Benchmark
Benchmark
  • Address:
    135 Taylor Rd
    Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON L0S1J0
    Neighborhood:
    Niagara-on-the-lake
  • Cuisine:
    Contemporary American
    Price: CAN$31 to CAN$50

Benchmark

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.niagaracollege.ca/dining
  • Phone: 9056412252x4619
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Tuesday - Saturday: 11:30 am - 2:00 pm;

    Dinner: Wednesday -Friday: 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm;

    Saturday: 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm
    Our dining room is closed on Sunday and Monday.
  • Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: Bruce Worden C.C.C.
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Beer, Farm to Table, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Smoking Area, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Let us help make your day a success by catering your special event. We can accommodate 80 Guests for a sit down dinner in our dining room, 16 Guests in our private dining room and up to 200 guests with a stand up cocktail reception overlooking our greenhouse, winery & spectacular vineyard setting.
    We use top quality, often locally sourced ingredients to make simple, delicious and affordable food showcasing the talents of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute. Please contact Sarah Scott to discuss a custom made menu for your special event.
  • Private Party Contact: Sarah Scott 9056412252x4618

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Glendale Road
  • Parking: Public Lot
A word from Benchmark
The Canadian Food and Wine Institute's state of the art facilities are nestled into 114 acres of abundant Niagara land.
Benchmark is the next evolution of the hands-on learning process. Students begin their careers in the culinary and hospitality industry at this unique teaching restaurant.
Benchmark has been created to offer local, fresh food options for college students, staff and the external community at affordable prices.

