About Benchmark Eatery

1201 State St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
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Located in the heart of Santa Barbara; BENCHMARK eatery is focused on delivering value driven dishes and generous cocktails, all in a comfortable environment. Individuals, couples, families, locals and/or tourists will all find Santa Barbara’s BENCHMARK eatery to be a solid representation of the surrounding community.

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
American, Comfort Food, Burgers

Hours of Operation:
Daily 11:30a–10p
Happy Hour Daily 4p - 6p

Cross Street:
W Anapamu St

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(805) 845-2600

Website:
http://benchmarkeatery.com/

Additional:
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout

Benchmark Eatery Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

3.8

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

3.8

service

4

ambience

3.6

noise

Moderate

80% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

American
California Central Coast
Best Restaurants in Santa Barbara ›

great for outdoor dining (12)
good for groups (8)
kid-friendly (7)
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fit for foodies (5)
great for lunch (4)
neighborhood gem (3)
notable wine list (2)
vibrant bar scene (2)
hot spot (2)
special occasion (2)
great for brunch (1)
late-night find (1)
scenic view (1)
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Newest
45 reviews
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food3
ambience5
service4
value4

Kids' meals were disappointing: burgers ...

Dined on May 9, 2016

Kids' meals were disappointing: burgers and chicken were dry and bland. Had to ask for BBQ sauce for chicken. My kids are not picky eaters, so it was hard to encourage them to eat their dinner. It is a kid-friendly environment but kid selections were not impressive.

Tags: kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining
food2
ambience4
service4
value2

Hip spot with no flavor

vip
Dined on May 8, 2016

We were first attracted to this restaurant because of its website and mission statement. The servers and hostess were very good, and the ambiance is pretty hip. But the food was less than mediocre. We got the recommended fried pickles that were over done. We tried the baked clams that were mostly just crumbs, and one of which had gone bad. My husband got the "fried chicken" and it was dry, the panko crumbs were barely cooked, and there was no seasoning to speak of. The one item that was fairly good was the fish taco; the flavor was nice but it was also under seasoned and under sauced, leaving us wanting something saucy to pour over it. Overall, we were quite disappointed and left wondering if the chefs or cooks actually taste their food. We would not recommend this restaurant to our friends.

food4
ambience3
service4
value2

Good

Dined on March 24, 2016

Benchmark wasn't the fancy dinner I was aiming for with its casual feel. The food was excellent, the vibe was relaxed and service fast and friendly. The ribs were excellent and the rosè was decent. The brusselsprout appetizer was fabulous. The child steak and fries was just enough food for our 12 year old. Overall good for a last minute week day dinner, like we needed.

Tags: good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
food4
ambience3
service4

I came here with a big group on a Friday ...

Dined on March 12, 2016

I came here with a big group on a Friday night and was surprised the ambiance seemed like we were there are 4pm on a Thursday. Food was average, prices were great.

food4
ambience4
service4
value4

We went here the other night before a pe ...

vip
Dined on January 31, 2016

We went here the other night before a performance at the Granada Theatre, which is right across the street. We had read from the reviews that it was noisy, in part due to the cement floors, but we were seated inside and didn't think it was too bad. Outside would have been more loud. My husband had a tuna melt sandwich which he said was good. I had the Bolognese Papardelle which was excellent. The pasta was perfectly cooked and there was a perfect ratio of sauce to pasta. The portions on both entrees was just about right which meant we didn't have any leftovers. We would definitely go there again, especially on a night when we had a theatre performance downtown. Our service was Katy B. and she was very knowledgeable and friendly. The service was prompt without making us feel rushed.

Tags: kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining
food3
ambience2
service3

Loud, hard room, which was cold and draf ...

vip
Dined on January 28, 2016

Loud, hard room, which was cold and drafty, plus indifferent service, made the decent food less appealing.

food5
ambience3
service5
value5

This was a surprise

Dined on January 20, 2016

Arriving in town for one of those "0" birthdays, I wanted a special place to meet my long time friend for lunch. I picked something out of the tourist sites, but she is a local who recommended this place. Was she ever right! From the deep-fried garbanzo bean treat served to all guests (Yumm!) to my ahi-tuna and white bean dish (in some amazing sauce) this place was non-stop wonderful. The outdoor dining made it even more special. The staff was friendly and the service great. This IS the Bench mark for Santa Barbara. Aptly named!

Tags: great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
food4
ambience4
service4

Good location. Solid food. Great kids me ...

Dined on December 12, 2015

Good location. Solid food. Great kids meals. Good prices

food5
ambience5
service5

Best Casual Place in Town

Dined on December 6, 2015

I have dined many times at Benchmark and every time it has been a very pleasant experience. Go there!

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience4
service5

Feeling hopeful about this newest incarnation...

Dined on November 13, 2015

After 20+ years of watching this particular location at "State & A" struggle with poor food, inept or uncaring service, or outrageously overpriced fare, I thought I'd give Benchmark a try. I was pleasantly surprised, and will definitely be back to try more. I had the chicken Bahn Mi sandwich, and while it wasn't perfectly *authentic* it was delicious on its own right, and definitely something I'd order again. The fries were good, but nothing special. My companion's burger looked great. The fried chick peas that you start with are really good and tasty. I'll be back.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
food4
ambience3
service4

Good Lunch Spot

vip
Dined on November 10, 2015

I had the seafood pasta, which was delicious. 6 large shrimp, 6 mussels, and 4 large clams over a small bed of lemon fettuccine, which was just enough pasta to not overwhelm the dish. The mussels were especially good. When you are seated, your server brings a small bowl of hot, buttermilk-fried chickpeas to the table. My husband and I were a bit dubious at first, but after one taste, we were sold - they are really good, and a nice 'pre-appetizer' while you wait for your meal.

Tags: great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
food4
ambience4
service5

Great salads and prompt service. Will be ...

Dined on November 8, 2015

Great salads and prompt service. Will be back.

food1
ambience1
service1

They took them cancelled my reservation. ...

vip
Dined on October 17, 2015

They took them cancelled my reservation. Not happy!!

food5
ambience5
service5

Very Good Food and Service

Dined on October 7, 2015

Four of us ate here before a concert at the Granada Theater across the street. The waitress was very good about getting us our food, drinks and bill on time. We all said that our meals were very good. My husband especially enjoyed the ribs. There is indoor and outdoor seating. Very casual Santa Barbara crowd of all ages.

Tags: great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
food5
ambience5
service5

First time here - Will definitely come b ...

vip
Dined on October 2, 2015

First time here - Will definitely come back. Great place for lunch eating outdoors total shade and cool beach breezes. Our waiter MG was friendly and entertaining

food3
ambience5
service4

Business Dinner

Dined on September 16, 2015

This was my second visit to Benchmark and I was not that impressed with the food as I was last time! I had the Ahi and it did not taste fresh, one of my clients had the Salmon and said it did not have a lot of flavor! The service, atmosphere, and outside was good are table was ready upon arrival and staff was very accommodating. I will return, but wish they had a little more of the Brophy menu and a larger selection of appetizers!

Tags: good for groups, great for outdoor dining
food5
ambience4
service4

Wow, excellent food. We had a large grou ...

Dined on September 7, 2015

Wow, excellent food. We had a large group and everyone was very pleased with the meal, kids included. I want to go back so I can try all the other awesome looking dishes on the menu.

food3
ambience3
service3

Something for everyone

vip
Dined on August 6, 2015

Party of six different palates. A foodie, a vegetarian, a pescatarian, & kids...all left very content. I thought the place might not be suitable for the kids, but it's actually super kid friendly. We ordered pizzas, benchmark burger, fried chicken, tuna, and gelatos. Everything was pretty good. Definitely will be back.

