1568 Oak View Ave, Kensington
Such a great surprise especially the fried sage pizza and bolognese. Although indoor dining is not available due to COVID, you can still order and eat outside of their restaurant. Their selection of wine is also great--it's by the bottle, not the glass. I plan on returning here to try other food items.
Benchmark is great -- we've ordered take-out a few times during the pandemic and we've been really happy every time. We've had the Margherita pizza, burrata pizza, and fried sage pizza. All were terrific.
Best pizza in the bay area!
After very nice communication with the owner after posting this first review, I am adding this caveat! PLEASE be sure to call ahead to make sure that they are open so that you will not have the problem I had yesterday! EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED!! I stopped into Benchmark three days ago to pick up a menu, check the hours of business and confirm with the young woman behind the counter if we might eat at the sidewalk tables. We also confirmed the hours of operation online which advertised online as being open until 9:00PM. Last night five of us showed up at 8:30PM to get dinner for my husbands birthday. As we were walking in the same young woman at the counter announced that they were closed!! The entire staff was still in the kitchen and the doors were wide open. Rather than serving five people the staff decided that they would rather shut down early and go home. Needless to say it ruined my husbands birthday. I hope that the owner reads this review and thinks about hiring staff that are more customer service oriented!!
We're regular takeout customers because this is the best pizza in the area. The Caesar salad is lovely and sharp, the chocolate chip cookies are good, too. We'll usually get two pizzas: one to eat right away and another to eat later. Even freezes well.
This is the best resturant ever
Asked for curbside picked and NEVER delivered. We even called, left name, and description of our car only for girl at the counter tell us “Oh sorry I forgot.”
** The following review reflects my delivery experience DURING the shelter-in-place order currently in effect. ** Jamie W. and I have seen this intimate pizzeria on Colusa Circle many times, as we often walked the public paths down the hill, but pizza has been off our respective diets for several years now. We used to be Friday night pizza junkies in our heftier days, and we most definitely had our favorite spots. Perhaps shelter-in-place has made us yearn for a bit of comfort food throwback or maybe it's just too damn easy to order a pizza through Door Dash. Either way, we ordered their signature pie, the $17 Benchmark Pizza. It was simply a Margherita pizza but very well executed with the tomato sauce and mozzarella particularly fresh and the crust appropriately blistered (photo: https://bit.ly/3dlfeKs). Best of all, the 11-inch diameter made it ideal for two people who didn't want to have leftovers. Of course, we cut that temptation off at the pass by ordering three other items. First up was the $14 Chopped Salad, a hearty box filled with mixed greens, asparagus, ceci beans, almonds, a semi-soft-boiled egg cut in half, and plenty of Grana Padano shavings (photo: https://bit.ly/3gDnEyH). That was tasty and probably worthy of ordering on its own, but who am I kidding? We also went for the $14 Strawberries and Burrata because who doesn't love velvety burrata? Add sweet strawberries, frisée, and toasted sesame seeds, and it was almost a dessert (photo: https://bit.ly/3dt9fU9). And just to finish off the meal, we had the $7 Castelvetrano Olives marinated with lemon and rosemary (photo: https://bit.ly/3dhIX6X). It ended up being quite a feast, and it was nice to patronize a local business that we wouldn't have tried had there not been a pandemic. FOOD - 4 stars...that was a mondo bella pizza with salads that shined as well AMBIANCE - n/a...it was a delivery but we look forward to going inside there sometime SERVICE - 4.5 stars...timely and well packaged TOTAL - 4 stars...we're going to make this special occasion pizza...ok, maybe once in a while pizza RELATED - Looking for pizza? Here's a collection of places I've tried and reviewed: https://bit.ly/2XxNSgv
Horrible service. Asked for curbside pickup, gave the name and what car we were in and she never delivered. We waited and finally I had to go in only for her to say "Oh sorry, must have forgot!" Wished we didn't order online or tipped in advance. Pizza was mediocre considering it was sitting at the counter for 30 mins. Thanks but NO THANKS!
This is our local family pizza place in the Colusa Cirle of Kensington, right near the borders of Berkeley, Albany, and El Cerrito, and we couldn't be luckier about that. I love all of their food, but particularly want to single out three items that you must experience. Right now my favorite pizza is the Sage Pizza with garlic, fresh mozzarella, brown butter, and grana. During the lockdown, we order one of these every second week. As for pasta, I would recommend Strozzapreti Bolognese (aka "Priest Stranglers") which is served in a traditional meat sauce (not sure if they can do it meatless but I love it). And finally, I know it's basic to suggest but their Caesar Salad is exceptional (they use superb cheeses). To be honest, we love cooking at home, but during the lockdown, we've been happy to spend a bit on takeout just to make sure these guys are still here when this is all over.
What can I say: great Neapolitan-style pizza (speaking as someone who was born and raised in Italy) and lovely neighborhood joint. The only place we have ordered takeout from during #covid19
Pizza wasn't good, service also not good, and filled of screaming whining kids and their haggard parents. One positive was their creative recipes. BTW, also expensive - which would be fine iff the food was delicious. Their good reviews amount to false advertising, or maybe locals have low standards.
Such a great Landmark eatery in Kensington, CA.
Sometimes you forget the best places are usually in small pockets of residential neighborhoods. Not pretentious, not seeking Michelin stars, not trying to attract anyone actually. Just serving their neighborhood peeps and those curious foodie nomads with solid Italian inspired dishes. Packed on a Thursday night, and not because of some lame NFL game on whopper screens. The smell coming outta here, likely from the brick oven, was all the advertising they needed. Me? Used Yelp, put in Italian as I was more interested in an Elaine (from Seinfeld) inspired BIG Salad... there was just enough variety here to entice me to boogie forth into the windy, rainy night, not wanting to fight too much end of rush hour traffic. Just get to San Pablo n climb the hill. Many moons ago when we thought we would need to raise our family in the bay, we looked extensively in Kensington loving the fact that it was a milder version of Bizerkely, aka less granola-e... more familia oriented with a great school district to boot! Hella views and quiet small town feel 20-30 minutes to SF. Fate had other ideas... but some 29 years and 3 doggies later, our vet is still here, just around the corner. And I'm gobsmacked I never gave this a whirl! Friendly, informal and attentive staff. That salad would make Elaine blush... huge mixed salad with added pomegranate, pistachios, almonds and a variety of green and lively thIngs served in a bowl mostfamily's would use to serve at a dinner of 4 or more! Bang on Tasty, crunchy full of flavah! A red wine bottle special that also was Bang on with dinner! (Sorry... British elections consuming my brain). So browsing my yelp y'all know I am a Zah snob. But that fried sage brown buttah zah looked and sounded like a solid way to brexit the traditional tomato based Zah... but it needed a bit of protein so I opted for the HOUSE MADE sausage. Bang on again mate! The crust was yummy... salty,crunchy chewy the perfect foil for the snappy cheese, crispy sage and melt in your kisser sausage. I've been a fool! It took me 30 years to try this place. It won't be 30 days before I'm back 4 Sho!
Get the sage pizza. And the olives. And swirl soft serve with olive oil. For real. We've been coming here weekly for months. Stop by Vintage Berkeley on Vine, buy a case of good cheap wine, and go to Benchmark for a midweek date night on free-corkage Tuesdays.
1568 Oak View Ave, Kensington, CA 94706