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, 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
I had dinner at Prelude before the opera ...
I had dinner at Prelude before the opera. I had the spinach ravioli with summer vegetables in a light parmesan cream sauce with a honey lavender panna cotta with berries. The food was excellent and not too heavy, just right before a performance. I drank a glass of a very good prosecco with the food.
Prelude has a daunting task of feeding a ...
Prelude has a daunting task of feeding a large group of people very quickly. This presents obvious limitations to the menu and the service. Check the menu ahead of time to make sure there is something that appeals to you.
We found some of the food to be disappointing. The mushroom tart was a small quiche without many mushrooms. The chocolate dessert had a boring crust. The filet was served very rare, and when we requested that it be cooked a little more, we were informed that they could microwave it, but that would ruin the special way it had been prepared.
The location can't be beat if you are going to a show in McCaw Hall, but the food isn't good enough for the price. If you can walk a couple of blocks, there are many preferable restaurants.
Prelude is convenient, certainly, for op ...
Prelude is convenient, certainly, for opera-going, but I doubt there would be reason to eat there if one were not going to a show. The food is decent in view of the high prices, but perhaps only decent. The service is efficient, maybe too much so, although in fairness it bears recognizing that the restaurant needs to move theater-goers in and out quickly because of 7:30 curtains. The ambiance reflects the overall design of McCaw Hall. As a tall guy, however, I find the seating cramped. Overall, Prelude is more than meh, and I will go back in the future, but only I attend the opera.
Again I enjoyed a meal in your restauran ...
Again I enjoyed a meal in your restaurant. The food is creative and changing frequently. The service very good, there is no rush and it's wonderful to continue the evening by going to the opera.
Thank You for being right there.
Excellent staff, limited menu more like ...
Excellent staff, limited menu more like expensive small plates for entrees,
portion size small. Drink menu good but expensive. Pasta dish was no better than frozen at home. Fresh sea food non existent.
But it saves parking twice for the opera which is always worth every penny!
As usual, the experience was an excelle ...
As usual, the experience was an excellent one. We were more than a half hour late because of detours and delayed ferry crossing, but we were accommodated anyway. Good service. Helpful and friendly people. Noise level a bit high.
We were late due to gridlocked traffic a ...
We were late due to gridlocked traffic and the staff was more than understanding. We called and they went way beyond what anyone would expect to facilitate our meal. We had appetizers and salad before the opera began and our entree at intermission. The service was prompt, knowledgeable about dietary issues and our experience was just terrific and made up for the incredibly bad traffic getting there. We would recommend Prelude to anyone attending events at the Opera House or the theaters nearby. Great place!
A traffic accident had blocked Mercer an ...
A traffic accident had blocked Mercer and we sheepishly arrived 1/2 hour late for our reservation. Staff whirled into work and had a table for us in moments - 45 minutes before curtain time - and squeezed us into the serving queue, pleasantly recreating the lovely evening we thought was lost. Frantic, good-humored efficiency and the arrival of a lovely wine set the stage for truly EXCELLENT tenderloin. Dessert and coffee awaited us at the same table during intermission. Our thanks to a wonderful staff matched nicely with wonderful entrees!
Very overpriced. The only reason I go th ...
Very overpriced. The only reason I go there is because my friend who comes to the opera with me is elderly and cannot walk to any place else. The food is fine, just way too expensive--a salad, a soup, a glass of white wine and the bill is $50.00? I cannot recommend it to others.
Reservations are certainly recommended, ...
Reservations are certainly recommended, as there will be large crowds prior to Seattle Opera performances. The seating is immediate, and the attention from wait-staff comes within minutes. Staff are very attentive and responsive with notable "joie" (joy) of service. The wine list is not exhaustive, but covers all budget spectra. Meal selections are well explained in the menu and by staff, and are
accompanied by wine suggestions. The food is beautifully prepared and served in impressive time-urgent promptness. And the meal is delicious!
