Prelude at the Opera House - Lower Level

3.9
89 reviews
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$31 to $50
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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.
What 89 People Are Saying
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Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.9based on recent ratings
3.8
food
4.1
service
4.0
ambience
3.3
value
Noise · Quiet
77% of people would recommend it to a friend
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o
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2016
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

The non buffet menu is much improved this year , as have several of the options on the buffet.

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PL
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Salads were varied and the salmon on the buffet moist and delicious. Great pre-opera event.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2016
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

They have the pre-opera market cornered by location. Food was quite good, reasonable price, service fast. But with the number of older people they REALLY need a bit more space between tables. And they need to tell their front desk staff to not be so snooty. Wish they opened at 530pm instead of 6

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V
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Your waiters are terrific!! We are regulars before the Opera, so they know us, what we like, are prompt, courteous & super efficient!
Thanks to them especially.
I mostly enjoy your buffet, particularly the vegetarian options.

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q
San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2016
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Primarily a great buffet pre-opera dinner. I ordered a la carte salad, which was very good. BUT service for months-buffet was V E R Y S L O W .
Not enough waiter staff. Cool coffee arrived after long wait, more wait for dessert....I had to stuff dessert cookies in purse while standing at table to get attention of someone to pay. NOT fault of staff who were there....

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V
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2016
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

I ordered a Ceasar Salad- with salmon.should have sent it back!
The lettuce was very old. Salad was obviously dressed hours before...salmon was small bits and pieces scattered here and there-
My friend ordered the Same BUT dressing on the side. Lettuce was fresh and crispy and lovely
Salmon filet in one piece - so obviously singly prepared...Food quality gets worse and by the year. Patina Food Group is inconsistent- menus stay almost identical yearafter year

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 30, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The buffet was excellent: varied, freshly prepared, and very tasty. One might have expected something only passable, since they have a captive clientele: opera goers in a hurry to make curtain. But the cafe more than stands on its own. I went with my daughter (11), who has a serious allergy to tree nuts. The chef not only replied beforehand to an (yes, I know, overanxious father's) email, but also recognized us when we arrived and personally went over each dish. Unstinting generosity and attention to detail.

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OT
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

This Cafe is only available to Opera customers. The buffet is $40 but quite good. All others are basically salads.

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EW
Singapore
5 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is a fabulous venue for the ambiance, food, and convenience of seeing the opera located in the same building.

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LR
San Francisco
84 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2016
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

We had a nice, light pre-opera dinner. We enjoyed dinner salads (seafood salad with crab & salmon and Caesar salad with a large piece of salmon), roll and wine. We were given a table for 2 that was not in the middle of the dining area, so the ambience was quite nice. The service was fine, as usual.

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M
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

With excellent service and a tasty menu, we enjoyed our pre-opera dinner.

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s
San Francisco
32 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Rustee was our server and as always a very good time. We had the buffet. The food is always tasty but it is just a little pricey. No dessert come with it.

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S
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The pork tenderloin with its special sauce was outstanding

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1
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We dined with Chang whom we always ask for. He is a treat to work with. And the buffet is always excellent, always. Variety of choices and high quality, cooked perfectly. We love it.

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W
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The duck salad was wonderful!!!!
The waiter was attentive and professional bot in manner and dress

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V
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Very good food and overall experience and the convenience of it is incredible

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W
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Rustee and her assistant always provide excellent personal service! And the cafe is just right before the opera matinee. Relaxing to be in the house and have a leisurely meal and be sure not to miss the curtain.

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CS
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always pleasant to enjoy the wide variety of food choices on the buffet.
The servers are nice and efficient. The ambiance is happy and so comfortable with
cheerful decor. We do recommend this to friends and always mention the new and wide variety of salads and other dishes.

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p
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent service at Chang's table. He has been my server for many years I have enjoyed dinning before the Opera on Sunday. Have been a season ticket holder for years.

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c
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Excellent handy location at the SF Opera house for a pre concert meal. The food has a lot of creative dishes and can be ordered a la carte or from a buffet which has 2 serving lines - one for salads -breads-fruit- and the other for warm dishes featuring meats -vegetables-and some excellent breakfast items at the noon luncheon. There is a good wine list and ice water is also available.

Service is attentive and tries to get your group out for the concert on time. Noise level is low and is adjacent to the main bathrooms so they are handy before the concert.

