Prelude at the Opera House - Lower Level

3.9
131 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$31 to $50
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
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 131 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.9based on recent ratings
3.7
food
4.2
service
3.9
ambience
3.3
value
Noise · Quiet
75% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
Sort by
Newest
Filters
IL
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The buffet was the best all year. Fantastic variety and delicious choices. Loved the mussels and chicken especially.

Report
Helpful
KM
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was exceptional, service outstanding as always and perfect table location for privacy.

Report
Helpful
NB
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great ambience. Very convenient for going to the ballet. I like the buffet because of all the choices and I like to go back for my favorites. And the price was very reasonable.

Report
Helpful
i
Indiana
60 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very nice salads for dinner and excellent service

Report
Helpful
TT
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 5ambience 3

The service is the BEST. The food is good, but the portions are very stingy. If you are charging $20 for a salad, the least you could do is load it up! And to charge $3 for a small piece of bread, REALLY? I’d consider other neighborhood restaurants where you get a little more bang for your buck and won’t leave hungry.

Report
Helpful
WM
1 review
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Food was really good. Easy to get dinner and upstairs to the performance.

Report
Helpful
C
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 4

Buffet is really bad and expensive. Eggs Benedict muffins like bricks. Vegetables bland. Salad soggy!

Report
Helpful
J
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 3

Annoyed that we paid extra for bread.

Report
Helpful
IB
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

Always great to have dinner at the Opera.

Report
Helpful
D
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

Yes I recommend to friends. However, the buffet is much too costly. The bar menu of food items is very limited. the only item that is at all filing is the usual garden salad plus fish or some meant item for $22 usually. The cost of the food is much more than it is worth . It is almost impossible to eat what can be considered anything more than an appetizer unless one has the much too expensive buffet. I do go more than once a year as it is traditional in my family. I am a ballet season subscriber. I would not recommend the food and cost of it unless it is for a lovely setting and good service.The previous supplier of food was much better. thank you.

Report
Helpful
V
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on April 25, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Great place for single person to dine before Ballet.
Very good, consistent buffet dining.
Two exceptional waiters.

Report
Helpful
EG
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on April 24, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 2

Prelude is convenient if you are going to the ballet and don't have time to go to someplace in the neighborhood. However, it is quite expensive for what you get.

Report
Helpful
BS
San Diego
7 reviews
Dined on April 24, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

I’ve been here many times. This evening , two children attended the ballet with me. The menus were not appropriate for them & the prices are quite high. The a la carte selections are slim The buffet, although generous, is very expensive. I chose a salad & an ice tea & it cost $36. I believe we will dine near/by , next time

Report
Helpful
DK
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Percy waited on our table with such a warm and welcoming attitude! Excellent service and the best ever at the Opera House. Food id much better also and buffet was fresh and flavorful. All in all a stellar experience for the four of us. Thank you Percy!

Report
Helpful
G
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 3

The buffet ran out of food

Report
Helpful
OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Having eaten at the opera house many times, this night was a huge disappointment. The catering company was not prepared which is not forgivable as reservations are required so the number of diners is known. Serving trays were empty and slowly but not adequately refilled. The roast at the carving station, usually large, was minuscule so people had to wait in long lines only to find the carving table empty and the carver continually waiting for more. As a result it took our table 45 minutes to finish up at the buffet tables. Dinner at the opera is not inexpensive and the caterers failed terribly. We will not return.

Report
Helpful
JS
1 review
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The food was good but there were many shortages of some dishes.

Report
Helpful
BK
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The food was tasty but keeping the entrees full was an issue. What happened to dessert? Seems like it used to be included.

Report
Helpful
C
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely all the way around

Report
Helpful
BT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 5ambience 1

I have always enjoyed dining at the Opera House, which has always been with others. I decided "what the heck, I'll treat myself to a nice dinner before the ballet." I was seated at a wall in the hallway between the bar and dining room. I finally moved the table out a bit from the wall, which helped, but overall as a single diner, I will not return.

Report
Helpful
RM
1 review
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

Compared with the previous operator, food not as good for the price.

Report
Helpful
CB
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I feel so much more relaxed dinning inside the Opera House!

Report
Helpful
RK
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

I like the previous caterer much better. This new caterer leaves a lot to be desired.

Report
Helpful
GR
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

Unfortunately, the server delayed in getting our bill to us and we barely made it into the ballet as they were dimming the lights. A man followed us all the way up to the main floor ringing his chime while looking perturbed at us but it wasn't our fault we were so late. Other ushers seemed upset we were late but it wasn't our fault. WE turned in our charge cards for billing in plenty of time but we only had 1 minute to run upstairs! Not a good experience!

