free birthday food – benihana

It’s that time of year again – time for turning another year older and taking advantage of the plethora of free food you can get for your birthday. I’ve got a couple of new places lined up for review this year, in addition to the staples of last year. I’ll also add an additional post talking about the places I did not visit that you might want to take up for your birthday.

Just a head’s up, for all of the locations I will be talking about, you must sign up for their e-club/birthday club in advance, before your birthday, in order to get the free item(s).

Benihana - San Diego, CA - Outside

I started celebrating my birthday last week with a visit to Benihana. Signing up for the Chef’s Table nets you a Benihana Birthday Dinner certificate with a maximum value of $30. My certificate did not specifically state that I had to make another purchase, but I brought along a friend and we split the cost of our dinners. My entire meal was free, but they do not apply the whole $30 to the bill, rather, just what the birthday person got.

At Benihana’s you get soup, salad, appetizers, dinner, hot green tea, and with some menu items, dessert. Bring on the courses!

Benihana - San Diego, CA - Soup

This is the “Benihana Onion Soup”. My friend, Laura, doesn’t like mushrooms so she gave me all of hers after I took this picture so my soup was chock full of mushrooms. Pretty mild flavor. Just tasted like hot stock with a few veggies to me.

Benihana - San Diego, CA - Salad

The salad. I like how some of my carrots look like curly fries. I was also glad they gave me a fork. This has the standard Japanese salad dressing on it, I don’t remember what it’s called. I just think it’s okay. The dressing seemed kind of chunky and watery to me, but maybe that’s just me. I’m really here for the entertaining, the fried rice, and the shrimp!

Benihana - San Diego, CA - Fried Rice in Action

I love getting the fried rice because A) it’s fun to watch them make it and B) it’s delicious. The chef spins the eggs around, makes hearts out of the rice, and it tastes so good to boot. It’s also got chicken in it and a few veggies. Cooked just right. Definitely worth the additional price of $3.25. They don’t tell you how much the additional cost is, but it is on the menu.


Here the chef is preparing the shrimp appetizers and some of the veggies (zucchini and onions). Everyone gets a little shrimp with their meal. I remember my shrimp was gobbled up quickly – hot, fresh, lightly seasoned and that good grilled taste – yum!


More entertainment with the Steaming Onion Volcano (and our shrimp to the right – mmm).


My friend got the “Colossal Mango Shrimp” – the shrimp were HUGE. The shrimp were grilled and then asparagus, bell peppers, and mango sauce are added with a lime to squeeze over the top. The mango + shrimp was very tasty. Good flavor combination!


I got “Rocky’s Choice” which is Hibachi steak and chicken breast. Steak done to medium – juicy and yummy, seasoned just right. Grilled chicken, not overdone, cooked just right again. They should have the cooking part done really well, since they make it all day!


And, since it was my birthday, they sang me a song and presented me with a quarter of a pineapple. And then I got my strawberry Häagen-Dazs ice cream to finish it off (it was included with my meal).


I really loved that spoon for my ice cream.

Total cost for us was about $16 each (not including tip). The Rocky’s Choice meal alone is about $25 plus $3 for the rice – so we got about $28 taken off of our bill. The Mango Shrimp is about $23. Pretty good savings if you bring along a friend to split the bill. Or, I suppose you could try going by yourself, but what fun is that?

477 Camino Del Rio So.
San Diego, CA 92108

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