Benares

12 Berkeley Square
Mayfair, London
W1J 6BS
Tel: 020 7629 8886 or check availability and book online
Green Park 0.2 miles

Atul Kochar re-creates the magic that won him his Michelin star at Tamarind.

© Benares

Check availability and book Benares

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Matthew Fort's review of Benares (The Guardian)
Jay Rayner's review of Benares (The Observer)
Jan Moir's review of Benares (The Telegraph)
Giles Coren's review of Benares (The Times)
AA Gill's review of Benares (Sunday Times)

Michelin Star Restaurants in London

Benares reviews

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We have been to Benares once a year for the last 5 years on our yearly visit to London (except, of course, the year of the fire). In my experience the food is delicious and well presented. The wine selection is very good also, as is the service. My only criticism is the table situation, which I know is due to London's demand for eating out but they are a bit too close for comfort sometimes.

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 by amram, 11 Jul 2011
Goodness me, when will the 'nay-sayers' realise: THIS IS NOT AN INDIAN RESTAURANT!

It is a fusion concept, so cannot be compared to 'authentic' Indian cooking as this is not the aim. I admit one must approach with the right fame of mind, but anybody who goes to a Michelin-starred restaurant should, in my opinion, have an open mind to be wowed by these talented chefs, and not go in with predetermined ideas.

My previous 2 experiences here, once for dinner with grazing menu and the other for set lunch, were both outstanding. Service does need some work but it deserves its 1 star!

Treat yourselves, there are some incredibly reasonable set menu deals if you check out the website!

Useful review?
 by jamoma1, 02 Feb 2011
This is by far the worst Indian restaurant I have ever been to. There is nothing Indian about it. Not a single dish is authentic and the taste is absolutely awful. Spent £120 for 2 people and my wife and I came out hungry from the restaurant. The taste was so awful, we left all the food. I personally don't think it was cooked at the restaurant. It tasted like it had been taken out of a packet and heated before it was served to us. If you like your Indian food, then Benares is not the place for you. And incidentally, the one star I have given is for the location, which is the only good thing about it.

Useful review? 2
 by tabrezgm, 10 Jan 2011
Recently visited this restaurant. Great location, setting and service but the food was average. The concept is good - i.e. Indian/Western fusion - but there was nothing that I can honestly say was tasty.

Useful review? 1
 by Tony arri, 23 Mar 2010
I've been to Benares a few times and each time the food was exceptional. The Service is amazing and staff very attentive. I have eaten in most of London's finest restaurants and this is one of the best. It's always a pleasure to visit Benares.

Useful review? 2
 by kindyjohal, 29 Jul 2009
Everything about my visit to Benares was a complete pleasure - the setting, the ambiance, the service and the food (of course). We opted for the tasting menu and each course was a complete delight. I would struggle to choose one particular highlight, as each course was pure quality with brilliant flavours and beautiful presentation. Very much looking forward to my second visit there in September. Those who criticise the place really are best suited to MacDonalds and I'm sure their lack of a repeat visit will not be missed!

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 by nicolaliz, 02 May 2009
Had a wonderful dinner. Food and service was wonderful. Looking forward to going again.

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 by andlep, 06 Mar 2009
Many people seem to give this restaurant a bad review based on it being an Indian restuarant. This is where they miss the point. Benares is a fusion of British and Indian food. You will not see these recipes in any other restaurant, which is what makes it so unique.

The grazing menu was more than adequate to satisfy my hunger and, when combined with the option to have a different wine matched to each meal, provides for a great night's entertainment. The ambience was fine and the waiters were attentive but not overly so.

I have eaten at 1-3 star Michelin restuarants and think Benares deserves its 1 star award. While it is a little expensive, I would nevertheless strongly recommend going. I will be going a second time.

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 by fruity, 04 Mar 2009
Food: amazing; service: average to poor; cost: expensive; ambience: exclusive; wine list: extensive.

Overall: misses one star for the cost (a little overpriced) but more that the service should be a lot better for such a place.

Other negatives: they advertised risotto rice but used basmati instead; there was a clear lack of attention to detail in terms of serving, continuity of the host and waiters and cutlery.

Would I go again? No. Once is a must, but once only.

Useful review?
 by tush.p, 06 Oct 2008
I agree with some of your reviews, the food and the service was excellent. The surroundings and ambiance made us welcome on a Saturday evening. I look forward to attending this establishment again.

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 by hansa001, 31 May 2008
I agree with the previous review. The food is excellent, the service the best I have ever experienced, the staff faultless, the sous-sommelier the best I have met (she really made our evening). The poor reviews are incomprehensible - the reviewers must have gone to a different restaurant, possibly one run by Anthony Worral Thompson.

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 by bargeemike, 22 Apr 2008
I have to say that the food and overall experience was 5/5. I think that these bad reviews are from sneaky competitors and should be removed.

