Prelude at the Opera House - Lower Level

4
360 Reviews
$31 to $50
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.

Experiences

  • Buffet Dinner at Prelude at the Opera House

    $69.00 per personPrepaid

    Multiple dates available

    Join us for our premium buffet dinner service at Prelude at the Opera House, located in the lower level lounge of the historic San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. Buffet menus are created seasonally and reflect the performance of the evening. Coffee, Decaf, and Iced Tea included. Price listed is per person and includes all taxes, fees, and gratuities.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • 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
  • Staff temperature check required
  • Proof of vaccination required to dine indoors
What 360 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
3.7
food
4.0
service
4.0
ambience
3.3
value
Noise · Moderate
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m
martinc
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall3food2service3ambience3

Convenient for the opera. Food was only OK at the buffet. Service was good.

VR
VictoriaR
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall2food1service5ambience5

I had a salad with crab and shrimp, too much greens but hardly any shrimp an crab. I paid $28, I found it too expensive. The server Loui was very professional.

b
vipbudbud
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall3food2service5ambience4

Food was outrageously expensive for what it was. What they call a steack supplement on the salad is in reality a few pieces of cold cut beef. Shameful.

M
Mangianita
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall3food2service4ambience4

Two of us had the crab/shrimp Louis salad with 2 rolls and butter. The salad included 1/3 avocado, 1 hardboiled egg, 1T of crab, 1/3 C shrimp, LOTS of cucumber (on mine, none on his), LOTS of varied fresh lettuce, sliced fennel (tasteless), 3 cherry tomatoes cut in half and Louis (?) dressing.
The waiter said that the Louis dressing only contained mayonnaise and catsup. There definitely was something VERY spicy in it and I was not able to eat it. He brought oil and vinegar; when I asked for mayo, he said some was coming. It never came.
Highly priced for the meager amount of food value.
Location was handy.

RS
RogerS
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall1food2service1ambience1

I liked everything, but I was disappointed that the roast beef was rare; there were no parts that were medium.

n
noone
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall1food3service1ambience3

we arrived at 12:30 for lunch before a 2:00 curtain. Service was very slow! As a result we got no coffee and no dessert - and barely got to our seats before the curtain

MS
MarjorieS
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

If you are an opera goer, descending to the lower lever to Prelude for lunch, an apertiff, whatever, is an elegant start. The service (I ask for Rustee, who takes great care) is wonderful and whether you want to choose their buffet or select a salad, the chef's preparations are delicate, tasty, very special.

MG
MelG
Vancouver
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall2food2service2ambience3

pre-opera dining room during brunch - although there was a menu where you could order ala carte, the pressure was on to go through the buffet, so my dining partner and I did this. The hot items, like eggs, bacon, sausage, roasted veggies, were lukewarm or cold, although they were supposed to be hot, the buffet staff had no idea what ingredients were in the food, for example there were sous vide eggs on some kind of bread or tortilla, and the staff didn't know what it was was. The food quality didn't seem very good, for example, there was a platter of diced up cheese and dried fruit, none of which looked appetizing. The best part of the meal was the coffee, fresh brewed, good quality.

T
Tiffanyxm
San Francisco
42 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Happy to come back after 1.5 year of pandemic. Understanding the staff is short and Covid concerns, the food was less selection for the buffet but the food quality still are good.

May be because of short of stuff, I had to ask to fill in my water. It was line for waiting to get food in the plate since we do not allow to get food ourself. Some tables were reserved but too close to each other. I saw someone ask to change the table.

Overall, it was still good to be back and we enjoyed to dine here. As long as you do not expect at same level as before pandemic, you would be ok.

MM
MashM
Yosemite
1 review
Dined on October 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I really appreciated the opportunity to dine here. The staff is so helpful and kind. The gentleman who served me, put my bottle of champagne aside on another table so that I could come back and have a drink at intermission. He also put aside my seared bay scallops with an excellent risotto that was bursting with the flavorful mysteries of the sea—I detected a very Japanese flavor of laver (nori) in the sauce dribble that ran through the center of the risotto. It paired beautifully with the bottle of brut that was California NV and tasted actually brilliant. Totally worth the experience and service!!

