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See also: b/Side
327 Somerset Street West

Benitz Bistro
Benitz Bistro
Benitz Bistro
Foods from Benitz Bistro


2010 Jun 29
We had brunch at Benitz on a rainy Sunday a while back and it was fantastic! Of course, anything is fantastic with extra-spicy caesars ;)

I don't remember the details other than it was super delicious & service was awesome - my water glass was never empty, and I like the old fashioned touches of handing the menus to ladies first, etc.

Pictured here is the most perfect cranberry juice pour I have ever seen in my life.

2010 Apr 26
Went here on Saturday night for special night out. This place is really a great restaurant and an awesome value. We both went the with table d'hote. They were completely flexible, order whatever apps/mains you wish.

The evening started with an amuse bouche of a smoked salmon spanikopita, very nice, perfectly done.

We started out with the soup, a squash soup with goat cheese. It was labelled as a petit bowl, but it was pretty much full sized in my opinion. It was a very nice soup, but could have used a bit more seasoning. There was no salt or pepper on the tables, we could have asked, but enjoyed it enough that it didn't really matter.

For apps, I had the chef's selection of 4 which included foie terrine, raw oysters, scallops, and rabbit rillet filled wonton. The oysters, and scallops were outstanding! The foie was very good, the wonton perhaps a bit over baked/fried. My wife had the beet salad with goat cheese croquets and candied nuts. The salad was a huge hit, and was enormous. There must have been at least half a cup of nuts, and 3 (maybe four - its a big food haze already) of the cheese croquets. It was so good and inspiring she made a similar salad at home the next day.

Mains were braised short rib with smashed potatoes and aspargus for me, Duck breast with turnips/peppers - and can't remember what else. I really enjoyed the short rib. The portion was enormous and super tasty. The duck was solid, but perhaps a bit underseasoned. Both plates went back cleaned off.

Desserts were a cranberry cake - many layers, my wife loved it. I had an apple feullette, with cinnamon pastry cream. It was yummy, if I'm really picky I'll say the pastry was a bit dark.

The service was outstanding. My wife asked for her leftover cake to be packaged up for our kids. When our server returned with a substantial sized container - it had not only her piece but an additional so our kids wouldn't fight over it. What a kind, and nice thing to do!

I'd highly recommend this place for anyone looking for really solid food. Go hungry, the servings are very well portioned, and the table d'hote hits an excellent price point.

2009 Sep 28
My fiancÚ and I dined here Saturday night for our anniversary and were quite happy with everything we ordered.

One of the things we noticed first was the pace of the meal. There was no rush to get a menu under our noses as soon as we sat down or hovering waiters buzzing around the table. We had a seat, perused the wine menu which was the first thing we saw (it was already sitting on the table) and ordered a few drinks. The red alize kir and amaretto sour were tasty (though my heart always cringes a bit when you're paying close to $10 for one drink - I know, I know, high-end dining).

Our first nibblet of food was an amuse-bouche of summer squash in a light breaded shell drizzled with a bit of herb infused oil, and topped with baby greens. Very nice. It was only after we had ordered drinks and had eaten every last bite of the amuse-bouche that we were given a food menu. I really liked this. As it was our anniversary, we really wanted to take our time and enjoy each other, along with dinner so I thought this easy pace was awesome.

After we had ordered our mains, we got a few light crustinies (Art-is-In Bakery!)with a roasted red pepper and goat cheese dip to tide us over...yum!

We both ordered the table d'hote which began with a chef inspired soup - for that evening is was a smoked halibut! I enjoyed every spoonful!

Next up was the appetizer choice, for which we both chose the same thing, a trio of Raspberry Point oysters from PEI. They were perfectly chilled and very fresh, topped with finely chopped onion and black pepper, and a wedge of lemon on the side. Brought back some great memories from our trip out East this past summer :)

The mains followed - I had the Bistro Chicken and my other half had the Flank Steak. Both were served with an abundance of steamed veggies (greens which may have been spinach, not sure). My veggies also had red peppers and onions. I also had a side dish of fries which were a combination of both regular and sweet potato, served with a light mayonnaise for dipping. My fiancÚ had mashed potatoes along with his veggies.

My bistro chicken was wonderful, 4 chicken legs (hell of a serving for a bistro I thought!) glazed with black pepper, sea salt, thyme and maple syrup. The skin was light and crispy, the chicken itself juicy and tender. I could only finish two of the legs, but our waitress kindly packaged up the left overs for me and kept them in the kitchen until we were ready to leave.

The flank steak was done medium rare and had a pleasant pinkness in the centre that left the meat nice and tender with a perfectly grilled exterior. I can't say too much more about it, as I was very intent upon my own dish! :)

We finally reach dessert, for which I'm glad I left some room! I chose the flourless chocolate raspberry cake which came as a generous portion drizzled with chocolate sauce and a raspberry reduction. The hubby ordered an espresso and a dessert which was composed of a variety of little samplings: chocolate gelato sitting atop a peach jelly alongside another peach concoction perched on a crumbly butter cookie. I tried a little of each and loved it. Very tasty, but not too sweet.