Report
Helpful
LF
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Convenient, delicious food, good service

Report
Helpful
MR
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 3

The food that should have been hot was cold, some of the heavier green salads seemed wilted, and the variety was mediocre, the bread was dry/onto being stale, the salad offerings were too similar, some of the ends of the Romaine leaves were brown. The beef was quite flavorful, but cold. The served seemed awfully bored. The service seemed inexperienced and hadn't yet gotten the rhythm of the momentum required.

This is the 2nd time we have found the operation not really professional and the mashed potatoes and hot food not even luke warm, but cold.

I will attempt the experience a third time, but I suspect you would have more business if you retrieved the last group serving at the cafe.

Report
Helpful
R
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 1ambience 4

Great spot for dinner before a performance. Overpriced, but look at where you are - the convenience is worth the extra cost.
The night I was there, we had no waiter for the first 20-30 minutes. Inexcusable! Waiter finally showed up and apologized with a weak excuse about a meeting in the kitchen. Not likely at the peak dinner time.
Luckily, the bar is right there, so I got my own drinks, and the buffet does not require a waiter.
But the absence of help was a major flaw.

Report
Helpful
PC
1 review
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 3

We enjoyed our meal very much. The crab tasted fresh-from-the-boat and the salad greens tasted fresh from the garden. Chicken was ordered for one of the salads but it was never delivered. We looked for our waiter several times but we never saw him until he brought the bill. Instead of apologizing he said we should have told him. We certainly would have told him if he had come back to our table like most waiters do. Regardless, we enjoyed our meal and would come back.

Report
Helpful
CS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waiter did an excellent job with service, laughter, & care.

Thank you!

Report
Helpful
s
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Chef Alphonse and our server Rusty went out if their way to make our dining experience very special.
Their attention and generosity more than made up for a miscommunication that had occurred on a recent previous dining experience we had.
Major kudos to both of them! Chef Alphonse’s Scallop Risotto is the best ! Rusty clearly is an experienced server and anticipated everything .
Sharyn Ramorino and Carolee Meyer

Report
Helpful
R
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Perfect way to start an evening at the ballet. Rusty and Pepe are phenomenal!

Report
Helpful
a
San Francisco
32 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

We find Prelude to be not as good as the previous Patina caterer. We are especially upset about the fact that the roast is always practically raw. We also feel that the selection of other dishes are limited and repeated from one Saturday to the next. The price charged would warrant something better.

Report
Helpful
TB
San Francisco
29 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

The menu is very limited, no soup or starters, no deserts.
The buffet is expensive, but has a nice choice of salads,
vegetables, and 3 entrees, one of which is a very, very rare
roast beef which I did not try. (too rare for me) The dining
room is lovely and the service was very good. The price of
the entree was $42 and if you wanted a salad to start or even
bread and butter, this would put you way over the $48 price
of the buffet. You are almost forced to take the buffet to
save money. It is very convenient for eating before the
Balllet and opera. More choices and a little more reasonable
prices would be great.

Report
Helpful
OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Took a friend to the ballet. Had dinner at the opera house. So grateful to be able to have a nice dinner before the performance.

Report
Helpful
PD
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

The food was better this time than the last time we went to this restaurant this season. Last year the food was better at this restaurant.

Report
Helpful
DP
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The 'buffet' at the Opera House is an institution. It's been a part of the scene since I can remember.
This is part of the beauty of it. Whether you're a Baby Bommer, Gens Y and Z, or Millenial all need to enjoy this very San Francisco tradition. The food is very good, and you'll find some of the best service in town.

Report
Helpful
t
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 4ambience 4

Our suppers were better this time than during our previous visit. The servings were more generous. We appreciated being given two fresh rolls

Report
Helpful
S
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

Excellent service but mediocre food

Report
Helpful
EG
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on March 27, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

The ONLY reason we go to Prelude is because it is convenient for our tight weekday schedules. The neighborhood offers much better restaurants and a MUCH better value--and so we don't even consider Prelude on weekends when we have the luxury of more time. If you don't go the "smorgasbord route," the prices at Prelude are ridiculous for the portions you get. Those of us not wanting the type of major meal the smorgasbord offers are clearly punished. The price of a small butter lettuce salad with a 4-bite portion of chicken costs as much as the smorgasbord. Granted, it was tasty--but "minimalist" at best. And to pay extra for a dinner roll? Absurd.

Report
Helpful
C
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on March 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

An easy way to dine before the ballet.

Report
Helpful
1
2
3
38

Tweets by Prelude at the Opera House - Lower Level