Features of Benchmark include a focus on fresh, local and Canadian cuisine, an educational kitchen and food, wine and beer pairings. We welcome all students, staff and members of the community to experience Benchmark.
Continued
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
  • Diners' Choice WinnerGreat for Lunch
Benchmark reviews from OpenTable diners
178 reviews since May 22, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.4
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4.3
    Noise LevelModerate
96% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (120)special occasion (95)great for lunch (92)scenic view (82)good for groups (74)neighborhood gem (64)notable wine list (50)great for outdoor dining (49)romantic (47)great for brunch (27)kid-friendly (12)hot spot (10)late-night find (1)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • Hidden find
    niagara
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Benchmark restaurant is a great Niagara find with excellent food and service by the students of Niagara College. Well priced and interesting menu and very good wine and beer from the College program as well.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent Experience
    Londoner
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    We have visited Benchmark a number of times and never come away disappointed with the dinner or lunch meal. The presentation is great and always very pleasing. The meals are prepared as requested. It is easy to spend a couple of hours enjoying the experience. People need to understand that this is a learning experience for a number of the people working there so sometimes patience is required. However, the meal is well worth the time. We always recommend Benchmark to friends and acquaintances who come to the Niagara Region. Just as good as any other restaurant in the region.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Concept
    Canadian
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    We loved this experience. The students were extremely proud of what they had accomplished in this very professionally run restaurant in a beautiful setting.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • very good if you choose right
    martin
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    I love the setting, large, open, windows all round. Staff are all very friendly and having the chef explain his meal when you are served is a nice touch and informative. Two of us had the "trust us" set lunch (excellent). The salad with bits of goat cheese was very good. The duck along with all the accompanying vegetables was absolutely delicious, the peach mouse desert was very tasty and could be served in the best pastry shops of France. My ale was delicious and the cappuccino was very good. Now for the not so good. The white wine was served at room temperature. The red Cab. Franc was rough, acidic and is barely worthy of a cooking wine. Pizza was dry and tasteless. Black Forest cake was bland. Choose right and you will love it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best Food Anywhere at the Price!
    BCinDC
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    If you are anywhere near the Niagara Falls area, don't deny yourself this incredible treat, whether for lunch or dinner. Flawless food, wonderfully presented by a charming student staff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • always good food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    This is a gem and would be rated higher on occasion. The servers are students and our server was learning. In the past with a more experienced server it was like being in a 5 star restaurant. To be fair to the restaurant as well it was FULL with a large group at 3 tables therefore the noise volume was higher than usual. The manager was excellent and came by a few times to check on us. It was my husbands birthday and his dessert came on a plate with Happy Birthday written in chocolate. For the food quality you can't get a better meal at this price point in the Niagara area.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Evening Out
    757pilot
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    Third successive year we've dined here while attending the Shaw Festival. Pleasant surroundings, excellent food, good wine and good, friendly service.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    We ordered the "Trust Me" menu@ $25.00 but ended up paying $6.00/glass of wine. We had been told that the wine would be included. That said we had a thoroughly enjoyable lunch.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    I always look forward to seeing what new creations will be on your menu. It's fun to see people learning the craft and experience their enthusiasm.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, kid-friendly, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A few kinks to be worked out
    aladywholunches
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    Food was OK but service needed improvement. Scheduling in the kitchen was rather haphazard. Two of the three of us received some of our food long before the third member of our group got hers. Also the two of us received our salad before the soup - shouldn't that have been the other way around? The Cobb salad was disappointing because I had expected a better quality of lettuce for the cost of the dish, but the soup was OK, and the crème brulee very good indeed. Our server, a delightful young man who will be a great server after he has learned a few important points, e.g. if the customer wants a Caesar salad instead of the green salad that goes with the dish, she should be able to have her choice no matter what the kitchen says.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Beautiful place for a celebration!
    Yankeeinexile
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    This is a restaurant run by the Culinary Institute at Niagara College. Many of the wines are created from grapes grown at the vineyard the restaurant overlooks. Service is very good - though it depends on the experience of the server. Much of the food is locally sourced. Choices should please both the foodie and those with simpler tastes. A surprise hit our our visit was a vegetarian entree with panko-crusted butternut squash. Arctic char was also delicious on our most recent visit.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Trust Us!
    fiasco78
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Trust us is the last choice on the lunch menu. It is a 3-course menu that is exceptional. Highly recommend it. Service was top-notch and very attentive. The chefs and waiters are all students at the culinary school. Only compliant was that we didn't have a menu when we ordered coffee (desert came with the 3 course meal). We wanted espresso and each ordered doubles. Once the bill came we saw that each single of espresso was 3 dollars, so 2 doubles came to $12 more expensive than wine. I guess its a small bit extra to pay for a great meal. We got another double espresso in town at Niagara on the Lake for $2.35 each (what it should normally cost). It would have been nice to warn us or provide a menu for coffee order.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • CalamariLovers
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    We've been meaning to book a reservation for some time and now that we had the food experience, we loved it!! the food was a real mouth party. My only complaint was that the pork tenderloin was a bit too well done and dry. Pork juices should be running clear. The scallops appetizer were spectacularly cooked, the kale salad was great and the desserts were very good. Their rendition of a Black forest cake was nicely done and the cherries were delicious. NC Sauvignon Blanc was very refreshing. We'll be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • minor critique
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    We ordered soup and a salad.We were asked if they could bring the salad first, as the soup would take a while, which was fine but then the soup was brought out before we finished the salad and the table was so small it hardly all fit, and the soup cooled while we finished the salad. Food was great.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Patio Gem!
    eet4joy
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    Wonderful upscale casual dining! Definitely worth the visit.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • charming service and good food
    lilley
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    As a foursome for dinner on Saturday evening we thoroughly enjoyed both the food and the service at Benchmark. Our server was professional and charming at the same time. Three of us had the set menu with the four courses and enjoyed every bite. The fourth person chose from the a la carte menu and also enjoyed his dinner. We hope to return to Benchmark next time we come to the Niagara area.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food & wine but fair service.
    jojoqc3
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Very interesting food experience. Four course table d'hôte with wine pairing was fine. Service could have been better. Three times out of four the wine was served long after the plate. Very limited quantity of wine in the glass. Wines were of good quality and we enjoyed them. Tea and coffee not included in the table d'hôte. When you pay such a price, we think it should be included.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Future Looks Great
    Brian
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    NC is teaching our future restaurant talent very well indeed. Great service and food at a reasonable price. Enjoy today watching and experiencing our future unfold.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Worth the Trip, If You Can Find It
    DiningWithDon1VIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    When visiting NOTL this restaurant is worth the 15-20 min ride to try. It is situated on the campus of Niagara College and is the restaurant of the college's Culinary Arts Dept. Aside from letting students showcase their culinary chops the wine and the beer are their own as well. The menu is aggressive and interesting. There are some hits and misses; I can't say everything served to our table of 4 was top notch but it is fun to see youngsters work magic in the kitchen and the menu's prices are well below other fine dining establishments in the area. If you are in the area (NOTL or the Falls) you shouldn't miss Benchmark. I'm giving this 5 stars because if you are a foodie you should support it and the value is outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Awesome
