The only thing better than the inimitable chicken salad at Nil’s Café and Bakery in Varina is the always-friendly service of proprietors Sibel and Mustafa Hizaroglu. Winning bread choices include made-fresh pumpernickel, sun-dried tomato, sourdough, Italian or wheat, or for a bit extra you can get a croissant. For your side, go with either taboule, German potato salad, a small side salad or any of the available winning soups (not-so-subliminal hint: lentil).
When it comes to pastry and dessert options, you can’t go wrong with chocolate croissants, baklava, or lemon squares. An assortment of oversized cookies are also available, but these don’t leave a lasting impression. For something different to drink, Turkish coffee is a good option to consider.
A mixture of two- and four-top tables provides seating for approximately 30 patrons in the cozy dining area. Ambiance leans toward the quaint European café, although the bridal portraits adorning the walls seem like an afterthought.
One small drawback: At lunchtime, when business is usually bustling, it would be nice to have access to ice without having to ask for it from behind the counter. Just consider going early for window seat so you can watch passersby or enjoy the free WiFi without having people bump your chair on the way by to get their food.