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  • Benu

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Benu Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.benusf.com
  • Email: reservations@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
In the event you do not find a reservation online, please call the restaurant for additional availability.

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. Our tasting menu is globally inspired, personal and comprised of the best products we can find.

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 Service
  • Diners' Choice WinnerContemporary American
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSpecial Occasion
Diner Reviews
  • "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
  • "I was always skeptical on fusion food but Benu was definitely a very pleasant surprise. We also did the abalone supplement and it was definitely worth the price."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "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"
    Dined on 4/2/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 4/1/2014
  • "Fantastic experience! Great food and service! Everything was tasty and came out piping hot!"
    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."
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 3/25/2014
  • "Can't go wrong with the "Dream Team" of wine led by a Master Sommelier as the wine director. Truly an incredible experience. The wine pairing made the food experience perfect!"
    Dined on 1/22/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "I was with my girlfriend out to dinner at Benu, on our last day in San Francisco. And it was an unforgettable evening. We arrived at the restaurant and were well received by the evening's sommelier and two servants. We got a glass champangne to start with, and then came the restaurant's sommelier down to our table, and we got a really nice selection of both local and foreign wines. High praise to him for a really nice mix of wines. And then the food arrive in an almost endless stream from the kitchen. One rather better and more beautiful than the other. Especially the lobster coral xiao long bao, was absolutely amazing. We finished a perfect evening with coffee and homemade chocolates. All in all, an absolutely perfect evening"
    Dined on 3/4/2014
  • "Spot on technique with only an occasional mishap on balance. Left wanting for salt and acidity on a few dishes."
    Dined on 3/19/2014
  • "This was our second time dining at Benu and it was as fabulous as the first time. The "substitutions" because of my dairy and peanut sensitivities were delicious and as gorgeous as my husband's dinner. He really enjoyed his wine and that doesn't happen at every restaurant. I love the attention to detail from the presentation of the food to the dishes and different serving pieces themselves. Also love the simple elegance of the dining area and the courtyard. Our waitress and all the servers were warm and hospitable."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "Love that they have an extensive wine list including 1/2 bottles. The menu takes you on a wonderful journey of taste and presentation."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "The tasting menu was excellent, the beverage paring was really good and included a couple of interesting (and good) choices."
    Dined on 2/25/2014
  • "The chef's tasting menu was excellent. Starting with our server and the 2 sommeliers, they were all knowledgeable in the wine and the food pairing. It was a very nice touch to customize the greeting according to the occasion being celebrated. For this dining experience of ours, we were celebrating our wedding anniversary. At the end of our wonderful meal, our server brought a music box. I started cranking it up (jack in the box like) and it played 'Love me Tender' song. Under the box was a chocolate ganache with the oreo cookie house made. It was delicious to end our meal. What an experience!!! We will go back there again to dine."
    Dined on 2/27/2014
  • "Outstanding. This was the sixth time we enjoyed the wonderful Benu dining experience as hosts and as guests. We were always pleasantly surprised by Chef-owner Corey Lee's unlimited creativity ! Memorable food indeed."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Very disappointed with our first (and only) visit, not in the league with the other $100+ prix fixe/small plate places in SF. Main issues: > Ambiance was zero - an industrial loft with all white paint and Ikea furniture. > A number of courses were either bland (eg sablefish) or hard to taste principal ingredients (lobster). > Presentation was really lacking - eg 3 courses on a $2 industrial plastic object, twisted or rotated between courses?! > Service was friendly but not helpful. Just gave the dish and repeated the menu title, had to pull out any details. If you are looking for modern Asian, go to Ame. If you want a micro prix fixe, go to Saison or Sons & Daughters. Benu doesnt measure up."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "We came here to experience great food and we got an amazing meal. Each course was served with a precision I have never seen outside of an operating room, with much less blood. From the flawless service of an amazing team, to the way each dish and it's myriad of components played off and with each other, the meal was from start to finish, perfect. I can say without a doubt that the best thing I have ever tasted came from this meal, and it breaks my heart that I will never taste it again. Thank you for that."
    Dined on 2/18/2014
  • "An absolutely an unforgetable dining experience. The simplicity of the space allows diners to concentrate on each bite. And each was a great delight to experience. The dinner marched on with a timely pace unveiling memorable gatro moments that just kept coming. It was a meal I will remember for a long, long time."
    Dined on 2/19/2014
  • "Truly outstanding, and priced to match. Very unique menu with outstanding service"
    Dined on 2/19/2014
  • "We were on vacation in sf and our whole family dined on valentine's day special. - 9 courses. Unfortunately, the amount was not enough for my teenage boys. When they asked about extra bread, the server was reluctant to get for them because of limited bread. Did not completely enjoy our special dinner because the atmosphere seemed a bit intimidating."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Excellent service and presentation, food was quite mediocre. Would not go back and would not recommend."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "The food was outstanding and perfectly presented. However, at over $800 for two people, it didn't quite meet the price value. The service seemed ever so slightly rushed when describing each dish and I never quite knew who would come to our table next. The decor was lovely but nothing that transported me to another world for the evening such as the garden tables at the French Laundry, which would have numbed the pain of the check a bit. The exception to that would be the sommelier. He was truly a joy to hear when he described the wines. I found myself just wanting him to stand by our table all night. Quite a treat."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "4 glasses of wine, 19 courses, and 4 hours later..... We admitted that this had to have been one of the most memorable meals of our lives. There was not one dish which we thought could have been made better. The food was amazing from start to finish: well paced, properly presented, and was distinct and unique. I love eating at places where they redefine the way you think of certain types of ingredients and challenge your palette with various flavor combinations you never would think of. Overall: Great food, good people, beautiful venue"
