Benu
Benu

Benu

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.benusf.com/
  • Phone: 4156854860x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 9:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: Corey Lee
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Beer, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Please contact us for further information.
  • Private Party Facilities: Benu offers a customized private dining experience for parties of all sizes. Reservations can be made up to a year in advance for anytime. Please contact us for more details.
  • Private Party Contact: Kathryn Douglass 4156854860x117

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Howard
  • Parking: Valet
  • Parking Details: Valet parking is available at the restaurant for $15.
A word from Benu
Benu is a small restaurant housed in a historic building in SOMA. We aim to distill fine dining down to the elements we find most important: precise and thoughtful preparation, exceptional products and caring service. We offer only our tasting menu, which is globally inspired, personal and comprised of the best products we can find. The menu is currently $195 per person.


Please note that in order to provide you with the best dining experience, we require advance notice for any guests with dietary restrictions or allergies. We may not be able to accommodate dietary restrictions communicated to us upon your arrival. Please indicate all allergies and dietary restrictions when making your reservation.


Young guests are welcome to join us for dinner providing that they will enjoy the full tasting menu.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
  • Diners' Choice WinnerContemporary American
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSpecial Occasion
Benu reviews from OpenTable diners
101 reviews since April 25, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.6
    Service4.8
  • Ambiance4.1
    Noise LevelQuiet
96% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (81)fit for foodies (79)romantic (48)notable wine list (48)neighborhood gem (12)hot spot (9)vibrant bar scene (3)good for groups (2)great for outdoor dining (1)kid-friendly (1)great for lunch (1)scenic view (1)Show More
  • Excellence in dining
    HMLMaynardVIP
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    A top must try and then to return again and again. All around excellent food, service, ambiance!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Breathtaking ... Every Time!
    Happy
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    I'm not one for writing reviews but this is an exception I must make. My wife and I havce been going to Benu for anniversaries and birthdays for the last 4 or 5 years and it has always met or exceeded our expectations. Hard to do when already starting at such a high point. While not cheap, you get your money's worth and then some. First the food is out of this world ... mixture of surprising flavors and exquisite presentation. The sommelier is not only incredibly knowledgeable but able to convey exactly what to look for ... makes you want to write a book of his narratives. The wait staff is highly professional yet so approachable and freindly you want to take them home. In short, they somehow made us feel like we were the only ones there.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Benu birthday to remember
    Donna
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    I can't say enough good things about our tasting menu. They emailed beforehand to ask about any dietary restrictions, and when I mentioned my boyfriend's aversion to eggs, they customized 2 of the dishes to remove the egg for him. He was thrilled. He enjoyed the wine pairing: a sampling of wine, beer, sake and dessert wine. An interesting selection that paired well with the various courses. There was such complexity of flavor. Favorites included the beggar's purse and the xiao long bao. Loved the modern twist on many asian ingredients. Service was seamless and top notch. Decor and place settings were sleek and minimalist. The birthday music box with hidden dessert was a sweet touch. It was a fun and special evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food but not memorable
    yg83
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    After 20 courses some of us left hungry. My only other comment is about wine pairings. We were always able to split a wine pairing for 2 when enjoying the tasting menu (saison, meadowood, etc). Benu told us we have to drink from the same glass if we want to split it. We had to order full pairing for each person. Food courses were really tiny, and may be were not timed very well, because we got buzzed rather quickly. Overall, Benu cant come close to Saison. I doubt I will pay another visit there soon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent Michelin restaurant
    Cccc
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    This my first time writing review for Michelin restaurant. Benu is the best two star Michelin I have ever had. For foods, I don't focus heavily on service,, environments etc. their food is significant! Tasting menu has 18 courses and bedsides that, they have 4 additionals for you and are free. Food quality, materials that they use and tastes are fantastic. Here a small tip for everyone, try get there before everyone come and your courses would be served in a really fast way and you won't wait so long.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, great for lunch, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good, not great food
    NorwegianDan
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    We had high expectations to this two star micelin restaurant with good reviews. The food is well presented, the staff is knowledgeable, but do not talk too much, but are available for questions. We did not choose the beverage menu on the side, but asked for a wine that would accompany most of the dishes well, and got a great wine! The total amount of food was well chosen. However, we were somewhat disappointed in the taste of the food. In our opinion it could have done well with more seasoning, and some of the dishes were not to our liking (but taste differs ofcourse).
