About Prelude at McCaw Hall
Welcome to Prelude - on the Promenade Level of Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center. Sophistication, artistry and signature dishes designed by Executive Chef Shawn Applin await your visit. Prelude features the freshest local produce, artisanal products, a large selection of Northwest wines by the glass and half bottle, and Shawn's sublime take on cuisine executed by the SAVOR culinary team. Our seasonal menus provide the perfect prelude to a Pacific Northwest Ballet or Seattle Opera performance - or offer an exceptional dining experience on their own. Dinner reservations are encouraged prior to show time. Prelude also offers Brunch before Sunday shows and Intermission Reservations.
Hours of Operation:
Prelude opens 2.5 hours (Opera performances) and 2 hours (Ballet performances) prior show start.
3rd & Mercer
$31 to $50
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Catering by SAVOR... is not limited to McCaw Hall. We apply our extensive experience in both large and small-scale events at most any location in the Seattle Area. For over 20 years, our culinary team and experienced sales staff have created custom menus and unique special events to successfully support world-class events for small groups or thousands of people. You can be sure we have the expertise to handle every detail of your event, from site coordination, to rentals, to securing a pleasant service staff. Contact us to learn more.
Private Party Facilities:
Opportunities for private events abound at McCaw hall. Whether planning a large party in the dining room or looking for a private space, our team is experienced and ready to handle the details for you.
Banquet/Private Rooms, Beer, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Prelude at McCaw Hall Ratings and Reviews
Perfect place to enjoy dinner before a c ...
Perfect place to enjoy dinner before a concert in this Seattle Center venue. Convenient parking at Mercer Street Garage is connected to McCaw Hall by an enclosed skybridge. Lots of other activities and entertainment abound in the surrounding Seattle Center park and its nicely landscaped grounds.
We always have lunch at Prelude prior to ...
We always have lunch at Prelude prior to attending a matinee at McCaw Hall. The service is excellent and we particularly enjoy having a dessert ready and waiting during intermission. Prices are about par for Seattle. The Act 1 course is usually quite good, nice salads and cheese board, and the soup can be excellent. The Act 2 (Pastas, etc) are presented beautifully, but are not always as good as they look. The French Toast is very nice. Act 3 (main course) is much like Act 2. We have had really good food but some not so good. Of particular note is their recent offering of chicken fried steak--little bits of mystery meat and lots of breading. Just plain awful! The desserts have always been very well done, but they need to offer more chocolate. It would also be helpful to have gluten-free options for the three Acts. Overall, eating at Prelude has been a good experience and it is certainly convenient when attending McCaw Hall performances.
End of ballet season disappointment
We always eat here before attending the ballet, and generally feel pleased with our meal and service. I had invited two younger friends to come thinking both dinner and the performance would be a treat. The ballet was a disappointment on many levels, and dinner was even worse! Her meal was so tasteless that she could not eat it and we could not get our waiters
attention so we could order something else for her. Really! He brought our food and never came back to the tAble or looked our way! One of our party ordered dessert, but it did not come, and we had to pay quickly and run to get to the performance on time!
My own dinner was cooling, but edible ....partially. This was an embarrassment for me as I had hoped to provide a real treat for my guests. A dud of an evening, and money that could have been spent better elsewhere nearby.
How could everything go so wrong?
