Seattle’s Top 10 Soup Spots
Seattle’s drizzly climate demands bowls of steaming soup. This culinary capital is a melting pot of flavorful stews, broths, and porridges. From Vietnamese pho to NOLA gumbo, there are plenty of options to perk up our palates and our moods. As Justin Timberlake so famously crooned, “Soup, there it is!”
Each time the temperature drops, Gratin Lyonnais re-appears on the menu at this popular French café. Here, the French onion soup is served Lyon-style, with chicken stock instead of beef to bring out the onion-y goodness. Blanketed in gooey, cave-aged Comté, freckled with browned blisters from the broiler, this piping-hot bowl is served with a warning: Be sure to let it sit to avoid burning the roof of your mouth. You’ll want all your taste buds intact for this stellar soup.
Thanks to Seattle’s sizeable Vietnamese community, pho is as ubiquitous as local library cards. Our favorites are slurped at siblings Eric and Sophie Banh’s Ba Bar. Offerings range from the carnivorous, beefy pho tai nam and unctuous oxtail pho to the mushroom and tofu-laden vegan pho. Served from morning ‘til late night, it is always time for pho at this lively street-food spot.
To complement its coveted charcuterie, Salumi serves up weekly homemade soup specials. The dishes read like your nonna’s olive oil-stained cookbook: pasta fagioli, caldo gallego (greens and beans), barley in beef broth, and ciambotta. The latter, an Italian vegetarian soup they appropriately spike with salami, is affectionately called Chum Botta at this lunch-only gem.
Named for the classic French soup pot, this newcomer was born to be a superlative soup destination. Chef and co-owner Bruce Naftaly shows off his stock prowess with restorative broths and sublime soups like chicken with leeks and homemade Brittany-style buckwheat noodles. Stocks are also available for home chefs who have the desire but not the time to make their own.
Head to Ballard’s beloved Mexican cantina for the best posole served north of the border. Savor succulent braised pork and hominy in red chile broth that is brightened by fresh cabbage, cilantro, onions, and lime. Accompanying homemade tortillas are perfect for soaking up each delectable bite. The proof is in the posole — local restaurateurs Renee Erickson and Ethan Stowell cite it as their hometown fave on the chef-driven app, Chef’s Feed.
Choose your own ramen adventure at this Japanese chain. Classic broths — shio, shoyu, and the pork-oholic darling, tonkatsu — can be amped up with an array of ingredients. Scallions, spinach, wood ear mushrooms, and half-boiled eggs make a meal that’s fit for a king… er, emperor.
When you need a break from bustling Pike Place Market, duck into this seafood-centric diner. This 100-plus-year-old spot serves delicious clam chowder — in a sourdough bread bowl if you so desire — just steps away from local fishmongers. To reinforce the sea-to-table experience, each bowl comes with breathtaking views of the water.
Craving a bowl of Southern comfort? This New Orleans institution offers two tasty gumbos: The seafood version embraces Seattle’s fish-laden waters while the fried-chicken-topped gumbo is a match made in soup heaven. As one would expect from this epicurean eatery, both are richly flavored with a dark spicy roux, tomato confit, and cayenne.
Though hidden from the street, this underground joint is known for its terrific congee. The former pop-up tops its rice porridge with an array of global add-ons like tender pork belly adobo, five-spice duck confit, crispy soft shell crab, blistered shisito peppers, and Chinese doughnuts.
Locals flock to the Pacific Northwest’s first vegan Thai restaurant for healthy, home-style fare. From tom kha to delicate tofu mushroom soup, its nourishing soups please all types of palates.