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“So-so lunch with a $25 parking ticket for dessert”

Benchmark Restaurant at Niagara College
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Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $20 - $25
Cuisines: Canadian
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Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Glendale Road
Reviewed March 15, 2013

In honour of my birthday, my friend and I made the trek from Oakville to Niagara-on-the-Lake in search of an enjoyable lunch prepared by aspiring professional chefs. Upon arrival, we found both the visitor parking and the dining room filled to capacity due to March Break. Nevertheless, we lucked in to a vacant parking spot just as we entered the lot AND our reserved table was situated right beside the window of the Benchmark Restaurant's octagonal glass dining room. So far, so good.

As a starter, I ordered a small plate of Mussels with NC Ale in Chipotle Cream, which was so delicious that I quickly discarded the bread and ate the sauce with a spoon. My friend's yummy quesadilla app featured adobo, smoked chicken and cheese with Pico de Gallo sauce so she was pretty happy too.

In our estimation, the main course selections seem a little too "pubby" to be representative of a culinary school. Options include a flank steak sandwich, reuben sandwich, lobster mac & cheese, smoked chicken havarti panini, Vietnamese Pho, a Thai curry, a veggie stew and the selection we both settled on: fish and chips. The battered haddock and fries were well cooked and tasty but the serving was enormous - two people could easily share it. (And some raw veggies would be a welcomed addition!)

Dessert options included a bread pudding, a lime meringue tart, and an apple crumble. My friend chose the lime tart and found the lime curd too sweet given that it was topped with sweet meringue. The shortbread pastry tart had not been cooked enough to become dry so it was difficult to cut.

Service was attentive and charming from the front of house manager to our wait staff. Water was promptly replenshed by bashful, smiley people.

Returning to my car, I was dismayed to find a $25 parking ticket because I had not parked (and could not park) in the restaurant visitor parking and didn't know there was a charge where I had parked. (The attendant was not on duty in the booth). I contacted the parking authority there to explain the situation and asked for leniency but was turned down flat. If you visit this restaurant, make sure that you understand the parking rules before leaving your car. There is even a 30 minute parking limit for restaurant customers, which seems preposterous.

Reservations are required so be sure to call ahead.

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1  Thank iv96364
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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235 - 239 of 290 reviews

Reviewed March 9, 2013

I heard rave reviews about the college and was curious since the consensus was 5 star food for mediocre pricing. Overall, it was alright if you are up for a change of the regular food. By this I mean that the wings tasted like baked chicken. They weren't bad, but different from what my taste buds were in the mood for. The pondview cab merlot was delicious and very well priced, and the service was great. One suggestion is to go to the winery on site prior to eating so you are more familiar with the wines on the menu and can rule out the ones you have already tried. We went for lunch and it did the job, but I was definitely not blown away by anything. The pricing was the best feature!

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Thank drearocs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 3, 2013

Loved this opportunity to have dinner prepared by Niagara College Students. Only good comments to make about this experience. Food was great and I loved seeing the up and coming restaurant and hospitality workers committed and hard at work. Would definitely return!

Thank Denise W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2013

We went there on a Saturday evening and the food was outstanding. I had Char and succotash and my wife had the chicken. Had scallops for an appetizer which were excellent, but the hightlight was the apple kuchen for dessert. My wife and I split it and it was fantastic. The servers were enthusiastic and informative. All in all for the type of meal we had the price was reasonable and we were very happy with it. Would recommend it if you are in the area.

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Thank Ron W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2013

This is my favorite restaurant while visiting Niagara on the Lake. Amazing beer and wine made on site at the school. We had the mussels appetizer which was phenomenal and only $5 these would be worth it at 5 times the price. The steak sandwich was the best steak sandwich my husband had ever tried. I agreed.

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Thank Gretchony
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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