Fortunately, I can use more than one word for Prelude, but if I had to use only one it would be HORRIBLE. From the moment I arrived (5:30 reservation made through Open Table months ago), I was discounted. The restaurant seats ~200 people and was <1/4 full yet I was repeatedly told that each 2 top booth I requested "was reserved" - there were probably 6-8 two top booths ( none of which had 'reserved' signs) but every single one of them was "reserved"... Funny, I had a reservation and again, made it through Open Table months ago, so what happened here? Once seated with my party (we were attending Opera), we waited ~15 minutes to be acknowledged, had to ask for bread (served liberally to those seated after us), waited exceptionally long for our meal - oh, that..... we ordered the halibut and when it arrived, it was dry (overcooked) and tasteless with some other white tasteless starch ? risotto?... we sent it back and the roving 'manager' admonished us in a rather condescending way by saying "it was steamed"- steamed doesn't equate to taste- free. We then ordered their chicken (now 30 minutes from performance time) - turned out pretty salty with some other indistinguishable starch- perhaps old mashed potato scraped from the bottom of the pan? So was there no respite from our otherwise sad meal??? Oh BTW , the drinks were watered down and not what we ordered....how could they mess the whole thing up? Was it because I didn't just pay my money and take what they unprofessionally handed out?? The saving grace was a delightful sorbet (not good enough for me to come back there, though) and Heather, our overworked server was very nice to us.
Of course, we will NEVER go back to Prelude and it's too bad- they really blew it with a couple of folks who used to like the food and service. A much better option in the Seattle Center is Collections - far less expensive, better service and great libations.
The food here is always beautifully pres ...
The food here is always beautifully presented, but suffers from three flaws. First, it's largely flavorless. Second, there's often one ingredient that stands out from the others in a discordant fashion -- picture avocado on ice cream. And third, it's entirely too expensive, even for Seattle, in part because the portions are tiny and in part because the prices are just really high.
I often come here prior to attending the opera, because it's convenient, and typically leave wishing I'd gone somewhere else. It's really too bad, because the ambience is great, the service is mixed but can be very good, and the location is of course perfect.
I was pleased we were seated quickly,eve ...
I was pleased we were seated quickly,even though we arrive prior to our reservation. Our waitress was very patient with the table next to us- older diners who were slow in reviewing the menu & ordering. She was calm & gracious with them, and apologized to us for the delays in taking our drink order-which then did arrive promptly. Food was excellent; they had a vegetarian option for my dining partner. My entree was good, though the Halibut could have been cooked a tad lighter, but typical to ensure all diners would appreciate it. Creative blend of saffron risotto,halibut, mussels, fresh peas... fun...
Took us 1 hour to receive our food ...
Took us 1 hour to receive our food
did not refill my coffee until the food arrived
Would have missed the opening curtain if we hae not insisted on the bill before the food arived
Will never eat here again nor recommend this place
Well, ... In the past it's been quite g ...
Well, ... In the past it's been quite good. However, last Wednesday, 11 May was an exception. We were told Gov. Inslee was there and that security was slowing the kitchen. Whatever the cause, it was very slow. We arrived at our 6:15 reservation and had one first course; our main dishes arrive about 7:10, making us feel rushed for the opera (no late seating). So it was not a pleasant experience. It clearly was not the fault of our server, who was fine and obviously at the mercy of the kitchen. THE SERVER WAS VERY GOOD; THE TOTAL SERVICE PACKAGE INCLUDING KITCHEN TEMPO WAS POOR.
And the odd thing is, that normally the service is, if anything, too fast, the main plate showing up before we've finished any first course. That's not good service either. Sorry to sound so difficult to please. So, if I'm asked about it by a friend, I guess I'd say: "The food is pretty good; the service seems to lack oversight."
Prelude is a restaurant contained within ...
Prelude is a restaurant contained within McCaw Hall in Seattle Center, where the Seattle Opera performs. It serves meals before the performance. Because the opera does not seat any one after the performance begins, it is essential that the servers make sure the patrons have completed the meal and paid for it by 7:15 pm for the 7:30 pm performance. On this occasion, at 7:15 pm, we were finally served the dessert and had yet to get the check. While we did make the performance, it was only with 2 minutes to spare, which is unacceptable.
Food much improved over that of previous years.
In the past, what should have been good food seemed like fancy food "nuked" or warmed up - and not always warm to the core, either. This food seemed to have been cooked onsite, fresh and attractive and very tasty.
The waitress left us sitting without any service for nine minutes. She was busy - but was she that busy? Very odd. I'm willing to try it out a few more times, whereas in the past I would not have eaten here again for free.
