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Soup in Los Angeles: Please help, major craving

  • l

I am in some need of some major help from all Los Angeles chows. I know it is summer, but... I have been having major cravings for soup. Whether it be lobster bisque, clam chowder, cream of anything, onion soup, roasted tomato soup, lentil...any kind, as long as it is good. Is there anything out here that is similar to either a St. Louis Bread Company, or a soup nazi (seinfeld reference) in the greater los angeles area? I am willing to drive, I am that desperate.

Please help! thank you!

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  1. If you want a life changing, transcendent experience then some Wednesday, (only on Wednesday's) get yourself to: Mi India Bonita...4731 E. Olympic Blvd. (213) 267-8505 and behold the greatest albondigas soup known in this, or any parallel, universe.

    2 Replies
    1. re: WLA

      I think they now have albondigas other days too, you might phone first.

      1. re: Dbird

        Yep, they now serve their wonderful albondigas everyday. Also, they make a very respectable cocido de res (beef soup).

    2. Once again, I must refer you behind the Orange Curtain.

      Foscari usually has a cream soup each evening. THeir soups are creamy but not heavy or floury, tasting fully of their primary ingrdient: Tomato, Eggplant (yes, and mighty good!), Mushroom, Cauiflower, etc.

      You might want to call before going since you're coming from LA, but I've never been disapointed with their soups.

      Closer to home, my family likes the Lobster Bisque at Hamburger Hamlet.

      Foscari Italian Cuisine
      (714) 779-1777
      5645 E La Palma Ave Ste 170,
      Anaheim, CA 92807

      In the strip mall with the movie theatre on the NW corner of La Palma & Imperila Hwy.

      1. 3 suggestions:
        1. lobster bisque at Water Grill (call ahead, they don't always have it)
        2. pozole at Chichen Itza at Mercado Paloma (34th/Grand)
        2. chupe de camarones at Mario's Peruvian (Melrose/Rossmore(Vine).

        4 Replies
        1. re: Mr Grub

          Speaking of pozole, I love the pozole at La Cabanita in the La Canada/Flintridge/Montrose area. Although it can occasionally be too salty, when it's on-- it's on.

          Mr. Taster

          1. re: Mr Grub

            Totally agree with the Mario's suggestion. The other soups there are also excellent. Also, the middle eastern restaurant Marouch (4905 SM Blvd in Hollywood) does an unusual and excellent lentil soup.

            1. re: Mr Grub

              Minor correction. Pozole is actually at the stand (name escapes me) adjacent Chichen Itza. While you are there, tho, scarf the cochinita pibil at Chichen Itza -- outstanding.

              1. re: Mr Grub

                The stand immediately adjacent to Chichen Itza is (I'm pretty sure) Tacqueria Vista Hermosa, which also has really nice al pastor. Haven't tried their pozole, but I'll give it a whirl next time I'm there.

            2. Here are a few casual picks. Al Gelato on Robertson & Gregory has a terrific vegetable soup. It's thick and hearty, comes in a huge bowl with terrific bread to boot. And then you can, of course, top it all off with a yummy gelato. This is a casual place, that you can easily dine alone for lunch. Phone is (310) 659-8069. Another favorite is Hamburger Hamlet for onion soup fondue.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Jen

                Call first, as the soups differ each day. I've been trying to sample their minestrone for years.

                1. re: Scooty

                  Almost all of Al Gelato's soups are terrific. I have especially liked the chicken noodle, pea, and potato soups. A great meal from there can be had by ordering soup plus either some pasta with tomato-basil sauce and a giant meatball or two, or their exceptional combination Italian pizza. The only problem (other than the unpredictability of what will be available, as Scooty notes) is that they don't pack the soup for take-out very well, and more than once I have suffered significant spillage in the car on the way home.

                2. re: Jen

                  This is the second mention of Hamburger Hamlet-- I've visited HH twice and both times was served well sub-par burgers (canned mushrooms on my mushroom burger, for starters). Are the soups really that much better??

                  Mr. Taster

                  1. re: Mr. Taster

                    If you're from the valley (like I am, okay I can admit it after 10 years of therapy -- hee, hee) than HH is what you've grown up on. And yes, I think the onion soup fondue is the best thing there... that and some potato skins and you've got yourself a nice comfort meal. This is not fine dining but comfort dining. As for the hamburgers -- I've never thought they were anything that special... I usually go & get the soup.

