Monsieur Benjamin

4.5
1989 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 1989 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
4.4
service
4.4
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
86% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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c
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Nice host, nice waiter, very good food. Was what I expected for that price point. The only negative was that there were a bunch of kids on iPad's playing games and sometimes were crying. I have a hard time thinking that a French restaurant at this price point should allow iPads all over the tables like a Chili's.

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MR
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

What a disappointment!!
No sure if I can call it a brasserie, a fine dining or a symphony/ Hayes crowd trap but it does it all.
The staff look like puppets with their oversized butcher white jacket (not server jackets!!).
The place look bright but stiff then you end up with a paper table cloth which make you feel in a elegant but more casual place ( at least they try to make you believe that.
Then I ordered the Saucisson Sec and there it is...coming back to extreme fine dining where 7 slices half size of my thumb with 2 tiny cornichon and there is the crime « no bread to come with it »!!
Really? They put brioche with the mousse liver but no bread for the saucisson? Well fair enough if you didn’t have a French name and a restaurant portrait as French brasserie. And then the rabbit taken over by an over powering sausage stuffed leg which is the first time of my life i don’t finish a single rabbit leg.
But I told myself it must be me, and I looked over 2 tables over and I see the steak and fries plate being dropped and so my heart since I remember it was a whooping $56 which you would think would be a good size for that price...nope a plate with same quality steak you can get at many places in the city for easily 50% cheaper.
But hey most people are not me and not French so they can get away with the symphony crowd who go mostly...at Absinthe anyway...come only to feed themselves before a show or show off in Hayes valley.
When we left on Saturday at 7.15pm every other restaurants were full.
That explain it all...

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R
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

We had a wonderful meal with another couple before a show at Davies Hall. The food was delicious and the service excellent. This is a moderately high priced restaurant but worth it. Parking is a challenge.

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LN
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 5

Food was just OK. Nothing too impressive. Service was great. 20% auto gratuity was tacked on our bill for 3 people. I found that a bit odd.

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Always perfect—

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OT
Denver
7 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great experience at Monsieur Benjamin! Went here for my wife’s birthday and every detail was thought through including a welcome birthday card from the team.

The staff: Outstanding - very friendly in addition to some impressive teamwork

Food: Oysters, lobster bisque, fried chicken, and flounder, cherry ice cream - all very tasty

Excited to come back and try other dishes!

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M
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

LOVE this place! The food is fantastic, and very kind & sensitive service. Try to go there when it is NOT a day for the ballet and/or symphony - it's much quieter. We've been coming here for years. Some of the best frites in San Francisco!

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Y
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Nothing special.
I expected ambience and more diners.
The venue was basically empty!
Probably won’t return.

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FS
1 review
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent reservation and follow-up, friendly service, good recommendations, excellent meals and wine list, good parking garage across the street, walking distance to musical events.

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GQ
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a wonderful dinner and the service was fabulous. The bartender even made me of a special drink that wasn't on the menu. Definitely a Michelin restaurant!

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MG
St. Louis
8 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food across the board, very good service and a very new nice ambiance.

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R
1 review
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

It was a lovely meal with great service and a lovely atmosphere. Would definitely recommend and would love to go back if we are visiting San Francisco again.

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RH
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Dining experience was not what we originally thought. First, our table was not centered correctly. We had to ask a staff member to assist with helping the dinner table wobble back and forth. Then we had to pay for bread and butter!!!!! Seriously!! Bread should always be FREE!! There was NOTHING special about the bread!! I should have brought in my own bread!! Our server took 13 minutes to return to our table to take our order!

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LD
San Francisco
85 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent little gem salad, buttery (not spicy) deviled eggs, tasty Palmier vanilla ice cream and light grapefruit sorbet. We chose the wrong glass of wine ($25, very acidic) and the wrong brandy ($30, too syrupy), adding 30% to our overall bill, but the food was excellent. we were celebrating a birthday, and tgey thoughtfully added a handwritten card and a round of shots as an apertif. Will return.

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MM
Palm Springs
14 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

The food was good but certainly not nearing great. Service was spotty but overall good.
The biggest complaint is around wines by the glass. As is usual, by the glass prices started at around 15 and went into the 20's. I thought that the wine pour was one of the smallest I've ever seen. It couldn't have been more than 4 oz., maybe less. Don't be so chintzy.

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OT
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous food, fabulous service. Really exceptional.

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JH
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

My six visit, the rabbit was outstanding. Only had one dessert in my visits, the Paris Brest probably the best since Champagne saboyon cake at Star's. Highly recommend for pre and post performances.