Also, although we had reservations, we were not seated on time, and were grateful we had made reservations for 6:15 or otherwise we might not have had enough time to eat. (We were served about 6:40.)
I am sorry to say it was very disappoint ...
I am sorry to say it was very disappointing. We arrived at 6 before a 7:30 performance. Apparently they were not able to serve the fish we had ordered. Never told us it was a problem but arrived with lasagne and beef around 7:15. Nice but ineffective servers. These folks just cannot get organized. It is impossible to give any sort of good review as they never served ua what we ordered.
the kitchen had a major meltdown on opera night.
It took an hour to get our appetizer. An hour and a half after we were seated, and minutes before the opera, we were told they did not have our entree selection. A horrible dining experience, very overpriced. Too bad, because we ate there a few years ago and thought it quite good. We will not eat there again.
Perfect for pre-event light supper
This was our fourth visit to Prelude to have a light supper before an opera performance. We eat early (5:00 seating) so that we can also catch the preperformance discussion. The service is always speedy, and we have never been late for the talk (although now they are at 6:30 so we can really enjoy the meal). I usually order one of the salads or soup, something not too heavy. I have never been disappointed by the meal. The menu changes frequently enough that i don't think I've ordered the same dish twice. This last visit i had the smoked duck salad and it was superb! And left just enough room to share the rhubarb bread pudding.
New Chef - Better Food
We have eaten at Prelude many times over the years. On our most recent visit we were told a new chef arrived recently (i.e. early 2016). The new menu looks good. We had the beet, arugula and blue cheese salad with walnuts: it was excellent and definitely better than similar lunches we have had in previous visits.
slow SLOW service, food only 50% ok
A friend and I have a regular ballet date and we always eat at Prelude because it gives us a place to meet that's easy. Generally it is OK, sometimes very enjoyable, with good food. Pricey, but convenient for ballet. This time the service was SLOW. Inexcusably slow. They were not all that crowded or lacking in servers. We arrived promptly at 6:15 for our reservation, and were not served until after 7! Which meant we had 20 minutes to eat, of the 1 hr and 5 min. we had budgeted. My mushroom ravioli was ghastly, barely warm and tasting of chemicals. The pork loin my friend had was somewhat better, although eating it all so fast was not conducive to enjoyment, even if the meal were passable. Such a disappointment this time, since, as I said, we have for years had decent meals and service here. No apologies from the staff or management, either. We were obviously too well-socialized to make a fuss, but there won't be a next time when we are as sweet.
Convenient, poor service and disappointing food
We arrived at 6 pm in advance of a 7:30 pm production in McCall Hall, and we were seated immediately. It took quiet some time, however, before our server visited the table. Our drinks and first courses arrived in a reasonable amount of time. Our plates were cleared, and we waited about 20 minutes at which time the server came with dessert menus. I informed her we hadn't receive our entrees, and she said she would check on them (no apology). We ordered wine, and that came out right away. Our entrees arrived at 7:10 pm (an adjacent table that had arrived 20 minutes after us already had their check). The server offered no apology--just that the kitchen was backed up. When I pointed others seemed to be getting their food in a reasonable timeframe, she offered to comp the wine, which I appreciated.
The smoked salmon salad was quite good, but the cauliflower soup was rather bland. The pork loin was tough, dry, and overcooked. Overall, the experience was quite disappointing. I had a similar experience several years ago, but went in hoping things had improved. I won't be making that mistake again.
I was disappointed in the non-alcoholic ...
I was disappointed in the non-alcoholic drink selection and the fact that it came out in plastic bottles. When I order tea, I expect that it will be brought to the table in a pitcher and poured into my glass by the server. I do not expect to be handed a plastic bottle. Especially not in what I was told is a fine dining establishment. The pork tenderloin had no flavor. It is as if the chef forgot that salt is available to use. My wife ordered the roast, and the carrots were severely under cooked. They might as well have been raw. The roast too, was lacking in flavor. It is perfectly fine to season meat. The best portion of the meal was the beet salad.
