Benny's is a funky cafe serving a wide selection of bagel sandwiches and other treats.
I go there rarely these days, mostly because the service is truly awful, and the place is quite dirty. The one at UBC is way better. Still, if I am in the neighbourhood, I can't resist the lox on a bagel (w/capers, onion, etc.), and they do have a pretty diverse selection of bagel flavours. I used to get the smokie with the pretzel dough on it, but who needs the cholesterol?
Somehow this place always seemed better after a few belts at The Side Door, but that's ancient history....
If you like egg bagels or any other type of bagel with good stuff on it, this is the place to go. They also have other sandwiches, muffins, etc. As the description says, the room is funky and has two levels with ample seating inside and out. Good place to roll to on the weekend and grab a breakfast bagel and coffee.
I gave Benny's an overall of 2, which I'll try to justify by going through the other rubric parameters first.
Food: I've only had their coffee, their smoothies, and a veggie samosa. While the samosa was hardly authentic, it was still delicious--think Greek phyllo dough wrapped around spicy chickpeas, onion, and carrots. Yum. The smoothie was fine, just berries and banana, plus ice. A bit pricey for the portion. Their drip coffee is rich and hot, and they make a killer mocha, perfect proportions of coffee and chocolate, and very creamy.
Service: Friendly. When I was last there, the barista made a mistake, giving me an americano instead of a mocha. She instantly realized what she'd done, told me, and made me a new one immediately. Yeah, it wasn't right the first time, but extra points for acknowledging your goof and fixing it!
Ambiance: This is where it really falls down. They need to walk around the tables more frequently, because a lot of their customers fail to bus their own tables or clean up their spills. They also need to know how to draw the line between coffee drinking and studying--if you go in there any given weeknight, 90-100% of the tables will be occupied by people staring unblinkingly into their laptops. This is especially irksome when it is one person occupying a table that can accomodate four. I'm not a big fan of Calhoun's "no books on tables" policy, but something needs to be done so that customers can actually enjoy their drinks.
If Benny's would reign in the studyfest and clean up the tables, I'd give them a 3 for ambience and a 4 overall.
Not everyone wants top notch service all the time. I go to Benny's for the casual no hassle no fuss service I receive here. To me that is perfect and that is what makes Benny's a comfortable experience every time, I also love the darker well used creative and inspiring atmosphere. On top of that, I have never been disappointed by the food, the service or the fantastic prices! If you are looking for a cozy hole to hide out in for a while with wi-fi this is a fantastic spot. My hubby rides across town to do just that here cause no one else does it like Benny's.
I've tried their bagels, coffee, tea, sandwiches. Everything is ok for a coffee shop. They have cheap beer and open late so it's perfect to hang out with friends. Service is so-so.
But they have the best Espresso Milk Shake. So addictive. the other shakes are not that great tho.
And dont go to the washroom on the second floor because it's so gross.
I love the bagels and cream cheese here. My favourite bagel is the sesame and in close second is poppy seed because they are loaded with seeds. The best thing on the menu is the lox on a bagel with cream cheese, tomatoes, capers, and red onion. I love to eat it outside in the summer with a lager that costs 3.25. Seriously! They have cheap draft beer and it's not Miller Genuine Draft or Kokanee! I think MGD and Kok are available in bottles, though. hehe.
When they get busy, it may take 10 minutes for a bagel- but what's the big deal? It's 10 minutes. Obviously use your judgment if you're in a rush, just like any other place. Again- being slammed during a rush is no fun, and sometimes they lag behind on cleaning the tables. I don't blame the service; it's a lack of staff on shift that causes this frustration (aka blame management). Usually the tables are cleaned as soon as the staff are capable.
The paintings need to be updated but I like the eclectic, industrial-looking tables and the couches next to the fire place. The coffee is pretty good and teas are a decent brand.
Seriously, though- bagels and beer all the way. Wheat and yeast. I mean it.
When it's past 10pm at night there aren't a lot of casual eateries still open. Benny's still does a wicked mocha and Clubhouse Bagel. Ok i agree with the other posters that the service sucks, but that's starting to be the case all over Vancouver. I usually come here late at night and not on a Friday after the clubs close so I rarely have to suffer through the long ineups. Still a solid place to eat. If it's daytime/lunch/dinner I'd think twice, but for late night it's the lesser of other evils :)
Love this place. It`s basically a cafe so really, expect the tables to not always be wiped and the staff to be chill. But the food is good, it`s the only place open when I finish work, and it`s super cheap (I compare places price points by their chicken caesar salads and this is the cheapest place I`ve found) The only thing is that I always notice a lot of people studying during the day, yet the music is BLASTING. I would personally rather study somewhere quiet and have the louder music at night. That`s just my opinion though.
Wow - I just had to write in to counteract all of those damning reviews.
I totally love the food at Benny's - it's absolutely excellent! The soup, whichever kind you have, is the best you could ever have. I had the 'Zimbabwe Peanut' soup recently and it was to die for.
They make my favourite cinnamon rolls in the city (I'm partial to the bready kind, rather than the gooey kind.) The brownies are great and the 'Nature bars' are delightful.
Try also a lox bagel or the vegetarian kind.
I can't think of one thing bad about the food in this place. And no, I haven't been hired to post this - I don't even know anyone who works for the restaurant.
It's a shame if you don't eat here.
I have tried a few of the bagel sandwhiches at Benny's and find them to be medicore at beast. The bagels themselves are quite qood but they seem to overload them with toppings. The mex bagel for example is covered with gooey red and green slop and tastes horrible.
On the plus side, the coffe is quie good.
The workers are so slow, i almost want to fix my own lunch for myself...the place looks dirty and i secretly feel if that pests are living someone in the place. It does not look clean at all. The bagels are good, but can't stop thinking about the uncleaniness of the place and it turns me off.
The coffee? It's acceptably good but NOT top notch. Cuppa Joe and Cafe Artigiano (and even Starbucks) are much better.
The service? LONG waits. And I mean LONG, ~ 10 mins for a bagel. There's a lack of cashiers, and once they take your order, they still need to make it in the kitchen (i.e. more like a restuarant than a cafe). All the tables are littered with dirty plates and garbage - none of the tables are bused. The chairs have tons of dirt and are weathered. This cafe's environment is NOT for the germophobe! I can't imagine how that kitchen looks like when the dining area is like this.
The bagels? Yeah, they are not bad. But are they exceptional enough to worth the wait and the service? Definitely not. They are not even exceptional - Noah's bagels in the States are MUCH better! The prices are not particularly great either. $6 - $7 for a breakfast bagel and there's a wait? I'd rather go to a real restaurant!
I rarely write reviews, but a recent situation has made me disgusted in how poor the customer service is at Bennys, but one particular employee and the owner. I received a real attitude by one of the cashiers a few weeks ago, was so busy at work, but finally got a hold of the owner to complain. I never call to complain. This person was so rude that when I let her know I'd be calling to talk to her manager she said and, I quote "he'd have a good giggle about it". Is this how your staff treat and respect you? I finally got a hold of the owner who not only didn't apologize to me, but took her side. I am enraged. I've tweeted about this and I highly suggest you don't even bother. Despite that, the place is always dirty and unkept.
Get your bagels at Sollys or anywhere else. Calhouns, west of Broadway has fantastic service all the time, free internet access, is open 24/7 is clean and has great sandwiches freshly made to your liking with a smile.
Bye bye Bennys.
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