About Prelude at McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street
Seattle, WA 98109
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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.

Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Contemporary American

Hours of Operation:
Dinner/Brunch:
Prelude opens 2.5 hours (Opera performances) and 2 hours (Ballet performances) prior show start.


Cross Street:
3rd & Mercer

Dress Code:
Smart Casual

Price Range:
$31 to $50

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(206) 615-0404

Website:
http://www.savorsmgmccawhall.com/

Catering:
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.

Executive Chef:
Shawn Applin

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.

Additional:
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

Restaurant Photos

Prelude at McCaw Hall Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

3.6

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

3.5

service

3.8

ambience

3.6

noise

Moderate

73% would recommend it to a friend

special occasion (46)
fit for foodies (28)
great for lunch (12)
See All
good for groups (9)
notable wine list (8)
romantic (7)
great for brunch (5)
neighborhood gem (4)
late-night find (2)
kid-friendly (2)
hot spot (1)
scenic view (1)
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1799 reviews
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food1
ambience1
service1
value1

How could everything go so wrong?

Dined 6 days ago

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.

food2
ambience3
service4
value2

Dinner @ McCaw hall , Sat 21st.

Dined 6 days ago

The asparagus soup was not indicated to be gazpacho (cold) so that was a surprise. The vegetarian lasagna was not up to par.The chicken was good.

food3
ambience5
service4
value1

The food here is always beautifully pres ...

Dined 7 days ago

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.

food5
ambience4
service5
value3

Service was attentive . The menu was int ...

Dined 7 days ago

Service was attentive . The menu was interesting, if a bit pricey to have been good value.

Tags: special occasion
food5
ambience4
service5
value3

I was pleased we were seated quickly,eve ...

Dined on May 19, 2016

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...

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
food2
ambience2
service3
value2

Our dinner was both disappointing in qua ...

Dined on May 19, 2016

Our dinner was both disappointing in quality and expensive. We would not go to this restaurant again. Service was fine and little inattentive when the crowd grew before the opera.

food2
ambience2
service1
value1

Took us 1 hour to receive our food ...

Dined on May 15, 2016

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

food2
ambience2
service1
value1

Convenient when you attend the opera. F ...

Dined on May 15, 2016

Convenient when you attend the opera. Food is mediocre, and the service is worse.

food3
ambience4
service4
value3

Well, ... In the past it's been quite g ...

Dined on May 12, 2016

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."

food5
ambience3
service1
value4

Prelude is a restaurant contained within ...

Dined on May 12, 2016

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.

Tags: fit for foodies
food4
ambience4
service3
value3

Food much improved over that of previous years.

Dined on May 12, 2016

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.)

food4
ambience5
service5
value4

Ideal place to eat before a performance at McCaw.

Dined on May 8, 2016

Good food, elegant but accessible feel and the staff are keenly aware of time constraints.

Tags: great for brunch, special occasion, great for lunch
food3
ambience3
service2
value1

Pre-opera meal was late and expensive.

Dined on May 8, 2016

Pre-opera meal was very late in service and very expensive for entiree-only meal.

food1
ambience5
service2
value2

I am sorry to say it was very disappoint ...

Dined on May 8, 2016

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.

food1
ambience3
service3
value1

the kitchen had a major meltdown on opera night.

Dined on May 8, 2016

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.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Perfect for pre-event light supper

Dined on May 8, 2016

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.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion
food4
ambience3
service4
value3

New Chef - Better Food

vip
Dined on April 24, 2016

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.

food4
ambience4
service3
value4

Creative Menu

Dined on April 24, 2016

Always look forward to what interesting items they will have on the menu. Would however encourage attention to prompt service from the kitchen. There is only so much the staff can do to cover for late delivery of the meal to the table.

Tags: kid-friendly, fit for foodies, notable wine list
food1
ambience3
service1
value1

slow SLOW service, food only 50% ok

Dined on April 23, 2016

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.

food2
ambience2
service1
value1

Convenient, poor service and disappointing food

Dined on April 23, 2016

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.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Ballet

Dined on April 23, 2016

As always dinner at the Prelude before a performance was wonderful. It is so nice to have a fine dining restaurant in the same facility . We will keep coming back.

food3
ambience3
service4
value2

I was disappointed in the non-alcoholic ...

Dined on April 18, 2016

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.

food4
ambience4
service4
value3

Great food, great waitress, bad manager, high bill

Dined on April 18, 2016

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.

Tags: special occasion
food2
ambience3
service5
value1

Great Service but ...

Dined on April 18, 2016

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.

food5
ambience4
service5
value4

A good era at Prelude.

vip
Dined on April 17, 2016

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.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
food4
ambience3
service4
value4

Pre-performance lunch

Dined on April 16, 2016

Prelude is perfect for lunch before a ballet matinee. The reservation was great. We were shown to a table immediately, which meant we had time to enjoy the meal before the performance.