Great food, great waitress, bad manager, high bill
Our dinner was wonderful! Our waitress was wonderful and she explained things to us very well. The food was cooked to perfectly and taste good. However a few of the items seemed to be over priced. I felt the main course was the only one that was accurately priced.
We did however from our table see what appeared to be a manager scolding a waitress off to the right hand side of the kitchen for something. The waitress shook her head and threw her hands in the air. The waitress then went to one of her tables and helped her customers as if nothing at all had happened and had a smile on her face. GOOD FOR THAT WAITRESS!! She presented herself so professionally. AND SHAME ON THAT MANAGER! You should never reprimand your staff in the public eye!!!
It was a bit too warm in the dining room. However it was also 80 outside that day and you have those huge windows. So it was understandable.
Great Service but ...
It seemed like a great idea at the time. Pick a spot close to McCaw Hall and not worry about being late for the show. I'll admit it was a great location and the service was great but the food was not all that good. I had the beet salad which I really enjoyed. My husband had the cauliflower soup and that too was good. Our main dish for both of us was terrible. I had Salmon Roulade, with Artichokes, Arugula, Tomatoes, Golden Raisins, Wax Beans, Mustard. It appeared to be canned salmon on a bed of gummy mushy something. It did have 3 beautiful yellow wax beans that were good. My husband had Pork Loin with Rhubarb, Fennel, Marcona Almonds, Green Apple, Charred Onion, Port Reduction. While not as bad as my meal his pork was tough and over cooked. I would not recommend.
A good era at Prelude.
As a relentless attender of ballet performances, I have dined at Prelude over a several-year period, and found my experience variable by the season. Right now (Spring 2016), however, I want to give credit where credit is due. The menu, quality of preparation, and service are outstanding at this time. I applaud the chef for presenting a selection that balances modern and traditional without lapsing into silly or staid. Ingredients are fresh and flavors are clear and satisfying. The staff makes every effort to accommodate the needs of guests. By all means return if you haven't been pleased in the past -- take advantage of the convenience of being right inside McCaw Hall and enjoy a restaurant that knows what it's doing.
Prelude McCaw Hall
I eat brunch there for the afternoon ballet. The food is very limited, food always cold, takes a long time to get the food, the bill always has a problem (I go with three other people) and the only reason we eat there is because it is generally in the winter and there is nothing nearby within walking distance in the inclement weather. I will likely start eating my brunch before the performance at the little coffee stand outside of the restaurant. The food is prepared in advance so if you want your egg cooked a little more you cant get it. If you ask for them to leave the egg off, they can't do it and on and on. Not a lot of flexibility. The menu changes every season and just doesn't get any better. Sorry.
Very pleasant dinner prior to the ballet
We had a very good server, the food was tasty and well prepared. The wine list was adequate. The ambience was pleasant. A slight mix-up at the beginning (my guest and I were seated separately and had to find each other!) was resolved by the server. A very nice evening.
My wife's meal, beef pot roast was serv ...
My wife's meal, beef pot roast was served cold. Another one was brought out and it was 75% fat. At that point waitress came and picked up meals and could see the meal was barely eaten and was all fat. She didn't ask if there was a problem. At the prices this place charges their food is terrible and service poor. We will never go back as we have tried it before and have never been impressed although this meal was the worst.
Hit or Miss?
You never know with Prelude--will it be great, just Ok, or not very good. The soups are almost always great and the salads usually border on great as well. My last experience for the February ballet was great. This time for the March ballet, it was just ok. The carrot soup was delicious--actually tasted like carrots! The touch of flavored oil was just right. The antipasto platter was a mess--a heap of meats all scrambled together that needed to be picked apart to see what was what. And could someone please tell them to get a new bread supplier? Their basket of bread is always dry and boring. How about some nice whole wheat or sourdough or crisp baguette? The little things do matter.
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