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Who makes the best French onion soup?

rworange Nov 13, 2008 01:59 PM

Came across this blog about ... and only about ... French onion soup.

It covers the entire country. In the top ten is MacArthur Park in Palo Alto. His rating is 8.5 on a scale of 10. Artisanal, New York holds the number one spot.

Now I have a FOS craving. Given the richness and calories, I want the best local version. Absolutely no Bay Area soup I've tried stays in my memory ... so much so I can't even say where I tried it.

Some other local ratings ... only a few, there's more ... but just to give a feeling for this guy's taste.

Papillon Restaurant - Fremont, CA Rating 8 out of 10 ... this has me interested.

Twist Bistro - Campbell, CA Rating 7.5 out of 10 ... one of the best broths, points off for skimpy cheese

Absinthe - San Francisco, CA Rating 7 out of 10.

Cafe Bastille - San Francisco, CA Rating 7 out of 10.

Perry’s - San Francisco rated locally at the bottom ... 4.5 "The cheese was cheap swiss, and the soup tasted like a glass of water with an entire salt-shaker dumped in"

Asked on the General Board what qualities make for a great FOS.

So ... what is your favorite?

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  1. wolfe RE: rworange Nov 13, 2008 02:46 PM

    Sadly, because I wanted to like the place for its prices and its proximity, it is not at the Rendez-Vous on Solano Ave. in Albany. Too much crouton, too little soup. Not one of your better finds.

    1. t
      tomatoaday RE: rworange Nov 13, 2008 03:23 PM

      Left Bank in Larkspur used to have a very good version but it has been years since I tried it. Generally, quality at the Left Banks seems to have fallen but maybe Scott Howard propped it up before he left. An old LB chef does a good version at his restaurant in Berkeley, Liaison.

      2 Replies
      1. re: tomatoaday
        wolfe RE: tomatoaday Nov 13, 2008 03:33 PM

        Perhaps a bit too salty the last time I had it. I also find restaurant onion soup, onion deficient. My last home made batch had 6 pounds of to 2 quarts of broth.

        1. re: wolfe
          rworange RE: wolfe Nov 13, 2008 04:27 PM

          Yeah, that is all too true. Often there will be a nice cheesy top, and decent broth, but the onions are too few as I mentioned on the general board query.

      2. anyhow RE: rworange Nov 13, 2008 03:27 PM

        Fleur de Cocoa in Los Gatos for delicious, authentic French onion soup.

        An extra bonus -- extraordinary pastries and chocolates.


        Fleur De Cocoa
        39 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030

        1. Scott M RE: rworange Nov 13, 2008 03:37 PM

          Cafe de La Presse makes an excellent Soupe à l’Oignon

          Cafe De La Presse
          352 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108

          1. lexdevil RE: rworange Nov 13, 2008 10:17 PM

            NOT the classic beef based FOS, but Wood Tavern has been known to make an amazing pork based onion soup. Given that I am a pork partisan, that's a plus for me.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lexdevil
              chilihead2006 RE: lexdevil Nov 13, 2008 10:40 PM

              Le Croissant in San Rafael makes great homemade soups, including FOS.

              FOS with a grilled MAC on the side is a great lunch.

            2. ChowFun_derek RE: rworange Nov 14, 2008 01:56 AM

              I have seen a beautiful version at the Bretagne creperie...Ti Couz here in S.F.'s Mission district...
              has anyone tried it? Opinions???
              Their other food is quite good so I do have hope!

              Ti Couz
              4 star ratingbased on 700 reviewsRating Details »
              Categories: French, Creperies [Edit]
              Neighborhood: Mission
              3108 16th St
              (at Valencia St)
              San Francisco, CA 94103
              (415) 252-7373

              Add Photos
              Mon, Fri 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
              Tue-Thu 5:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.
              Sat 10:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
              Sun 10:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.

              1. m
                meemster RE: rworange Nov 14, 2008 10:34 AM

                I had a great French onion soup at Bistro Liaison last Saturday night. They also had fabulous escargot. We ended up with 3 orders for the seven people at our table.

                1. s
                  samyskin RE: rworange Nov 16, 2008 08:11 AM


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