Bijou Restaurant & Bar 1036 B St./near Main St., downtown, (510) 888-1092; http://www.bijouexperience.com/. L-D daily; $$. Reservations advised. “Bijou” means “a little gem” in French. And this sleek, chic venue is an unexpected gem of a find in suburban Hayward. It showcases reasonably priced contemporary French/California cuisine. Lunch offers sandwiches, including a French hot dog or hamburger on a baguette, a croque monsieur or madame, and sometimes a crab melt. Dinner items might include crab and avocado salad, grilled skirt steak in peppercorn sauce, and oven-roasted sea bass in mushroom sauce. Smaller appetites might be satisfied with a small plate of sliders or sautéed prawns. Desserts are elegant, perhaps crème brulée with a hint of green tea, crêpes Suzette, or a selection of macaroons. A full bar offers specialty cocktails and an international wine list, and a sidewalk patio is available in good weather.
Be aware that on Sundays this area closes up tight, except for the Century at Hayward movie complex ((800) FANDANGO; http://www.cinearts.com/.) that is just across the street.