There has been turmoil in the Benicia restaurant scene lately, with several long-established places closing.
Cap'n Blythers, Mike 'n' Gayles, Shoreline, Sala Thai, Mi Mexico are all gone. There's currently nothing to eat on 1st below D St. Char's hotdogs has moved up the street and O'Leary's Pub is gone too. I don't know if they're gone for good or have simply moved. There was also a really nice little coffee cafe in there that's gone now too.
The good news is there's a really good new place - Lucca fr - on E. The waitress said the "fr" means "french" because everyone assumes a restaurant named Lucca would serve Italian food. Actually it's more California that French - lots of pan-seared dishes without heavy sauces or elaborate presentations. The place is contemporary/modern, dark painted walls and exposed brick, and very comfortable. The service was very good. My vote for the best in town now that Sala Thai is gone.
There's a new Indian place called Aroma where Mi Mexico used to be. Haven't been there so I can't say how it is. The Sahara across the street has been there a year or more, serving middle eastern food.
The Rellick Tavern opened in the sleazy old Pastime location. It's not what I'd call a tavern at all, more like a slick Vegas cocktail bar. The owners wanted to create a "killer" bar for Benicia (Rellik/killeR - get it?) It doesn't serve food at all. Expensive/pretentious/no food.
Mike and Gayles/Shoreline is trying to reopen in the Southhampton (Raleys) center (there used to be a pancake place there) but have apparently run into problems 'cause they're still not open.
Sala Thai and Cap'n Blythers both got kicked out by their respective landlords, and both say they're looking for a new location. The landlords also say they're planning on opening a new restaurant in the spaces. We'll see.
The Tannery building has a big banner saying the "Tannery Grill" is coming soon but it's been there a long time.
Upper 1st hasn't changed much as far as restaurants are concerned. The Grand China says it has new owners so I'll give it another try.
The greasy divey lovely old cheeseburger joint out on W 9th is still closed and no signs of activity.