Tags: kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot
food5
ambience5
service5

The poblano pizza was delicious. It was ...

Dined on August 1, 2015

The poblano pizza was delicious. It was one of the best pizzas I have had. The sangria was also great.

food5
ambience4
service4

Seemed to be a Local Favorite

vip
Dined on July 30, 2015

Loved this restaurant. The food was great and it seemed to be very popular with the locals. I had the pozole with carnitas. It was a small bowl but extremely filling. It was packed with meat. Next time, I think I would order the carnitas on the side so I could taste more of the soup. Very filling for a hungry girl. It came with a side salad with lemon citrus dressing. I loved the dressing so much, I asked and was given the ingredients to make at home. My friend had the fried chicken. It was fabulous. It was a full half chicken, de-boned, breaded and fried. I will return to this restaurant the next time I'm in Santa Barbara.

Tags: fit for foodies
food4
ambience4
service4

Good food, good experience. Will be back ...

Dined on July 9, 2015

Good food, good experience. Will be back.

food5
ambience5
service5

Great outdoor dining!

vip
Dined on July 5, 2015

Loved sitting on the outdoor patio. Great view for people watching. We had the kids with is and they had a great kids menu and wikki stix to keep them entertained. Loved the pulled pork sandwich and excellent service. Food came out quick too!

Tags: kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
food5
ambience5
service5

patio was perfect

vip
Dined on June 21, 2015

We were passing through Santa Barbara and found Benchmark Eatery on OpenTable. It was exactly what we were looking for. We sat on the patio, enjoyed some Sangria and split a few items. The charcuterie plate was great to share. We loved the location, as we were on a busy corner and got to enjoy the people watching on a sunny afternoon. This would be a great spot for a group setting!

Tags: great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, vibrant bar scene
food5
ambience4
service5

The food was good (Tuna Melt, Carnitas T ...

Dined on June 21, 2015

The food was good (Tuna Melt, Carnitas Tacos and Benchmark Burger) and the service friendly! We will definitely be back to try other stuff on the menu. Tasty non-alcoholic cocktails, yummy strawberry crisp for dessert! Minimalistic decor seemed a little cold but everything was clean and they have a great patio, perfect for people watching! When the place is full the atmosphere is probably hopping...

food5
ambience5
service5

Local Gem

Dined on June 19, 2015

The food, atmosphere, people and service were wonderful.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
food4
ambience3
service5

Good food and good location

vip
Dined on June 14, 2015

It's right in downtown Santa Barbara, parking was no problem if you park in a nearby lot for $5 (3 hr limit) and use the extra time to explore the neighborhood. We reserved a table for 8 at lunch time Seated with no problem, service was helpful and friendly, and our order was served promptly. One small mix up serving a side of fries instead of salad, but it was quickly and apologetically remedied. Recommend the onion rings and/or fried pickle appetizers.

Tags: kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for lunch
food5
ambience4
service5

Great Evening at Benchmark

vip
Dined on May 9, 2015

We dined here on Friday with our two young children. The service was awesome! They made sure to bring the kids food out first and with two plates without being asked. As a diner I love a restaurant that brings table snacks. The fried chick peas were delightful. The cocktails were really tasty. The food was delicious and the portions were generous. I'll be going back.

Tags: kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5

Supper friendly

Dined on May 9, 2015

They called prior to see if we wanted to sit inside or outside. It had been a little chillie so we picked inside. All servers were Very friendly and the food was good. We had the fish and chips and Took advantage of their happy hour that they have every day. We were in Santa Barbara for a playoff game between Santa Barbara and the Fullerton Hornets. Great time.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
food4
ambience4
service5

Lots of Choices

vip
Dined on May 6, 2015

I had the fried chicken sandwich with a huge side salad. I liked that the chicken wasn't heavily breaded and was very tender. Husband had the beef short ribs with mashed potatoes and broccolini. He said it was very tender; the meat fell right off the bone. He had the chocolate pot de creme, which he said was one of the best he'd ever had.

