About Benchmark

135 Taylor Rd
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S1J0
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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.

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Contemporary American

Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Tuesday - Saturday: 11:30 am - 2:00 pm;

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

Saturday: 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Our dining room is closed on Sunday and Monday.

Cross Street:
Glendale Road

Dress Code:
Business Casual

Price Range:
CAN$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(905) 641-2252 ext. 4619

Website:
http://www.niagaracollege.ca/dining

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 120 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.

Executive Chef:
Alex White

Private Party Contact:
Sarah Scott: 9056412252x4623

Additional:
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

Restaurant Photos

Benchmark Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.5

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.6

service

4.3

ambience

4.3

noise

Moderate

95% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Best Value
Toronto / Ontario
Contemporary American
Toronto / Ontario
Best Food
Niagara
3 More
Best Value
Niagara
Fit for Foodies
Niagara
Great for Lunch
Niagara
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fit for foodies (82)
special occasion (68)
great for lunch (65)
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good for groups (61)
scenic view (49)
romantic (34)
notable wine list (33)
neighborhood gem (26)
great for brunch (21)
hot spot (14)
great for outdoor dining (10)
kid-friendly (5)
vibrant bar scene (1)
late-night find (1)
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758 reviews
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

A food lovers paradise at Niagara College!

Dined 5 days ago

Right in the heart of Niagara, at Niagara College's culinary school is Benchmark Restaurant. The food choices are exceptional and there is something for everyone's preference. All well prepared and presented like you would expect in a five star restaurant. From the celeriac purée that feels like velvet in your mouth and is so delicious to the chocolate tarte with orange marmalade and pomegranate, everything was just wonderfully decadent. We also loved the wine tasting size option to try a couple of Niagara College's own wines produced in their vintner program. Exceptional Pinot Gris and Cabernet Franc! Would have loved a whole bottle, but since we were driving, we decided on a taste!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience4
service4
value5

Pleasant Experience

Dined on April 23, 2016

The food was great and the servers enthusiastic and very positive. Overall a very pleasant experience which I hope to repeat and which I will strongly recommend to my friends.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for lunch
food5
ambience4
service4
value5

students

Dined on April 23, 2016

Really enjoyed the students trying so hard. Food was exquisite, as usual. Cone to think of it, the wines were great too. Thanks Warren Rudd

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience4
service3
value5

Good local food at great value!

Dined on April 22, 2016

Realizing this local culinary institution is no 'CIA' ( Culinary Institute of America ), I did not have high hope and was actually psychologically prepared to be disappointed. This turned out to be a great strategy since the food offered was surprisingly tasty and exceptionally good value! Though plating was not particularly artistic and playful, the majority was still pretty eye pleasing. As for the food itself. Using mostly local or in-house grown 'organic' produce and ingredients, they were nicely executed with a hearty and rustic feel. Portion was surprisingly generous, flavor intense and and taste delicious. Casing point, 6 gigantic diver's scallops for $24, 8 oz Ontario grass fed Angus striploin beef for $26, gorgeous Bordelaise sauce..etc. Service, considering the wait staff were all student, was efficient, professional and friendly, albeit a bit slow.

Tags: great for brunch, good for groups, romantic, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service4
value5

Always Great

Dined on April 20, 2016

NC continues not to disappoint. Our server seemed a little new at his trade, but that's why he is at NC... to learn. The room's atmosphere is bright and uplifting. The food always innovative, and the value /quality very good. We thought there would be a fix price alternative, which we have used at lunch in the past, but none seemed to be offered this visit. Hope it comes back. We should all support Benchmark as it bodes well for our future restaurant experiences with well trained graduates who will support the restaurant trade for years to come.

Tags: good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch
food5
ambience5
service4

The ambiance was very nice, the food was ...

Dined on April 2, 2016

The ambiance was very nice, the food was phenomenal.

food4
ambience5
service4
value4

CR Mississauga

Dined on March 30, 2016

We have been to Benchmark several times and we are quite happy to return, and to recommend the restaurant to others. I ordered scallops which were on the cool side but were grilled perfectly. The vegetables that came with it, was I think mostly parsnips. I needed some bread to complete the meal, I was told however that bread did not come with the lunch service, which I thought was odd. Some starch was needed with that meal, quite disappointed with that answer. The desserts were delicious, as was the two other meals that were ordered.

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch
food5
ambience3
service3

service was lacking. My mom was apparent ...

Dined on March 29, 2016

service was lacking. My mom was apparently excited to celebrate my birthday and had ask for cake to celebrate as a surprise but they never brought any. She told me after, her English is not the best but she definitely would have got that message across when talking to our waiter in private. Now that I know I'm disappointed in them.

food5
ambience5
service4
value4

Great Find!

Dined on March 26, 2016

What a great find this restaurant was! The food was excellent and reasonably priced. Great wine choices and the dessert looked wonderful (did not have as we were stuffed). Service could have been quicker but we had nowhere to be so the wait was fine.