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TM
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2016
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

If you're going the opera, do this! The buffet is large and generally terrific,with enough outstanding dishes to please everyone's tastes. If you're there for the brunch, do not miss the chocolate croissants -- trust my wife on this, she's an authority. And if you're lucky enough to get Percy as your waiter . . . give him a hug and a kiss like we did. He made the celebration very special.

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g
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Ms rustee is just a great server--makes a good meal a great meal!

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OT
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2016
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

Cafe at the Opera is a very good option for a night out at the opera. Vegetarians dine in style. The food is buffet, but imaginative and varied, and it is labelled for vegetarians, vegans, gluten free. The setting is quiet and pleasant, and conversation is easily carried out. Wait staff is pleasant and professional. Entries from the bar are good. And if you are attending an opera, the convenience makes it so easy to have it all at one location.

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LB
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Enjoyed the return to composed rather than tossed salads. The gingered steak salad with a generous vegetable accompaniment was much improved from previous years' offerings. The Buffet also appears to have been revitalized, now a more tempting choice.

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N
Hawaii
12 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wish you opened at 5:00. Hard to eat AND hear the lecture before the opera.

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LM
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 18, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

They provide a reasonable lunch value before the opera or ballet. It is just right menu, satisfying meal, delicious!
It was easy to make reservations on open table. Thank you.

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c
San Francisco
157 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2016
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

I am glad that the catering company refreshes the menu every opera season. We had the steak salad and the duck leg/salad. They were both good, light enough with enough protein to last through a three-hour opera. We prefer to dine here before opera for its convenience factor.

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OT
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The new menu items sound great, and the duck leg confit was wonderful. I look forward to trying some of the others on future visits. And Rustee is one of my all time favorite servers, a gem!

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OT
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

At the end of the meal, I would recommend ordering dessert to be served at intermission, as your waitperson will do a nice table setting there and... then there is no wait for a beverage and a dessert.

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OT
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

THe remodel of the space is quite nice. A great plasce for a pre-opera dinner.

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l
San Francisco
41 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2016
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

It's great to be able to count on Cafe at the Opera for a pre-performance dinner. Whether we choose a light meal from the menu or enjoy the full buffet!

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Our 2 dishes from the a la carte menus were outstanding, the wine list was good with great half-bottel options, the rolls were pathetic (why can't you have some sour-dough options?) Our waiter was very prompt, attentive & friendly.

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P
San Francisco
57 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

This was great for our pre-opera dining. We got the buffet which had an Asian theme to it since we were going to see a Chinese themed opera. All the food was very fresh and very tasty. I definitely would go to this again since it was so convenient. The only drawback is that they do not offer any dessert with the buffet. For $40 you would think you would get dessert. You have to order off the regular menu and that is an extra $10. I would have given it 5 stars otherwise.

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AC
San Diego
20 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Always a wonderful experience. Great buffet. Delicious martinis thanks to Jonathan. Awesome service by Percy and Bob again!! See you in October.

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SM
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

A bit overpriced @ $40 for the buffet. The food was good, but they kept running out of the dishes. So you had to stand around and wait for a favorite dish. I come here for the convenience, of attending an Opera House performance.

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M
Central Coast
8 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2016
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

This is perfect for a pre-opera dinner. It's convenient. The buffet offers a nice selection. Food selections are either pre-made warm foods, salads, or sandwiches. Tables are close together so you get to meet fellow opera attendees.

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M
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Great pre opera dining. The convenience of being right inside the opera house, two minutes away from your seat, surrounded by your fellows opera buffs... The buffet is a great value.

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AC
San Diego
20 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2016
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

I always dine here while attending the Opera. Love the food, convenience and the service, especially Percy and Bob !

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f
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

We dined at the Opera Cafe for the sake of convenience before the performance, but the experience was better than expected. I enjoyed the buffet while my husband had the duck leg. Tables for 2 are close together. In this case that made for interesting conversation with a neighboring table. I would gladly dine here again.

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N
San Francisco
71 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2016
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 1

We had a reservation for a party of two prior to an Opera matinee. Although there were a number of tables available, the hostess insisted on seating us along the side of the dining room with less than 12 inches of space between tables. It was impossible to have a conversation without the parties on both sides of us hearing every word - and visa versa.
We asked to be moved and were told that the open tables were being held for larger parties.
We chose to leave without having lunch.

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