Bijou interior blog

The Bijou Blog


Please join us on Thursday April 6th for an extraordinary winemaker dinner featuring the renowned wines of Sonoma-Cutrer. Winemaking Director, Mick Schroeter, will be our guest host and speaker.

The dinner starts at 6:30pm and is $95 plus tax and gratuity. The menu is provided below. 

Please call 941.366.8111 for reservations



The Hors d’Oeuvres

PEI Mussel Beignets with Creole Remoulade

Belgian Endive with Maytag blue cheese and candied walnuts

Mote Siberian sturgeon caviar

2014 Sonoma-Cutrer, “The Cutrer” Chardonnay

The First Course

Butter poached Diver Scallops, crispy pork belly, puff pastry and fresh herb citrus beurre blanc

2013 Sonoma-Cutrer, “Les Pierres” Chardonnay

Second Course

Smoked Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast warm cous cous and chantrelle salad, sour cherry gastrique

2015 Sonoma-Cutrer, Rosé of Pinot Noir, Winemaker’s Release


Fresh berry Gazpacho with green apple sorbet

Third Course

Seared Lamb Tenderloin, rosemary crusted, pink peppercorn demi glace, whipped buttermilk potatos

2015 Sonoma-Cutrer, Pinot Noir, Owsley Vineyard

Dessert Course

Dark Valrhona Chocolate Pots De Crème

2014 Sonoma-Cutrer, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir


Special Valentine’s Day Menu 2017

Soups du Jour

French Onion Soup Gratinee 10
Our Famous Shrimp & Crab Bisque 10
Roasted beet with Crème fraîche 7
Chilled Raspberry Champagne with Toasted Almonds  7

To Start

Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras
Savory brioche raspberry gastrique, micro greens salad and pear brûlée 20
Seafood Extravaganza
Chilled seafood plate for two : Poached jumbo shrimp, fresh shucked oysters, tuna sashimi, 
jumbo lump crab, half of a poached lobster tail Served with cocktail, cognac mustard and ponzu. 40


Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass
with Maine lobster and corn ravioli , champagne lobster nage, asparagus. 45
Shrimp and Scallop Campanelle
Oven roasted tomato cream sauce, roasted and wild mushroom, crisp pancetta 38
Veal Scallopini Juliette
Sauteed with capers, prosciutto, mushroom, white wine and lemon 36


Strawberry Key lime parfait with white chocolate ganache 10
Grand Marnier chocolate dipped strawberries 12
The Bijou Café
1287 First St. Sarasota, FL 34236

bijou newsletter image

Bring Bijou’s Savory Side Home for the Holidays

Serve your guests our famous Pommes Gratin Dauphinois from your own kitchen table this holiday. Just bring in your favorite casserole dish and we will fill it with our scrumptious potatoes. You simply finish the dish at home with directions we provide. Your guests will be savoring the aroma of crusty baked Gruyere cheese, fresh cream, garlic and potatoes all evening.

Tasteful Holiday Parties

Host a holiday party in one of our beautiful private dining rooms. Elegant touches such as hand crafted passed hors d’oeuvres and exquisite table settings will delight hosts and guests. We are happy to accommodate special requests to make your celebration a memorable one. December openings are filling up so please call Karen Thomson, our GM and party coordinator for available party dates. 941-366-8111.

Holiday Gift Cards

Give the unparalleled gift of a Bijou Cafe gift card this holiday season. Gift cards are available in any denomination and they never expire. We are happy to mail gift cards anywhere in the U.S., or can FedEx cards for next day delivery for a modest fee. To purchase gift cards online, visit our website.

Holiday Hours

Our holiday hours are as follows: 
Christmas Eve December 24: Open 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM (closed for lunch)
Christmas Day December 25: Closed
New Year’s Eve December 31: Open 6:00 PM; seating until 10:00 PM
New Year’s Day January 1: Closed
Sundays: Starting January 8 – Open 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM Only 

bijou exec chef

Chef Ryan Williams brings a wealth of experience working at fine dining establishments across the state.

