2022

    overall4food5service4ambience5
    Staff seemed put off when asked for a spoon for salad dressing.
  25. DW

    DonnaW

    San Francisco

    4 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on May 4, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great place to grab a bite, get in the mood without having to worry about being late for the performance.
  26. JD

    JasonD

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 4, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Wonderful evening out. Good food and our server was adorable.
  27. J

    Jerilyn

    San Francisco

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on May 1, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    It was all lovely. It was a quality experience. I loved how the front person where we checked in escorted us to our table. Thank you.
  28. KG

    KellyG

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 1, 2022

    overall4food3service5ambience5
    I highly recommend this prior to a performance. The service was excellent! The food is ok. We ordered off the a large carte menu. Portions were pretty big. We loved that we had our table the entire night and Orr ordered for intermission. Our drinks and dessert were ready for us! Please treat yourself!
  29. g

    goldengirl

    San Francisco

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 30, 2022

    overall3food4service3ambience5
    We had the buffet, which was a mistake. We had to wait in line until more food was brought out, and for someone to serve it. This happened twice. We are not big eaters. We went to the salad side once, and then to the hot food. The wait for the latter was longer. After we finished, we had been given the bill, but the person did not return to get the credit card. Finally our waiter came and took it. Then we had to wait to sign. This has never been our experience at Prelude. We almost missed the curtain. I would not recommend the buffet on a buffet on a busy night.
  30. TK

    TeresaK

    San Francisco

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on April 30, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Going to see The Ballet!
  31. DH

    DavidH

    Los Angeles

    10 reviews

    5.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on April 14, 2022

    overall5food4service5ambience4
    Amazing servers, and beautiful place, the tables can be cramped if you don’t request a good seat at the reservation time. I come here all the time for the Oprea and Ballet and 95% of the time it’s fantastic! Great experience and the best waiters and waitresses and very helpful staff.
  32. L

    Local

    San Francisco

    17 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    17 reviews

    Dined on April 13, 2022

    overall4food2service5ambience5
    Side dishes were served at room temperature but should have been warm or hot. Fish tasted like it had been on the buffet for longer than ideal.
  33. C

    carolecarlsonC

    San Francisco

    3 reviews

    2.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on April 10, 2022

    overall2food2service5ambience3
    Louie had barely any fish……
  34. MH

    MaggieHeart

    San Francisco

    32 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    32 reviews

    Dined on April 10, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Perfect place to eat before any performance at the Opera House: good food, nice ambiance, great and quick service with understanding staff should you be cutting it too close to curtain time. Why go anywhere else if you want a relaxed pre-performance meal.
  35. SM

    SusanM

    San Francisco

    6 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on April 10, 2022

    overall4food4service3ambience3
    We ate from the menu and had a lovely lunch. It is a great solution if you are dealing with someone who has difficulty walking, right in the Opera House.
  36. D

    Dineout

    San Francisco

    43 reviews

    3.0

    43 reviews

    Dined on April 9, 2022

    overall3food3service3ambience2
    We had the buffet dinner which was a relatively good value for the food, considering what other restaurants in SF are charging. Although, the prices on the actual menu at the restaurant ended up be about 8% more than posted on their website. The lettuce salads, although overdressed for my taste (e.g., the frisee salad) were good, and the orzo salad excellent. The chicken and salmon proteins and sides were all good. Felt the wines by the bottle are overpriced. Moderately priced ones are limited or not available. We wanted a Pinot Noir so ordered the one at $48. Waiter came back and told us it wasn't available, so we ordered the next one up (a 2016 on the menu) at $56. The '16 wasn't available; only one they had from that winery was a 2020; it was okay but not great. We went with that one because the next one up was $70. The ambience is a little dated but still comfortable. Servers at the Buffett tables and our waiter were all friendly and efficient. Overall, the experience (with the exception of the wine selection) was good. A big plus is the convenience of dining at the restaurant in the same building as the ballet performances and being able to pre-order for intermissions. That made the evening so much more relaxing!
  37. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 8, 2022

    overall2food3service1ambience4
    One guest did not receive her order for a very long time and when it finally came, it was hopelessly incorrect…..
  38. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    12 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    12 reviews

    Dined on April 6, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    A must when at the opera house!!! The buffet food is excellent!
  39. E

    Eat2live

    San Francisco

    50 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    50 reviews

    Dined on April 6, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience4
    Our third time dining here pre-Ballet performance and the food & service always very good. This recent visit was exceptionally great because I was greeted at our table with a Happy Birthday placard, Happy Birthday sung to me by staff & complimentary dessert! A memorable evening!
  40. BA

    BARTdiner

    San Francisco

    34 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    34 reviews

    Dined on April 3, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    While the food at Prelude is always great, it's the staff that makes the experience truly memorable. They are so friendly and attentive which makes one look forward to returning.

Safety precautions

  • Cleaning & sanitizing

    • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
    • Common areas deep-cleaned daily
    • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
  • Protective equipment

    • Waitstaff wear masks
    • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
  • Screening

    • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
    • Proof of vaccination required to dine indoors
    • Staff temperature check required

FAQs

Prelude at the Opera House - Lower Level is rated 4.1 stars by 456 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 2 times today
Google Map for Prelude at the Opera House - Lower Level

301 Van Ness Avenue San Francisco, CA 94102

Additional information

  • Cross street

    Franklin St. & McAllister St.

  • Neighborhood

    Civic Center / Hayes Valley / Van Ness

  • Hours of operation

    Open 2 hours prior to all evening and Sunday Matinee performances only.

  • Cuisines

    Contemporary American, Continental, Californian

  • Dining style

    Casual Elegant

  • Dress code

    Smart Casual

  • Parking details

    Parking is available in several lots in the surrounding area. Please call lots for current hours and rates.<br /><br />Performing Arts Garage<br /><br />*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.

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Executive chef

    Alfonso Mis

  • Additional

    Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Non-Smoking, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

  • Phone number

    (415) 861-8150

  • Catering

    Host your next event at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, and Global Gourmet 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&#34;s Building perfectly complement Global Gourmet Catering&#39;s unrivaled cuisine and impeccable service. Perfect for weddings, galas, corporate parties and pre- and post-performance events, this is San Francisco&#39;s premier choice for events of all sizes.

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