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 WinnerSpecial Occasion
  • Diners' Choice WinnerContemporary American
Benu reviews from OpenTable diners
92 reviews since May 20, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.6
    Service4.8
  • Ambiance4.1
    Noise LevelQuiet
96% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (72)special occasion (69)notable wine list (42)romantic (36)neighborhood gem (11)hot spot (10)vibrant bar scene (3)good for groups (2)kid-friendly (1)great for lunch (1)scenic view (1)Show More
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Technique
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 3/19/2014
    Spot on technique with only an occasional mishap on balance. Left wanting for salt and acidity on a few dishes.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Travel for your taste buds
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • WOW!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2001VIP
    Dined on 3/14/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A very pleasant surprise
    eatAnythingVIP
    Dined on 3/8/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A perfect evening!
    Tomaz
    Dined on 3/4/2014
    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
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The chef's tasting menu was
    KitskiVIP
    Dined on 2/27/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Superb dining experience
    Stefan
    Dined on 2/25/2014
    The tasting menu was excellent, the beverage paring was really good and included a couple of interesting (and good) choices.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Outstanding. This was the
    CafoodieVIP
    Dined on 2/22/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Truly outstanding, and priced
    DougVIP
    Dined on 2/19/2014
    Truly outstanding, and priced to match. Very unique menu with outstanding service
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing
    Cheftex
    Dined on 2/19/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Meal to Remember
    Malex
    Dined on 2/18/2014
    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.
    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.
  • Not in the league it pretends to be
    BaroloVIP
    Dined on 2/15/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent service and presentation,
    FoodieVIP
    Dined on 2/15/2014
    Excellent service and presentation, food was quite mediocre. Would not go back and would not recommend.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Delicious But Too Pricey
    casahomewoodVIP
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We were on vacation in sf
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Finest food
    dinkohVIP
    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.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, special occasion, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A memorable night at Benu
    rkeatsVIP
    Dined on 2/12/2014
    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
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Most memorable meal by far
    Gioandreina
    Dined on 2/6/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Service/Food/Abiance- Outstanding!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 2/4/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food and service were equally great
    Ricky
    Dined on 1/31/2014
    Ingredients, presentation, taste, pairings ... all were fantastic. Service was exceptional.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best Meal I've Ever Had
    Heaoea
    Dined on 1/31/2014
    This dining experience was unbelievable! Eighteen servings - each one delightful in its own way!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet