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Benchmark Pizzeria

1568 Oak View Ave. (Santa Fe Ave.) Send to Phone
510-647-9724 | Menu
Serious pizza and seriously good pasta dishes served in classy yet family-friendly surroundings in Kensington.

Lunch Fri., Dinner nightly

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Benchmark Pizzeria Restaurant Review

: Co-owners Peter and Melissa Swanson met when both worked at Oliveto. The serious --- almost scholarly --- attention to authenticity and quality that distinguish that famous Oakland restaurant now informs family-friendly Benchmark, which offers hearty, smart pizzas that evoke wild fields and fresh mountain air. Crafted from wild-yeast dough that is rolled out daily then baked in a wood oven, these eleven-inchers are what Swanson calls "Neo-Neapolitan": mostly chewy and a little crispy, thin but not paper-thin for most of their diameter but sporting huge, hefty, puffy rims that invite your teeth to tackle them. It's not often that wheat makes its flavor evident, much less memorable, in a meal. But through every bite of a Benchmark pizza shines the radiant, sun-kissed taste of pedigreed grains. Toppings change daily; try the spinach-like wild nettle and almost-sweet pistachio if you can. Daily pasta dishes are well worth a try, as are fresh salads and nibbles such as warm olives. Choose from a handful of well-selected wines and beers on tap. Straus organic soft-serve ice cream, the sole dessert on offer, is perfect in its unpretentiousness.
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