Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
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 our Executive Chef await your visit. Prelude features the freshest local produce, artisanal products, a large selection of Northwest wines by the glass and half bottle, and our 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.
Seattle, WA 98109
Hours of Operation:
Prelude opens 2.5 hours (Opera performances) and 2 hours (Ballet performances) prior show start.
4th & 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, or larger events our team is experienced and ready to handle the details for you. For larger parties please ask for our Catering Director and we will be happy to put you in contact with her.
Private Party Contact:
Susan Cuturilo: (206) 615-0254
Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Prelude at McCaw Hall Ratings and Reviews
Went to have meal before 2pm opera. Ordered some sort of pork/egg breakfast sandwich on English muffin. Took the top muffin off to eat open-faced. Could not cut through the pork/fried egg/English muffin half. Perhaps really dull knife but don't think that was all of the problem. Picked up sandwich to eat by hand and quite dismayed to discover that the fried egg was cold - not hot, not warm - cold. Brought that to waiter's attention who did not seem surprised or particularly concerned. He said that the eggs are "pre-made". Yuck. I opted to switch to the "Harvest Table". Blueberry muffin which looked good tasted poor - no real blueberry flavor. Fresh pineapple tasted old. Had some grapes that were out - perhaps they were for display only (??) as they were seeded, overripe, and sitting directly on the table. Had hopes for the yogurt parfait. However, it had too much of a red overly sweet sauce on it - the granola was swimming in it - and I have quite a sweet tooth! This was our first time at McCaw Hall and first time at this restaurant. Really, really wanted it to be okay as it is so close to the parking garage and theater (obviously). The waiter seemed to not like his job, resented that I did not care for a cold fried egg or, heaven forbid, needed a spoon to eat the yogurt. Sorry - it just did not seem to be very well run or managed. Would suggest management try some of the food after it has come out.
Prelude has definitely been better. However, it's the most convenient place to eat lunch or brunch before a performance at the opera - and since I come from west Sound, I don't have time to cruise the neighborhood looking for other restaurants that can get me in and out in time for the pre-performance lecture. That being said - my Sunday lunch was a brunch (it has not been in the past), with extremely limited choice for someone who is diabetic, as I am. I had no appetizer choices that weren't very sweet, and only one entree that I could safely order. When it came, it was essentially an Egg McMuffin with the cheese and ham slightly upgraded, and the english muffin so soggy I couldn't cut it with the knife provided. Along side was an undressed handful of frisee. I ate the contents, left the frisee and the muffin. Service was erratic, though our server seemed to be trying. I think she was tasked with too many tables. We'll go back, because we don't have much choice - but sure hope things improve. They were definitely better last season! Only reason I would recommend is convenience of location if attending events at McCaw Hall.
So convenient--and lots of fun-- to eat at a full service restaurant in the venue when seeing a performance at McCaw Hall. Arriving early makes parking much easier and it takes no time to get from the table to your seat. The menu rotates, so entrée choices are sometimes great and other times, not so much. The staff is generally great but can be hampered by so many tables to attend at once and a kitchen that can be slow, (despite the fact that everything is prepared in advance so far as I can tell). There is no real reason that service should take more than 60 minutes, but arrive 75-90 minutes before curtain time if you really want to relax and enjoy the experience, with the service and attention you deserve. Pre-order dessert and return to savor it during intermission.
Arrived dressed to the nines and in a great mood looking forward to a great evening at the exact time of our reservation before going to the opera to be greeted by a hostess had a bad attitude. "We are seating on time and there are people before you so you have to wait." I have no idea what that was supposed to mean, as we were there on time. Felt like she was trying to say it was somehow our fault we were being seated late. They have a little area where one can order a drink while waiting. There's no list or menu or anything to choose from, so I joked to the server, "so I just name the drink of my dreams?" He wasn't in any mood to play and rolled his eyes at me. So two unfriendly staff. We had to pay at the drink kiosk, couldn't have it moved to our table. Seated 15 minutes later and had to wait another 5 before anyone paid attention to us. This is a restaurant IN the opera hall. They serve the audience that is eating BEFORE GOING TO THE OPERA. This isn't some kind of surprise rush. Somewhat amusingly, the drink book didn't have any printed material inside it, but whatever. Mistakes happen. The waiter is friendly when he finally does show up and assures us there is time to get the steak. He comes back another 20 minutes later to tell us there is no more steak, but there is chicken. CURTAIN IS IN 15 MINUTES WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. The tart we ordered was ok I guess, but the whole experience was so sour I certainly can't rave about it. Didn't get dinner. Didn't offer anything off our drink/tart tab. The ambiance is that of a cafeteria full of bored old people. Go to Toulouse Petit or Ten Mercer.
We had reservations prior to the opera. Even though we only had an entree and dessert for 2 people, it took nearly 1 1/2 hours to complete the meal. The table next to us was just getting served 10minutes before the start of the opera, even though they had been there for 1 hour.
