After more than six months of renovations, Benchmark Oakland debuts tonight in Old Oakland. The restaurant comes from husband-wife team Melissa and Peter Swanson, a former Dopo and Oliveto chef whose obsession with neo-Neapolitan pizza is readily apparent in Benchmark’s exceptionally stretchy and tasty dough.
But Benchmark also brings the neighborhood another promising place to imbibe, thanks to wine director wine director Corin Weihemuller (Comal) and Tamir Ben-Shalom (Bull Valley Roadhouse), who developed the cocktail menu.
With an emphasis on amaro, the list features a nice mix of low ABV options in addition to spirit-forward cocktails, many of them incorporating local, small-batch products like Small Hands Foods’ syrups, Mosswood Distillers’ rum, and Oakland Spirits Company’s gin. And despite the Italian food on the menu — and again, all of that amaro — the flavors show global influences with ingredients like ume bitters and hibiscus. Fun garnishes — namely, a single red Swedish Fish resting atop the savory-leaning Zouk Love — show Benchmark also doesn’t take itself too seriously. See the full menu below.
Benchmark Oakland opens today. Hours will be 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Starting Monday, October 8, Benchmark will also open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- A Neapolitan Pizza Haven Opens This Week in Old Oakland [ESF]
- Benchmark Oakland [official]