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
92 reviews since July 25, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.5
    Service4.8
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
93% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (74)special occasion (67)notable wine list (42)romantic (41)hot spot (16)neighborhood gem (8)good for groups (6)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
  • 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.
  • Simply amazing
    gourmandrewVIP
    Dined on 5/22/2014
    This place will knock your socks off. Inventive, beautiful, and delicious. It's no wonder the Michelin stars keep coming.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • 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
    SweetSavoryVIP
    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.
  • Stunning
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    Many of the dishes on the 20 course list were truly amazing
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Romantic, special occasion, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tons of food.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 4/24/2014
    Incredible cuisine and delightful flavor combinations but the wife and I were ready to tap out after about the 14th (of 19) courses. Nonetheless, such a wonderful culinary experience. The only minor negative was the service, which was still good but not up to the par with the standards for this type of restaurant.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • pretentious
    antomanu
    Dined on 4/23/2014
    too much sophisticated, immoderate commixture of flavor (also in the dessert) and too much expensive
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • 2 Michelin Stars. Met expectations.
    forktoknifeVIP
    Dined on 4/23/2014
    No question this place deserves its 2 star rating. We did the 19 course dinner, but added the sea-cucumber. It came with a bread course, chocolate truffles, and b/c it was our anniversary, a surprise umeboshi cheesecake - so 22 courses. Paired it with a bottle of Krug. Every course was creative, superb, and intuitive. They have 1 master sommelier and 2 advanced somme on staff - this is no small thing. You pay for the privilege (our bill was close to a grand including wine) but as they say, when in Rome. With only 3 places in the US for 2 Mich-star restaurants (Cali, Chicago, NYC), if you're in San Fran and can splurge, I'd highly recommend. What a great place for a special night out.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good not great
    Truffleshuffle
    Dined on 4/16/2014
    Least favorite 2 michelin star in the city, go to Atelier Crenn.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • One of a kind experience
    Edv5
    Dined on 4/15/2014
    The food is just edible art and tastes amazing! Beyond description. I am a pescatarian and the kitchen was able to modify the menu to fit my dietary restrictions. Service is spot on, however a bit cold. I would have loved to receive a more personable service, ask more questions about the items and about the restaurant, but it seemed that besides presenting the food course by reciting the words on the menu, the staff didn't offer any more explaination about the dishes. The staff's movements and interactions on the floor is very discreet, and maybe a bit too stiff. Although I much appreciated their professionalism, I think service lacks a touch of friendliness and warmth. The decor is minimalistic with a strong emphasis on Japanese
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Romantic, special occasion, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Benu is a Special Place
    PGH93
    Dined on 4/11/2014
    Benu is a unique experience. We had the tasting menu. It was creative and delicious, and every course was well explained. The service was superb. We were initially seated at a table adjacent to a large exuberant group, and when we immediately asked to be moved to a quieter section of the restaurant (which was the entire other room) they were gracious, moved us quickly, and did not make us feel awkward about the request. It is expensive, so be prepared not to think about cost. Just enjoy the experience.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Romantic, special occasion, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Maybe just the wrong season.
    Partagas
    Dined on 4/2/2014
    To be totally blunt I don't see the Michelin star but since is a seasonal menu I give them the benefit if the doubt; The wine pairing is a must but way too many wines served were too cold to be enjoyed. On the other hand service and ambient are impeccable
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good, but not the best
    JGJGJGKIM
    Dined on 4/1/2014
    As a Korean American raised on Korean food, I found Benu's take on "Asian" flavors interesting, yet not fully satisfying (given my experience might have been skewed by my bias towards "authentic" flavors). The "one-bite" dishes (anchovy, eel, squid) during the first half of the dinner were, imo, sub-par to the rest, and would have been better if left out - with the price-tag like that, the last thing I want is to be disappointed. On the upside, the progression of the dinner was well thought out, and the portions were very generous. Xiao long baos and the sesame cake were DELICIOUS. Also, great service by very attentive staff. Over-all, good experience, although I would be hesitant about returning if not for the xiao long baos and the cake.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Wife's 31st Birthday
    SteffanVIP
    Dined on 3/29/2014
    Benu was recommended to us by a friend. When I made the reservation on Open Table it was for a much later time. I called the restaurant and they were able to get us an earlier time. I told them it was my wife's birthday. They asked me her name and when we arrived "Happy Birthday Jennifer" was printed at the top of the menu. It was a small thing, but it showed their commitment to good service. The 19 courses were fantastic. All of the staff was very knowledgeable about what was being served and the beverage pairing that went with it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent!
    Karena44VIP
    Dined on 3/29/2014
    Fantastic experience! Great food and service! Everything was tasty and came out piping hot!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Overall great Tasting Menu
    WayneVIP
    Dined on 3/25/2014
    Overall great Tasting Menu experince that worked very well with the Beverage Pairings - a must! The staff were exceptionally attentive and the Beverage team was oustanding - incredibly knowledgeable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food Great Wine Pairings Primo
    tworeallytallgirls
    Dined on 3/21/2014
    While expensive, about $900 for two including wine pairings, Benu certainly rates right up there with the best in the Bay Area (French Laundry, Gary Danko, La Folie, Manresa). What inpressed us the most was the variety of the wine pairings from whites to reds, beer, an outstanding sour ale, very dry sherry, sake and a couple of dessert wines (11 or 12 in all); all of which complemented the 19 plus yummy items on the tasting menu. Glasses got topped off a couple of times also...nice touch. That said, the price is not for your everyday dining experience. Would we go here again, perhaps...if the menu did a turnover so we could try 19 different new tastes with new wine pairings. But for the price, I would rather go to Gary Danko twice.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.