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More than Dining: How to enhance your restaurant experience

Posted in: News & Special Events
More than Dining: How to enhance your restaurant experience

Restaurant staff are trained to be friendly yet professional, handle problems discreetly and efficiently, and make expert recommendations regarding food and wine. Ideally, your night out with these trained professionals should go off without a hitch. Very few things in life, though, go as smoothly as they should, despite your careful planning.

Sometimes the restaurant gets overbooked, or a waiter trips and spills food or drinks. Sometimes the kitchen runs out of a key ingredient, and sometimes other diners are more aggressive than you are, which would make it seem that they’re getting better treatment as a result (trust me, if staff are bending over backward for a rude guest, it’s more likely because they want to get them done and gone than out of respect for their rudeness).

Yes, things happen. How you react is crucial. Many incidents are out of anyone’s control, but there are things that you can take into your own hands to kick your culinary experience up a notch.

The staff at Cafe L’Europe treat every diner like a superstar; however, it is possible to cultivate an even deeper relationship, ensuring a meaningful interaction every time you visit.

Here are a few expert tips for getting the VIP treatment at any restaurant. Trying out even a few will almost always net amazing results.

Cafe L’Europe offers happy hour every night 5:00 – 7:00 in our bar area

Sit at the bar. Try having appetizers or a meal there. Chat with the bartender; ask if the owner is around and introduce yourself to him or her. Pro tip: eating at our bar ensures that you get happy hour pricing on eligible drinks – ask your bartender about times and menus.

Ask the waiter these two questions: What dish is most popular? What is a dish that almost no one orders but the chef thinks everyone should? Order them both! Chefs take pride in all of their dishes, but often have an item on the menu they are especially proud of and want people to try.

If you like it, come back for two more meals that same week. The staff will remember you, and you’ll get automatic VIP status (as long as you’re nice to them!).

Waitstaff are people, too.

Be forgiving. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes we have to wait, get spilled on, or get the wrong dish. Diners who were good sports when all didn’t go as planned are remembered positively by the staff. A little patience goes a long way; if the restaurant knows it messed up, you can score major points by not making a big deal about it (or using it as an excuse to try to score freebies!).

Send compliments to the chef – especially when you are specific about what you like. It sounds way too simple – but it’s almost always appreciated. You could also mention the chef by name in your online review of the restaurant. Not everyone does so, but it’s a simple courtesy that people notice and remember.

Tip 25% if you like the food, atmosphere, and good service. This is rule of thumb. If you can’t afford to tip properly, then you can’t afford that restaurant. Note: if the service was great but you didn’t love the food, don’t penalize the server for what was not under their control. If you have a food-related complaint, let your server know as soon as possible, so that they may correct the problem and get your meal back on track.

Ask for wine recommendations. Unless you see a wine you know and like on the menu, put your waiter’s training to good use – and then take the recommendation! The waiter will remember you on subsequent visits and be more than happy to grant you top-shelf service.

Ask to be treated like a VIP. SO OBVIOUS. But it works. Call the manager, talk to him/her about your love of the restaurant, and mention that you would entertain there a lot if you could be sure your party would be nicely looked after. And keep your word!

Ideally, you’ll always receive top-notch, professional service at any decent restaurant you patronize; however, by following these insider tips, you’ll ensure that your experience goes above and beyond each and every time. – Bobbilynn Hollifield



Source: Will Schwalbe (former editor-in-chief of Hyperion Books)



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Dining for a Cause: Aging in Paradise

Posted in: News & Special Events
Dining for a Cause: Aging in Paradise

Is there anything that could make Chef Rolando’s cuisine taste even better?

Finally, we figured it out.

Everything tastes even better when you’re dining to support your community; that’s why we’re partnering with various local organizations this summer to give back to those who give daily.

Our first Dine for a Cause event of summer 2017 will take place on July 11, 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. Fifteen percent of every dinner check during this time will help to support Aging in Paradise, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the resources needed for seniors to age gracefully and in good health. AiP provides educational materials, resources, health & wellness information, and more for seniors who may not know where to begin.

The classes and programs offered by AiP are free to seniors, meaning that the organization needs donations to operate. We’re honored to have even a small part in keeping AiP in the black.

To reserve your table, call (941) 388-4415 and mention that you’re Dining for a Cause. Alternatively, you may make a donation to Aging in Paradise by contacting Suzy Brenner, Executive Director, at (941) 383-6493.

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Savor Sarasota 2017

Posted in: News & Special Events
Savor Sarasota 2017

It’s back! Savor Sarasota Restaurant Week was traditionally one week long; now, officially, it’s TWO weeks long, but we’ve got other plans.

Cafe L’Europe will be offering our Savor Sarasota specials through the ENTIRE month of June.





Yep. All of June. Lunch, dinner, weekends…you can enjoy a two-course lunch for just $16 per person; a three-course dinner is only $32 per person! What a time to be alive!

What’s more, our regular/special menus are available during this time, as well. You could come in for the Dinner for Two deal. You can stop by on Tuesday and/or Friday for Prime Rib Night. You can even pop in early for our Early Dining selections. Throughout it all, we’ll also be offering Savor Sarasota dishes – don’t forget to ask your hostess for the special menu!

Find these menus and more at

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Give Back by Dining for a Cause at Cafe L’Europe

Posted in: News & Special Events
Give Back by Dining for a Cause at Cafe L’Europe

On Tuesdays during the months of July and August (and select Wednesdays in September), Cafe L’Europe will donate 15% of your party’s dinner check to a local nonprofit.

Our July lineup is as follows:

July 11  – Aging in Paradise
July 18 – Jewish Housing Council Fdtn.
July 25 – Save Our Seabirds

Patrons: Simply mention Dining for a Cause when making your reservation.
Nonprofits: Call for available dates. 941.388.4415 ext. 4

Giving back to your community has never been easier!

Keep checking back for more information regarding the August lineup.

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Tour de France Wine Dinner was this season’s Epic Finale

Posted in: News & Special Events, Wine dinners

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 – Patrons, friends, and guests enjoyed a uniquely exquisite four-course dinner prepared by Chef Rolando Casillas of Cafe L’Europe, paired with an impressive lineup of French wines. Fun ensued.

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Join us for Easter brunch!

Posted in: News & Special Events, Special Events
Join us for Easter brunch!

On Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017, Cafe L’Europe will once again be hosting our popular brunch buffet. Our Chef will prepare traditional brunch fare, such as eggs benedict, cheese blintzes, an omelet station, breakfast meats & pastries, as well as lots of mouthwatering lunch favorites: carving station (prime rib!), smoked salmon station, pastas, roasted pork, salads, and more. There will also be an unbelievable assortment of fresh, house-made desserts (trust us, the crepe cheesecake is where it’s at!).

You can reserve your seats by calling us at 941.388.4415 or by clicking on “Make a Reservation” on our site. Don’t wait – this special brunch will sell out!

Brunch: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. buffet only; no a la carte items will be served

Dinner: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. normal dinner menus + Chef’s special: roasted leg of lamb

Adults: $46.95pp

Children under 10: $24.95pp

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