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Where's the Best Soup in Arlington??

  • b

You know when you're out running errands on a cold and damp day and you're craving a great bowl of non-Asian soup -- where do you go and what kind of soup do you get?

I took Asian soups out because we love them and already have our favorites. Also not interested in chowders. All other soup recommendations welcome -- including the following and others you recommend -- chicken noodle, lentil, split pea, French Onion, etc.



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  1. Do you mind sharing some of your favorite Asian soups in the area? As for non-Asian soups, I like the tomato soup at Le Madeline. The pastries there are disappointing but the tomato soup is perfect. The casual cafeteria style dining makes it very natural to stop in just for a bowl of soup.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Minger

      Pho 75 for Vietnamese- 6 bucks and awesome. Certainly not a great atmoshpere (cafeteria-like) but it sure will give you a good soup!

      1. re: Minger

        Our favorite Asian soups are the Vietnamese Wonton Soup from Nam Viet in Clarendon, the Wonton Soup at Crystal Thai in the shopping center with the Outback Steakhouse on Rt. 50 at N. Park in Arlington and any version of Pho at Pho 75 in Rosslyn.

        How about you??

        1. re: BRL

          > How about you??

          I love soup but I don't really hunt for it. One feature about soup that I care about is the cost. Good soup at a good price is the sweet spot. (Some places overcharge for a small portion of packaged or canned soup. The lousy minestrone for $4 at Primo Italiano is a recent example. Dessert is packaged too. Just go for the pizza.) Random notes on Asian soup:

          Peter Chang made a great vegetable tofu soup (and inexpensive) at China Star when he was there.

          The seaweed with beef bits soup at the Hee Been buffet is something one might not normally find?

          Bangkok 54 offers tasty group serving soups for under $10. (The seafood in the soup might be a bit thin.)

          I love the depth of the seafood tofu stew at Yaechon. Rich broth made with lots and lots of seafood. (Wouldn't mind trying something similar at one of the specialty tofu houses.)

          I like the noodle soup with roasted pork at Full Kee? in Bailey's Crossroads.

        2. re: Minger

          My favorite asian soup- the sweet and sour salmon (or shrimp) soup at Nam Viet in Clarendon.

          1. re: JAC13

            I was in Clarendon today, so I tried the sweet & sour salmon, and was very unimpressed, although I suppose there was no false advertising--it had just three flavors, namely sweet (too much so), sour (again, too much so), and a tiny hint of salmon flavor from some bland (but plentiful) hunks of salmon.

            I don't have a problem with simple soups, but this was a little TOO simple--like someone had started to make a Thai tom yum soup, realized they were missing a few ingredients, and so they just poured in some sugar and called it a day.

            (They did have good cha gio and ca phe sua, though.)

          2. re: Minger

            I like Pho 75, but recently, upon advice of a poster here, tried Golden Cow on Rte. 50. Marvelous. I'd still give Pho 75 a slight edge (I like their balance of spices more), but GC also has great spring rolls and other items, while Pho 75 is pretty much all pho. Blustery weather like today's makes pho particularly appealing.

            BUT...I also love the typhoon soup at Viet Bistro in the Eden Center. It's basically a variation on the Thai lemongrass and tamarind soups, with lots of seafood in it.

          3. Well it WAS the vegetable soup offered daily at Joe's Place on Rte 7 in Bailey's, but they're gone. I'm anxious to hear suggestions for where else I can find some good warming soup.

            2 Replies
            1. re: wayne keyser

              Joe's on Lee Highway just west of Harrison St. is still around, as is the one in Vienna. I've never been in that Joe's but I assume the food is about the same as the one at Bailey's Crossroads.

              1. re: MikeR

                Yes, the Joe's on Lee Hwy in Arlington still has the very good vegetable soup that has always been served at all the Joe's restaurants.

            2. There are some good soups at Mother's Macaroons near the corner of Lee Hwy and Harrison (just to the left of the Safeway entrance). The soups change daily, and there are usually 2 or 3 to choose from. I get the split pea whenever they have it.

              If your timing is right, you can have a freshly-baked cookie for dessert.

              2 Replies
              1. re: bacchante

                I have heard good things from other folks about the soups at Mother's Macaroons -- what are some of the soups you've had there that you liked?

                1. re: BRL

                  Let's see. It's been a while since I've been, but the season is here again. In addition to the split pea, which is my favorite, I think I've enjoyed chicken tortilla, creamy mushroom, chicken noodle, and tomato basil soups. You can get a soup and half a sandwich combo. The egg salad and chicken salad are decent but wouldn't really make it a destination for me. I haven't tried other sandwiches.

              2. I don't order sopas very often, but the ones at Aclacatl are supposed to be some of the best Salvadoran in the whole area.

                For some soups without digging too hard, the gumbo at Whole Foods is good (I don't like many of their soups), and some at Safeway are certainly passable - chicken tortilla and italian wedding being two good ones they offer.

                For Asian, my broken record of sweet and spicy salmon at Nam Viet.

                1. This is the Arlington/Alexandria border in a little Greek restaurant. We go there specifically for soup. Its called "Avgolemono." WP describes it as "chock-a-block with rice and shredded chicken and yellow with egg yolk."

                  Vaso's Kitchen
                  1225 Powhatan St., Alexandria 703-548-2747

                  Its hard to miss because there is a huge neon pig on top of the restaurant. It used to be a BBQ place.

                  1. I really enjoy Spice of Life's soups (in Rosslyn.) They typically have 3-4 kinds. Everything there is good actually. Amazing hummus. They aren't open on the weekends. I also really enjoy Metro 29's matzo ball soup. It's delicious.

                    It really is hard to find very good soup!

                    1. good to know - thanks all!

