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Hot and hearty winter soups can easily take the chill out of your bones. The Bay Area’s nippy winter weather makes for a terrific excuse to relax indoors with a steaming bowl of fragrant soup, and perhaps a glass of California wine to pair with it. Read on for five top spots to enjoy winter soups.
388 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
Looking for a quickie lunch of something out of the usual? Then Soup Junkie is for you. A Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall restaurant – really, it has just two seats – Soup Junkie is largely a take-out window kind of place, open weekdays for coffee and lunch with a highlight on Hung Lam’s bowls of awesome noodle soups. Crab and Tomato Noodle Soup ($9.5), Beef Pho ($9.5), Veggie Noodle Soup ($7.5) and Chicken Porridge ($7.5) are all cold chasers. Also available are several Vietnamese sandwiches, filled buns, a Spicy Curry Chicken plate ($9) and maybe something new to try. Call or order online for pick-up.
447 S California Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94306
Pastis Restaurant is a cute and cozy French restaurant and wine bar with an authentic French bistro ambiance. Serving brunch, lunch and dinner, each dish seems an exquisite gem and transports you to the heart of French cuisine. Soupe A L’Oignon ($8) is a perfect cold weather dish. At Pastis, the classic onion soup is served in a hearty-sized bowl, topped with toasted baguette and Swiss cheese gratinee, and served very hot. With tons of onions and lots soft bread to soak up the broth, along with plenty of cheese, your search for the best onion soup may have just ended.
San Francisco Soup Company
451 6th St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
San Francisco Soup Company, a family-owned business, has been a Bay Area soup leader for more than 10 years. Known for its daily variety of handcrafted gourmet soups, such as favorites Organic Southwestern Corn Chowder, Mexican Chicken Tortilla and Organic Smoky Split Pea, San Francisco Soup Company also serves a selection of freshly tossed salads, side salads and half sandwiches. Soups are tagged to identify various categories, such as vegetarian, low-fat, spicy, dairy free, gluten free and low carb. Whether you prefer vegetarian or meat, sweet or spicy, San Francisco Soup Company has a soup or two to satisfy you. Come in to any of the 16 Bay Area locations, or order online. Catering is also available. Check the website for today’s soups at your preferred location.
Related: Best Bread Bowls In The Bay Area
5716 Geary Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94121
In 2000, Vietnam native Steven Nghia Pham opened his restaurant, Turtle Tower, in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, which has grown to three locations, including this popular Richmond district spot. The restaurant serves dishes that preserve the flavors of Northern Vietnam, and prides itself on the fresh chicken, beef and noodles it serves. Turtle Tower explains that its soups “are made without bean sprouts, basil and hoisin sauce, as in the Ha Noi tradition,” and its specialty broths are strictly northern-style. Choose from a variety of pho, made with rice noodles. Also available are numerous noodle dishes, rice plates, banh-mi sandwiches, sticky rice dishes and several side orders, including well-loved imperial rolls and spring rolls. Visit the website for additional locations.
1829 Euclid Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94709
Known for lunchtime homestyle sandwiches, salads and soups all made with fresh ingredients, The Stuffed Inn has a lot going for it. A family-owned spot, The Stuffed Inn is a lunchtime favorite for its regulars who have been eating there for years. The prices are wonderfully affordable “college student prices” that are incredibly low, considering the quality of the food. There are three soups offered every day, each prepared from scratch: split pea, tomato vegetable and soup of the day. Visit the website to order online for pickup, or eat in.
Related: Best Pumpkin Dishes In San Francisco
Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a member of an independent filmmaking group. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.