                    1. re: Jen

                      No, the bisque is a gummy mess. Can't vouch for the french onion. Best thing is the cheese toast. The food is so average. I guess the best thing about it is the menu is huge so it's good for a group with picky eaters.

                3. One other soup that we always get, each time we visit, is the tortilla soup at 17 St. Cafe on Montana just west of 17th on the south side of the street. Excellent soup. Also, if they are offering their Maui Onion soup we get that over the tortilla soup, but for some inexplicable reason they don't serve it very often.

                  1. Also terrific at the WATER GRILL is the Applewood bacon clam chowder. Yum.

                    And I think about the best soup in town can be found at POLKA, the tiny, wonderful Polish restaurant in Glendale. They only have one choice a day (it rotates) but it is always one of the best bowls of homecooked soup I have ever had.

                    Link: http://polkacatering.com/menu.html

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Tom P

                      Polka sounds interesting! Do they have 2 locations, because on the link their address states they are located in Los Angeles not Glendale.

                    2. My new favorite place for Vietnamese pho noodle soup is now Lee Kam Kee in Alhambra on Atlantic and Valley. The pho tai is delicious and delicate and their cha gio are excellent. A lot cleaner, tastier, and friendlier service than Pho 79

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Ernie

                        I love Lee Kam Kee for various other dishes as well- especially their cubes of tender beef french style, and the chicken curry sopped up with french bread. They also do a pretty good tamarind crab.

                      2. Second recommendations for Mi India Bonita and Polka, and add Sarita's Pupuseria at the Grand Central Market for amazing beef and chicken soups, and Daikokuya on 1st for ramen/pork soup. Real Food Daily has a daily soup that can be quite good too. Also La Serenata has great soups, at all locations, I think, although it may only be east LA that serves it automatically as part of the meal. The lima bean is especially good.

                        1. Frank's Famous in Glendale serves different homemade soups every day: Mon - Chicken, Cream of Mushroom; Tue - Lentil, Cream of Zucchini; Wed - Split Pea, Tomato Basil; Thu - Pinto Bean, Carrot; Fri - Chicken, Clam Chowdah; Sat - Minestrone, Clam Chowdah. A pretty good homemade sourdough bread too.

                          1. I had a *wonderful* bowl of duck noodle soup at the Wat Thai temple in north hollywood, Roscoe and Coldwater. Only problem is that it was way to hot to be eating soup outdoors.

                            Mr. Taster

                            1. I do like the soups at Doughboys. I don't remember exactly what they have, but I like the vegetable soup with pistou, and the lentil soup with bacon. I know that there's also a French onion, and perhaps a clam chowder also?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jacinthe

                                The strachiatella soup at Doughboys is good, and a huge bowl makes it a good value. Incidentally, I'd steer clear of the garlic soup, which was so strong that it tasted like it contained a whole bulb.

                                Mr. Taster

                              2. The French onion soup at Bake & Broil in Long Beach is very good. They make the croutons from scratch

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Ernie

                                  I second Bake & Broil. Their vegetable beef soup is my hands-down to die for favorite! The chicken noodle is also wonderful...

                                  (Sorry to recommend a chain...but) If you're in a soup fix, why not Souplantation? I think their soups are good and there's a lot of variety.

                                2. I know Toast on 3rd street has soup as well but I have not tried any of them.

                                  1. CitySearch gave Amuse Café the highest rating for soup in the city! Their Chilled Roasted Red Pepper-Tomato soup rules! Check out their new hours at http://www.amusecafe.com/. They are finally getting their beer and wine license!!!!

                                    Link: http://www.amusecafe.com/

                                    1. Also add to your list of soups to try:
                                      - whole winter melon soup from Empress Pavilion (must order in advance)
                                      - mushroom soup from Girasole on Larchmont (soup changes daily, so you have to call and check)
                                      - hot & sour soup from Mandarin Shanghai
                                      - clam chowder from Doughboys (French Onion was too salty, and garlic soup was so intense it gave me a stomach-ache)
                                      - vegetable from Amandine Bakery & Cafe
                                      - lentil soup (vegetarian, I think) from Carnival

                                      1. t
                                        the word girl

                                        The Authentic Cafe has the BEST tortilla soup - thick and spicy!
                                        Barefoot Bar & Grill has a very good lentil and diced vegetable soup.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: the word girl

                                          Would have agreed on Authentic had I not returned there for the first time in 6-9months last week for that express purpose. Place was empty and I had to seek out service. It was my waiter's last night (after 9 years) and he said the place had gone dead. My tortilla soup was like a chef boyardee puree in a cup with tortilla strips. Sadly not what it used to be. I got a tortilla chicken breast too, always their star performer, and it was gummy and tasteless. I was a regular here years ago and very sorry to see it come to this.