I will attend again soon, and I would highly recommend "Prelude" to all aficionados of fine dining and opera.
This was our first opportunity to dine a ...
This was our first opportunity to dine at Prelude. It was also our first attendance of an opera performance in Seattle in at least 7-10 years, or before the renovation of the existing Opera House. (In late June 2016, we moved back to Puyallup from Longview, TX.) We decided to dine at Prelude since we have a long travel time from Puyallup. We always like to arrive early for concerts so we can take advantage of pre-concert talks and other events. I made reservations for an early (5:15PM) seating not knowing how long our travel time would be. As it worked out, we arrived with time to spare. This allowed us to explore the new (for us) opera house. Our dining experience was superb from seating to final course. Our food choices were prepared to perfection. The host and wait-person made the experience great. Based on our first experience at Prelude, I can assure you we will return whenever we are attending an event at McCaw Hall that requires our early arrival.
This, once again, was a really nice way ...
This, once again, was a really nice way to start an evening at the opera. The restaurant has a menu that allows for a variety of styles of eating ( full meal, appetizer-soup,..). The convenience of having a place to eat at the opera makes the evening so relaxing. We always eat here before the opera or ballet, but it is important to make reservations because lots of folks agree with us.
The very nice food was overshadowed by t ...
The very nice food was overshadowed by the very poor service. Our waiter told us it was his first night at Prelude, and maybe his first night ever as a waiter. He got our orders wrong, and the service was very slow. We never got a basket of bread, although I believe it was complementary and should have been served. The menu is limited and the prices are quite high. Dinner before the opera was the reason for our visit. I have dined here before, and had a better experience. Would go again if attending an event at McCaw Hall.
Prelude is a decent option for eating be ...
Prelude is a decent option for eating before an event at McCaw Hall, though it would never occur to me to eat there otherwise. Back when the renovated opera house first opened, the restaurant (not yet named Prelude) was a great option for pre-show dining, because the food was fast, decent, and not expensive. A couple of iterations later, it is slower and costs a lot more, so not the go-to option it used to be. The menu is a little spotty--I had the terrific tuna tartare and pea soup, but my mother's tortellini and my dad's pork chop were only so-so. This was unfortunate particularly since those two were the most expensive dishes ordered (entrees as opposed to starters). Also, we asked for separate checks because there was a friend with us who wanted to pay for her own dinner, and although our waitress agreed to this it did not happen. She was overly attentive and a bit pushy when we arrived, but at the end of the meal when we would have liked to get this sorted out, she did not appear. So we used the OpenTable app to pay the bill via Apple Pay and took the itemized receipt with us in order to figure how who owed what. (Only later did I realize OpenTable had e-mailed this to me so it was unnecessary to take the printed one. I did get a call from the restaurant later looking for it, which of course I did not answer because we were in the opera by then.) The bottom line is this: it is absolutely great to have an in-house option for dining before a performance, but I think the execution could use a little work.
I actually did write and sent it to Maca ...
I actually did write and sent it to Macaw Hall to forward it to you. I was there with
a friend on August 6th prior to the opera. The main concern was the delay in getting our second course. It arrived just prior to seven with little time to enjoy before rushing to pay the bill, visit the washroom, find our seats and read the program. We arrived at 5.45 so had plenty of time.
The salad arrived in good time and was very good. However the bread was cold , dry and uninteresting. The Steel head was dry and at the price was not good value.
Our waiter was good, and did give us more wine which was appreciated. However, over all, we probably would not attend again
Thank you for the opportunity to give feedback.
While tasty and fresh, the presentation, ...
While tasty and fresh, the presentation, the plating for the appetizer and main dish was clunky and perfunctory. Our server and the restaurant manager were excellent and attentive. The creme brulee was more like a mix between sweet scrambled eggs and instant pudding. The details count.
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.
Please sign in to record your input. Thanks!
Report this review as inappropriate?
If you believe this review should be removed from OpenTable, please let us know and someone will investigate.