My wife and I ordered New York strip steak. It was clearly reheated and dry, not the quality I would expect for a $34 dollar steak. The root vegetables which came with the steak were good, but nothing special. The chocolate torte dessert was very good. I had a glass of wine, which was paired with the steak. It was a very good choice.
We used to come to the Prelude regularly, but stopped because of the quality. We tried to give it another chance, and were disappointed.
Disorganized and clueless. This venue is at the Opera House and exists primarily to serve McCaw Hall patrons. They are aware of the show start times and their reservations. Food should come out quickly and like clockwork. Guests should be greeted as soon as they are seated and orders should go in right away.
With a 6 pm reservation prior to a 7:30 show, that should be ample time to dine. Our hostess was clueless and it took her 10 minutes to seat us, then our waiter was AWOL and didn't come to our table at all for another 20 minutes. We ordered right away and waited another 45 minutes with no bread or anything except a bottle of wine. Then at 7:15 the waiter came and told us the kitchen had run out of everything except chicken (the only thing we DID NOT order). With only 15 minutes to eat we said fine but still that never came. At 7:25 we got up and left without ever having eaten!
Service was very slow. 90 minutes is a long time for a two course dinner. My first entree choice was unavailable, and my second choice arrived barely warm. I had to bolt the food and skip dessert and coffee to get to the performance on time. Overall, not a very pleasurable dining experience.
My wife and I have enjoyed dining at Prelude for years. The food has been good, and the venue makes it an excellent choice for opera goers.
But recent organizational changes have not worked out. Last Saturday the soup was cold, and then an hour after we were seated — when there was no time left for coffee before the opera — we were informed that they had run out of our beef entree! A chicken entree was substituted at no charge, but we blame it for the stomach troubles we suffered the next couple of days.
Before we eat there again, we would like to know they have fixed some things.
We were disappointed in the past, but decided to give Prelude another chance because the location couldn’t be more convenient for Opera night, and the menu online looked good.
The menu was uninspired, and not like the one online. Their special harvest table which could have saved the day, as a sort of tapas buffet, was not set up when we arrived, and the waitress didn’t know what would be on it. She said it wouldn’t be the same as the appetizers, but it looked like that to me from across the room later. I enjoyed the squash soup, but my companions didn’t like their chicken or pork entrees, and the squash chèvre tart was disappointing.
Desserts were good...but didn’t come until about an hour after we finished our main course. The tables near us complained about the service and left early, or were told they Ran Out of Entrees!!!!! And maybe they could come back at intermission to eat ???
Summary: The location could not make up for mediocre food and the delays caused by grotesque levels of understaffing both on the floor and in the kitchen. Never Again!
I can safely say that we will never go to this restaurant again. They were very short on staff it took forever for the waitress to come up to get our order. They couldn't do anything for our nutritional restrictions. We were waiting on bread for almost an hour. When the food came it was completely subpar. The restaurant is extremely expensive for the kind of food that you get. We were very very disappointed in our experience, the food, and the Wait staff. Considering that we always go to see the ballet at mccaw Hall, going to this restaurant was very convenient and we were celebrating a special occasion. We don't get very disappointed in restaurants often but this was a huge disappointment.
A disappointing first experience with the new dining format of "harvest buffet." Charcuterie selection included only one pate, nothing was labeled, and staff could not keep selections stocked once crowd arrived. Menu options more limited than before and chicken paella (ordered with no shrimp) had 2 clams, 2 mussels (both rather dry) and a couple of bites of chicken that had to be unearthed beneath a mound of pasty rice (we thought chicken was main feature of the dish?). Soup still excellent and table quietest we've ever had there, but service was the worst. All in all, not worth the $100 price tag. We'll be eating at home and sticking with cocktails only at opera & ballet.
Prelude is an excellent place to go when you are attending a performance at McCall Hall. But I would never choose to go to this restaurant if I wasn't going to McCall Hall. I feel it is overpriced and the food is not consistent, with some dishes being very good and others just mediocre. Often service is slow, not because of the staff working, but because they often don't have enough staff. I had corn chowder the other night. The flavor was ok--I could taste fresh corn--but it was very thin and watery, not at all like a chowder. I do like the new feature of having a small buffet as an add-on to a entree or by itself. Also like the new type of bread rolls.
Can't beat the convenience of this venue when attending a PNB performance (attended a weeknight evening). The food was above average (salad, pasta dish), and the chocolate mousse cake for dessert was excellent. wine list decent (tried a red blend from columbia, wa and a pinot noir from oregon). The wait staff was pleasant and attentive. It is a bit pricey, but it was a pleasant pre-performance meal.