Tags: good for groups, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

GREAT

Dined on March 26, 2016

My wife and I enjoyed the experience.Great food ,service and atmosphere .We will go again and highly recommend .Nice country outing.Very very friendly service. Avrum and Janice

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, scenic view, hot spot
food3
ambience4
service4
value4

Missed one!

Dined on March 26, 2016

We ordered five entrees and three appetizers. Scallops, halibut and personal were all great but the medium rare on the rare side rack of lamb arrived medium well on the well done side. Everything else was fine and we had our usual great dining experience.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Best kept secret in town.

Dined on March 24, 2016

We've been to Benchmark many times. It's always a pleasure and exceeds expectations. Fantastic food and drink for great prices in a wonderful ambiance.

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Amazing unique experience.

Dined on March 18, 2016

Not only was the food amazing, but since it's part of Niagara College's School of Culinary Arts, its students are preparing and serving the food. They were engaging and professional. Fantastic all around! One of the more enjoyable dining experiences we've had in some time.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, notable wine list
food4
ambience4
service4
value3

A Most Enjoyable Dinner with Friends

Dined on March 18, 2016

We all enjoyed the food, the service and the atmosphere. Will certainly return.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Always Amazing!

Dined on March 18, 2016

I have always had amazing service and very delicious food at the Benchmark! Love, love, love this restaurant and will keep coming back. The menu items are always fitting to the season and cooked to perfection. I recently ordered the scallops and was sad when I finished my last bite! The price and quality of food really can't be beat at any other Niagara restaurant!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
food4
ambience5
service5
value5

Great location, food and wine selection.

Dined on March 12, 2016

The staff is friendly and accommodating. Willing to help you in any way possible. The only thing that needs improvement would be the appetizers. Options were good but not up to the caliber of the rest of he menu. Beet salad wonderful. We had scallops and a Kirk entree that were cooked to perfection. Biscotti was amazing! Always try to dine here at least once per the trip!

Tags: fit for foodies, scenic view, notable wine list
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

great job students

Dined on March 12, 2016

as great a lunch as I have ever had and it was done by the students. Congratulations are well deserved.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Keeps Getting Better

Dined on March 11, 2016

Attached to the Canadian Food & WIne Institute at Niagara College, and also connected to their teaching winery and brewery, students learn the food and beverage trade at this great restaurant. The two couples shared the charcuterie platter and a plate of potato samosa fritters - all excellent, never had fritters quite like that before, hope they keep this on the menu for a while. Tried two pizzas, the Canadian and the pizza special of the day (can't remember the name of it) that was intriguing to say the least. Would order either of these what best can be described as 'artisanal' pizzas again. One of the group had the cavatelli and we all got a chance to at least have a small taste of this great dish. The highlight of the evening, after dessert of course, was later on, the place being almost empty and we being almost the last to leave, we requested the Chef give us a brief tour of the kitchen, and he obliged us and our many questions. The wait staff and manager were very attentive, not intrusive and certainly made us feel at home. Relatively easy to talk at the dinner table as even when the dining hall was more than half full, the noise level was reasonable. A great spot, easy parking and fantastic food, we will be back again. remember to order the Niagara College wine. Try then Chardonnay, you will not be disappointed.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Absolutely best pasta dish I have ever had.

Dined on March 11, 2016

I love this place and try to get to Benchmark once a month. Food is always above expectation, dining staff are absolutely amazing and the chefs make an appearance sometimes and its so great to see.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, scenic view
food4
ambience4
service4
value3

Nice night out

Dined on March 6, 2016

Went to Benchmark with some girlfriends and enjoyed really good food, friendly service and a nice atmosphere. I would definitely return.

Tags: fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Pleasantly Surprised

Dined on March 2, 2016

We've been trying to get into the Benchmark but every time we were in the area, there was an event that prevented us from getting in. Finally, this week we were able to enjoy lunch here. A wonderful restaurant with beautiful presentations. The food was terrific and it was nice to see students getting this kind of first class on-the-job training. We will definitely be back and highly recommend.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, notable wine list
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

passing by

Dined on February 24, 2016

we had about Niagara college and spending a few days in Niagara on the lake, so we stopped on our way home. this was a great idea. the whole experience was wonderful. the food is top notch and the students very professional and eager to accommodate. the pork loin was cooked just right and served with a delicious sauce. the fresh made squash pasta got high praise from my wife, who is Italian. we thought the wine and beer selections from their own facilities quite extensive. we will be back next we are in the area!

Tags: fit for foodies, great for lunch, scenic view, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Lovely lunch

Dined on February 23, 2016

It was a miserable day outside but it was lovely sitting in the Benchmark. Even though the view was grey and miserable, the atmosphere inside was pleasant, relaxed and cozy. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. There were 3 in our party and we were able to try 3 dishes and of course, 3 desserts. All were beautifully presented and tasted fabulous. The beet salad, the chicken sandwich, the pizza and the fruit pavlova were definite winners!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Great experience

Dined on February 15, 2016

We attended for valentines dinner as a party of four. Each course was excellent, the servers attentive and the ambiance was very nice. A thoroughly enjoyable time!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience3
service5
value4

Enjoyed the 3-course special

Dined on February 15, 2016

We thoroughly enjoyed our Valentines Special dinner. The 3 course meal was great and it was not skimpy. This was a much better deal than some other well know restaurants we've visited. Everyone in our group enjoyed their selections. The server was friendly and helpful. He recommended an excellent Cabernet Franc. It was well worth the trip from Oakville. We would certainly recommend this place and will go there again and again. Cheers!

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch
food5
ambience4
service4
value5

February 2016

Dined on February 15, 2016

A very enjoyable Valentine dinner. The food was delicious and the service was good.

Tags: romantic, special occasion, scenic view
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

exquisite dining experience .... a must do!!!!

Dined on February 14, 2016

Amazing attention to detail. The flavors were beautifully pared in every course. We went there for our first time in Valentine's day and will go back in a heart beat. We took advantage of the flight of wine in order to rate the Niagara college wines and we're so pleased we did. It was like having all the evidence of going to a winery and being served the most tantalizing food ever. We stuck to the 3 course menu and we were so happy we did, because the food was plentiful. keep in mind these are culinary students di keep a close eye on when the restaurant is open through the year and the house of service. Niagara college benchmark is one of those places you'll chose favorite once you're tried it.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, hot spot, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Love it

Dined on February 14, 2016

Second time there and there will be many more times!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Even Better Than Anticipated!

Dined on February 13, 2016

With a family visit to St. Catharines planned for April 13th, Benchmark came to mind as a pleasant destination for dinner. I'd enjoyed the restaurant once, several years prior, for lunch. So I booked in advance and decided the dinner would also be a 'Valentine's outing'. What a wonderful surprise on arrival, to see the Valentine's dinner menu. The food was DELICIOUS. The service was efficient and not rushed. The extra touches at the beginning and end of the meal were delightful. The unruffled response to a 'dairy free' requirement was much appreciated. 'Dairy free' was handled with ease and beautiful presentation of food for each course. We tried a Niagara College wine and it was just right for the meal. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our dining experience and look forward to a return visit to Benchmark .

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

A unique restaurant!

Dined on February 13, 2016

Benchmark is unique, the ambiance, the view, the food. There is something for every occasion, every taste, young, old and in between.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, scenic view, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

our server Arsen was very knowledgable o ...

Dined on February 13, 2016

our server Arsen was very knowledgable on the menu, wine and beer list. his service and manner made for a truly enjoyable evening.

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Perfect every time

Dined on February 13, 2016

Once again the Benchmark restaurant was the perfect way to spend the evening. The meal was a gastronomical delight, the wine perfectly paired and the atmosphere inviting and romantic. The service was first-class and I could not have asked for better experience. I can't wait to return.

Tags: great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5

Fantastic lunch and service !!!! The cel ...

Dined on February 13, 2016

Fantastic lunch and service !!!! The celery soup and the chicken burger are amazing !!!

food5
ambience4
service5

Wonderful food both in presentation and ...

Dined on February 7, 2016

Wonderful food both in presentation and taste Great service. The students are really passionate about their work and future careers

food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Excellent dinner

Dined on February 6, 2016

Very good restaurant. Menu is diverse, although not very big. Service is attentive and fast. Prices are generally the same as you'd expect anywhere for a restaurant like this. The fact that it is culinary students making the food is amazing. They make their own wine and non-alcoholic beer as well. I had some of the NC Riesling wine. Fabulous! Food presentation, taste and variety were very very good. Would highly recommend. A must is reservations for lunch or dinner. Not open Mondays or Sundays.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, hot spot
food4
ambience5
service5
value5

Super Scallops

Dined on February 6, 2016

So happy we returned to this spot. All was lovely...service, setting, and food. I recommend the scallops and beet salad...perfect. We shared desserts which were good but not as stellar as the mains. I would ask for hotter coffee next time but my friend s was fine.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great Food by aspiring chefs

Dined on February 5, 2016

Great place to go for fine dinning at a decent price. Food quality is always great with a changing menu. Great selection of local wines and beers as well.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service4
value4

A lovely experience.

Dined on February 3, 2016

As retired school teachers who value food service training programs, we drove from London to have lunch at the Benchmark and (only coincidentally!) to check out the new Niagara College food service training restaurant. We were happily rewarded with wonderful food, attentive service and beautiful surroundings. Check it out!

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food1
ambience3
service3
value1

I've been to Benchmark for lunch several ...

Dined on February 3, 2016

I've been to Benchmark for lunch several times and have always had great food until this past visit. I ordered the chicken sandwich and was very disappointed. The meal was visually unappealing, the chicken was bland, the bacon was not cooked properly (i.e. very fatty and soggy), and the sandwich itself was difficult to eat. It was absolutely not worth $15. On the upside, my friend's meal was delicious (she had the pasta).

food5
ambience4
service5
value5

Anniversary Dinner was worth the drive!

Dined on January 30, 2016

We recently celebrated our Wedding Anniversary with dinner at Benchmark. The food was exquisite and beautifully presented and our server was wonderful! Our experience was first class forsure! Thank you for making our celebration so tasty and delightful!

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch

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