Prelude at the Opera House - Lower Level

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247 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 247 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
3.9
food
4.1
service
4.0
ambience
3.5
value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
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A
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Enjoyed the dinner and service.

EG
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall2food2service1ambience3

The experience November 26 was wonderful, so I was doubly unhappy to have such an unpleasant experience this week. The food itself was disappointing except for the mashed potatoes. Both chicken and salmon were overcooked. Lamb was abysmal, Service was lackadaisical. Check was so late I almost missed the curtain. Intermission dessert was the wrong order and cold coffee. No offer of a second cup of coffee to take upstairs,

DF
Palm Springs
17 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Pre-opera lunch. Buffet ok. Food is good but lacks variety and no dessert included.

NI
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

This is our third time donning at Prelude. We love the food, the convenience

DH
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 26, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Our waiter was a little slow to arrive, once he did he was friendly & efficient. The beer & wine selection is very good, & the food is good, but the rolls are terrible, how about some sourdough rolls instead?.

l
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

the buffet was very good. selection of foods, especially the beef, was excellent. Superb Manhattan cocktail and good cabernet wine. lovely dessert. I find it expensive and worth it.

R
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2019
Overall5food4service3ambience5

Lunch at the opera house before a performance is one of my favorite ways to treat myself. It's so convenient, but better still, the food is great and the company simpatico.

DH
San Francisco
34 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2019
Overall4food3service3ambience3

a very conveenient venue with reasonable food at prices that reflect conveniencee rather than food quality.

SM
1 review
Dined on November 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our reservation was ready when we arrived. Our server was very kind and went out of her way to take extra special good care of us.

ES
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall1food2service2ambience1

It was my fault for not doing the full buffet to get at least some hot food, but the crab Louie salads we ordered were not even well arranged upon delivery, and it was just disappointing. I hope someday the opera has a wonderful gift from a generous donor to fix up the basement to look better than a basement...,

SA
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall2food2service3ambience4

We ordered from the menu as we did not want a giant amount of food. Well, we got very small portions, average tasting very expensive

PC
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

A little pricey but perfect for before the opera. Sometimes rushed depending on wait staff, who are great, but can get very busy.

P
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Really everything was fine, but we thought that the buffet - although very good - was a bit overpriced.

SW
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience3

The food is consistently good here. and it is so convenient before a performance. Nice staff as well.

PD
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food, as is the case most times we have been here, was wonderful. We go to Prelude mainly for the staff. Rusty and Pepe always treat us like family and we appreciate that!

FD
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience3

The Prelude is a good dining option while attending a performance at the Opera House. We had 6:15 reservations for a 7:30 performance and found there was plenty of time to finish our dinner and make our way to our seats. With the limited dining time we had, my companion ordered the crab Louis salad and I the buffet. We had time for dessert but opted out since our dinner was very good. Our server was friendly and punctual. The buffet was replenished on a timely basis. The tables were nicely spaced with ample privacy for talking. I would recommend the Prelude to save one the hassle of making it to a performance on time.

AS
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Enables one to eat dinner and attend the discussion afterwards. Good food and convenient.

AR
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience4

Hurried for a pre-opera talk and opera dinner. They don’t open until 5:30 and the opera talk begins at 6:30. The food is okay. We ordered from the a la carte menu. The salad is salty and comes with cold sliced roast beef or chicken or fish. A dinner roll is an extra charge, fair enough, but not good.

OT
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Phenomenal dining experience!
Excellent service and delectable food offerings.
We can’t wait to return!

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience4

The wait staff is very inattentive. They just assume everyone is getting the buffet and act visibly annoyed when you want to order off the menu. And while waiting to pay they had our credit card for 10+ minutes and we had to ask to have it brought back. I feel like we need to replace our card.

The staff are also really weird. It feels like a high school cafeteria; the wait staff are waiting to make sure nobody is sharing buffet food with anyone at their table who didn’t order buffet, regardless of whether or not they ordered something too.

Finally the food is very very mediocre. This ended up being one of the most expensive dinners I’ve had this year and the quality was pretty bad. Over $100 for buffet, and entree, one dessert and no drink.

NP
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

The salmon was delicious. They have gluten free choices which is a plus

e
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

The short ribs were very good. The buffet was good except for under ripe fruit and uninteresting cheese for dessert. A bit pricey but service and ambiance add to make it a special event.

BW
Las Vegas
27 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Decent buffet offerings and good drinks service. Not bad for in venue dinner.

EA
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Convenient when attending the opera. Beef was very good and also salads. It would be nice if they opened earlier and included dessert with the buffet

BC
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall4food4service2ambience4

Would have been a better experience if the lady at the carving station tried at least a bit to satisfy the customers request for how well done, or not, they prefer their lamb, in this instance. Unfortunate attitude on her part. Otherwise service very pleasant and food of good quality. Better than previous caterer.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 25, 2019
Overall3food4service1ambience5

Bad service

H
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 25, 2019
Overall3food2service1ambience2

The Prelude is a diner. The food quality is cafeteria fare. I ordered a salad a la carte which had shrimp as an extra. The shrimp was over done and chewy for 7 small shrimps it was $17.00 extra!!

The salad was small and bland. The salad entree cost $38.00.

Do the buffet that's $48.00. It isn't great. It's just more ungreat food.

Average age of the guests are 70's. It's a retirement crowd.

The wait staff appear tired and bored. Service is abysmal.

Don't go. Really.

AR
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

The service was good but rushed. We had one hour between the restaurant opening and the seating for the opera talk. For this reason the waiter brought the main course and dessert at the same time. The Crab Louie was ok, but the crab was in flakes not chunks, and it was a pretty minimalist salad. I had a better, less expensive one at the Buena Vista Cafè the next night. In the future I’ll try a different salad. The dessert was delicious.

j
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

This venue is convenient for a performance which is our chief reason for choosing it. The food is self-serve with generous and very tasty choices of salads and cold vegetables. There is usually a chicken and a fish choice along with a starch (like mashed potato or polenta) and these too are self-serve. The one roast meat option (we have had beef and lamb at several dinners) will be carved for you and those servings of meat tend to be very spare. One can ask for more but one must ask. Coffee or tea and fruit and cheese comes with the price of the meal but dessert and other beverages are extra. There is also an a la carte menu which we haven't tried. The cost for the buffet generally comes to a little over $100 for the two of us, including tip and without wine, beer, or cocktails. I would consider the meal good but somewhat overpriced without the convenience of the venue.

c
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on October 16, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

I had the buffet and found it to be excellent. There were several salads, including Caesar, arugula, and beet; I thought they were all delicious. There were several vegetable dishes; I especially liked the cauliflower. Also choice of meats + salmon. I had the salmon, served on a bed of bean sauce, and it was excellent. Overall, a very satisfying meal, though rather pricy at $48.

W
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

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

O
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Salad dressing excellent; Rustee great server. Well done.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience2

Attending an Opera performance

m
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience3

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

W
New York Area
36 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience2

Convenient and reasonably quick.

BK
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience3

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 on October 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall4food4service5ambience5

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
39 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience4

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
53 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience5

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.

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