Soups to Bowl You Over

What’s better than a hot bowl of soup to ward off the chills of winter?

By Wendy Lemlin  |  Photography By Bryan Oster AND Noushin Nourizadeh

On a chilly winter’s day, a bowl of steaming homemade soup speaks to us of comfort, warming us from the inside out. Soup is that magical food that works on every level, simple to consume, yet complex in flavors achieved by the long, slow simmering of multiple ingredients in the stockpot. A light and flavorful broth can be the ideal starter, bringing your appetite to rapt attention, while a more substantial soup often works as a meal in itself. Just add some crusty bread, and maybe a side salad, to fully satisfy.


1. Americana Restaurant “Made yesterday,” is how this classic Del Mar eatery proudly describes the soups on its menu, recognizing that most soups develop their flavors and are better the next day. Richly creamy and the color of sunshine, Butternut Squash Soup with Pesto is a blend of roasted squash, puréed with butter, fresh cream, vegetable broth and an assortment of aromatic veggies. A dash of cinnamon adds some fun, and a bit of bright green pesto gives a lively, herbaceous finish.

2. Pomodoro Ristorante Italiano Five Bean Soup combines a winning ensemble of lentils, garbanzos, split peas, cannellini and pinto beans, cooked long and slowly in a traditional Italian soffritto vegetable broth. Full of protein and deeply delicious, this hearty soup will give you the energy to conquer whatever winter weather Mother Nature throws at you—from bone-chilling dampness to hot and dry Santa Ana winds.


3. Girard Gourmet Does any soup whisper “comfort” more than Chicken Noodle? Forget the ubiquitous, salty, canned variety of everyone’s childhood—the soup at this La Jolla favorite offers a sophisticated, grown-up experience. From the homemade chicken stock crafted with an array of veggies grown in the restaurant’s own organic garden, to the tender chunks of chicken and strands of silky noodles, this classic soup really is mmm-mm good!

4. Harry’s Coffee Shop Give your mouth a south-of-the-border celebration when you order a big bowl of Albondigas. The traditional Mexican meatball soup, with a rich broth crafted from such vegetables as tomatoes, spinach, carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms and onion, gets an extra kick from the added jalapenos. This could very easily fall into the “soup as a meal” category.   


5. Spice & Rice Thai Kitchen Exotic is on the menu when you order a bowl of Tom Yum at La Jolla Village’s favorite Thai restaurant. This classic spicy lemongrass and shrimp soup is light in consistency but rich in taste and pleasing umami, with hot and sour flavors combining with the fragrant spices and herbs generously used in the broth. Ρ