    Special Features:
    special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Très grande déception !
    Frenchy
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    Nous sommes Français et nous avons l'habitude de fréquenter de très bons restaurants au cours de nos voyages. Avec 2 étoiles au guide Michelin, nous étions surs de découvrir un chef et une cuisine de grande qualité. Bien au contraire, nous avons dégusté des plats techniquement très bien exécutés, très bien présentés, mais quasiment sans saveur. Les produits nobles annoncés ne se reconnaissaient pas. Tout était noyé dans des associations d’ingrédients, pas toujours bien assaisonnés, qui ne mettaient pas du tout en valeur le produit. En bref, il manquait le principal à savoir le plaisir du gout . A fuir pour les amateurs de véritable cuisine gastronomique, **Michelin usurpées Le vin conseillé et le service étaient par contre excellent.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Amazing tasting menu
    JFLR
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    Every dish has its own particular experience, flavours, textures, ingredients... amazing food and excelent friendly service. Cool!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • NeivnsVIP
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Always excellent. This is a restaurant that I would not mind going again and again.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Birthday Celebration
    KatrynaVIP
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    Had an excellent dinner. Loved being able to try so many delicious courses. (Jellyfish wrapped shrimp, lobster xiao long bao, and desserts were my faves.) Service by all staff was great. Personalized birthday touches for my boyfriend were appreciated.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • a bit precious...
    OpenTable Diner Since 1999VIP
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    food was very good, unique and interesting. the servers introductions of each course were often spoken without much energy or clarity, and we often had to ask server to repeat--and the repetition was identical, that is, without energy or interest or clarity. everything is subdued, not much welcoming positive energy, appears to be by design...
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • An experience for the foodist
    love2dine
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    I flew my gf up here to dine for her birthday dinner and it was wonderful. The 18 course tasting menu showcases an eclectic mix of asian fusion small bites. The bag of treasures was my favorite tho' the tofu/sunflower not so much. This is why its a tasting menu! I am not from SF but so far the restaurant located in the Finance District was like a diamond in the ruff. Cute but not warm upon entering - Lots of greys - modern and nice. The glassware was beautiful and the dining experience is something that would bring me back again for sure. My seat was facing the hallway and so my view of people walking in and out of the restroom the entire night wasn't the greatest.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Jayvance
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    I think the restaurant is good but certainly not excellent. No amuse bouche,not one, not good. Most courses although their were many were less than a mouthful. The salmon and the steak were overly sweet. My wife and I did enjoy a few dishes that were beyond fabulous. (The beggar's purse and jellyfish-wrapped shrimp with caviar!) The beverage pairing because some courses were paired with beer is slightly overpriced. People who wrote that Benu has surpassed French Laundry are truly delusional.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • JohnC
    JohnC
    Dined on 7/4/2014
    Benu, was a great disappointment. After all the accolades and build up this was not even a moderately pleasent meal. The food ranged from blandly pleasant to barely edible. Mushy, bland dull - with so many courses you would expect at least one to be exceptional or even tasty but nothing even rated tasty. wW were half way through and all we could wait for was it to be over. the service was pleasent but awkward as though this was the first night serving this menu. not a particularily good wine list especially for California. This was a very expensive bomb. So disappointing after the great nights at Campton Place and Acquerello both of which were outstanding at half the cost.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food and service
    Sassy
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    Great place to dine. We are a couple and it was a great place to go. The food is small plates and it is really tasty and interesting.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Better than the French Laundry
    willtravelforfoodVIP
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    We came when this first opened and it was pretty good. It's gotten even better since then. We used to think the French Laundry was untouchable but the dinner we had the other night was spectacular.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Mind-blowing, but for a price
    danteum
    Dined on 6/25/2014
    The tasting menu at Benu was nothing short of spectacular, and the service matched. Home chefs will have a great time trying to figure out what's in each bite-sized course and how they made it. It is crazy expensive, so probably best as a super special occasion spot. We entertained clients there, and they were very pleased.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    Excellent and innovative. Twists on traditional dishes. Attentive and informed staff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great experience.