                      1. It's been years since I've been there, but Ireland's Four Courts used to have some good soups for a cold winter night; I'm not sure if you'd consider them chowders or not, though. (Hmm... anyone know if they still have the "Seafood Galway Bay" soup as a soup fo the day, and if so which day it's available? I have many fond memories of tucking into a bowl of that, and now I feel like I have to go back and try it again.)

                        1. When I'm at a Salvadorean/Mexican place and I'm in the mood for soup, I usually try their menudo (beef tripe and hominy). With a squirt of lime and some shredded cabbage, it's a classic hangover cure. Unfortunately, it's usually served only on Sunday and Monday mornings.

                          My go to Asian soup is the "house special soup." Basically a soup version of chop suey: beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, vegetables, in a beef broth. Seems to be coming off the menu of many American Chinese carryouts, but it's usually dirt cheap; $5 for a big serving. Great stuff on a cold day.

                          Looking forward to the opening of Bookbinders in Old Town. Maybe I can finally get some decent turtle soup.

                          FYI, there's a good DC soup thread hear:


                          3 Replies
                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                            Anyone have recommendations for locations serving top-quality French Onion soup?

                            1. re: ooroger

                              I used to love Les Halles, but haven't been in quite a long time and have seen some off reviews lately.

                              I think Bistro Bis uses that recipe too, and they might be more on right now.

                              1. re: ooroger

                                The thread I posted mentions Le Mistral, Bistro Bis, and L'auberge Chez Francois as having good french onion soup. I've had it at Les Halles downtown and thought it pretty good.

                            2. Okay, it's Falls Church and not Arlington, but the soup of the day today at the Bolivian El Pike was a squash soup. Very hearty, in chicken stock (I think) with potatoes and pieces of flavorful beef. Came with some whole wheat rolls and a good green sauce.

                              The "cup" size was a bowl, leading me to think that a "bowl" there is really wash basin size.

                              Very good, even if the day wasn't all THAT cold.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: Gonzocook

                                oooh perfect... i improvised my own version of what you describe but would love to try this restaurant rendition.

                                1. re: Gonzocook

                                  I've often wondered how to pronounce the name of that restaurant (El Pike). I'm not a Spanish scholar by any means (took two years of it in high school 50 years ago, last from Señor Wilheim of Austria) but can't think of any word in Spanish that has a K in it. Is it as simple as like Leesburg Pike? Or Pee-Kay?

                                  They do have good salteñas, though.

                                  1. re: Gonzocook

                                    How embarrassing, I drive by this place all the time, but haven't ever stopped in. If it's the one by the Shell station, on N George Mason Dr, that's definitely Arlington, not Falls Church.

                                    1. re: Minger

                                      Nope, it's in what I believe is called Willston--the shopping center on Rte. 50 that has the Target in it (diagonally across from Seven Corners). El Pike faces Patrick Henry Dr. It's in a small building with about four other shops on that end.

                                      I suspect it's pronounced to rhyme with "like," inasmuch as it's co-owned with Pike Pizza on Columbia Pike. Unlike Pike Pizza, however, El Pike seems always to have saltenas, whereas Pike Pizza is often out of them.

                                      As I say, the squash soup was the soup of the day. I don't know how often they have it. And I've not tried their other soups or anything else other than appetizers (which are sufficiently filling that an entree is unnecessary).

                                      1. re: Gonzocook

                                        Ok, I was in the Willston Target earlier this week so I know the area you are talking about. Sorry I didn't read your post before trying the El Pike aka Pike Pizza on Columbia Pike. Now I know why I drive by this place and never go in...

                                        I was the only gringo in the place and the waitress didn't understand much English at all. Most of the patrons were seated at the bar. The waitress could not confirm if their soup of the day was squash so I passed on it for some Bolivian fried beef with rice and potatoes dish: they brought something else -- but closely related. The weekend menu looks interesting -- I'll try that sometime and saltenas too, not at Pike Pizza, but the Willston location.

                                        Did you get the lunch combo that includes soup?

                                        1. re: Minger

                                          Nope, just the soup and an appetizer. The latter had the word "choclos" in it, so I had hopes that it was like a Chilean dish that I've been looking for. But it turned out to be just an ear of that giant corn and a patty of cheese. My son fared better: a really good saltena and a huminta (cheesy corn bread, wrapped in a corn husk). The squash soup (which they called "pumpkin") turned out to be the star.

                                          I've been there on a Sunday, when they have a buffet. Nothing on it appealed to me, though, so I stuck with the appetizers--which often are the best things on a South American menu.

                                          Re Pike Pizza: The funny thing is, I don't believe they sell pizza at all. Probably inherited the name from a former occupant.

                                          MikeR, I haven't noticed the place on Wilson, but I'll check it out.

                                          1. re: Gonzocook

                                            > The squash soup (which they called "pumpkin") turned out to be the star.

                                            The big wedge of "squash" I bought at the local ethnic market to make my soup is shaped like it came from a baby pumpkin. Not doubt all these varieties are related.

                                      2. re: Minger

                                        I never would have suspected Pike Pizza to be a Bolivian restaurant.

                                        There's yet another Latino restaurant with "Pike" in the name, on Wilson Boulevard a block or two toward Clarendon from the Ballston shopping center. Curiously, it, too, is close to a Shell station, across from Gold's Gym (which used to be Al's Motors).

                                    2. I love the soups at My Bakery a small Bolivian restaurant bakery just off of Columbia Pike (actually a small street off of Columbia Pike after the Chicken Campero on the same side). They sometimes have a peanut soup that is very good. It doesn't taste like peanuts to me, more like a kind of grain, and they have other soups that are very good, especially on a cold day. They other dishes and they have baked goods as well.