Tags: great for lunch
food2
ambience4
service2
value2

Prelude McCaw Hall

Dined on April 16, 2016

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.

food4
ambience4
service5
value4

Very pleasant dinner prior to the ballet

Dined on April 16, 2016

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.

Tags: kid-friendly, good for groups
food2
ambience2
service2
value1

My wife's meal, beef pot roast was serv ...

Dined on April 16, 2016

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.

food3
ambience3
service4
value3

Fine for quick lunch

Dined on March 27, 2016

Nice attentive wait staff. Ice tea served in plastic bottles. Food adequate for lunch before a production. Find another place for dinner.

food3
ambience4
service3
value3

Hit or Miss?

Dined on March 27, 2016

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.

food4
ambience4
service5
value4

Relased, delicious dining before McCaw Hall events

Dined on March 20, 2016

I always enjoy Prelude and invariably dine here before events at McCaw Hall. Food and service are both great and there is never any stress about getting to the show on time. Definitely recommend!

food5
ambience3
service5
value3

Perfect for pre ballet

Dined on March 20, 2016

Great food right in McCaw hall. Makes it easy to enjoy your meal and get to your seat in time

Tags: fit for foodies
food2
ambience4
service2
value2

The menu seems to be designed for a ladi ...

Dined on March 19, 2016

The menu seems to be designed for a ladies tea party. How about at least one item suitable for men? Some simple dishes rather than using "Chef's language" would also be helpful rather than language known only to gourmet cooks.

Tags: fit for foodies
food4
ambience4
service4
value3

Nice meal, very convenient for the Opera

Dined on March 12, 2016

Our food was good, our server very attentive. Although he did not know that sable fish and black cod are the same fish (I wanted to confirm that, but he had no idea). We ordered the cheese plate and someone besides our server plunked it down without telling us what the selections were. Our waiter, when asked, sort of knew what they were, but not all of them. The fish was nicely prepared with a delicious mushroom side dish. We had a wonderful chocolate cake dessert, good decaf with a refill.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Improved Service

Dined on March 10, 2016

The prelude is hard to beat when attending the opera. It is convenient and the ambience is fairly good. We used this restaurant while attending the opera Mary Stewart. The service this time was super. The waitress was friendly, efficient, kind and helpful. This time we ordered the Sable Fish entrée and it was super. It was really hot and nicely presented. The quality and taste were top notch. One big improvement is you can now order a cocktail in addition to wine. That's a big improvement. We were pleasantly surprised with overall service and quality of food. Hopefully, the Prelude will continue to excel.

food2
ambience1
service2
value1

Uncustomizable

Dined on March 10, 2016

This place should really be called a cafe. They can't even customize how well your steak is cooked. I'm not paying good money for steak that is not the way I want it. The manager explained to me that the steaks were cooked somewhere else then "vacuum sealed" and served to us. The food is completely overpriced for what it is. Our waitress went back and forth between being nice and being incredibly rude. It was hard to know what you were going to get each time she came back. The only reason I am marking the service as fair instead of poor is because the manager did come and talk to me when I was annoyed that nothing could be customized. Will never be going back to this "restaurant" again.

food2
ambience2
service2
value2

Same old same old

vip
Dined on March 6, 2016

I've learned only to get appetizers, salads (ask for dressing on the side, if you don't want it overdressed), or soups here and you'll be fine, otherwise you could be in for a surprise. This time it wasn't so much my table, but the women next to us who had been seated longer than we and were being apologized to for their order being forgotten. They were offered wine, neither of them were drinking. Why offer wine to guests not even drinking alcohol? When their meal finally came, of course one of them wasn't right. Goodness, if it's not my table, it's having to observe another table in angst over the bad service and food... As for us, no bread brought to the table and the wait for a coffee refill and the bill was much longer than it should have been. I don't get why McCaw Hall doesn't have enough pride to offer food and service that is worthy of the performances in the venue, the price of the tickets, and of course the price of the food? This is definitely not the place to go if you want a good meal and service to match the performance you'll be seeing. Unless you can't, go somewhere near the center and walk to McCaw Hall for the performance.

food5
ambience3
service3
value3

TOO NOISY . POOR SEATING. TOO CLOSE T ...

Dined on March 6, 2016

TOO NOISY . POOR SEATING. TOO CLOSE TO THE KITCHEN. THEY WOULD NOT CHANGE AS I DID NOT MKAKE MY RESERVATION THROUGH PRELUDE. I DID REQUEST A CHANGE TWO TIMES THAT EVENING . THE WAITRESS ALSO WAS UNFRIENDLY.

Tags: special occasion, notable wine list
food1
ambience5
service5
value3

Tasty, convienent, and pleasant

Dined on March 6, 2016

When you have season tickets to the Seattle Opera at McCaw Hall, the Prelude is the perfect place to eat before the performance. And you can preorder your intermission snack and sit at the same table and enjoy the break before reseating and enjoying the rest of the great performances.

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