    DH14VIP
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    Great food, an incredible attention to detail, and an attentive and welcoming staff makes Benu an excellent choice for high quality fine dining.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Fantastic... as always
    DrewPaikVIP
    Dined on 6/19/2014
    Eaten here a number of times, but this was the first visit in over a year. Food is phenomenal, and the service is great. Notable change from the past are that the tasting menu is required ($195/person), but that was always the best option anyway. It's a very expensive meal, but also very filling.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A REASON TO LIVE IN OR VISIT SF
    SingingBlade
    Dined on 6/19/2014
    No bucket list is complete without a dinner at BENU. This is clearly a special occasion restaurant. It is extravagant and expensive but worth saving up for- no question. Each of the 18 course tasting menu dishes is carefully orchestrated, and moves you from flavor to flavor, each an incredible creation, presented beautifully. Some of the dishes are specially designed for the course presentations. Each course is enough to taste the amazing mix of flavors, but small enough so you have room for each, even for the exquisite, dimunitive chocolate course. The service is incredible and the descriptions of the courses preparations and the origins of the ingredients are beautifully and succinctly presented. The wine list/pairings are also fantastic.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Foodgasm in every bite.
    SandeeliciousVIP
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    Every bite was different and delicious. We were told that every visit will be a different menu - which means we will return. Staff was so attentive we actually got tired of saying thank you. We never had to fill our water. Timing of each dish was perfect. We weren't left waiting too long. A minus would be $15 valet and $5 coffee. For the price of dinner valet & coffee should be complimentary. Can't wait for our return!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of the best!
    Winofoodie
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    18 course meal, amazing wine list, 2 star rated Michelin, zen-like atmosphere. I loved everything except for the last dessert which tasted really weird. But 17/18 were awesome!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Add Benu to your SF "bucket list"
    KenBVIP
    Dined on 6/11/2014
    I've been several times. It's gotten better. Less pretentious which makes for a better experience. The food is fabulous. And that's an understatement. Warm welcome and effecient and freindly service. Very helpful and knowledgeable. Highly recommend
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • bailydog2
    Dined on 6/5/2014
    Interesting, but most of the food was not my cup of tea.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Fantastic flavour worth a visit
    dinalot
    Dined on 6/4/2014
    Had an amazing dinner all the flavours were really spot on interesting and balanced. The service was spot on but the portion were to small even after 13 or so courses we were still hungry.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Simply fantastic
    InternationalDiner
    Dined on 5/31/2014
    Having eaten at The French Laundry just days earlier, Benu simply blew that out of the water in terms of taste, inspired creativity, presentation, service and the overall experience. Truly excellent- I would return here rather than to TFL.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A very special restaurant
    turbo83VIP
    Dined on 5/31/2014
    Perfect orchestration of the 18 course menu. Highest quality in the ingredients, construction and presentation of the courses. The taste is delicate and refined. The beverage pairing by Yoon Ha, with wine, red rice ale, sake, sour ale etc. was spot on. A great experience of food and beverage pairing.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 5/28/2014
    Would be great if waiters proactively told more about dishes - the food was really interesting, but we missed some of that until we realised we had to ask waiters to tell us more about the food. Usually they do so without promoting. Perfect otherwise
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 5/20/2014
    I think it is Chinese fusion style. Food is special but it is overpricing.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The best in SF
    JimmyJamVIP
    Dined on 5/14/2014
    If you are looking for perfectly executed, daring pan-asian cuisine, with world-class service, I highly recommend Benu. Several dishes offer an Asian theme (think Korean), but the flavors are subtle enough that they won't take too much of the attention. Daring combinations, such as peanut, celery and anchovy, expanded my culinary palette. The xiao ling bao was to die for. 20 courses is the perfect amount. Highly recommend.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Remarkable
    SFCAVIP
    Dined on 5/14/2014
    Not everything on the 18 course tasting menu satisfied me co9mpletelyl, but with that said it was still a worthwhile dinner. It did not seem like two hours had passed when I left the restaurant. The food was presented in a beautiful manner and was served quickly between courses. The room has a very nice Japanese modern esthetic. I will do it again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Let Down
    Makansutra
    Dined on 5/13/2014
    As an Asian, I would say that the attempt here at Asian fusion cuisine was rather disappointing after all the hype I received. For a start, there are just too many courses and inevitably, flavours will clash rather than complement. I would have much preferred 8-9 courses which would deliver a much more memorable and pleasant experience. Secondly, the ingredients in the food served is nothing fantastic for somewhere charging over $200 for a meal; anchovies and peanuts are everyday staples where I come from as was the prawn crackers. Wish I hadn't cancelled my reservations at Quince....