Overall, the meal was excellent and the service was pleasant and attentive. I wasn't a fan of the all white interior (just to be nitpicky), but that's really all I can grump about. The price was the usual for a dining experience of this ilk, $140 before tip for the two table d'hote options and 4 alcoholic drinks. If we hadn't ordered drinks, it would have been around $100. Decent price for the quality of food.

We will definitely return if the wallet allows for it!

2009 May 28
I dined here with some friends on Saturday night. We arrived for a late dinner, as I was participating in Race Weekend and couldn't get there any earlier. Benitz had been on my "hit list" for a long time, as I'd heard some good things about it and B/Side as well.

To start we were offered an amuse bouche of preserved orange rinds with a bit of herbed goat cheese on top. We ordered a bottle of wine - the wine mark-up was reasonable and Benitz offers a good selection and variety of wines both by the bottle and by the glass.

Our friends chose the Table d'Hote, while we opted to split an appetizer instead. Mr. Nanookie and I split the Charcuterie and it featured Pork Rillette, Shrimp and other meats that were transformed, as opposed to slices. It came with an odd number of crostinis - which weren't enough for the plate, let alone to share with someone else. I ended up breaking them in half so I could try the different meat concotions and made a mess in the process.

My main course was the pork belly, which was perched atop several spears of asparagus and what seemed to be a type of sweetbread. A bit of sauce was drizzled on the plate, as well as another sauce in which to dip the pork belly. The dish was very rich and the flavours complimented each other wonderfully. My only complaint was the size of the pork belly - it was HUGE! I couldn't finish it, not because I was full, but that I'd just had enough.

For dessert I ordered the Swiss Roll - a 1.5" slice of mango and white chocolate mousse, with lemon curd and strawberry coulis. The presentation was very nice, but the fresh strawberry on the plate was rotten.

Overall, I quite liked the food. However, I found the service to be lacking, perhaps because they were quite busy. In some ways, the service was upscale (trying to serve ladies first, white linen napkins), but in others it was really informal.

At one point later in the meal, Mr. Nanookie ordered a glass of wine. The waiter came back with a full glass and announced that they were sold out of the wine he'd asked for, but brought a different wine anyway... he then proceeded to shove the glass in Mr. Nanookie's face for him to smell the wine. It was an awkward moment, that's for sure.

I enjoyed the food at Benitz, but for what we paid, I think there are better values in other restaurants. I left feeling like Benitz was trying to be more upscale with their menu and presentation, but not quite hitting the mark.

2009 Mar 30
The restaurant was quiet and it was a Wed night and there was five other tables (one large). The decor is bright modern white. We ordered the West Coast Salmon and the Lobster Bouillabaisse. We didn't order appetizers because we don't eat alot so usually the main is enough. The server brought an amouse bouche to start. The bottles of red start at $40.

"West Coast Salmon
Juniper and raw sugar brined and quick-seared sockeye salmon, goat cheese polenta, steamed Swiss chard & tomato caper relish

Lobster Bouillabaisse
Poached Nova Scotia lobster, PEI Blue mussels, wild salmon, scallops, julienne leeks & saffron-tomato broth"

Overall the whole thing was enjoyable, just a few notes, the 'goat cheese polenta part of the salmon (was a square with grilled marks on it), was very bland and dry and in my opinion not worth eating. The bouillabaisse sauce was soooooo good, alot of depth of flavour, but the lobster was extremely tough.

We would return again, or try b/side Wine, we maybe would order a glass or wine instead of a bottle to keep the bill down. It was one of our largest dinner bills to date~it was a special occasion so we didnt' mind too much...but wouldnt' be able to justify it for a normal night out.

We did see Chef Benitz on the morning A channel show doing a demonstration of the salmon recipe. He also showed b/side wine and some of the dishes they make there and it looked fantastic. They have these small rooms you can have small groups in and you can get a personalized menu for your group I believe at b/side.

2009 Feb 13
I will not attempt to keep up with Fresh Foodie's review but thought I would confirm that the high standards at this place carry over to lunch as well.
We ate here as a couple on a Friday lunch and I had actually made a reservation since I understood the restaurant to be quite small but that was not needed as most of the tables were free when we arrived at 12:30.
Excellent service again by James who took great care to explain the menu choices and was very prompt with his service despite being responsible for the entire floor.
I enjoyed the spa plate very much, consisting of scallops, salad, and new york striploin. My wife had the sandwich of the day (a pork tenderloin wrap in apple-BBQ sauce)
Seems they have a fish of the day, omelet of the day and sandwich of the day on the lunch menu that I gather rotates through the week.
Excellent Americano and split dessert to finish up.

2009 Feb 8
My wife's parents gave us dinner at Benitz as an xmas gift, and we finally visited on the Saturday before Valentine's Day. The dining room is fairly small and packed but the ceiling is high and the general hubbub prevents conversations from carrying over to adjacent tables. Decor is white and would be stark if it weren't for the soft globe lighting.

Highlights: Service! Friendly, relaxed, and professional all the way. Our waiter, James, was congenial and helpful throughout the meal. Our coats were stored away and efficiently presented to us as we left. The quail appetizer and the apple pie were top notch!

