Monsieur Benjamin

4.5
1954 reviews
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$50 and over
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French
Monsieur Benjamin is a modern restaurant and bar in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley, inspired by the great Parisian bistro culture and traditions of French cooking.

What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
8.4

Monsieur Benjamin is making French food cool again.

Ratings 8.0-8.5:The best way to think about restaurants in the low to mid 8′s is that these are the places you would absolutely go back to, anytime. These restaurants are ones that you want to bring a friend to, just so they can also experience the duck carnitas, or burger, or whatever dish the place is known for.
What 1954 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.4
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
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K
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

We love this restaurant and have dined here at least five times over the past couple of years. Last Saturday, we brought friends who were visiting from out-of-town, and while the food was wonderful as always; unfortunately, we had very disappointing service.

We all ordered starters, and our friend's onion soup never arrived. We had to ask about it three times -- finally, when we should have had our entrees (we'd told our server that we had tickets to the Opera), they brought his soup.

We'd also ordered two orders of the bread, after we learned that each order only came with two slices.
Only one order arrived. When our friends' whole sea bass for two arrived, there were no serving utensils.
We asked for some and never received them. Finally, my husband had asked our server to recommend a pinot noir to go with his quail. She brought a glass but didn't know the name of the vineyard and never brought the wine list back so he could identify it.

P.S. We were a bit disappointed that neither the grilled little gems, the gougeres, and the roast chicken -- which have been on the menu every time we've visited, were not available.

Thank you for listening.

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M
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 5ambience 1

The noise level is so deafening and unpleasant that it turns what should be a pleasant experience (excellent service, good food) into a nightmare.

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m
Phoenix
9 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

Started with a nice salad, but followed by a piece of salmon that was dry accompanied by a sauce that was so thick it would pour from the mini gravy boat but priced at a point I would expect better. The service was really great.

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PC
San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Pricy but consistently good and good value. Courteous and thoughtful service, temporarily wheelchair bound, they made it work. Food always interesting and well prepared. Now that Jardiniere is no more will be eating here more often.

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d
San Francisco
68 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

The food is always excellent! The service could not have been better!

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M
Vancouver
4 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

The cold seafood platter was great!
What was disappointing was the frogs’ legs. They used to be sautéed in butter and garlic and garnished with parsley, a decent sized serving. Perfectly done. Now, for some reason though the price is the same I think, we got only two legs, heavily battered and deep fried. All the delicacy of the frog’s leg meat and taste was lost.
The beef tartare also disappointed. It tasted like there was mayonnaise or aioli mixed with a heavy hand into the meat. It looked like a brownish pink paste with small lumps in it.

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ET
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It’s my favorite French bistro in the Bay Area, and I keep on coming back.

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FD
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

The food was pretty good with some of the dishes standing out. But, not for the price.

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MM
San Francisco
34 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Monsieur Benjamin is good enough to try if there is nothing else available for before a performance, which is how we ended up there. Food is passable, although nothing special. Butter lettuce salad has very large pieces which are a challenge to navigate. I opted for an extra plate that I used to cut one piece at a time. Burger was good, but the salt level was just over the top to very salty. Husband's steak was average and for $50+, I would not recommend it. Service was great, as was the wine selection. They got us out in plenty of time for the show.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

We made a reservation for 8 people for a late lunch post graduation ceremony so we were a multi-generational group that was clearly celebrating an occasion. The reservation was at 2:15 pm and the wait staff and the support staff really only cared about themselves and the timing that was convenient for them as they kept repeating over and over again that the kitchen would close in minutes of us sitting down. Again, they did not consider that the group was together for any special reason and that the last thing we need to be constantly harrassed about was their timing. One mention kindly is enough...I don't need three separate mentions of it...actually...don't take my reservation if you are not willing to serve and be delightful the entire time.
The experience was rushed to say the least, the table was cold and uninviting, the staff was marginally interested, the burgers were not properly prepared...the whole thing was such a bummer and disappointment.
I will not recommend or go back myself after the way that our family was treated.

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T
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

Monsieur Benjamin was a pleasant experience and the food was very good. Our waiter was attentive and gracious in allowing us to sample a couple different wines until we made a decision on our preference.

However, the bill was an unpleasant surprise. My friend and I each had a main course and one appetizer and two glasses of wine each. The bill for this came to $245 which we both felt was very steep and not worth that price. The most annoying event, though, was that the bill included a 20% automatic service fee which was not called out to us from the start. If a restaurant chooses to do this, I feel that they need to point this out at the start so customers don't leave 15-20% tips in addition to that amount.

I still would recommend the restaurant to a friend but I would definitely let that individual know that this restaurant is unreasonably expensive.

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LH
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 3

Excellent food; mediocre to poor service. Perhaps it is a function of the tight labor market, but the staff quality did not match the prices or the food coming from the kitchen. Appetizers were very good: escargot, frog legs, and croquettes. We ordered salads and entrees and after a considerable wait, the staff brought them all out at once (save for one soup entree which was delayed. We decided to eat the entrees first and let the salads sit and we'd eat them after the main course, Euro-style, but there were clearly timing issues. We also had to keep getting the server's attention when we needed anything (such as more wine) as she was not checking in. It's an expensive meal (you have to pay for the bread!) + you pay for Healthy San Francisco, so having good food and subpar service feels like a rip-off.

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OT
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely fabulous- would recommend it to anyone. Relaxing, casual dining experience with superb food, wine and service.

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ES
San Francisco
26 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Great location for the ballet, opera, symphony! Very nice people. Food good but not great, and the prices were rather high. It will probably be a while before I'll return.

