Some restaurants turn neighborhoods into destinations. Others fit so seamlessly into their surroundings that it’s hard to imagine life without them. Northside Social is in the second camp. Although it opened in June, the cafe in a renovated 18th-century house feels as if it’s been part of the community for years.
Weekend mornings, when the patio looks like the site of a goldendoodle meetup, the main draws are the breakfast sandwiches. They include an egg sandwich with house-cured bacon ($5.95) and a biscuit sweet with apricot jam and salty with country ham ($6.75). A big pastry case up front is less reliable. It holds some treasures (everything-spiced pop tarts filled with cream cheese, $3.75) and some bummers (scones, $3.50, that reinforce the cliché that the mounds are about as tasty as couch filling).
At lunch, there are crisp-bottomed pizzas ($12 to $14, and tasty enough) alongside sandwiches—get the smoked salmon with wasabi cream cheese ($11). Salads are colorful and satisfying, especially an array of greens with grilled salmon and plenty of dill ($16).
It’s only at night that Northside Social feels a little phoned in. After 5, the focus turns to small plates and wine. Beware the goat-cheese-and-apple-butter dip ($10), which is sweeter than even dessert should be, and the bitterly charred Brussels sprouts ($9). Even the charcuterie board ($14)—the fallback for any self-respecting wine bar—is a sad array. Thankfully, the menu also includes daytime staples like those pizzas—and you can always grab a pop tart for the next morning.
205 Park Ave., Falls Church; 703-992-8650. Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
This article appears in the October 2018 issue of Washingtonian.