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Well worth both stars
    HauteSaveur
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    This was a fantastic place to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. Beautiful bites, romantic designs, and even inventive service. Almost each course came with a different waiter, as if they were each specialists in the particular course. The sommelier was our favorite of course, master of a deep wine list. We were treated like royals to the very end, when not one but two (additional) personalized deserts were brought in playful surprise boxes. Really ended things on a joyful note. No two-star comes cheap, but for a special occasion and a great experience, this house keeps San Francisco ahead of the game. P.s. Mmmmmm beggar's purse
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing food!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    One of the best meals I've ever had and they were extremely accomodating for vegans, gluten-free - everything was top notch!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Benu continues to delight
    waisekVIP
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    My husband and I have been to Benu several times and Corey hasn't disappoint us or our guests. Our recent meal was spectacular! we loved the spring porridge with sea urchin and brown rice vinegar, and the beef braised in pear juice with oyster plants. And the dessert of fresh and dried yuba, almond and white chocolate was divine! General Manager, Peter, Dining Room and Beverage Manager, Yoon and our server, Min were the epitome of impeccable service. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and will be back again, hopefully soon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious | Uncomfortable seating
    SweetSavory
    Dined on 5/9/2014
    The food was divine, the service and presentation perfect and staff knowledgeable and friendly. Unfortunately, the ambience was a bit too utilitarian and the seating was cramped and uncomfortable (and I'm petite) - I was ready to go by the 5th course with 13 more to go. I would loved to have savored my food in a more comfortable setting - but was uncomfortable and anxious to go.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Worth the wait!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 5/8/2014
    Fantastic, innovative menu fitting for a quite discerning clientele...we loved the personal attention, non pretentious attitude and creativity throughout thermite and wine lists. Such a special experience!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good dinner but not mind-blowing
    SomaFoodie
    Dined on 5/1/2014
    Given the Michelin star rating and yelp reviews, I was really expecting the meal to be mind-blowing. Sadly, the food was fine but for every dish that was good, another would be mediocre. The wine list was expansive and staff were very professional. We came here for my boyfriend's birthday and were seated right next to the door across from a huge group. Benu printed happy birthday on the menu and that was great, but ambience wasn't romantic or soft given the door and the group. It was fine but just disappointing.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Unique and phenomenal food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 4/29/2014
    The dishes were beautiful, and utterly unique at this level of fine dining--it's Asian instead of French or Italian. A full 20 courses, many of them single-bite. The service was excellent of course; the sommelier even took the time to tell me some interesting details about the Champagne I had brought in. This place deserves its stars, but in the interest of balance, I should point out a few of the downsides: 1) A bit too much food, and you just can't turn anything away. 2) Wine prices are very high, up to 3x retail. If you're not doing the beverage pairing, the $40 corkage is completely worth it. 3) Service is not included; I'd prefer the price to just be higher. Total price tag was $820 for two people (food + my wine + corkage + tip).
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.