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 21, 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
  • The technique and thought
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 8/27/2010
    The technique and thought behind every dish was pretty great. The overall vibe was terrible--it's stuffy and the waitstaff isn't that knowledgeable or intuitive to guests' needs. The food is worth the money, but you'll leave upset thanks the dudes running the front of house. I'd save your money until they've had a few months to filter out the staff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Unique and memorable food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIP
    Dined on 8/26/2010
    Unique and memorable food experience that you will not find at any other restaurant. Definitely a must try for foodies. We had the 15-course tasting, which was portioned-well; you had enough variety and a taste of everything without walking out of the restaurant feeling like you have food coma.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We had tasting menu for my
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 8/21/2010
    We had tasting menu for my wife's birthday. Although I felt the first few offerings were less than stellar (not a big fan of the quail egg or anchovy gelee), still can't believe that congee is on a tasting menu, and was underwhelmed by the monkfish liver torchon, I have never experienced a meal with so much creatively and finesse that introduced innovation and imagination through such a unique integration of ingredients. Chef Lee's combination of preparing classic dishes perfectly, the veal sweetbreads and beef rib cap, to his avant garde approach to the eel, shark fin soup, and sea urchin potato puree made the dining venture a memorable, delectable and gratifying affair.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We ate here on their 9th day
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIP
    Dined on 8/20/2010
    We ate here on their 9th day of service. Mostly you think the restaurant has been there for a long time because of the high quality of the people who own and run the restaurant. There were a few service gliches as they work some of the kinks out, like a a couple of our dishes came out not hot enough. But, there is no reason for any complaining. This is a divine restaurant. The food is great. Creative. Wonderful tastes. Because we ate a bit late in the evening, we ate a la carte. The server recommended we have several of the courses, as they tend to be small, deliberately, as the idea is to eat many different tastes. Next time we'll do the full tasting menu.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Amazing meal. My friends and
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 8/20/2010
    Amazing meal. My friends and I came here for one of our friend's birthdays. I was able to secure a reservation a few weeks prior and I'm glad I did. We all decided to do the tasting menu. There are many reviews on the food already so I will not go into it, but I must say everything was fantastic. Yoon, our Sommelier was very helpful in picking out a couple bottles of wine for us. Our server Bill was very knowledgable and friendly as well. Overall, it was a great experience and I look forward to going back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • One of the best restaurants
    JackiecaswellVIP
    Dined on 8/20/2010
    One of the best restaurants we have ever eaten in. Supurb food, beautiful decor, wonderful service and a huge wine list. A truly outstanding experience
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Given that they have just
    ChowciaoVIP
    Dined on 8/19/2010
    Given that they have just opened the service was very good but there are minor bugs that still need working out. The rooms were minimalist but very uninteresting and need some sparkle and pizzaz. The food, with one exception, was very good and interesting but not in the WOW or amazing category. The most disappointing was the blackberry dessert which was billed to have creme fraiche but I was not aware it was a foam and was very bland. I was looking forward to the tart contrast. The unique wood nori cracker box and the utensil pedestals were also interesting but seemed a little too precious and when you think about them in the context of what I thought was supposed to be a "green" restaurant it made me wonder a bit.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Dining at the BENU is a voyage
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004
    Dined on 8/19/2010
    Dining at the BENU is a voyage into realm of unusual realm of intriguing, sophisticated tastes and visual sensations - experience worth repeating. There have been attempts to reach that level of sophistication before. Corey Lee has done it, his creations are unforgettable.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Too expensive and the portion
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 8/18/2010
    Too expensive and the portion is too small and limted selections. I love the food, and it has a michelin class type of dining but, the decoration does not give me the impression that this a michelin class dining. I hope that they improve.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Our expectations were exceeded
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIP
    Dined on 8/13/2010
    Our expectations were exceeded and we had a fabulous meal. Overall, we were pretty blown away. The flavors were interesting, varied, and crisp. Each dish gave us something new and delicious. Perhaps we had a few quibbles here and there, but no dish disappointed and we felt the quality/value ratio was quite high (we did a la carte--3 dishes each plus a shared dessert). We would definitely go back (though perhaps next time for a special occasion and not just on a whim).
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Wonderful meal at Benu. The
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/12/2010
    Wonderful meal at Benu. The waitstaff is so well trained and coordinated to make dining seamless. The dining room is serene and quiet. The food is great.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Dining at Benu on its 2nd
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 8/11/2010
    Dining at Benu on its 2nd night open felt like being at any other restaurant after it had been open for months - service and food were spectacular. The tasting menu delivered; its focus on flavors and creativity a success. The classic sweetbreads grenobloise was amazing in texture and flavor, as was the monkfish liver torchon. The best dishes were the umami bursting mock shark fin soup with truffle custard, a delight in smell and taste; the pork belly, beautiful in saltiness and tenderness; and the eel "cigar," served whimsically on an ashtray with creme fraiche. The pairings were wonderful and playful, as well as modern, including a great Hitachino beer. Service was friendly and attentive. With time, Benu will only get better.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • I wish we had given Benu more
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 8/11/2010
    I wish we had given Benu more time to settle in. Dinner was pleasant, but in the end I didn't feel I got my money's worth. It cost $650 for two tasting menus, wine pairings and tip. There were a few courses that were surprising -- the tomato amuse, for example. Easily the best thing about the meal was the wine pairings. Spectacular. Dinner took 4 1/2 hours -- longer than places with many more courses (looking at you, French Laundry). There was significant lag time in between the tiny courses, which was exhausting. Service was wonderful if you don't include the time between courses. I'd wait a couple of months before snagging a reservation. Even then, I think you could spend $650 somewhere else and be more more satisfied.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We were there the second night
    OpenTable Diner Since 2002VIP
    Dined on 8/11/2010
    We were there the second night brilliant chef Corey Lee was open. Perfection! Presentation and flavors are exquisite. Absolutely the greatest restauant in San Francisco (already!) in every way. Seamless, polite and cheerful service. The food is sensational, with very innovative and exciting flavors. The ambiance is gorgeous, and very calming. A MUST for food lovers!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • i should learn by now that
    darwinsfVIP
    Dined on 8/10/2010
    i should learn by now that going to a restaurant within the first month it opens is a no-no. Benu is no exception. While I can see brilliance in Corey Lee's cooking, some dishes fail such as the pork belly and the unfortunately saussicon that accompany the beef rib cap. The service is also a bit scattered, which is unusual for a restaurant that was half full. I'd go back, but probably in another 6 months to wait for them to ease into the restaurant.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate