Celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, Cafe Dufrain has definitely made their stance in the Tampa Bay community. A few of my friends recently moved to Harbour Island and I couldn’t wait to try some of the local restaurants in their neck of the woods. Cafe Dufrain is located on the water in the middle of Harbour Island, and the views outside are amazing. The restaurant has a large outside seating area over looking the bay, Channelside, and of course the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Lately, I’ve been noticing the organic/locally grown trend that’s been started around Tampa. Cafe Dufrain has joined in with the trend and uses about three-quarters of organic/locally grown ingredients. Cafe Dufrain serves a traditional eclectic mix of food where everyone can find something they like. There’s everything from hamburgers to chicken and waffles to braised pork shoulder. After working a long 10 hour day, I was hungry and couldn’t wait for dinner. My friend and I ordered the Hand-Cut Burger and it was cooked perfectly; rare, just like I like it.
I of course, was worried the burger and chips wouldn’t be enough so I attempted to order a small salad. To my surprise, the waiter told me they did not offer side or half size salads. That didn’t stop me though and I ordered the Tomato Salad with fresh cucumbers, eggplant, onions, and ricotta fritas (friend ricotta).
Another friend of mine ordered the Wood-Grilled Chicken Sandwich with smoked cheddar and a barbeque sauce. The sandwiches came with homemade potato chips. I would have loved a dipping sauce with the chips, maybe a blue cheese dressing, however, even without the sauce they were delicious. Lastly, our other guest ordered the Cobb Salad with Grilled Chicken(minus the pork croutons).
I don’t think there was a single bad thing to say about any of the dishes, the food was spectacular. It was good to see little twists to typical dishes (the house pancetta on the burger instead of bacon and the cole slaw on the wood grilled chicken sandwich). Food was priced fairly and ranged between $9 – $20 a plate.
Oh and how can I forget about the drinks!!! When I first went to dinner I didn’t want to drink, but then the craft beers drew me in. Cafe Dufrain serves beers from small breweries all around the country. I was excited to see they served a beer from my home state of Rhode Island called Narragansett. This was enough to make me change my mind about wanting to drink. If you’re in the mood for a local beer they also have Swamphead ‘Wild Night’ Honey Cream Ale (from Gainesville) and Cigar City Maduro Oatmeal Brown (from Tampa) on tap. The beer is in addition to the restaurant’s full bar and unique wine selections.
If you’re looking for a place for a quick bite to eat, you may want to look elsewhere. Service was a little slow for not being busy; not that I minded, it gave me extra time to spend with friends I hadn’t seen in a while. The atmosphere is quaint, casual and perfect for any occasion. Cafe Dufrain is the perfect place to grab a bite before the next Tampa Bay Lightning game or concert being that it is right across the bridge from Channelside. Also, stop in for a dinner meeting or to grab a bite to eat with some friends. Just because Channelside hasn’t picked back up yet, doesn’t mean you should forget about Harbour Island Restaurants.