For a wintery warm-up, nothing tops a hot mug, bowl or bucket full of tasty soup*. The kind of soup that tickles your taste buds en route to warming your body after an afternoon of skating, skiing or snowball fighting. So raise a spoon to these ten Toronto soup slingers.
Esther’s Soup Kitchen
Hidden within the Cumberland Terrace—seemingly the lone holdout of Yorkville’s long-completed gentrification—is this quaint soup spot that features at least seven different soups each day, two of them vegan-friendly and all safe bets for the lactose intolerant. Try the mulligatawny to spice up your day. 2 Bloor St. W., 416-963-6667.
Kensington residents and visitors love to partake this café’s vegan-friendly and gluten-free soups, which alternate daily between beet, squash and several other varieties. As a little bonus, every cup comes with a house-made, gluten-free cracker, perfect for munching or dunking. 238 Augusta Ave., 416-364-6183.
The antique-styled decor in this bistro is wonderful, yes, but it won’t distract you from the soup. The Yucatan chicken soup blends chicken broth with tomatoes, lime and orzo pasta, and the orange and ginger carrot soup comes with a dollop of sour cream. 546 College St., 416-923-4138.
Owl of Minerva
This Korean restaurant’s hearty and fiery gamja-tang, otherwise known as pork bone soup, brings in masses of the hungry and hungover (pork bone soup is often touted as an excellent day-after remedy). The restaurant is open 24/7, so you can get your Seoul-food fix whenever you need it. 700 Bloor St. W., 416-538-3030.
Available at three downtown patisserie-boulangeries, renowned chef Marc Thuet’s soups are, in a word, magnifique! Classics like French onion and chicken noodle are on the menu, along with white bean, wild mushroom, roasted squash and a robust hunter’s soup. 1 King St. W., 416-867-7977; plus two other locations.
Prague Fine Food Emporium
For a hearty European soup that eats like a meal, head to this Queen West grocer-slash-eatery for the tripe drštková made with veal stomach linings, paprika and garlic, or the gypsy goulash, which comes loaded with beef, Moravian sausage and vegetables. 638 Queen St. W., 416-504-5787.
Soups are not relegated to the “appetizer” or “sides” section of the menu at this well-regarded boîte. No. The soups here take precedence. Dreamed up by professional saucier and soup sage Ravi Kanagarajah, they include a porcini mushroom and wild rice bisque, a beef miso with flank steak and shitake mushrooms, and a corn chowder with blue crab and Thai basil. Tasty, healthy wraps are also a big draw. 322 Adelaide St. W., 647-435-8365.
This soup stand’s name sounds awfully close to a Seinfeld character, doesn’t it? Well, it’s the place to go for a huge menu of inspired soups—like West African Senegalese peanut chicken, St. Germain split pea with smoked ham, and creamy asparagus with blue cheese. 222 Bay St., 416-304-1383; and two other locations.
This café is a favourite of vegetarians and vegans—though it’s certainly welcoming to omnivores as well—and offers a rotating selection of both pureed and broth-based soups. They’re all meat-free, obviously, and available in mason jars for take-away (make sure the lid is screwed on tight). 64 Oxford St., 416-927-1231.
Daily-changing house-made soups are doled out at this delightful little spot on College Street, which specializes in Mexican-inspired fare. Flavours range from tomato to potato leek, so your options can come down to the luck of the draw, but whatever the soup du jour may be, count on it to be tasty. 586 College St., 416-534-7751.
*After some deliberation, we decided not to include pho in this list, simply because pho is tasty enough to count as its own dish, separate from soup.