                                          1. re: Dbird

                                            I agree. I liked this place for years, but for the past year or so, it seems like they've been on a long downhill death slide.

                                        2. I love soup, too!

                                          Tomato Basil: One Pico at Shutters in SM

                                          LemonRice: Malvasia on 2nd St in Long Bch

                                          Spicy Shimp Miso: Chan Dara on Pico (near Bundy) in SM

                                          Also, this place as THE BEST soups in LA and they rotate several daily specials.. We often head there for lunch for just soup, which they're known for, but my favs that they serve: lentil, califlower, or leek. They often make them WITHOUT cream and the result is amazingly creamy even!
                                          Il Moro
                                          11400 W. Olympic Blvd
                                          Los Angeles, CA

                                          1. I like a nice mexican spicy seafood soup, and have found one on Slauson ave. just east of Overhill at "Puerto Nuevo", a tiny eatery stuck between a Japanese grill place and some stores. Fish, shrimp, several crab legs in a fairly hot red broth with onions etc.

                                            Sadly, PN does not serve PN-style lobsters.

                                            1. Hey Leslie... Where in LA are you from? I'm in WEST Los angeles. Although it's borderline Corporate, PANERA bread makes some touch-myself good soups (Baked Potato, Broccoli Cheddar, Chix with Wild Rice). WHOLE FOODS has quite a decent selection of meaty-good and seafood-packed soups. And, MY PERSONAL FAVORITE would most certainly be the BAGEL FACTORY (Sepulveda and National), which sells SONNY'S SOUPS (vegetarian, but amazing - I'm usually anti-veggie). If you get a chance to go to the BAGEL FACTORY, try the Very Veggie Chii, or the Tortilla. Both will make you wanna go back for a vat of the stuff.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: WORX4FUDE

                                                I really like the California Clam Chowder at Ocean and Vine at the Loews, and Drago has a very good bread and tomato soup.

                                                1. re: WORX4FUDE

                                                  FYI...PANERA and ST LOUIS BREAD are the same company...I was stuck in Branson MO for 5 years and I got hooked on their "chicken and wild rice" soup...craved it, then yippeee, a PANERA opened on Ventura/Laurel and I was saved...loved the sandwhiches there until I found the Artisian Cheese Gallery, and now, I can never go back to the Panera sandwhiches...I'm spoiled! the cheese gallery ROCKS!!!

                                                  1. re: tatertotsrock

                                                    Whoa whoa whoa. SLow down. Where is this Cheese Gallery you speak of? I'm SO there.

                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                        off the soup thing for a second - the duck confit sandwhich at Artisan Cheese is to die for!! If you go, have one!!
                                                        I'm an 818-er so, for soup I'd say Brent's Deli, Dos Arbolitos, Follow Your Heart - or for the very best, I make it myself! ;)

                                                2. go to Samosa House this minute and get some of their unbelievable Mango/Pistachio/Banana soup.

                                                  they don't serve it everyday, so if you don't go today, call before you go.

                                                  Samosa House
                                                  11510 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles California 90066.
                                                  Tel: 310-398-6766 ...

                                                  this is west of the 405
                                                  south of venice blvd/ north of culver blvd

                                                  1. how about Urth? they always have like 5 options, mostly vegan and all good (except i don't love their corn chowder).
                                                    strangely enough, i really like the tortilla soup at islands too.
                                                    and erewhon health food store has a soup bar and they make pretty good carrot ginger soup

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: foodmanchu

                                                      That's the "endless bowl" right? Is is a clear-ish broth, or a tomato-ish broth? I'm more of a clear, chicken based broth kinda guy. I was eyeballing that the other day but lacked the sack, if you will, to go for it.