Housed in a heritage building in the heart of SoMa, a few minutes’ walk from many of our cultural attractions and historic hotels and offering haute cuisine, Benu represents the changing face of fine dining in San Francisco. With no dress code, no tablecloths, and no stuffy servers, it is truly all about the food. And though you can order a la carte on some nights, the tasting menu is the way to go if you want to experience the two Michelin star–ranked chef Corey Lee’s culinary wizardry (he’s formerly of the famed French Laundry). Presented on custom-created porcelain designed specifically to show off the food, Lee’s eclectic menu might include gorgeously sculpted choices like potato salad with anchovy; thousand-year-old quail egg with ginger and nasturtium; monkfish liver on brioche; or salt and pepper squid—none of which look like they sound. The faux shark fin soup with black truffle custard shows off Lee’s ability to create daring combinations, as does the charcoal-grilled lamb belly with quinoa, pear, and sunflower. Plan to spend upwards of 3 hours basking in top quality food, wine, and service, in minimalist, serene surroundings.
- Erika Lennert