Benihana Restaurant Review

Benihana is a world famous Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant. For those who do not know, Teppanyaki is a method of cooking in which the chef uses a large steel grill to prepare the food in front of your eyes. A friend of mine had never been to a teppanyaki restaurant before, so I thought this was an amazing opportunity, as the Chefs at Benihana are supposedly some of the best around.

Benihana in Toronto is located in Fairmont’s Royal York hotel downtown by Union Station. The restaurant itself is spotless, featuring unique Japanese styling. The entrance looks like a Japanese temple, and the rooms inside are covered in Japanese art. The hostess and waitresses are all incredibly attentive and polite. They will typically comply with special requests.

The food is all organic and cooked to order right in front of your eyes. The experience of teppanyaki is a unique one. Guests sit around the grill “teppan” and watch as the chef prepares their food. All of the ingredients are brought out freshly and made to order. We each ordered a teppanyaki dinner, which is quite pricey but comes with just about everything you could ask for. Each dinner comes with a soup, salad, shrimp appetizer, vegetables, sprouts and your choice of teppanyaki ingredient, steak, chicken, seafood, vegetarian, etc. You also get a nice warm cup of green tea to complete your meal.

The chefs are quite skilled at chopping the food incredibly fast, and working the teppan. One of the famous teppanyaki tricks is to create an onion volcano. The chef takes a fresh white onion, stacks it, and pours some oil into the “volcano” stack. The oil inside combines with the onions juices and creates an eruption of steam. It was quite exciting for those who hadn’t seen the trick before. I myself have seen it countless times, but it was still entertaining. I have to say I was slightly disappointed in the chef. I heard that the Benihana chefs are the best around, and yet he did nothing fancy compared to the other chefs I’ve seen at other less reputable establishments.

The food tasted great and came in large portions. However, my friend and I both got violently ill in the bathroom. When we notified management about this problem, they did absolutely nothing for us. They insisted that we go with security to an ambulance. There was no offer of an apology, or any sort of compensation for an expensive dinner gone awry. While I can recommend the experience of Benihana, the fact that we both were ill from the food and how we were treated subsequently was absolutely disgusting. I would never return there, and for the prices, you can find a better option just about anywhere.

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