(Sarasota, Florida) J.P. Knaggs, owner of the award-winning Bijou Café in Sarasota, recently appointed Ryan Williams as the restaurant’s new executive chef. Williams brings a wealth of restaurant experience to the position.

How did Williams, 34, discover his passion for the culinary arts?

“Believe it or not, as a dishwasher,” he laughs. “I was 14 years old and got a job washing dishes at a neighborhood restaurant. I was fascinated with everything that went on behind the scenes and never looked back.”

Williams followed his passion by completing a culinary degree from Florida Culinary, now known as Lincoln Culinary Institute. He started cooking professionally at the age of 20 as the sous chef at Tommy Bahamas in West Palm Beach. He further honed his craft at Cafe Chardonnay and Vic and Angelos, both in Palm Beach Gardens and at The Breakers, the celebrated Palm Beach resort. During this time, he developed his flair for multicultural cuisine and for combining ingredients to create fresh, bold flavors. “Innovation keeps life interesting, both on and off the table,” he says. “But I still believe in old school techniques.” William’s most recent position was executive chef of Pietros on the Ocean in Jensen Beach. He moved to Sarasota with his wife, Tanya, and their son Kai.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the Bijou team,” says Williams. "I look forward to working with J.P. and Shay creating some new menu items. It’s going to be an exciting journey!”

Knaggs says he met Williams when he and his wife were visiting Sarasota a year ago. “We met by sheer coincidence when they were strolling in downtown Sarasota,” he says. “I noticed his wife’s South African accent and introduced myself—and we quickly started talking about food and fine dining. Ryan’s 100-watt enthusiasm for the possibilities of exceptional cuisine was obvious.” Knaggs adds that he and his wife, Shay, eventually traveled to Jenson Beach to try William’s food at Pietros on the Ocean. “Ryan cooked a seven-course tasting menu for us—and he knocked our socks off! We knew right then that our guests would love him.”
Williams’ culinary talents impressed Knaggs. His business talents did, too. “Today’s restaurant industry is highly competitive,” says Knaggs. “Skilled management is imperative on every level. Ryan’s management skills are second to none. He kept costs low and quality high in a busy 300-seat restaurant with multiple menus and venues. His rare combination of creativity and practicality make him the perfect fit for our team.”

According to Knaggs, Williams will continue to evolve The Bijou’s menu through the fall and winter seasons. “Our new selections will reflect Ryan’s artistry and background cooking at four-star restaurants,” he says. “I can’t wait to give our guests a taste of his creativity.”

Bijou savor

CUP OF SOUP DU JOUR daily creation | hot or chilled or
SHRIMP & CRAB BISQUE cognac | sherry | cream | (additional 2.00) or
FARMERS MARKET SALAD lettuce mix I tomato I parmesan vinaigrette
MUSHROOM GRILLED CHEESE  shiitakes I creminis I gruyere I semolina bread or
CHICKEN PAILLARD  organic chicken breast I olive oil I garlic I roasted vegetables | sauteed spinach | lemon I butter or
PORK SCHNITZEL  fennel apple salad I arugula I roast apple | herbs de provence I almonds  
$15.00 Exclusive of Beverage, Tax and Gratuity
CUP OF SOUP DU JOUR daily creation | hot or chilled or
SHRIMP & CRAB BISQUE cognac | sherry | cream | (additional 2.00) or
ORGANIC SUPERFOOD SALAD blueberry | spinach | pecan | pomegranate | quinoa
MOULES MARNIERE  PEI mussels | dry vermouth | shallots | tomato | parsley or
ORGANIC SALMON fennel orange salad | parsnip puree | crispy salmon skin chips or
CHICKEN PAILLARD  organic chicken breast I olive oil I garlic I roasted vegetables | sauteed spinach | lemon I butter 
CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT TORTE  creme chantilly | espresso foam or
$29.00 Exclusive of Beverage, Tax and Gratuity
While we are delighted to participate in Savor Sarasota, we respectfully request no substitutions or splitting of items.