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MS
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Very good place for simple traditional French food. Would return.

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m
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 2

The restaurant we usually go to before the opera was booked up so we had to settle for this. The food was truly awful, and I mean awful. The lobster bisque bore zero relationship to lobster and the steak tartare, which is supposed to be made from freshly ground beef, was made from God knows what, but it certainly wasn't freshly ground beef. Both dishes were indelible. The only thing that saved us was a not bad chocolate cake dessert. Even so, this is definitely a place to avoid!

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C
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

As usual the food at Monsieur Benjamin was very good - we started with the croquettes, followed by a salad, then rabbit for me and flounder for my spouse - al good and well prepared. The waitress did not compare with the previous wait staff we have had both in knowledge of cocktails/wine selections as well as overall service.

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OT
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food - everything was remarkable.

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S
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 3

Food was very good. Service SLOW. Took 30 minutes to get a drink! The server brought wrong drink but it only took 10 minutes to get that corrected.

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o
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Hadn’t returned to M. Benjamin for a while, lots of new restaurants in the area to try, but am very glad we came back. Sophisticated service (muchas gracias Pablo!) and carefully prepared food in a chill environment create a relaxed and totally enjoyable experience. Shout out to the stuffed flounder, with a very refined French preparation. A very tender New York steak but would suggest searing or hotter grilling to really seal in the flavor.

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B
San Francisco
83 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We were going to the Opera and ordered multiple courses which was handled perfectly by our server. Everything was excellent, as always. The razor clams, the fish sausage and the marzipan/cherry icecream! Three star cuisine and service for a one star price.

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T
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waiter was efficient and helpful. I enjoy the before and after dinner liqueurs. The new tomato salad was delish. As always a good experience

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VW
1 review
Dined on June 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Interesting food, friendly staff, nice atmosphere.

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A
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We tried their burger, fried chicken, and steak tartare and all of that were amazing. The ambiance was also great! Nice seating and bright colors with lots of space. It was pricey but I think price/value was definitely great.

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JH
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food is excellent, being here five times since May. Great meals, appetizers, steak tartare exceptional, frog legs very good. Entrees, had fried chicken twice, salmon, rabbit and quail, all outstanding. Be aware quail have feet attached, maybe not for certain diners.
Service has been spotty, about three stars, but last Saturday night had Lelia as my server, excellent service, she deserves five stars plus. Will return again Saturday night.

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OT
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 5

WHY oh WHY would you fine folks change the perfection that was the tartare to that gross mayonaisey blob obscured by potato chips? So very disappointing. We have been coming here monthly for years and tonight was a fail. Everything else was fine, but please please please bring back the good tartare!

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OT
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service was excellent. Food was great. Both husbands enjoyed the pork chop special and both of us ladies enjoyed the French fries and the 12 layer cake dessert.

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b
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was beautifully prepared. Service was excellent. Certainly our favorite restaurant near the Symphony!

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V
San Francisco
26 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best ribeye! Cooked perfectly! Portion was big. Thought I'd take some home, but it was too delicious. Very good banana crepe dessert. Will be back with more friends and family.

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TE
San Francisco
57 reviews
Dined on June 20, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

We have eaten at Monsieur Benjamin many times since it opened. it was one of our favorite restaurants in the Civic Center area. Things have changed. The restaurant has lost its "sparkle".

Too much time passed between when we were seated and someone paid any attention to us, The cuisine no longer seemed French. Ris de veau is no longer on the menu. The frog legs were far too plump. (Bigger is not better when it comes to frog legs.) The steak tatare was "unusual".

There are now many better choices in the Civic Center area.

P.S. In all fairness, the wine list is still outstanding. A careful selection of good wines at reasonable prices.

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JF
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 3

One metric I evaluate is how late diners are treated … at Monsieur Benjamin, not so good. When we arrived for a late evening reservation, we were told that "the kitchen is closing soon and you need to order everything" by two people before even sitting down. The server failed to tell us what they were out of, making the ordering process feel even more rushed. At 20% charge is added automatically regardless of party size, explaining why the servers were less concerned about service and appeared more focused on getting out. For the prices they charge (e.g., $18.50 for a single seafood sausage...) I would expect a relaxing dining experience irrespective of the time of the reservation. San Francisco has too many other late night fine dining options for me to ever consider returning to Monsieur Benjamin.

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AT
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Had a great time! Service was solid and food was very good.

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K
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2019
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 on June 14, 2019
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
11 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
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
26 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
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
70 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

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

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