Lowlights: None to speak of, although we found our main dishes to be a little overwhelming on the flavour front. When every item on your plate is seasoned and salted like an appetizer it can be a little much. Then again, we ordered a ton of food so it's partly our fault!

Here's what we had. First the drinks:

Martini - classic gin with olive. I believe it was stirred rather than shaken -- the purists would approve. Very nice!
Benitz-Zini (I think it was called that) - my wife enjoyed it. Not really my kind of thing.
Le Clos Jordanne Pinot Noir - I got excited when I saw this on the wine list, as it's received rave reviews on Ottawa Foodies. I ordered a glass and was quite thrilled by it. Good, deep character but also light and refreshing -- my wife even liked it, and she isn't a wine drinker. (Warning: our waiter initially said they were out, leading me to believe they are running low. Call ahead if you're going just for this wine. -- $11 per glass or $58 per bottle.)
Americano - having recently become a home-roasting coffee snob, I like to try coffees in better restaurants as a point of comparison. Benitz's Americano is a good one compared to many other restaurants, but I'm spoiled now and it ain't better than mine!

And here's the food:

Steak and Potato Croquette with Blue Cheese Sauce - this complimentary amuse-bouche was pretty good.
Chorizo Minestrone - My wife's soup was a big hearty bowl of stew. Full of good flavour, but some of the beans were underdone or hadn't been soaked long enough. For a light eater, this could be a meal in itself.
Caesar Salad - The lemon-thyme vinaigrette isn't at all Caesar-like but it's all right. The parmesan brittle was really nice, especially when combined with the croutons. The warm button mushrooms tasted lightly pickled and seemed a little out of place in this salad.
Tasting Plate - A main dish for one or an appy for two, we splurged and shared this (we were hungry!). When you share it, they nicely divide it amongst two plates, each containing four sections: soft shell crab, quail, giant prawn, foie gras "muffin." The quail was spectacular -- certainly the best thing I ate all evening. The other items were just okay, with the prawn being quite boring (albeit beautiful to look at).
Beef Shortrib (braised) with Gnocchi - Rich and tasty but way too big! The solid, boneless block of beef was probably 2x3x4 inches in size and was well marbled. Good, but go easy on the appetizers if you order this one! The gnocchi were fine, but the accompanying sauce and chard were just too salty given the braised nature of the meat (unlike a steak, the flavours permeate all the way to the center). This dish seemed to contain the same pickled button mushrooms as the Caesar salad.
New York Steak with Scalloped Potatoes - Cooked perfectly to wifey's order of medium, we both found the flavour to be good. The scalloped potatoes were in a block like a piece of lasagna and my wife found them to be too rich for the steak (again, this could have something to do with having already eaten a stew-like soup and a big appetizer plate).
Apple Pie - Yes, even though we were stuffed I had to try the dessert. Benitz's apple pie was fantastic! A rectangular cut, it was perfectly spiced and all the flavours were joyfully balanced. Highly recommended!

2009 Jan 1
We enjoyed an excellent New Years Eve menu at Benitz Bistro last night. The food exceeded our expectations from start to finish - each person in our group walked away happy and satisfied and excited to return again in 2009.

Even better than the meal was the service, though. (The main reason why I'm commenting.) Our waiter was excellent - attentive, knowledgeable and pleasant and he went way beyond his call of duty by offering to personally drive our party home when we were unable to order a taxi at the end of the evening.

The offer was much appreciated and was in keeping with the attention to detail and the personal service we received throughout the evening. Highly recommended for it's food, atmosphere and service.

2008 Oct 1
After several attempts at trying to dine at Benitz, we were finally successful last week.

The interior is lovely. It's more modern that you would think given that it's located in one of those beautiful brick 'heritage' homes on Somerset.

We went there for lunch so I ordered the Bistro Burger which is a good chuck of angus beef topped with shredded braised short rib and blue cheese. It is paired with fries and a salad. The burger was quite substantial and delicious, and quite affordable at $12. The sides weren't all that impressive though. The fries are exactly what one would get at McDonalds and the salad was okay. My friend ordered the club sandwich which she enjoyed quite a bit.

I would try Benitz again and next time I look forward to indulging in their dessert menu!

2008 Jul 15
Finally made it to Benitz last Saturday night, and it was well worth the wait.

The interior is quaint; simple and modern. Our server was very prompt taking our drink order and presenting a delicious amuse (blue cheese/garlic croquette).

For appetizers we ordered the quail and beef carpaccio, both were wonderful and left us wanting more. For mains, we had the beef short rib ravioli and the bacon-wrapped Atlantic scallops. The ravioli was very good however I was expecting larger ravioli and the spinach was a bit overpowering. The scallops were perfectly cooked and served with a yummy sweet potato puree and root vegetables.

For dessert we shared a white chocolate mousse, it lacked any chocolate flavour and had a bit too much anise. The coffee was amazing and could be some of the finest in the city in my opinion.

Overall a great dining experience and we will definitely return to try other dishes. Highly recommend this small gem.

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