Benu
Benu

Benu

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.benusf.com/
  • Phone: (415) 685-4860
  • 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
Benu reviews from OpenTable diners
94 reviews since July 30, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.5
    Service4.7
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
91% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (75)special occasion (70)romantic (44)notable wine list (44)hot spot (17)neighborhood gem (9)good for groups (7)kid-friendly (2)great for lunch (2)vibrant bar scene (2)scenic view (2)great for brunch (1)great for outdoor dining (1)late-night find (1)Show More
  • The best
    VivianVIP
    Dined on 11/25/2014
    Everything about this restaurant is top notch.we did the good and wine pairings and they were the best we have ever had. The sommelier, Yoon, was very knowledgeable and his choices were different and unique. We had a wide range of choices ranging from various wine choices to sake, beer and Madeira. The food was equally fabulous. There were several courses and everyone of them were delectable pieces of art. This restaurant is a real treat.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Super, super disappointed
    FoodieVIP
    Dined on 11/22/2014
    This was our second visit to Benu, the first being a year ago. Wow, what a disappointment. the menu had no substantial change. Were the dishes well prepared, yes. However, none were memorable. The greatest disappointment in the evening was the service. It felt like A Handmaid's Tale. The wait staff costumes are sci-if. With the exception of the sommelier, the wait staff had no personalities. Often they would bring a dish, set it on the table and we would have to ASK what was being presented. The staff is young and it seems like they are "just doing their job" and can't wait to leave. Often the wait staff would be in conflict in timing with the sommelier who was taking his time to describe the wine to us. It felt rushed and not synchronized. We expected much, much more out of this newly appointed three star Michelin restaurant. It had magic the first time but no sparkle this time. We will not be back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Amazing food. Great wine pairing.
    Duchess
    Dined on 11/22/2014
    I thought the portions were small but after something like sixteen courses, we were full. My favorite dishes were the monkfish liver, lobster xiao long bao, grilled abalone and beef dish. The. Sommelier was very knowledgeable and explained the pairing in such a descriptive manner, it's obvious they take pride in their wine list.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Benu -Apex of San Francisco Dining
    opentabler7VIP
    Dined on 11/20/2014
    As with Taillevent in France, as memorable as the level of cooking is, it is the service and the warmth of each person serving that lifts this to an ethereal space-timeless and unforgettable. The sake pairing with 2 raw fish dishes was extraordinary as well as the 2011 Rhone wine with the beef course. The 17 day persimmon dessert finishes this feast on a sublime note. Superb in every way.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing experence
    KungVIP
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    The food is delicious. Service is awesome. We really enjoyed it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent
    foodiesVIP
    Dined on 11/11/2014
    Excellent, very good service, the food was almost perfect, from the 15 plates only 2 where good but not as the others
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food, poor decor
    lafayettefoodieVIP
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    The 17 course meal is full of surprise but somewhat would gain to be shorter, we asked to skip a couple dishes. The wine list has steeper mark up than usual. The ambiance and decor could be better, too modern and strict with a fun piece of chinese artwork that could make the experience more unique. Tried too hard to look modern and trendy. Good high end food spot in S.F.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • fromthenorth
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    Service was pleasant but impersonal and a bit rushed. Food was not up to the standard suggested by the reviews we'd read - first three or four courses were exceptional, but the level of excellence was not maintained. Exterior of the restaurant, and the garden entrance, are much more interesting than the interior which is undoubtedly intended to be serene, but in fact is bland and dull. Poor lighting design.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 11/4/2014
    I would say the best part of my dinning experience is although we were provided with a menu, we were still very surprised and excited to see the dishes. And love the mixture of Asian and Western cooking style.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not as good as I would have hoped
    JPFoodReview
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    Having eaten at Manresa many times and most recently Joel Robuchon in Vegas we had high hopes, especially with the recently appointed 3 stars...don't get me wrong, the place is amazing and the price isn't that bad, especially compared to Joel Robuchon. I do not feel that it was as good as Manresa, not even close actually and no competition with Joel Robuchon, that place just blew it away. But it was fabulous, well balanced, and very complex flavors, maybe too complex for my taste buds, certainly possible. Recommend going if you are a foody, it is wonderful!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent
    willinsj
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    Had a great time at Benu this weekend. Awesome food, great wine pairings, great service. Very enjoyable and interesting meal. Great preparation and presentation.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Casual Elegance
    atpca
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    Minimalist interior, mellow music, welcoming & friendly staff. Food was wonderful and service was precise but relaxed. Made for a very pleasant evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Benu
    ilovebenu
    Dined on 10/30/2014
    Not many words, except amazing. Would definitely eat here again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Better than the French Laundry
    PickyforareasonVIP
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    Benu deserves its third Michelin star. I did not count, but more than 15 courses in this prix fixe menu - some small bites like dim sum so don't panic - all original and delicious. My favorites were the "oyster, pork belly, kimchi," which you eat immediately in one bite before it melts, and the lobster coral xiao long bao, but then the jellyfish wrapped shrimp with caviar and the gingko nut with pine sauce are also amazing - what can I say? Wonderful food, four hours of discreet, professional service and an extensive wine selection conspire to make a special evening. Run, don't walk, to book it now before it becomes like the French Laundry where you need 3 months advance reservation if you can even get it. Plus it's a bargain in comparison.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Only the finest