    Dined on 2/12/2014
  • "Best food I've had ever. This is fine dining. Tasting menu only. Wine is a bit pricey. Service is impeccable. Price is very high. ~$500-800 tip and tax."
    Dined on 2/12/2014
  • "This was one of my most memorable meals in a long time. The tasting menu was tastefully executed and the wine selections complimented each dish. My only complain wold be that the dishes should have been paced a little. Each dish was brought out right after the other."
    Dined on 2/6/2014
  • "There is nothing more to say. Been to French Laundry/Gary Danko/Coi etc. This is a very well-executed dining experience. I was with 2 gal pals. We wanted time to catch up (gossip) and to have a relaxing, interested dinner. Timing of the courses was superb. The food was outstanding. The service- absolutely perfect. On top of that, the restaurant was lively, without being noisy."
    Dined on 2/4/2014
  • "Ingredients, presentation, taste, pairings ... all were fantastic. Service was exceptional."
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "This dining experience was unbelievable! Eighteen servings - each one delightful in its own way!"
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "Best meal that I have ever had. Everything, all elements that make up this restaurant are outstanding. All the way to the glasses, cutlery, specially conceived dishes to showcase the unique, innovative and delicious tasting menu."
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "Benu must rate as one of the top restaurants in North America. We had an 18 course tasting menu paired with wines. It was superb with service to match."
    Dined on 1/30/2014
  • "Benu provides an interesting multi-course menu with a subtle Asian bent. As would be expected of a 12 - 14 course dinner, portions are modest, but each serving is well executed and never monotonous. We have been to quite a few similar level restaurants and while Benu is competitive, I didn't find it to deliver a strong value or a memorable experience. They are on the high end, certainly one of the highest in SF, from a price perspective and for that I would expect to be blown away by one or two of the dishes and definitely wanting to repeat them. That wasn't the case however, hence the title. I would recommend it, but with the caveat that there are restaurants in SF that deliver a bit more for less money. All in all, still worth a go."
    Dined on 1/25/2014
  • "I couldn't agree more with other diners. This is a true stand-out for foodies, locals, and a new experience. I could go on how this is different than the French Laundries or the GD of our city/area; and to be honest I never anticipate getting surprised anymore as most places have something a bit unique that gets them a buzz ... but it's not that big of deal. this place .. damn. awesome at every level. a bit pricey no doubt, even by our SF standards, but we paid it with gusto. Well done Benu."
    Dined on 1/22/2014
  • "A great restaurant with very sophisticated service. Simple, Neat and clean décor but with a meticulous attention to details We had 19 courses that were part of 4 different menus. Balanced switched from Meat to fish multiple times 2 of the 19 were “plain” (the raviolo with truffle/Serrano and the Tofu). The only disappointing part was the dessert. The best part was poorly served and a plain, flavorless, sugary cake with “complimentary” not in house made chocolate dessert Overall a very good experience and a plus to our sommelier"
    Dined on 1/21/2014
  • "I suspect anyone planning to dine at benu is likely doing so on the recommendation of friends, and my encouragement will make little difference. If the word of a stranger-on-the-internet makes a difference to you, however, rest assured that everything wonderful you have heard is absolutely correct. The staff is welcoming and friendly, yet attentive and professional. The food is at once imaginative and yet familiar - it is the presentation, combinations, textures, and attention to detail that elevates each dish. A flawless experience; we plan to return soon!"
    Dined on 1/14/2014
  • "Restaurant has a nice and simple design and the ambiance is relaxing and comfortable. Good for couples to dine here but not suitable if you have kids. Service was great and the servers are very customer service oriented. Asian fusion menu, portion is just right but wish they can offer a selection for the desert item."
    Dined on 1/11/2014
  • "Bring a good friend and conversationalist. The food is awesome but there are twenty courses and that takes time to enjoy so a good partner who can keep it interesting is crucial. Outstanding food and presentation"
    Dined on 1/10/2014
  • "We dined here on 12/28/2013 to celebrate my girlfriend's birthday and enjoyed the tasting menu with wine pairing. The food was stellar. However, a couple aspects of our service were unpleasant. First, a server spilled the faux "shark's fin soup" on my girlfriend TWICE while he struggled to pour from a cup. The assistant sommelier swooped in to help, and was able to pour correctly. He assured us that staff would be over to clean the mess from the server, but no one arrived until after the course had ended, nearly 15 minutes later. And Benu ran out of liquid soap in the otherwise fancy men's room at 7 PM. Not good when food is eaten by hand. A dining experience that costs $750 before tip should not have these service flaws."
    Dined on 12/28/2013
  • "Beautiful restaurant; restrained elegance. 11 course menu; small but powerfully flavourful bites, Asian influenced tastes. It was clear that alot of thought had gone into the ambience of the restaurant; from the dinner ware and plating of the food, to the presentation and polish of the wait staff. There were a few downsides which if tweaked would have made the dining experience Great 1.while we had a decent distance from the door, the positioning of the various tables opposite the entrance meant that you get a chill each time the door was opened. I noticed that our neighbouring diners also had the same problem and we ended up dining with our jackets on. Also, exiting patrons and wait staff made it colder towards the end of the evening"
    Dined on 12/27/2013
  • "I would say the food was quite good. Every bite was full of interesting flavors, textures, and effects. The service was very attentive, and they accomodated special dietary requests (including not being told until he was seated that the guy at the next table was vegetarian). It's definitely a place to try if one can afford it (195/food only). It's a long evening - almost 3 hours for dinner. I am not sure I would run back- it seems like an experience to be tried, but I am not sure how often the menu changes materially. The woods dish may have been the best. I was underwhelmed by the huge cake when I was alerwady pretty full. I was glad to try some new items and, in general, liked being introduced to them. Good way to get my veggies in!"
    Dined on 11/16/2013