Tags: kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
food3
ambience3
service4

Benchmark with 6 year old

Dined on May 6, 2015

Benchmark was child friendly and had a decent kids menu however we didn't realize the kids chicken dinner was chicken pesto. This makes a big difference to a six year old. The staff was friendly. This restraunt has a big patio for groups so it does get loud. The interior looks like a steakhouse with a lot of wood.

Tags: kid-friendly, good for groups, special occasion
food4
ambience5
service5

Very relaxed great covered outdoor patio

Dined on April 4, 2015

Fabulous service, great variety of foods to choose from. Fish, chicken, beef, pork, vegetarian, vegan options. Fried pickles are super.

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

Love the Benchmark

Dined on March 22, 2015

The Benchmark is now one of our Santa Barbara favorites! We love the patio and watching the world go by as we enjoy fabulous cocktails and a wide range of great food with something for everyone. The staff is always super friendly and helpful. We have a wonderful time every time... you won't be disappointed!!!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
food2
ambience4
service4

Just okay

Dined on March 9, 2015

The food was a mixed bag, with most of the dishes just okay. The salad was tasty, but heavier than we'd hoped. The chicken bahn mi was pretty meh, with unexpected stringbeans in attendance. The burrata was yummy, but could have used more mozzarella. The gratis fried chickpeas were very good. The mussels were mediocre.

Tags: great for outdoor dining
food4
ambience4
service4

Benchmark

vip
Dined on February 28, 2015

The seabass was delicious. Nice veggies and quinoa. The fish and chips was good. Nice spacious area.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch
food2
ambience1
service4

Incredibly loud. Will not be back

Dined on February 22, 2015

Concrete floor, sheer white flat walls and little to know wood/cloth/cushions equal a cacophany of noise that made it almost impossible to hear or even think. Lots of people at tables around us were yelling and leaning in to try and hear eachother. Acoustic tile attempt on ceilings did nothing noticeable to relieve this problem. We saw guests just sitting and checking their phones after giving up on trying to have a conversation.

Tags: vibrant bar scene
food4
ambience3
service4

Good Selection and Location

Dined on February 19, 2015

Offerings vary from sandwiches to dinner entrees. Moderate prices, service was excellent, and food well prepared. Good option for pre- theater or movie.

Tags: good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
food2
ambience2
service2

Nothing to write home about

Dined on February 1, 2015

We had been meaning to try Benchmark for some time and are big fans of Brophy Brothers as well as On the Alley. While I like the "industrial" decor it does make for a "cold" environment. In addition, there are not ample heaters on patio for a cold evening. The service started out okay but went down as the evening went on. Food was okay. Fish and chips were very good but veggie sandwich as well as fried chicken sandwich just okay. Prices were fair but most likely won't be a place I will go back.

Tags: kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining
food5
ambience3
service4

Wonderful addition to the theater district

Dined on January 25, 2015

I went with my husband and two friends and all four of us liked our food. I had the Kale Antipasto salad, which was so good that I want to try to recreate it. Someone had the Spinach Ricotta Gnudi, which was like fluffy clouds. And the other two had fish entrees, which, seeing as how the restaurateur also owns Brophy Bros. and Archrock Fish, were unsurprisingly wonderful. The grilled fennel got raves. And the Chocolate Pot de Crème with candied pistachios was to die for. The atmosphere is refreshingly casual for a restaurant that serves food that good.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
food4
ambience4
service5

Dinner and a show

Dined on January 22, 2015

Right across the street from the Granada and down the street from the Arlington. It doesn't get better than this. Great food. Great prices. A big outside patio and lots of indoor seating too. Love this place.

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience3
service1

Food was good. Wine list was ok. Service ...

Dined on January 1, 2015

Food was good. Wine list was ok. Service was really bad. Really bad.

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