Bijou savor


To Start
Cup of Soup du Jour (hot or chilled) or
Shrimp & Crab Bisque additional 2.00 or
BEET CITRUS SALAD ~ Sliced orange, grapefruit, shaved fennel, chevre, almonds sherry vinaigrette on soft lettuce
CAROLINA TROUT ~ pan seared with marcona almonds, brown butter, Meyer lemon or
MUSHROOM GRILLED CHEESE ~ Shitake and cremini mushrooms, Gruyere cheese and semolina bread or
SPINACH & ROASTED TOMATO CAPELLINI ~ Olive oil, roasted garlic and tomatoes, sautéed spinach, basil, Grana Padano
Add grilled chicken additional 4.00
Or shrimp 5.00

$15.00 Exclusive of Beverage, Tax and Gratuity


To Start
Cup of Soup du Jour (hot or chilled) or
Shrimp & Crab Bisque- additional 2.00 or
BEET CITRUS SALAD- Sliced orange, grapefruit, shaved fennel, chevre, almonds
sherry vinaigrette on soft lettuce
CAROLINA TROUT- Pan seared with marcona almonds, brown butter, Meyer lemon or
PORK MILANESE- Panko crusted pork loin, sautéed and served with arugula, capri tomato, lemon and parmesan cheese or
SPINACH & ROASTED TOMATO CAPELLINI WITH SHRIMP- Olive oil, roasted garlic and tomatoes, sautéed spinach, basil, Grana Padano
CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT TORTE ~ Creme Chantilly, espresso foam or
RASPBERRY PARFAIT ~ Grand Marnier cake, Framboise, custard sauce and whipped cream or
$29.00 Exclusive of Beverage, Tax and Gratuity
While we are delighted to participate in Savor Sarasota we respectfully request no substitutions or splitting of items.

Savor Sarasota 2016 OPT forDrupal


To Start
Cup of Soup du Jour (hot or chilled) or
Shrimp & Crab Bisque- additional 2.00 or
Farmer’s market salad- Lettuce mix, tomatoes, fresh herbs, parmesan vinaigrette

SALAD NIÇOISE- Yellowfin Tuna “Rare”, Roasted Peppers,
Haricots Vert, potato, egg, radish, anchovies, olives or
BIJOU BURGER- ground brisket and chuck, char-grilled,
choice of cheese, secret sauce or
PEI mussels, dry Vermouth, garlic, shallots, tomato, parsley

$15.00 Exclusive of Beverage, Tax and Gratuity


To Start
SOUP DU JOUR- Hot or chilled specialty of the Chef or
Shrimp & Crab Bisque- additional 2.00 or
FARMER’S MARKET SALAD- Lettuce mix, tomatoes,
fresh herbs, parmesan vinaigrette

STEAK- FRITES- Grilled flatiron steak served with hand
cut French fries and herbed garlic butter or
CHICKEN PAILLARD- Organic chicken breast, sautéed in olive oil and garlic with
roasted Mediterranean vegetables and sautéed spinach, finished with lemon and butter or
With fennel, orange, tomato and arugula

Amarula Crème Brulee or
Seasonal Berries- with lemon curd and whipped cream or
Bijou’s Assorted Authentic Italian Gelati and Sorbettos

$29.00 Exclusive of Beverage, Tax and Gratuity

While we are delighted to participate in Savor Sarasota we respectfully request
no substitutions or splitting of items.

new menu

Changing the menu for most restaurateurs is a daunting task. There is always the fear that regulars are going to revolt and want the old items back on the menu. On the other hand, there are also the customers who want change and new items to try. So what is a chef to do?

After 30 years (we opened in June 1986) we have become very familiar with our guests tastes and preferences. Sure, there are trends that come and go, but we feel our guests know exactly what they want and what to expect from our kitchen. Quality and consistency is foremost! Cutting edge, experimental cuisine not so much.