R
vipReliable
San Francisco
189 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It’s not possible to beat the convenience of this place. The food is good, the service is excellent, and treat of being able to return to your table at intermission for a waiting cocktail and piece of cake is delightful. When you consider it costs $15 to buy an ordinary beer at the ballpark or a concert, Prelude is a bargain.

CC
vipCharlieC
San Francisco
37 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2021
Overall4food4service3ambience5

Convenient venue for opera goers. Get the buffet. Good food at a reasonable price.

MH
MaudH
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2021
Overall4food2service4ambience3

I ordered crab and shrimp salad. there was half of a teaspoon of either. considering the price, I was pretty appaulled

B
Bill
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 22, 2021
Overall3food4service1ambience3

Unfortunately there was some kind of labor shortage Fri night at Prelude. The service at the buffet was very slow, too slow to relax and enjoy the food before venturing up to the seats. The table service was also too slow and the entire service component was very unsatisfactory. We may not eat there before opera again.

BA
BettinaA
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2021
Overall3food3service5ambience4

We are vegetarians and options on menu very limited, expensive and no protein if you didn't want a cheese platter yet again. Salad was very good, a very small portion, however. It's lively to be able to eat there before opera. Develop your vegetarian options! And lower prices!!

g
grandmak
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2021
Overall2food2service2ambience4

The service was slow; we got our dessert with only a few minutes to go before we had to go to our seats and the neighboring table got dessert after the people had gone; these desserts were ordered well before.
My shrimp and crab Louie was a complete disappointment; the crab was dry and string and there was barely any; the shrimp were not much better; only the lettuce and tomato were good.
I saw a picture of such a salad in this Sunday's Chronicle about John's Grill and mine was a poor comparison. I doubt that John's Grill would charge much more than Prelude at the Opera House.
We didn't take the buffet because it seemed like too much food for us but it looked pretty good. I doubt that we will be returning. The Gyro King is for us.

d
dorothy
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2021
Overall2food2service2ambience2

We waited more than ten minutes for the waiter to ask us about drinks, so we gave up and went to stand in line for the buffet. It was the most disorganized I have ever seen at the opera house. Not only did we wait in a long line, but when we got to the front, we had to wait again for the mushrooms. Because they had just run out of them. There was one server for each line, the entree line and the salad line.
In order to get salad, we had to wait all over again in the salad line. By the time we sat down to eat, we scoffed down our food as quickly as we could to make time for the restroom and then the show.
The meal at the opera house for two was about $150.00. I can’t believe it. Oh, by the way, the high light of the meal was the prime rib. They sliced it so thin, so thin. I mean really thin. I said reluctantly ‘may I have another slice.” It’s embarrassing, humiliating.

f
fuzzbear
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2021
Overall2food3service1ambience2

Very poor service. Clearly not enough staff to cover

RH
RitaH
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Three of us went to the opera together. No one’s birthday or anything; just an ordinary night at the opera. Chang at table 17 was a great waiter!

h
hmb1
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2021
Overall4food3service4ambience3

Food mediocre; had the Louie salad and the crab and shrimp were meager and not very fresh, but very convenient before a performance.

n
noone
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience3

portions were much better than my previous experience at that venue

MS
MarjorieS
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What is not to like in the downstairs at the War Memorial Opera House and being taken are of by Rustee, who really knows how things get done. All food fresh, and well presented.

G
vipGastronome
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I just love eating here before the opera I will see. This time the buffet was behind plexiglass and a server put on your plate some of the dishes you told them you wanted. And, if you wanted a little more of a dish, they were happy to put more on your plate. And I just loved seeing a number of the staff who seated me in my “usual” place that I have had for many years. All in all, I was happy to be back after 2 years!

