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 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.
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, our team is experienced and ready to handle the details for you.
Banquet, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Prelude at McCaw Hall Ratings and Reviews
We had the ham and cheese croissant: it arrived about a minute after we ordered; it had been prepared in advance and the croissant was flat and everything dried out around the edges. Steam table food! The accompanying tomato salad was likewise old. The raspberry napoleon dessert was excellent. The service was very good.
We decided to eat at Prelude for an anniversary treat prior to the ballet. The service was competent but not attentive. All the food presentations were very nice, but the main courses seemed to have come from a warming station to a dressed up plate. The steak was dry and flavorless.
We have always enjoyed the convenience of Prelude when attending the opera or ballet. The recent experience was not as satisfying based on the unusually slow service. They may have been understaffed for the evening. The waiter also appeared to be very inexperienced in terms of dealing with multiple tables.
The Prelude at McCaw Hall has regularly been our go-to restaurant before a ballet performance. The food is consistently good, the venue is quiet for conversations, and the ambiance is friendly. In past visits our service has been outstanding--unfortunately that was not the case during our visit this weekend. The host seated us snugly between two very close tables even though there was ample open seating throughout. The waiter didn't see us so we waited an inordinate amount of time before he inquired about ordering. When an assistant server finally brought the beverages, only one glass of wine was brought. We waited nearly ten minutes before being able to flag down our server to bring the other glass. We finished our glass of wine and after another 20 minutes our dinner had not arrived. The server forgot to place our order. I will give Prelude another try but if the service is as bad as our recent visit it will be our last.
Our last two visits to Prelude as season subscribers to PNB were a service disaster. The wait staff was untrained and they were serving too many tables. It's surprising since the place has been in operation since McCaw Hall was built. Running the place smoothly for diners for pre-ballet, opera, etc. should be rote by now.
Food is not bad, but not great either. Menu is somewhat limited. Food seems to be mostly pre-prepared which lends to a bit of an assembly line feel to the experience. Service was ok. Wait staff delivered food promptly, but then we were pretty much abandoned. The room has very high ceilings and and the lighting felt like being in one of those eco-conscious apartment building hallways, dim and gray.
I appreciated the hostess making it possible for us to be seated a bit earlier than our reservation since it made for a more relaxed experience for making the curtain. Our server, Anthony, was wonderful. He was attentive without hovering and friendly. The food was good. The chicken was a tad on the dry side but my companion's pork was reportedly excellent. We enjoyed the convenience as well as the experience.
Service was good this time, for a nice change. The food gets more mediocre everytime. I had a spinach and strawberry salad. The spinach was past prime, with some old wilted bits in it. The ricotta was bland and there was no taste of a dressing on the salad. Two strawberries, cut up, barely ripe.
We go here because of the convenience when we attend the opera, but, really, I'm about done. I think I'd rather just eat at home, or at a nearby restaurant. Prelude just continues to dissappoint.
I've been to Prelude many times, and have usually been very pleased with the entrees. This time, however, although the presentation of the food was lovely (I had the trout with artichoke hearts and fingerling potatoes), it was not warm. The trout was, however, nicely cooked. I would have sent it back to be warmed a bit, but our server was quite busy at other tables.!! Also, the fingerling potatoes were mush. I would have preferred that they had not been squished to fit a mold. (At least, that's what I think was done for the sake of the look of the presentation!)
My daughter & I were going to see the Opera - Daddy/Daughter date. This is a special upscale place to go if you make reservations early enough. I believe they are only open on days when there are events at McCaw Hall.
The service was very good. We had the Trout & Polenta dishes. If they needed to make a substitution they explained why and what they were substituting. You can also prepay for intermission fare and they boxed what my daughter didn't finish at dinner for us to pickup at intermission.
Outstanding preface (not to call it a prelude!) to a fabulous evening at the Opera. Made the evening very relaxed from minute one. Welcoming Maître D', attentive waiter and support staff, fast delivery, creative and tasty food (always different from one time to the next -- having dinner at Prelude is one of our preferred dining choices when attending the Opera or PNB). Everything is perfect.
Very much a three star restaurant in our book.
Prelude is a good restaurant for those attending events at McCaw Hall. I doubt that we would chose it if not for the convenience of eating so close to the performance hall. This time our food was excellent and the service very good. Being able to pre-order a dessert for intermission is a plus.
This is my second time at prelude, and it's a similar experience to the last time. It's hit or miss. When it hits, it's quite good. We really enjoyed the beet root and vodka cured salmon, and the braised radicchio salad. But, the misses are so bad. The belgian waffle benedict was so bad that my son said it's the worst thing he ever ate. He had 2 bites and lost his appetite. They were gracious about taking it off the menu, but it was really bad. I tried it myself. I think they're trying to be too fancy without really considering how the flavors come together (or don't). We tried the white gazpacho, and it was just weird. Anyway, I still like this place for ambiance and convenience, but you just don't know what you get.
We have eaten here many times, but I especially liked our last meal. The heirloom tomato salad was amazing! The server was knowledgeable and extremely helpful. If you want to eat before the Opera or at intermission, I would recommend this! (Intermission actually works - you order ahead and it's waiting for you!).
Poor experience unfortunately. Only one Soup choice and it was decent. No bread arrived until after I requested it and it came after the food. No Beef option at all. The Salmon was the only dish that seemed appealing based on the menu and as you would expect, it was sold out by the time my date and I arrived (6:30pm). I ended up getting the chicken, which was cold and skin on. Painful to eat the small tasteless portions we had after waiting so long. On top of that it was over $100 for the two of us (included one non-alcohol Lemonade and one beer).
Our server didn't know much and not much experience but I still tipped him out about 20% seeing as it wasn't his fault. Though my date of course wanted me to stiff him. Only my memory of waiting tables in college got some dollars to that poor service attendant.
I will definitely not be going back for at least a year.
It used to be pretty good, but last two times I was surprised how bad it was. Do they have a different chef now? No flavor and meat was tough both times. I don't know if I want to go back there any more. I had to season S&P for my main course and I noticed people next to us were doing the same thing!
This survey site does not acknowledge attendance at the ballet or opera as a reason to visit this restaurant. That is what takes me to Prelude each time.
The timeliness of the service was appreciated. Allowed for non-rushed meal and yet time to get into the auditorium.
Once again, I chose convenience over deliciousness. Three diners going to the ballet and enjoying each other's company but the two of us who had the vegetarian entree -- polenta, pesto, goat cheese, etc. --got the pretty but tasteless plate. We found ourselves trying to salt it into SOME kind of palatability, but the salt shaker could not contain enough salt to give this any oomph. Wine by the glass pretty expensive as usual, and the server, once given the credit cards in plenty of time could not seem to get back to the table before making us nearly miss the curtain! This happens frequently, and management needs to figure out how to avoid those white-knuckle dining experiences. Season the vegetarian entrees! Help the servers check out faster!
We have had dinner at Prelude several times over the past several years, before performances at the Ballet and Opera. The dinner before the April 20th Ballet performance was not up to the level of previous dinners there. That night seemed short on staff, led to us waiting a while before our main dishes arrived. One of the main dishes seemed just out of the micro-wave, resulting in a rubbery look and feel. Even though we arrived for our reservation at 6 pm, our main dishes did not arrive until after 7 pm, and we pushed to make the Ballet on time. Hopefully, some aspects of that evening may be remedied.
Service was less than on previous visits. We were trying to make the pre-performance talk. Service was slow, had to ask for rolls, returned the wine but it was not taken off the bill. They are usually prompt making it easy to make the talk but not this time.
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