With this in mind, we paid homage to my French heritage and introduced our version of some traditional items from France such as Escargots Bourguignon, Soupe a l’oignon gratinee, Ris de Veau, and a Salade Nicoise. On our dinner menu we have added a true Mediterranean style Bouillabaisse served with croutons and rouille, and a Lobster Ravioli with asparagus. For appetizers we're now serving Hudson Valley Foie Gras and a tantalizing Charcuterie Board featuring our own pate. To keep our most ardent traditionalist guests happy we have a section called “Vintage Bijou” with our all time favorites, Roast Duck, Pepper Steak and Lamb Rack. We’ve made a few dessert changes as well and added suggested dessert wines to accompany them.

The most noticeable difference on the menu is a clean, bold, new typeface and minimal writing and descriptions. Research shows the average diner spends about 102 seconds looking at the menu before making a decision to either order or ask the server for more information. Our new look will make your menu perusing easier, although the delicious new choices will still challenge your decision making!

For a close up look at the new menus please see our new menu.  We’re sure you’re going to be very pleased!

wine tasting 

Join us for the return of First Friday wine tastings at the Bijou Café on Friday, May 6th.  Admission is $20 and this gives you access to some of the finest wine selections in town! We'll pick some of our favorites to delight your palette and wine merchants will be pouring some of the best juice for your enjoyment. 

The tasting starts at 5:00 pm and we recommend showing up fashionably early! It's first come first serve and you'll want to savor every last drop. Our always pleasant Bijou team will be passing around delicious hors d'oeuvres as well as a plentiful cheese board to accompany your wine  selections. Your taste buds will be exploding with gratitude. 

Interested in wines by the bottle? As a bonus, we're offering special promotions during the event. We offer competitive pricing and an added 10% discount when you buy by the case. This way you can mix and match!

We look forward to seeing you at the wine tasting! Drop us a line if you have any questions 941-366-8111. No reservations needed, just show up and enjoy. Most of the art galleries and shops have extended hours on First Fridays, and there is almost always free entertainment on some of the downtown corners! So grab your friends, stop by the tasting, join us for dinner afterwards and top off your evening with a stroll around the block.
The Bijou's First Friday Wine Tasting – the place to taste, have a great time and get some amazing wine deals! 

Bijou mothers day

Happy Mother's Day!

May 8th, 2016

To Start

Cream of Asparagus Soup
with toasted almond 5,6 

Chilled Strawberry and Champagne Soup 5,6
Shrimp and Crab Bisque
Cognac, sherry, cream, baby shrimp, blue crab 6, 8


Macadamia Crusted Florida Grouper

curried cocoanut mango beurre blanc, spring veggies and haricots verts 35
Australian Rack of Lamb 
Crusted with Dijon mustard and Herbes de Provence, sauced with a 
Cabernet lamb reduction and topped with mint "gremolata" 39

Veal Scaloppini Beaumaniere

Tender prime veal scaloppini with mushrooms, prosciutto, artichoke hearts
Fines herbes butter sauce 34
Mom’s Special Surf & Turf

Grilled 5 oz filet mignon and butter poached fresh Maine lobster tail, served with
Bearnaise and drawn butter 45


Chocolate Terrine with Grand Marnier crème Anglaise, almonds 10

Bijou Cafe Valentines Day Menu Sarasota Restaurant


French Onion Soup Gratinee 10
Our Famous Shrimp & Crab Bisque 8
Puree of Parsnip with green apple emulsion 6
Chilled Raspberry Champagne with Crème Fraiche 6


Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras - savory brioche French toast, kumquat marmalade 18
Red and Gold Beet Salad - With Buratta cheese, Arugula, basil and strawberry balsamic glaze, olive oil croutons 12


Bijou Surf & Turf - 5 oz Filet Mignon with grilled asparagus and Bearnaise sauce,
Fresh Maine Lobster served out of shell, with drawn butter 48
Pan Roasted Prime Veal Chop - Wilted spinach, celery root puree, dried cherry/Port wine Demiglace 46
Seared Florida Grouper - With shiitake leek fume, haricots verts and potato puree 36
Grilled Rack of Australian Lamb - Three double chops chargrilled and served with a roasted shallot minted demi-glace 39


Flourless Dark Chocolate Terrine - With hazelnuts and passion fruit Anglaise, macerated strawberries 12
Meyer Lemon Curd - Berry compote, shortbread cookie, toasted almonds, crème Chantilly 12


Francoise Montand
Glass 8 Bottle 28


After 30 years of being in business on First Street, the City of Sarasota has decided to give our street a facelift.