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M
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Superbly prepared, all be some servings small or micro-sized proportioned (e.g. flounder, lobster bisque, respectively)

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F
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on June 5, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

Great location, mediocre-at best-food. Service was rushed, seemed like they wanted to flip the table, until I complained. And for this they add 20% service to the bill? Food sounded good on paper, but disappointing in terms of taste. French light at best. A shame.

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JL
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Quite possibly the best French onion soup in the city.

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M
San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great brunch!

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OT
Mexico City
1 review
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

Food was good, but service was terrible. They forgot five of our orders over the course of the evening.

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RL
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

I've dined here several times. Food is consistently good to excellent. This recent experience had two detractors: First, I really like the way they prepare frogs legs, and usually order them. Typically they provide 4-5 good sized meaty legs. Not filling, but still a treat. This time I only received three tiny pieces. At first I thought it was a joke. They were tasty, with an excellent sauce, but it was like being charged a dollar per molecule. The other negative was the failure to serve, or even offer, bread. I know that's often the style these days, but particularly when beginning the meal with drinks and conversation, its a modest courtesy that wouldnt kill them. All that was necessary was to ask...

On the positive side, the rabbit was excellent, the Paris Brest dessert was also very satisfying, and the waitress, who was good, recommended a lovely glass of St. Emilion to complement the entree which was perfect.

I'll return, but not for the frogs legs, alas, unless I win the lottery and can afford to order several servings.

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JR
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The service at Monsieur Benjamin was exceptional. The waiter understood our theater commitment and kept us on track. The food was innovative and well presented. I would recommend starting with one of their great cocktails.

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A
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

The steak and fries was incredible! The sauce it comes with is to die for!!! Drinks were okay, recommend wine alternatively.

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B
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on May 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service great. Pablito always wonderful. Food never disappoints. My favorite restaurant when attending the symphony.

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LB
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on May 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Super dinner!!

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F
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 24, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Your surveys don't allow for commentary. Would recommend with caveat that it is very expensive. For the price paid, there are other restaurants i would prefer to go to. Food was very good, service was not up to par of other restaurants in this price range.

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CC
Denver
11 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Great food and very unique menu. Loved the ambiance and our ability to stay for a while.

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food with excellent service!

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The hostess was very accommodating, seating us on the side of the restaurant where our favorite server worked. Attentive staff & outstanding food!

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A
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 4ambience 1

A great disappointment. Poor approximation of French food at high prices. Why would anyone pay $56 to get an average quality steak and fries? The location of the restaurant- walking distance to the Symphony, is the only excuse to eat there. Never again!

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EC
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a wonderful dinner just before a concert at the symphony hall. The food was delicious and the service, warm and welcoming. I plan to go to this restaurant again the next time I have a concert in that area of SF.

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CA
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The food was great. We had the steak tartar and endive salad to start. My husband had the cauliflower, I had the quail and my son had the steak. We all shared the Paris Brest for dessert. Everything was fabulous and the service was great. I ordered decaf coffee and it was served piping hot in a covered metal pitcher. Will be back again soon.
It was my birthday and we went to see Hamilton. The staff was able to get us in and our of there in time for the show.

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M
San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love this place!! The best! The food is exceptional and the service is excellent!
I highly recommend their brunch. It is the best in the city!

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t
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Phenomenal

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NN
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

The food is always great, though I would be happy if the menu changes more often. It would be hard to keep going for pre show if it is always the same menu. The cocktails are fantastic!

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MG
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

The fare was just okay at best. I'd heard good things about the hamburger and it was barely edible. Stale cold bun, tough meat, flavor very ordinary. Fries were okay but barely warm. Salad was ordinary and plain. Not even close to worth $100 per person.

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F
San Francisco
96 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Not far from the Davies Hall, convenient for after concert dinner. The place is not remarkable at any point of view, I am not sure why so many outstanding reviews are posted. The room decoration is not enticing or comfortable, the service is not excellent, the food is not really French, the wine list is not interesting, what can I say to make me want to be back? I had the tartar, it was served with some sort of Indian flat cracker and it was full of herbs, quiet dry, border line unpleasant, the fries were dry, I decided to stop at that point. There were very few customers but the service was slow, my waiter had an attitude, he could care less, the 20 per cent tip is imposed...

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SF
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I took our granddaughter for a special dinner before taking her to the theater for her birthday. it was an outstanding choice. The service was a superb and the food was truly excellent. It was pretty pricey but basically worth it. I would definitely recommend it to someone looking for a special occasion dinner

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RF
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I took my sister here for a birthday lunch before attending the last SF Ballet of the season. First, there was a handwritten "Happy Birthday" card on the table for her. Very nice touch. The "Sly Fox" cocktail we each ordered was fabulous. My sister doesn't eat meat and they were very accommodating, open to making necessary changes to almost anything on the menu. The croquettes were light and tasty. I had scrambled eggs and bacon, simple but cooked to perfection. She had the tarte with comte cheese. It was wonderful. For dessert, we shared the hazelnut and chocolate cake with creme anglaise. Oh my! Light and not too sweet. The perfect ending to a lucious lunch. The only down was the $4 charge for 2 slices of very yummy bread. Our server, Tommie, was friendly, helpful and very personable. We will definitely be back. Thank you for making my sister's birthday a great one.

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BL
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

Both the service and the food have improved since our last visit we decided to try it again because we couldn't find a reservation elsewhere and now will definitely return

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t
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Relatively fast service. Lobster Bisque was in tiny container. Overall good food and great service.

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