Benihana Makes the Cut for Dairy-Free Teppanyaki and Sushi

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Updated in 2021! Benihana is the only major restaurant chain in the U.S. where your meal comes with a knife show. Teppanyaki chefs toss and flip both food and utensils as they prepare your meal in front of you on a searing hot hibachi grill. How they find so many chefs with that level of coordination is beyond me. In addition to grilled food, they offer a whole menu of sushi, sashimi, and appetizers. Our guide below includes all of the dairy-free menu and custom order options at Benihana, plus notes for vegan guests, too!

Benihana Dairy-Free Menu Guide with Custom Order & Vegan Options

Benihana Dairy-Free Menu Guide with Custom Order & Vegan Options

On the surface, the menu at Benihana looks almost entirely dairy-free. But they do have a few big dairy surprises. Below is our guide to ordering without dairy, created with the guidance of Benihana. We’ve also noted the vegan menu items available – there are a few!

Appetizers

  • Chili Ponzu Yellowtail
  • Crispy Spicy Tuna
  • Edamame, Regular or Spicy (vegan)
  • Pan Fried Beef Gyoza Dumplings (see note below)
  • Sashimi Sampler
  • Seaweed Salad (vegan)
  • Shrimp Sauté (see note below)
  • Shrimp Tempura
  • Soft Shell Crab
  • Sushi Sampler
  • Tuna Poke, Regular or Spicy
  • Tuna Tataki
  • Vegetable Tempura

Heads Up! Some locations have Chicken Wings, which are made with garlic butter. We have been told all other appetizers are dairy-free, but they do use garlic butter for sautéing, so make sure any pan-fried, grilled, or stir-fried items that you order are cooked without butter. Also, their fried items might be cooked in a shared fryer with some fried sushi rolls containing cream cheese.

Salads

  • Benihana Salad (vegan)
  • Imperial Salad (vegan)

Dairy-Free Dressings: House Ginger Dressing, Wasabi Dressing, Balsamic Vinegar & Oil

Other Sides

  • Benihana Onion Soup
  • Miso Soup
  • Brown Rice (vegan)
  • White Rice (vegan)

Heads Up! Their “fried rice” like the Hibachi Chicken Rice and Spicy Chicken Rice are cooked with garlic butter. You can request no butter to make them dairy-free.

Sashimi / Nigiri

  • Albacore Tuna
  • Eel
  • Egg
  • Octopus
  • Salmon Roe
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Snapper
  • Tuna
  • Yellowtail

Sushi Rolls

  • Alaskan Roll (contains krab)
  • Lobster Roll (contains krab)
  • Shrimp Crunchy Roll (contains krab)
  • Shrimp Lovers Roll (contains krab)
  • Spicy Salmon Roll
  • Spicy Tuna Roll
  • Spider Roll (contains krab)
  • Sumo Roll (Baked) (contains krab)
  • California Roll
  • Cucumber Roll (vegan)
  • Dragon Roll (contains krab)
  • Eel Roll
  • Rainbow Roll (contains krab)
  • Salmon Roll
  • Shrimp Tempura Roll
  • Tuna Roll
  • Vegetable Roll (vegan)
  • Yellowtail Roll

Heads Up! We were told by corporate that all sushi ingredients are dairy-free, except the cream cheese. But double check that the “krab” sourced at your Benihana is dairy-free. Imitation crab often contains milk an other top allergens.

Entrees / Teppanyaki / Hibachi Menu

Custom Order: Benihana uses a garlic butter blend to cook the fried rice, vegetables, noodles, and teppan specialties (steak, chicken, and seafood dishes).  However, dairy-free guests can request their meals be prepared without any garlic butter. According to a Benihana representative, this is the only dairy ingredient used to make their grilled entrees, and their sauces are all made without dairy. If you are concerned about cross-contamination (since garlic butter is used on their grills), alert the server and chef to ensure your meal is prepared accordingly.

Vegan Option: The Spicy Tofu Steak entrée can be made vegan-friendly.

Desserts

Heads Up! Sorry, their green tea ice cream and other desserts contain dairy!

This Post is for Informational Purposes Only

Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation. This post is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as advice.

There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.

Benihana Dairy-Free Menu Guide with Custom Order & Vegan Options

Where to Find Benihana

There are over 100 Benihana restaurants around the world, but the majority are located in the U.S. See their website below for addresses, hours, and online ordering.

Website: www.benihana.com

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

1 Comment

  1. My family took me out to Benihana for my birthday last year. Besides having a rather bland (and cold) meal I was able to have a dairy-free safe meal. I explained my allergy to the waitress and again to the chef. The chef prepared my meal before anyone else at the table so it wouldn’t be contaminated by the butter they use in many of their dishes. Because so many of their dishes use butter the food I had was sort of lackluster – and cold since it was cooked first. Overall it was a fun experience.