This long overdue spruce-up will include the replacement of rusting lamp posts, tired landscaping and utilities.

New wider sidewalks will be installed, which will allow for more outside dining space, better traffic calming and stormwater control. When completed, the corridor connecting the Bijou Café to the Ritz-Carlton will be as grand as the Ritz itself.

Of course all of this comes at a price: Customers may choose not to dine with us because of the construction conditions.

An old joke about rural Maine goes “A lost tourist asks an old farmer for directions, to which the laid back ‘Down Easter replied, “Mister, you can’t get there from here.”

What’s not funny is “You can’t get there from here” has become an idiom that’s repeated every time a driver is lost, confused, or detoured by highway construction.

Businesses, like the Bijou Cafe, rely on customers having an unimpeded path to their doors. “You can’t get there from here” can easily become a convenient excuse for diners to take their business elsewhere.

“You can’t get there from here” does not exist in our current state of mind. It has been replaced by a can-do attitude. With a little imagination think of the Pilgrims and other immigrants who crossed treacherous oceans to get here or pioneers who pushed westward across mountains and plains to find new homes in the West. These were not people easily intimidated by challenge; they wouldn’t be intimidated by today’s orange barrels at road construction sites. The barrels would be welcome beacons to safely guide them to their destinations.

To deal with these perceptions, we offer a few tips:

While the street is under construction, there is no on-street parking on First Street. All other parking on nearby streets is unaffected and the Palm Avenue free parking garage is only half a block away.

We have complimentary valet parking for lunch and dinner. If the valet is not posted at the front door, he will be stationed right around the corner on Pineapple Avenue. Look for the bright red umbrella. You will still be only a few steps from our entrance.

We have established a great working relationship with the construction company and the city liaison. They are doing their best to keep the dust, noise and inconvenience down to a minimum. Should you have any concerns about getting here, please let our management know, and we will address them immediately.

We are cooperating with other businesses on our street and will soon be offering fun, value-oriented incentives to keep traffic flowing.

We’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime, “Please pardon our dust!”




French onion soup is a wonderfully warm soup identified by many as comfort food. Onions have long been a part of cooking, and were often identified as food used by the poor since they stored well, grew easily and were plentiful. The reason this particular onion soup gets labeled as French is due to several “origin” myths regarding its creation. It is said that King Louis XV or XIV created the dish at a hunting lodge after returning from a hunt and finding the cupboard bare of much beyond some stale bread, onions and champagne. Though the story may be myth, the soup endures.

Classic French onion soup begins with beef stock. Our version uses a combination of beef and chicken stock. We slice Vidalia onions and then caramelize them very slowly which allows them to become sweet. They are then added to the heated stock. We add dry red wine and sherry to the soup to yield a richer flavor.

The French onion soup is topped with a toasted crouton, and then is layered with gruyere cheese. It is placed in an oven proof crock so the cheese gets bubbly, brown and melty, when broiled for a minute or two, before being served. When served in large portions, the heartiness and richness of the soup is a meal in itself. It can also make a lovely beginning soup course when served in smaller portions.

For a special treat as the weather gets cooler, be sure to try our French Onion Soup Gratinee.


J.P. Knaggs, owner of The Bijou Café in Sarasota, recently announced that his restaurant has launched Le Jardin Cuvée Prestige, a Loire Chardonnay vinted exclusively for The Bijou Café in collaboration with the renowned Les Frères Couillaud winery in France.

How did it come about?