I have been going to Prelude for many years prior to attending the ballet. The experience has steadily deteriorated primarily due to the poor service and the expensive, yet under par food. I've never complained previously, but this past Saturdays experience has provoked me to do so. We sat for 30 minutes before being approached by a staff member, who took our order, albeit who was not our server. We saw our server once who was too busy with other tables to attend to our requests or even take our order. While the new addition of a salad/starters table was nice, it was insufficiently attended to and therefore not stocked adequately to meet the demand. The salmon was second rate (clearly farm raised, dry, overcooked and tasteless) and did not meet the quality commensurate with the price. Very sad to see this venue deteriorate even further over the years.
Apparently they were short staffed, even though there was a Ballet that evening - which was why we decided to eat there. We sat for quite a while without seeing a server. Once he came, the food was delivered in a timely manner. I do not plan on eating there prior to an event again, I feel there are other restaurants close by I would prefer.
Do not eat at Prelude. Out of the four entree selections on the menu they were out of two of them. The eggs inexplicably came without toast but with cabbage and potato salad. The server spilled my friend's coffee and didn't help clean it up. It was 75% empty, I guess loads of folks know not to eat at Prelude before a performance at McCaw Hall. And it was slow! We sat down at 1:04 pm and didn't get any food until 1:40.
What a disappointment! Once again, Prelude has been revamped. The new furnishings and setting are nice, but he new menu is a disaster. I've eaten at Prelude several times in the past few years and have always found the food to be good, and the items on the menu usually matched my appetite. The new menu is much less flexible. No soup or salad options. Instead you can either order an entree for $15-$20 or opt for the "fall table" for $20. This table includes a couple of salads, a fruit plate, a couple of kinds of cheese, a meat terrine of some kind, and condiments. Fine if you are hungry, but a lousy option if you want something light. The person who was with me ordered an entree that arrived cold.
I don't like to complain but the meal and disconnect with the waitress was disappointing. I would never go back. The waitress didn't take the time to explain a wonderful looking buffet that we saw after our meals came. The beef in the pot pie seemed low quality and my friend said the stuffing in the crepe was not good.
I usually don't critique and don't want to become a complainer. Usually I am so astounded with the restaurants in Seattle. I vow to write 5 good critiques to this negative one.
The beef pot pie was inedible--chunks of gristle and gravy that was tasteless and just plain ugly. There were only a few small pieces of vegetables. It's very hard to tip a nice obliging waiter when the food is so expensive and so poorly cooked. I understand the difficult dynamics of trying to cook for such venues (this was an afternoon ballet performance) but I have had too many misses at the Prelude. Sorry.
Our recent trip to Prelude was disappointing and has me wondering if we will return in future. They have redone the space, which I can understand, although I preferred the little 2-person booths along the window to the airport-style tables they have now. Plus the bistro tables are gone, which were fun. And I did not like walking passed the "Harvest" buffet on my way to my table. These are personal preferences, certainly, but how unfortunate to discover that they have changed the menu, also. Gone is the charcuterie plate, and the soup option. All of the appetizers are gone, in favor of the buffet, which did not look impressive - orzo pasta salad, a couple of cheeses, some coleslaw and potato salad, one pate and some store-bought crackers. How disappointing to no longer be able to enjoy some appetizers alongside delicious wine before taking in a show at McCaw.
On top of that, our table was in no-man's-land so the servers didn't know who we belonged to and as a result did not talk with us for ages. And while our server was considerate from then on, he could not make our dinner warm. Our pasta dish arrived tepid at best. Overall a very poor showing for what used to be a fun pre-show treat. For those prices, we'd be better off going somewhere else. What a shame.
The food was not hot and not tasty. We had the sea bass. Our wait person , Brittany, was outstanding. She even mixed a drink that I was unfamiliar with which was excellent. The vanilla ice cream we had for dessert was good. The service was punctual and efficient.
We were celebrating my wife's birthday weekend starting with dinner, opera and a stay downtown. The reservation process was easy but that's where it ended. We arrived to find the staff unable to find our reservation. Once seated the wait staff was disorganized and unattentative. We had to ask for simple things such as ice and water. Twice another tables dinners were brought to us which we poelitely refused, although we had just started our salads. As we finished our meal, we requested coffee with cream and honey. We had to remind our server about the coffee and by the time he brought the honey, the coffee was cold. The selection for non alcoholic beverages was dismal.
The convenience of being at the venue for dinner was exciting but was not what it should or could have been. On our next visit, we will find another place for dinner.
This is a fabulous way to enjoy the opera especially when you have to take a ferry to get there and back. No worries about being late you can enjoy dessert during intermission atmosphere if good meals are great and I've always had wonderful service. Only downfall for me is I have to remember to make the reservation. Their new appetizers/salad table is a little pricy but excellent. I recommend it, and hope they keep it excellent way to try new tastes
We had eaten here many times prior to performances and have never had such a poor experience. We think the "Harvest Table" idea is a mistake. We had an incredibly inattentive waiter. The roast chicken entree which we both ordered was bland and lackluster. The paltry vegetables that accompanied it were not seasoned at all. The service was so slow that we NEVER were served our dessert. We will find some other option for the remainder of the opera season. We will not be dining here again.
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