Great Places for Soup
1100 Poydras St., 582-2350
Affectionately referred to as the New Orleans “soup Nazi” by his wife and business partner, chef Ron Wilemon sure has a deft hand when it comes to creating savory bowls of bliss. Regulars flock to the place on Tuesdays for his delightfully tangy, robust and healthful (sans butter and cream) tomato basil soup, which is bursting with lively flavors. While he offers a different soup du jour (Monday is red bean soup day and Friday features seafood), the exquisite roasted garlic is a mainstay and with good reason. Chicken stock, cream, thyme and a touch of blonde roux meld with sweet, nearly caramelized roasted garlic to create this beautifully crafted soup.
Bon Ton Cafe
401 Magazine St., 524-3386
Typically packed with business professionals who whisk in for classic New Orleans fare, this unassuming eatery offers several soup options. The satisfying crawfish bisque boasts a dark brown, rich roux teeming with crawfish tails and a generous amount of spice, topped off with a boiled egg and a savory fried crawfish ball. The hearty turtle soup is one of the best in town. Thick and luxurious, this local favorite is brimming with tender tidbits of turtle meat and a touch of tomato with diced boiled eggs and a splash of sherry.
629 N. Hwy. 190, Covington, 985-892-3712
This Northshore restaurant serves up a ridiculously lavish, decadent richly flavored signature soup that can best be described as hedonism in a bowl! Chef-owner Kim Kringle’s opulent lump crabmeat and brie soup features tender chunks of sweet crabmeat in a sumptuous, over-the-top, thick-but-not-cloying-or-gloppy creamy base that’s sure to pack on a few pounds but is so worth each and every heavenly spoonful!
Doson’s Noodle House
135 N. Carrollton Ave., 309-7286
Serving authentic Vietnamese dishes, this casual eatery offers several tempting piping-hot soups. The canh rau (vegetarian soup) is delicate yet flavorsome and packed with tender veggies, including broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, Chinese cabbage and carrots, and the canh thap cam (Triple Delight) is essentially the same, but with the addition of shrimp, chicken and beef. Pho bo (beef noodle soup) and pho ga (chicken noodle soup) are both ethereal, with Chinese five spice–scented broth and tender noodles, topped with green onions, fresh basil, a squeeze of lime and bean sprouts.
737 Octavia St., 895-0900
This stylish Uptown bistro is apparently no stranger to cooking up sublime classic French onion soup. Their soupe a l’oignon gratinée starts with thinly sliced sweet onions sautéed to tender perfection, then skillfully married with beef stock, fresh herbs and spices. The balanced blend is finished with a submersed slice of French bread and topped with an ample amount of Gruyère that is melted to create stringy stands of bubbling bliss accented by crispy, golden brown edges. The result is one memorable crock of soup that will leave you begging for more!
3800 Canal St., 482-9179
A local favorite for Creole-Italian New Orleans food, this bustling joint offers a few soups, including an appetizing turtle soup with sherry and a pretty darn good hearty bowl of classic vegetable soup. The one not to miss, though, is the oyster and artichoke. Chockfull of artichoke quarters and gorgeous Louisiana oysters, this chunky, flavorful example is almost stewlike, boasting liberal amounts of both main ingredients. The chef has smartly added the oysters into the savory soup base just minutes before serving, so they remain generously plump and fleshy.
3901 Banks St., 482-7743
This neighborhood restaurant offers tempting traditional Middle Eastern fare, from tangy stuffed-grape leaves and baba gaunj (eggplant and tahini dip) to mouthwatering gyros and crispy fried kibbys (seasoned, ground lamb, onions and pine nuts stuffed in a cracked-wheat and ground beef crust and then fried). For a spicy kick, don’t pass up the red lentil soup, which is sure to add a touch of sunshine to any blustery day. This filling, flavorful and unique textural puree of red lentils, carrots, chicken broth, onion, garlic, cumin and a host of other distinct spices has a spicy kick and is sure to please your palate and satisfy your appetite.
800 S. Peters St., 525-3474
If you’re a shellfish kind of person, you will adore Zarzuela de Mariscos, Spain’s yummy answer to bouillabaisse. Chef Adolfo Garcia’s version of this classic Catalan-style stew features a generous portion of fresh seafood, including mussels, shrimp, calamari, tuna and amberjack, swimming in a delightful and flavor-packed saffron-tomato broth. It is served with a garlic-aioli-slathered croustade, which when dipped into the divine juice creates one wickedly tempting bite!