RF
RockyF
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 17, 2021
Overall4food3service5ambience3

I got sick a couple hours after my meal. Something wasn't cleaned or properly taken care of. The buffet is hard to get used too having other people put food in your plate. I would say they are stingy and aren't the ones paying for your meal

P
Penny
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Enjoyable ambiance, pretty good food, and service!

L
vipLnd60
San Francisco
32 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Great for a quick bit before the Opera.
We order off the menu as the buffet is just to much food. Salads are lovely and delicious.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Mexico City
2 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome experience all around. Rustee is phenomenal!

JG
JuneG
1 review
Dined on September 5, 2021
Overall3food2service2ambience2

Very disappointing seating arrangement so close to others. Food not that fresh even though we were there early.

RI
RIchard
1 review
Dined on September 3, 2021
Overall2food2service3ambience3

Chicken and salmon were sub par for cost. Rib eye was mostly raw
Won’t be dining there again

NJ
NJBill
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Surprisingly well organized, considering the changes for safety in these days, and, as always, the food is fantastic. The servers are doing a wonderful job of plating the choices in the buffet for you. This is new and works just fine. Table service for wines, desserts, etc. is prompt and pleasant. Overall, a very nice experience.

B
Brusselsprouts
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2021
Overall4food3service3ambience4

Location makes is easy for women on high heels. Food was ok and service was ho hum.

MM
MMGH
1 review
Dined on September 3, 2021
Overall4food3service5ambience3

We like eating at the Opera House prior to a performance. It is convenient and the buffet is a quick way to eat and not miss any of the performance. However, Open Table was not the best way to reserve a table. We were charged $64 each for the buffet online, but the cost at the Opera was $48 each. This is a high price to reserve online. Although we love the buffet, it has gotten smaller and lower quality over the years. The carved meet has turned into a lower cut of meat, and limited salads and sides.

Prelude at the Opera House - Lower Level
Responded on October 5, 2021

The price of the buffet online includes tax & gratuity, that's the difference. Otherwise, we would have to present a bill at the table & the purpose of purchasing the buffet online is to reduce any wait for your bill. So sorry this was not clear. Also, the buffet may look smaller this year due to the method we are now serving it in for pandemic safety reasons, but I can assure you that there are the same number of selections of the same quality level as previous years.

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RH
RitaH
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The buffet food was excellent; the service was as good as ever.

M
Mandy
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent preparation. Excellent choices. Excellent attention.

Report
R
vipRosie
San Francisco
41 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Service was great!! Staff knowledgeable and helpful. Buffet had a nice selection but it pays to get to it when fresh food arrives as otherwise the hot entrees were just warm. Salad bar had a nice selection. Would definitely eat there again as very convenient if going to the opera or a performance there.

SM
vipSusanM
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2021
Overall3food3service4ambience4

We ate the buffet. I found the food to be just okay. For the price I did not find it to be a good deal.

MS
MrSolid
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2021
Overall3food3service5ambience4

If you want to eat old person food in an old person ambiance this place is for you!

KJ
KerreckJ
1 review
Dined on August 29, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Do NOT book through Open Table. They Charge 64.00 when if you walk in
you can buy the brunch for 38.00 or the dinner for 48.00

Even though the Open Table price includes fees and gratuities a 26.00 (or 68%)
market is hardly justified.


Prelude itself was fine, but they need to find a different business partner
than Open Table.

DG
DianneG
1 review
Dined on August 27, 2021
Overall4food4service2ambience3

Best place to eat before going to the opera. Food is consistently good. Fantastic for people watching.. Neighboring diners can be friendly. Not a lot of waitstaff for the number of tables so waiters were slow with orders.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 27, 2021
Overall4food5service3ambience3

Food was excellent- much better than I would usually expect from a buffet. Very fresh quality- especially the fruits and tomatoes. Service started out slow and confused, but eventually everything worked out and they were attentive to our questions. Took a really long time to get our cocktails- too long!

FAQs

Prelude at the Opera House - Lower Level is rated 4 stars by 360 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.

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