    Ziggy
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Benchmark is one my favourite restaurants in the area and I have been there many times. Sharon and her staff of students run a great establishment and I recommend it alot. I especially love to bring my out of town friends and during our annual wine tour in October my Northern friends always have lunch at Benchmark. Félicitations et merci pour la bonne bouffe.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Benchmark
    Gracie
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Outstanding cuisine, wine list, and service. Wish I lived in the area so I could enjoy the food more often and stock up on the wine that is served at the restaurant and made by the college. Found the wine to be superior to what I tasted at some of the large commercial nearby wineries.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best in the Region
    Viizenstein
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Among the many choices in the Niagara region, this is the best for excellent food,service and ambience. I would rank it up there with several one-star Michelin establishments we'have been to in rural France.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Student designed menus
    goodeats
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Good service and good food. Nice space and great view. Food was a bit overseasoned for my liking -- too salty. Dessert was sweet enough to overcome the main dish, rib eye.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Exquisite
    localdiners
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    What more can we say. Our lunch was absolutely exquisite, delicious, WOW. We both had the "Trust Us" from the lunch menu. Every dish was well executed from the arugula salad, duck entree and the peach strudel. We also opted for the Niagara College wine pairing. Excellent
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great salad...
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    The food was awesome especially the bean/beet/peach salad. One issue was that one entree did not arrive until everyone else was done their meal - it was the fish and salad- which was disappointing.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Keep trying....next time's a charm
    foodie
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    We have dined at Benchmark many times. My husband and I took some friends to introduce them to Benchmark. I don't think they will return based on this experience. My complaint would be that the rib eye steaks were not prepared as requested. Unfortunately they were overdone. We did not complain or send them back, perhaps we should have, but I do not believe in that practice. On a positive note, the steak seasoning was great. The service excellent and the ambiance good. I miss the full linens but I realise how much extra work/cost is generated. My husband and I will return. I appreciate the concept and like supporting the school and the students. Unfortunately, this past vist was not as memorable as usual.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • variable
    flyr
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Have eaten at Benchmark any number of times. Lunch has always been superb, with simple menu items (hamburgers, fried chicken etc.) made from fresh local ingredients and well prepared. Actually, this is my favorite lunch spot in the area. Dinner, sadly, is unimpressive. Recently, of the two appetizers one was sent back as inedible (truly awful scallops) while the other (soup) was quite good. The fish main was boring - needed a better side dish. The steak was good quality but also boring. The osso buco and risotto were both without character and the meat too fatty. Some one needs to energize that kitchen. Service, as always, was charming with the students and supervisor really trying to please.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • 5 star dinning for 3 star prices
    sudak091
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    What a great find! We went to the Benchmark restaurant with huge group of family and friends from all over the world. And there was something for everyone. The food was fantastic and a great selection of wine and beer (from the schools brewing program)! We had a 5 star dinning experience for 3 star prices! We will definitely be going there again!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Highly recommend Benchmark
    BMNewFan
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    Benchmark was highly recommended to me. My friend and I stopped here for lunch on our way to Shaw Festival. We ordered the 'trust me' option on the lunch menu and received a delicious 3 course meal along with a glass of excellent white wine. The setting is beautiful and the service professional and friendly. I will return again and highly recommend it. Great experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Outstanding
    Sassa1
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    We tried this restaurant a week ago & thought that it was so nice that we returned this week! Something on the menu for everyone!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    It was our first time at the Benchmark and we were really impressed, not only was the food very good, it was presented in the most original and refreshingly creative manner - an example was the black forest dessert in its upright round format. Many thanks, we will be back again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Another awesome meal!
    luv2dine
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    My husband and I went to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary and had the special Saturday night four course meal paired with wines at each c course. We were definitely not disappointed!!!! We have been going to Benchmark for several years and every time is a great experience. We will definitely be repeat customers for years to come.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lovely Evening Out
    Rarenightout
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    My husband and I enjoyed our experience at Benchmark. Our friend Meghan, who's parents own a B&B in the area recommended this place. She is a foodie....loves experimenting the flavours and wines in her own cooking. I asked her for recommendations in the area for the weekend. We thought to try the College restaurant to help support budding cooks, wine makers and beer makers. We were not disappointed. One of our favourite meals. Thank you so much.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food continues to stand out
    GurzaVIP
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    overall, an excellent experience and all the more pleasing when seen in the context of a teaching restaurant. The food was excellent and a real effort was made to accommodate unique food sensitivities and special requests. One small criticism is that staff need to write down details (such as salad dressing on the side) rather than rely on their otherwise flawless memories. But definitely worth coming back to time and again for consistently well prepared meals and imaginative choices using local produce. And a remarkable achievement give the college staff regular turnover. Kudos to the management
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful
    Mona415VIP
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    This place is a must if you come to NOTL. We have been coming to NOTL for ever and just found out about this place through Travelocity. The food is amazing and the price is even better. I highly recommend it!!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Taste Explosions
    Blitzpacker
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Fabulous restaurant, fresh, new ideas, tasty old standbys. Bringing the creations of tomorrows chefs to the table today. The Chacuterie Plate, our first appetizer came on a thick board generously loaded with Terrine, cured meats thinly sliced, a cheese selection, pickled beets, crostini and house mustard. Each bite was tastier than the next. The pickled beets were an addictive flavor that kept me coming bajck for more! Next we tried the Potato and Roasted Garlic Chowder ; this creamy concoction was delicious. Grilled Canadian Rib Eye - The steak, cooked to perfection, mouthwatering flavor and texture. Heaven!!! Creme brulé and coffees finished this excellent meal. Excellent service! Only complaint is the Benchmark is not in my city!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food, Service D+
    Museumgrl
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    The food at Benchmark, for the most part, was memorably delicious. Sadly, the service was memorable because we had one of the worst servers we have ever experienced. We knew we were being served by a student, but, even so, she provided a text book example of what not to do when serving at a fine dining restaurant. At every point of our meal, she made classic mistakes, including forgetting our wine and placing dirty utensils back on the table after we used them. The staff member working the front of the house stopped by our table several times and was very charming and informative about the food. Watching the other student servers, our server definitely seemed to be the bottom of her class. Come here for the food, not the service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • what a gem!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    What a find within Niagara College - excellent food, service and all at very reasonable prices!
    Special Features:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great quality
    goodeats
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Great menu, fresh. Excellent service. Recommend to friends (local and international).
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lunch
    Cousins
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    An excellent place for fine dining at an affordable price. We will visit again when we are in the area.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.