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 by chits, 19 Oct 2007
We are amazed after reading some of the negative reviews of Benares restaurant. We have eaten in some of the best Indian restaurants in India as well as the UK, and have to say that we could not fault our experience at Benares. The food was simply delicious, the surroundings and ambience faultless and the service second to none (and this on a busy Saturday night). As Indian food connoisseurs, we look forward to visiting again... and again and again.

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 by adnalla, 06 Oct 2007
Please do not go to this restaurant. I am taking the time to write this review so that you do not waste your money on what I can only describe as unauthentic, overpriced and tasteless food. You are better off at your local curry house. I am of Indian origin and can confirm this food tastes like nothing you would get in a traditional Indian home. It is not Indian food!

My 1st wedding anniversary was spoilt by choosing to go here. The service is slow, the toilets dirty and the staff sloppy. I ordered the paneer and the haloumi cheese, my husband had the tikka and the lamb rolls. They were tasteless, oily and bland. My bill was £130 and I refused to pay. They knocked the bill down to £85 after I kicked up a fuss. They wanted me to pay the service charge but I did not get any type of service! Drinks were slow, there was no flow to food or drinks orders. After complaining about the food I was made to wait 25 mins for my bill. McDonalds would have been better!

Useful review? 1
 by raiv00, 01 Sep 2007
Benares - new Michelin-starred restaurant... really? In my experience, it was a huge let down. The price certainly did not match the quality.

In their weak defence, the place was nicely decorated, our table was big and generously spaced, unlike a lot of Michelin restaurants that cram people in. However, the acoustics were pretty poor - way too noisy for dinner.

In terms of the food, I feel cheated because I have never paid so much for a tasting menu and got so little for it. Half a scallop, a slice of Indian cheese and asparagus, chicken tikka fois gras, overcooked lamb rogan josh, black lentils and carbohydrates (they filled us up with naan, roti prata and rice). I find it unforgivable that a restaurant of such standing would serve such hard, salty and overcooked lamb. There was no flow from one dish to the next. At Rasoi Vineet Bhatia, I remember thinking how well each dish complimented the next and was meticulously prepared. No such care was shown here - dare I say, a little slapdash?

Service was bad, given the type of place and the experience that the restaurant alludes to. I was particularly annoyed when we were repeatedly asked whether we wanted accompanying wines with our menu. I thought the hard-sell of the sommelier was really crass and have never encountered such behaviour before.



In summary, the experience, amongst all the Michelin-starred restaurants we have ever gone to, was the worst. The website says that "Highly lauded chef-patron Atul Kochhar is reconfirmed as the best Indian chef in London". I would respectfully disagree, and encourage people to head to Rasoi Vineet Bhatia instead. I do acknowledge that the two chefs have different cooking styles and that Atul Kochhar has flair in his cooking, but if anyone had to choose only one Michelin-starred Indian restaurant to visit, I would spend my money at Rasoi. Benares restaurant should buck up their quality control and service.

Useful review? 1
 by juliaf, 21 Apr 2007
Fantastic food, great atmosphere, very good service. Pricey but worth it... can't wait to go back.

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 by Anonymous, 19 Feb 2007
The food is absolutely terrible! Overpriced Michelin Star wannabe. Please do not waste your time or money on this food. Speaking as an Indian, and one who has grown up in India with the best ingredients and flavours in the world, I'd say Benares is a disgrace to my country! If you like bland and tasteless Indian food, go right ahead.

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 by sanarezwan, 02 Aug 2006
Recommended by a peer as being the best Indian restaurant in England. However, I found the food to be pretty average. Service was poor, as the majority of their waiters are imported from India and given minimum wage, which explains it. Good location and decent decor though.

Being from Derby and a regular diner at Anoki Indian Restaurant, my standards are very high. Challenged my peer to sample the Anoki experience and he quickly changed his perception of which is the best Indian restaurant in England.

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 by Mark Phillips, 23 Jan 2006
Great decor and atmosphere. However, the food is grossly overrated - crab starter and lamb (tasted more like old mutton) main course very poor quality for the price. I shall not be back. It's a real shame - even the Cobra beer was flat. Felt insulted when 12.5% service charge was added without asking.

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 by davidprice, 29 Nov 2005
Without a doubt (and I've now been twice) this is the best Indian restaurant in London. The decor is slick and 5 star - pools of flower-filled water, dark Hakkasan-like Indian screens and sofas with silk cushions in the bar area, and clean lines in the large dining room.

Food is really superb. I never imagined being blown away by just chutneys (prune and clove, tomato and coriander etc)! All the dishes are beautifully presented and intensely spiced without the usual ghee overload.

Definitely better than the other 'top Indian' Tamarind, which has good food but none of the style.

Useful review?
 by capital girl (54 reviews), 25 Jun 2005


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