Maybe your car battery died. Or you’re so congested that you panicked and cleaned CVS out of Mucinex. It’s also possible that you just realized your roommate has been using your toothbrush ever since she moved in. These are all situations that can improve exponentially with hot soup. Granted, broth and noodles can’t find you a new roommate, but at least it can make you feel a little better. Maybe nothing bad happened at all, but still, you just want some soup. It happens. Here are the best restaurants to get some.
If you want some good chicken soup, stop into Dacha Diner, a little Russian spot where you’ll feel like you’re eating inside of a doily. Aside from white lace curtains, they also have very comforting chicken broth, and the matzo balls that come on top have a nice dill kick. If you’re feeling bold, get an order of pelmeni dumplings and slide them into your soup. Just do it.
Pho Bac Sup Shop should be your go-to for pho when you want a fun dinner without having to change out of your sweatpants. It’s easy to get in, appetizers (like sausage sliders) will go nicely with your soup, and we could eat the slow-poached chicken pho all day. In case you also like to party while wearing an elastic waistband, there are blue cocktails and a photo booth.
Ba Bar is somehow always packed, so eating pho here is always a bit of a to-do. But their pho is delicious - we like the chicken or the oxtail. They’re also open until 2AM (and 4AM on weekends), so it’s perfect if you’ve been out drinking and decide you’re responsible enough to drunkenly handle a heavy bowl of scalding liquid.
Sometimes, you just need to eat a half-gallon of clam chowder out of a hollowed-out boule of sourdough, and that’s OK. That’s why Pike Place Chowder exists (in addition to being a tourist holding area). There are a couple different kinds of chowder here, but always pick the creamy clam over the smoked salmon chowder that tastes a little too much like cream cheese and looks a little too much like Pepto Bismol.
In the case of the hot pot, the broth is usually a cooking vessel rather than the main event. But at Morfire, a little Thai hot pot place on Capitol Hill, you’ll want to drink the broth. You can split the pot in two separate flavors (we like the miso and the chicken), and then you’ll pick various vegetables and proteins to cook in the boiling broth. This is not a “less is more” situation, and we recommend starting with tofu, chicken, wontons, the ground pork and prawn mixture, vegetables, and going from there.
Get excited for your next upper respiratory infection, because Mezcaleria Oaxaca’s braised chicken soup is perfect for when you feel ill. We like mixing in a little bit of salsa and dunking a fresh tortilla in the broth, but you could also just sit there with your face hovering over the steaming bowl and decongest.
It’s debatable whether khao soi is soup, stew, or noodle dish, but we’re not interested in the semantics of things - we just want hot liquid in a bowl. The combination of coconut milk, curry, egg noodles, and a slight zing from lemongrass makes Soi’s khao soi the perfect thing for when you’re a little stuffy and need some spice to clear your nose up. You can add chicken, but we like the way the tofu soaks up the broth.
One of the reasons we like Pho Viet Anh so much is that they play sultry jazz instrumental covers of Top 40 songs. There’s just something special about sipping soup while listening to a saxophone rendition of “Shake It Off.” Choose between four different broths with any type of protein (you’re going to want the spicy beef broth if you can handle it), and get an order of the fried pork and shrimp spring rolls, too.
There are so many great ramen places in this city, but Hokkaido Ramen Santouka has been our number one since day one. Everything about the soup is consistent, from the richness of the broth to the soft egg that comes on top. If you want ramen but are more indecisive than people playing a heated game of Terraforming Mars, choose this one.
Marmite’s logo is a soup kettle, so it’d be pretty embarrassing if they weren’t good at making soup. Luckily, they know what they’re doing in the soup department - especially when it comes to the poule verte with chicken, ham, pork belly, and cabbage. It’s on the lighter side, but very warming to eat a bowl in a space that kind of feels like Poseidon’s summer home.
Ooink is a small ramen spot in a neighborhood where there are lots of other places to eat noodle soup. But this one stands out because the pork is really tender and the gyoza dumplings are massive. The only drawback is that it’s tiny in here, so don’t come with a group. Pop in alone or with one other person when a hot bowl of broth is necessary, like when you get teeth pulled, fired from your job, or both on the same day.
Deru is a market one of your friends might describe as “rustic California chic.” It’s in a residential pocket of Kirkland, and it happens to be a fantastic place to eat anything, especially soup. The soup rotates every day, but we’ve seen corn chowder, cauliflower potato leek, and carrot topped with pepitas, and they’re all outrageously good, especially on a rainy night with a stick of focaccia for dipping and a beet iced tea for drinking.
Kizuki’s miso ramen has enough garlic to cancel a vampire picnic, but we don’t care. The broth is silky, the noodles are nice and firm, and the corn and scallions provide a nice crunch. If you want to do it things right, order some gyoza and add them to your soup.
Danbo is a ramen chain that originated in Vancouver and is big on customization. So you can decide things like noodle thickness and firmness, spice level, richness, and even broth thickness. It’d be a challenge to not find your soulmate ramen in here.
If you want soup but you also need a peaceful setting, Kamonegi is your place. The soba here is so pure and comforting that it feels like taking a bath, except for the fact that Lush doesn’t make mushroom broth and buckwheat noodle glitter bombs (yet). Don’t forget the tempura and duck meatballs.
If you’re in the mood for chicken soup but want something a lot heartier, check out the avgolemono at Nikos Gyros. It’s thick, lemony, and has a terrific broth-to-rice-to-chicken ratio. We like eating it at a comfortable table with a hot side of pita, but we don’t blame you if you get it to-go and drink it like tea in your car.
If you “just want some soup,” you probably weren’t intending on lining up for an hour to get it. But it’s worth it at Tsukushinbo, a totally unmarked Japanese restaurant in the International District that serves a delicious weekend-only lunchtime ramen. Once you reach the front of the line, you’ll be rewarded with a giant bowl of shoyu ramen for $11.50 that comes with rice and pan-fried gyoza. It’ll make your day.