First St. Cafe: Great Place
This is a wonderful little restaurant in downtown Benicia. It serves a range of dishes with a lot of sandwiches, pasta, and seafood as choices and the food is great. It also has a good wine and beer selection, with some pretty unusual choices. The building is an interesting old building and even the inside has seen relatively little updating, with old beadboard walls and ceiling with old lamps hanging from it and an old wooden bar. It's also pretty reasonable, all things considered.
Favorite Dish: I love the Dungeness Crab and asparagus sandwich and the blackberry crisp.
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
Cliff's: RESTAURANT CLOSED IN 2008
The restaurant is on a slight hill looking out on the Carquinez Strait. The television is usually turned to sports. Most people sit at the bar and eat. They serve beer and wine. There are two small pool tables that cost 50 cents a game. A jukebox provides music. There are two booths if you don't want to sit at the bar. We try to go here once a week. Unfortunately, the place is for sale for $2 million, which includes the 2 acre waterfront parcel it sits on. I'm afraid its days are numbered.
Favorite Dish: Pattymelts, Hamburgers, French Dip specials on Wednesdays, Chile. The fries can be greasy or not, depending on the how the cook feels. When they aren't greasy, they are fantastic.
- Water Sports
- Road Trip
Union Hotel: Old Hotel, Satisfying Chef's Work
The Union Hotel building is a historic monument. The inside of the building is all wood craft, and the outside authentic from the period. Yet, the hotel has changed hands several times, and in the past the restaurant was only so-so. The menu and quality of food has improved in recent years. The menu is varied, which is typical in a California restaurant, but the main entres are predominantly Italian pasta dishes. My dad had fresh made ravioli, while I had a crab caneloni dish. The wine list is mostly local, with a lot on the low end of the price/quality choice. The beer list is good, with a couple of good draft choices, and a very good bottle choice. The Union Hotel devotes an entire page to the many types of Martini's available now. The opportunity to sit outside on a pleasant sunny day in Benicia had a lot to do with our choice of restaurant for lunch. We found only three, although all three are quite competitive with each other in quality, the Union Hotel wins the class contest for having cloth napkins, fine China and flatware, and formalized table service. I can't rate this as a wild and shockingly great culinary experience, but I wouldn't hesitate to return for another meal here. For lunch, the heavy outdoor furniture were an easy place to leash the dog while my dad and I talked and ate. Breakfast brunch, lunch, and dinner are served, and price/quality ratio is reasonable.
Favorite Dish: It had been many years since I had eaten at the Union Hotel, and the last time was at night. I recommend trying whatever looks good. Based on what we ate, chances are other menu items will also be good.
- Beer Tasting
- Wine Tasting
- Food and Dining
First Street Green: Have a Picnic on the Green
This is not a restaurant, but a park, located at on First Street at East B Street. There aren't any tables, it is just an expanse of grass with great views of the water. Stop by the Deli at Safeway, buy some sandwiches to go at First Street Cafe, or some hotdogs at the Tannery across from the Green. The picture shows the old Southern Pacific train station that has been recently restored. Before they built a bridge for the trains, the trains would roll on and off a ferry at this station.
Favorite Dish: It's whatever you bring.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
First Street Cafe: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Food made from fresh ingredients. The bake their own pasteries. Lunch/Dinner entrees feature pasta, fish, chicken and salads. Wine and beer served. Great coffee. There are several tables outside.
Favorite Dish: I like their French Toast for breakfast.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
The food here is great and the price is good too! You almost always get more food than you can eat in one sitting and the restaurant is beautiful - sit back for a while and enjoy good Mexican food and Elviaritas.
Favorite Dish: Anything that Randy makes is amazing!
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