"We wanted to introduce our own signature wine to take our fine dining experience to the next level," says Knaggs. "Our good friend and wine guru and importer, Freddy Matson, helped us establish a partnership with Les Frères Couillaud winery to bottle their celebrated Le Jardin Cuvée just for us,” says Knaggs. “For me, this is deeply personal,” he adds. “The wine is a tribute to my mother’s French heritage.” Knaggs’ mother was born in the north of France, near Dieppe in the Normandy region. 

Knaggs notes that sense of place and person profoundly informs his philosophy of fine dining. “In the case of this wine, it's about knowing a variety of elements that influence the vine, including the type of soil it grows in and the people who grow and harvest it. By cooperating with the vintner and importer, we're able to bring a taste of real French wine to Florida at a great price. We hope our guests will enjoy the new wine as much as we enjoyed collaborating with Les Frères Couillaud."

Les Frères Couillaud produces high-quality wines on its family vineyards in the Loire Valley. "The Couillaud family is one of the outstanding winegrowers of the western Loire Valley, "says Knaggs. "They produce Muscadets, Chardonnays and Sauvignon, which are renowned around the world. They follow the tenants of sustainable agriculture, which is very important to me."

Knaggs describes Le Jardin Cuvée Prestige as: “100 percent Chardonnay. It’s refreshing, thirst- quenching and perfect for the Florida climate.” He says the wine offers tropical fruit aromas of pineapples, yellow peaches, apricots and tangerines, which leave "a clean, citrusy fruit in the mouth and a hint of white flinty stone on the finish." Le Jardin Cuvée Prestige is now available by glass and bottle to restaurant guests and will also sell retail by the case or bottle.

Renowned for its award-winning line list, The Bijou Café offers wine tastings on the first Friday of each month during the summer months through October. "With three wine experts pouring at least six wines each, there is always a copious amount of succulent wine to sample," says Knaggs. "Our chefs also prepare a plethora of tasty tidbits to tantalize your taste buds, along with a groaning board of domestic and imported cheeses. It's the perfect time and place to unwind from a long week and savor the delightful pairing of tastes and textures."

For more information or reservations, call 941-366-8111 




A beautiful light pink colour, fresh fruit aromas and refreshing acidity. Miraval’s pure expression of the terroir of Côtes de Provence.
The Miraval Rosé has an attractive, soft blush robe and is beautifully bright. On the nose we are greeted by delicate notes of raspberries, peaches, and white flowers. The expression of the soil is revealed on the palate by its impressive freshness bringing minerality and salinity, a signature of 2014.
Great balance, good length and character.  Now available at the Bijou Cafe by the bottle only!

Learn more about the hollywood connection here !

Served at the bar in the Gossip’s Lounge and outdoor patio.
We do not take reservations for Happy Hour, it is first come first served!
5:00 – 7:00pm Monday thru Saturday
$5.00 well martinis (Cosmos, Margaritas, Lemon Drops, Appletinis, Manhattans)
$5.00 well drinks
$5.00 select red and white wines by the glass (change weekly)
$1.00 off craft and domestic beers
Bar Bite Menu
All $5.00 each
Trilogy of Soups
Pepper Steak “Frikadelles
Pommes Frites
“Bello” Stix
Boerewors “Stukkies
Waffle chips with blue cheese and balsamic glaze
Burger slider
Southern Fried Chicken Bites, Asian Slaw
"I distrust camels, and anyone else who can go a week without a drink. "--Joe E. Lewis


prefix-summer 1


We started the Bijou Cafe in June 1986 as a small 50 seat restaurant in a downtown location that many people were hesitant to visit. Things changed dramatically over the years and we are now in the heart of a thriving and exciting urban center… and for that we are truly grateful!

In honor of that date 29 years ago and to thank our loyal Bijou family and friends we are offering our three course “Customer Appreciation Dinner Menu” all summer long for the “last century” price of only $32.86 in addition to our “Customer Appreciation Lunch Menu” for $19.86.


See Prix Fixe Menu HERE





Monday-Friday 11:30AM-2PM
Monday-Saturday from 5PM
Bijou Cafe © 2017 Copyright
1287 First Street
Sarasota FL 34236
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