Benchmark Oakland is now open featuring a delightful and lovely Italian-Californian menu prepared with seasonal, often locally sourced, organic ingredients. Executive Chef Peter Swanson and Operations Manager Melissa Swanson are co-owners and husband and wife. Chef Swanson opened Benchmark Pizzeria in Kensington, California in 2012 and Benchmark Oakland is their new restaurant. Assisting him in the kitchen is Chef de Cuisine Jennifer Moffitt who was most recently at Boot & Shoe Service. The restaurant’s house-stretched pasta and doughs for pizza are from sourdough starter made with their own wild yeast.
If historic architecture delights you, you will love this building as it was built in 1876, and a portion of the restaurant’s mosaic and tile flooring has been in place for almost a century. The 50-seat dining room was designed by Said Jon Eghbal, in collaboration with the Swansons, and include a dark orange and black color scheme, wood-topped tables, high ceiling, over-sized windows and an exhibition kitchen with a wood fired pizza oven. The zinc-topped bar has room for 10 people and there is outdoor sidewalk patio seating. The outdoor street and trees at 499 9th Street, on the corner of Washington Street, are beautifully decorated for the holidays and is beautiful at night!!
The beverage selection includes an international wine list, assorted beers, and craft cocktails curated by Tamir Ben-Shalom of Bull Valley Roadhouse. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Every item we ordered was exquisitely prepared, fresh with exceptional taste! Saffron in the Seafood Stew is an excellent idea! The Sourdough Crust in the Pizza was mild and perfect! We will be back! A detailed list of items we enjoyed are below along with slideshow pics! Enjoy!!
Bedrock Wine Co., Evangelho Vineyard, Contra Costa County 2017
- Butternut Squash Soup
Warm spice, brown butter, sage
- Singleness Crab from the Wood Oven
Potatoes, Aioli, Spices
Tomato Sauce, fresh mozarella, basil, extra virgin olive oil
- Seafood Stew
Saffron broth, crab, clams, mussels, aioli, toast