We’ve all ordered bread bowls a time or two … with the additional side of bread, of course. (Looking at you, Panera.)
But when you’re craving warm, comforting soup, there’s more in the region than just what fast-casual restaurants have to offer.
So, put your Crock-Pot away and get to these local slurp-friendly spots when you’re craving a just-like-Mom-made-it bowl of steaming soup.
100 Bowls of Soup
The name easily gives it away as a go-to spot for whatever bowl of soup you might be in the mood for. You’ll want to give yourself the chance to look through the dozens of options in the store’s refrigerators, especially if you’re hoping to curl up on the couch with a bowl and a spoon later. Vegan soups include three-bean chili, caraway cauliflower, minestrone, masala split pea, vegan French onion and more. At the nourish ‘n go soup bar, check the daily rotating soup specials for a quick and hearty lunch. You might just find the sweet potato vindaloo, mushroom onion miso or carrot ginger. Need we say more? // 279 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon
Blue Ridge Seafood Company
Save peeling shrimp and drenching lobster in butter for another day (some time soon, of course) and enjoy one of your favorite seafood soups instead. Offering all three of the classics is Blue Ridge Seafood Company, with lobster bisque, New England-style clam chowder and Maryland-style crab soup. All are served with a side of oyster crackers and can guarantee you’ll be feeling full, warm and satisfied, even if your next beach trip is still a long way away. // 15704 Lee Highway, Gainesville
Del Ray Cafe
There’s a good chance you often skip over the “soup of the day” on the menu. You might even miss it when your server gives you a heads up on the flavor. But instead of having a rotating special, Del Ray Cafe has you covered with its everyday French Onion soup. The homemade beef broth soup is sealed with a crisp layer of cheese on top, giving you the ultimate first scoop to dive into time and time again. // 205 E. Howell Ave., Alexandria
It’s a no-brainer that fan-favorite ramen fits right in with a list of places to satisfy soup cravings. Long wavy noodles, rich umami broth and, if you’re lucky, a runny soft-boiled egg are the perfect combination for a filling meal. Kimen offers a version for everyone, ranging from its original with chashu pork or chicken, a seasoned egg, nori, green onion and kikurake (ear-cloud mushrooms), to the Tantanmen ramen, known as the hot-and-spicy version with roasted peanut soup, silky pork broth, spicy minced pork, green onion, bok choy and more. // 217 John Marr Drive, Annandale
So, you forgot your lunch box at home, didn’t make dinner last night or are staring at yet another pre-packed salad and wondering, is there something better for lunch? The answer is yes. This local spot made its first appearance in our Cheap Eats issue, but later landed on our 2019 list of 50 Best Restaurants. The curry laksa chicken noodle soup and the entire “noodles in soup” section surely played a role in those distinctions. Plus, you get to choose between flat rice noodles, egg noodles or long and thin rice noodles, perfect for making you forget about the day’s worries, and that could-have-been cold work lunch. // 5085 Westfields Blvd., Centreville
Sure, you can find orders of red and yellow curry, or steaming bowls of pho on this menu, but to really make the most out of your warm soup cravings, order from the lengthy soup section, including the Hoanh Thanh (homemade dumplings stuffed with pork, shrimp and chicken in beef broth served with scallions, onions, chives, cilantro, and Xa Xiu, a Vietnamese roasted barbecue pork), or the Canh Chua Ca/Tom (Tamarind sweet and sour soup with cabbage, bean sprouts, tomatoes, cilantro and served with salmon or shrimp). Almost every option is gluten-free, with a few vegetarian choices too. // 1127 N. Hudson St., Arlington
Sidestep the wings and Philadelphia Tavern cheesesteaks on this menu if you’re craving a warm and comforting bowl of soup. Yes, there is clam chowder and a daily rotating flavor, but there’s also the Philly Chili. Sure, the location lacks in proximity to the Liberty Bell, but it can make up for it in flavor. The deep-red broth of the homemade chili even features a Pennsylvania staple: Yuengling lager. Enjoy a bowl to fill you up, and maybe even pair it with the go-to brew for the full almost-Pennsylvania experience. // 9413 Main St., Manassas
Taste of Korea
Sizzling stone pot bibimbap is just about the hottest item you can order on the menu (seriously, save your tongue and let it cool off a bit first) at this Korean restaurant in Chantilly, but even hotter is the small camp stove servers bring to your table when you order hot pot. Bring friends and family for an order of beef mushroom hot pot with bulgogi beef, oyster and enoki mushrooms and mixed vegetables in beef broth. The beef tripe hot pot is also available with veggies and tofu. Don’t fret if you need to order for one, be sure to check out the soups and stews, ranging from beef short rib soup and kimchi stew, to spicy fish roe soup and codfish soup. // 13906 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway, Chantilly
The Soup & Taco Etc…
There’s so much more to Mexican soups than a bowl of spicy chicken tortilla topped with a spoonful of sour cream. At The Soup & Taco, grab a cup or bowl of its “Grandma’s recipe” of Sopa de Tortilla. The chicken broth base with chicken and cor, topped with tortilla strips, avocado and queso fresco is sure to please. Vegetarian black bean soup with sour cream and scallions is also available, as well as a rotating daily special. And if you’re still hungry—there’s no shame in grabbing a taco too. It’s just the place to cover all of your bases and still get that cup of soup you need. // 813 Caroline St., Fredericksburg; 806 William St., Fredericksburg
Yunnan by Potomac
Have you met mixian before? Because if you haven’t, the day your soup craving hits, it’s time to satisfy it with a trip to Yunnan by Potomac. According to the Southwest-Chinese restaurant’s menu (there’s a letter to customers, it’s worth the read), “In the modern capital of Kunming, its seven million inhabitants consume 300 tons of a gluten-free rice noodle called mixian, every single day.” That’s right, this comforting, rice-noodle soup with chicken bone broth, pork broth or mushroom broth is available right here in NoVA, and you can enjoy it topped with scallion, cilantro and chili oil any day of the week, maybe even those rainy ones. // 814 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria
Hungry for more? Subscribe to our weekly Food newsletter.