18 August 2008

Cafe Fresco - Downtown Harrisburg

Overall Rating: Good
Highlight: Clever Appetizers
Lowlight: Servers have a hard time hearing over the loud music
Veggie Note: No indication on the menu of whether or not the dishes are vegetarian, but the ingredients are listed well and there are lots of choices.

We joined some co-workers here for happy hour on Martini Monday.

Café Fresco is an upscale “urban” restaurant that specializes in clever dishes with trendy ingredients. It’s a bit schizophrenic in that the casual lunch atmosphere changes dramatically to a more fancy setting once dinner starts. Our co-workers were already seated when we arrived, tables were filling up fast. Our waitress seemed to be in a hurry to handle all of her tables, and when we hesitated to choose or drinks as soon as she came to the table-side, she immediately walked away without really conferring with us about needing more time to decide. We were all served water right away, however. Our server was very nice, but was clearly having a hard time hearing us over the volume of the music playing in the restaurant.

We had the following:


  • Nothing complimentary served here


  • Almond Roasted Goat Cheese – a round of goat cheese was roasted with almonds to a lovely soft and warm finish and served in a warmed dish with very-caramelized onions and roasted tomatoes. We really enjoyed this dish with the accompanying fresh crostinis, which were quickly refilled for us when we ran out.


  • Spinach Pizza – this individual sized crispy thin crust pizza came with a dollop of red sauce on it, as indicated on the menu, but worth mentioning since it is less-traditional for a spinach pizza. It was not overwhelmed with spinach and was overall very good.
  • Pad Thai with Tofu – a very large portion of pad thai served in a big bowl with chopsticks. They did not skimp on the added tofu (a choice on the menu), which was nicely fried. The tofu could have used a little more flavor, especially since the peanut sauce in the pad thai itself was also very minimal. Overall, I really enjoyed this dish and had enough to bring a lunch-sized portion home with me. This dish was not spicy.

Just a few other notes:

Dinners are not served with a salad; you must order this for an additional cost. One of our dinner companions did order a salad, which the waitress did not deliver until she was reminded of it (by us) as she was serving our entrees.

We were there on Martini Monday, so of course we all ordered Martinis. They were all very good, however very pricey. The deal of the day was that they were all $5. A bargain considering they are typically $8-$10 each.

The Pad Thai with Tofu is the only vegetarian entrée on the menu, however there were several other pizza varieties and a portabella sandwich in addition to a few very clever appetizers we’d like to go back and try some time (edamame ravioli, an artisan cheese plate, etc…).

Final Thoughts: Similar to other trendy restaurants, there are a lot of up and coming meats that chefs love to incorporate into dishes, so vegetarian entrees are not featured here. The food all had a very fresh taste and appealing presentation. It’s definitely worth a visit some day, but probably not a regular vegetarian dinner spot (unless you really love pizza and pad thai).

1 comment:

jcc said...

Just letting you know for next time, the Pad Thai Tofu is not vegetarian. They use a fish fumet in the sauce. :(