    Quincyadams
    Dined on 10/23/2014
    It's pricey and extravagant, but it was literally the best meal I've ever had.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Outstanding - again!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 10/22/2014
    This was my second time at Benu and I was again wowed. The sommelier recommended a perfect pinot that worked throughout all courses. The service is ideally paced, explanations provided when asked, and otherwise invisible. Each course is thoughtfully plated with appropriate utensils and quickly wisked away for the next delicious bite. My husband and I are already planning our third trip to San Francisco for his birthday in February - solely to dine at Benu.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Sensational
    ldnbear
    Dined on 10/21/2014
    having just loved from London, it has been refreshing to see how amazing the sf food scene is. This is the first 3 star I've been to in SF and it was incredible. The sumellier was perfect, the food was delicate and well balanced. Love this place
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not my kind of place
    JudieVIP
    Dined on 10/21/2014
    The food was bizzare, in some cases downright unappetizing (1,000 year-old quail egg? seriously?). The biggest disappointment was that only one option was available: a tasting menu for $195 per person; no ala carte items or more traditional meal items. Serves me right for not checking the website more carefully before going.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Amazing food
    IBRS
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Benu certainly has great service and a pleasant (not stuffy) ambiance but none of that compares with the quality of the food. The 18 courses were all delicious, artfully combining western fine dining with Cantonese influences. While each portion is small, I was pleasantly satiated at the end of the meal. While certainly expensive and better suited for special occasions, it is definitely worthwhile to visit at least once; I thought it was better than both Michael Minna and Gary Danko
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Anniversary to remember
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    It was the little things - then menu with Happy Anniversary at the top, the special dessert to celebrate, the comments from the staff that put it over the top. The food was exceptional. You don't go for dinner, you go for a mind blowing opportunity and receive exceptional food as a reward. It's a once in a lifetime experience. I am thrilled we splurged.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Come for the food and wine.
    MarisaVIP
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    We came here to experience a 2 star Michelin restaurant and we were not disappointed. The food and service were perfection but the master sommelier was the best part of this dinner experience. He was informative and amazing.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • What an experience!
    YumYum
    Dined on 10/9/2014
    It's hard to describe how unique of an experience it is to enjoy a 17-course meal at Benu. Every course is so different, and yet they are all somehow tied together and an absolute delight to the senses. We enjoyed a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (Cobb) and it was perfect with every course. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and professional. The serving dishes for each course were also delightful. A fantastic experience from start to finish.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Was so looking forward...
    MyTwoCentsVIP
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    ...to dining at this restaurant. I think they value presentation over flavor, which was unfortunate (the Michelin 2-star curse). I do not remember even one course as being memorable (and both dessert courses completely missed - how/why???). Would not recommend this restaurant - especially at the price point - there are too many better restaurants and values out there. If you want truly memorable in a contemporary setting - I would recommend a trip to St. Helena and a stop at Meadowood. In SF - I'd go with Acquerello (one among many excellent SF destination restaurants) - the food is incredible (and you'll probably be a few hundred dollars richer when you walk out the door)...
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Loved this place
    Rcole231
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    The service and ambiance were exceptional. Every aspect of detail was taken into consideration and handled perfectly. The menu was thoughtfully put together. Unfortunately my girlfriend and I don't care for eggs and the first course was a thousand year old quail egg. We both decided to eat everything we were given, so we ate them. It was not our favorite part of the meal but eating it enhanced our experience. We loved our meal and would certainly return the next time we are in San Francisco. Our party had a food allergy which was handled perfectly, and some of the substitutions were better than the original
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Unreal
    MenschMaschineVIP
    Dined on 10/1/2014
    I've had the great fortune to be able to eat at some of the best restaurants in the country (Alinea, the French Laundry, the Catbird Seat, etc.) and the food and service at Benu was some of the absolute best I've ever experienced. Highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • benu review
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    great food, very tasty and look good. Portion size is too small. I was still hungry after dinner. excellent service.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic
    cherribomb
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    Thank you for a memorable evening! Wine pairings were an absolute must-do - phenomenal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great, a gradual step up, perfecto
    AAcuisine
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    One to step above Le Bernardin. Portion just about right, Taste is east-west, a unique dining experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Exquisite
    JayP
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    Every detail was perfect. Every single aspect of the food and service was impeccable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great experience
    sandybVIP
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    Fabulous blend of different foods. Wine list was not expansive enough with very limited California wines given our location. Excellent service
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • 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
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 57 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 30, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.6
    • Food4.6
    • Ambiance4.2
    • Service4.8
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 925 reviews are from the Benu reviews archive.
  • 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.