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  • Benu

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Benu Details

  • 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 (415) 685-4860 x117

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.
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
Diner Reviews
  • "Every dish has its own particular experience, flavours, textures, ingredients... amazing food and excelent friendly service. Cool!"
    Dined on 7/26/2014
  • "Always excellent. This is a restaurant that I would not mind going again and again."
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "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..."
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/4/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "Excellent and innovative. Twists on traditional dishes. Attentive and informed staff."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Great food, an incredible attention to detail, and an attentive and welcoming staff makes Benu an excellent choice for high quality fine dining."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "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!"
    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!"
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "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"
    Dined on 6/11/2014
  • "Interesting, but most of the food was not my cup of tea."
    Dined on 6/5/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/4/2014
  • "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. "
    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. "
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "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"
    Dined on 5/28/2014
  • "I think it is Chinese fusion style. Food is special but it is overpricing. "
    Dined on 5/20/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    Dined on 5/14/2014
  • "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...."
    Dined on 5/13/2014
  • "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 "
    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!"
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "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. "
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 5/9/2014
  • "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! "
    Dined on 5/8/2014
  • "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. "
    Dined on 5/1/2014
  • "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)."
    Dined on 4/29/2014
  • "Many of the dishes on the 20 course list were truly amazing"
    Dined on 4/25/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 4/24/2014
  • "too much sophisticated, immoderate commixture of flavor (also in the dessert) and too much expensive"
    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."
    Dined on 4/23/2014
  • "Least favorite 2 michelin star in the city, go to Atelier Crenn."
    Dined on 4/16/2014
  • "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"
    Dined on 4/15/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 4/11/2014