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Aug 4, 2011 08:52 PM

Good soup in Boston...?

I'm coming to Boston to see my beloved Red Sox play the Yanks. I'm looking for soup this time around.

Hot and cold varieties are fine. Prefer: Gazpacho, Chicken, or Beef varieties without noodles, no seafood or chowders. Love stews as well.

Who serves your favorites?

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  1. For every day soup I like New England Soup Factory. I've been to the one in Newton.

    For fancy soup, I think Michael Leviton at Lumière does a spectacular job. Very few ingredients, very simply and beautifully presented. His soups really are the essence of the ingredient. Swoon-worthy.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Scruffy The Cat

      Wow, Scruffy, thank you! Here it is 6:40 in the morning, so I went onto the New England Soup Factory's Web site (for the one in Brookline) and already up is a menu dated today! Kudos for that in and of itself! A current menu - would that more places did this!

      Today's menu is perfect for me!!! Here it is with my comments after the soups that interest me:

      Our Chicken Vegetable (YES!)
      New England Clam and Corn Chowder
      Chili Con Carne
      Lobster Newburg
      Chilled Gazpacho (YES)
      Chilled Potato and Arugula with Lemon Gremolata (veg)
      Iced Hungarian Black Cherry (YES)
      Chilled Pineapple and Raspberry Gazpacho (veg)Very Delicious! <- - - That's their comment (But YES anyway)
      Steakhouse Split Pea And Ham
      Mushroom and White Bean Ribollita (Veg)
      Broccoli and Cheddar
      Habanero Chicken and Rice

      Perfect! I am going for lunch there today!
      As an aside, the Iced Hungarian Black Cherry, reminds me of my college days in Boston. There was a restaurant called Cafe Budapest that was famous for a soup of that same name, but it was way too expensive for my college budget so unfortunately I never went. Guess what I will have at least a sampling of today?

      Anyone have rec's for spots in Boston proper (Copley area perhaps?) Because once we park our car at the hotel, we'll be staying in the city.

      1. re: TrishUntrapped

        Another vote for New England Soup factory. I haven't been there in years but used to go frequently when I worked in the area. Panera Bread also makes great soup. The hot food bar at Whole Foods is one of my favorite places to get soup.

        1. re: BlueMagic

          Panera makes adequate soup - hardly the same as great soup. Why go to a chain that is identical in all of its zillion locations?

          1. re: lifeasbinge

            I go to the panera in Dedham and the French onion is pretty good. hingham's panera has pretty good soup as well.

        2. re: TrishUntrapped

          +1 for Chef Marjorie Druker and New England Soup Factory.

          She not only works to provide us with wonderful soups. She's also a great teacher who will show you how to make soups. I've seen her at a couple of area presentations and she has a nice collection of videos on How2Heros.

          The Brookline location of NESF is right at the Brookline VIllage MBTA station (Green Line Riverside train.


          In the Back Bay you will want to try the Persian stew type dishes at Moby Dick/House of Kebob on Huntington Avenue Near Symphony.

          My mind is not is soup mode right now but I'll think about it today and chime in again.

          While the crew here is thinking about soup, let me know if you spot anyone who is making the traditional Rhode Island clam chowder without any tomato or cream. It may be served with milk on the side for you to add if you like, but it's clear– basically clams, potatoes, onion and herbs.

          I had a great version at Jake's in Hull a couple of years ago but seldom see it around here.


          New England Soup Factory
          2 Brookline Pl Unit 4, Brookline, MA 02445

          Moby Dick
          269 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115

          Jake's Seafood Restaurant
          50 George Washington Blvd, Hull, MA 02045

            1. re: bizkat

              Last week I had the most delicious corn soup at Lumiere that was vegan. I am still thinking about it!

              1. re: veggielover

                Flour Bakery has great corn soup.

                Flour Bakery + Cafe
                12 Farnsworth St, Boston, MA

          1. re: TrishUntrapped

            Its not in town but if you were in town for a couple of days, you could consider walking to the Back Bay MBTA station and taking the train to Framingham for Brazilian 'caldos.' Tropical Cafe a short walk up Hollis Street has a large selection and I enjoyed the soups I had at their Marlborough location. You can also pick up some snacks and sweets at Forninho Magico/Magic Oven if you have a wait for the return train.

            For 'stews' they have vaca atolada - yuca and beef ribs and canjiquinha -- grits with pork, as well as "caldo de mocoto" which is a heavy broth made with cow hooves and bones. I think they do offer caldo de pinto too, which is yuca broth with shredded chicken breast (its possible they are doing a chicken soup with potato instead though). You said no seafood but they do have those.

            East Boston (on the blue line) would open up some options for Columbian, Salvadoran, and Mexican soups. One of the easiest via T is El Paisa across from Orient Heights for several variations on sanchoco and on the stewing side they do a decent sobrebarriga (stewed flank steak). Definately some Salvadoran offerings right around Maverick Square, but others could direct you better particularly since you are not looking for seafood (mariscada, sopa de mariscos are common) and I wish I knew offhand where you could get a decent caldo de gallina india in East Boston. Taqueria Jalisco near Day Square (a bit more of a hike from the T) is a good option for birria and posole, although both might be weekend only.

            El Paisa
            598 Dexter St, Central Falls, RI 02863

            1. re: itaunas

              Flour Bakery has great soups. The fort point location near the fire museum is well worth trying.

              Flour Bakery + Cafe
              12 Farnsworth St, Boston, MA

              1. re: will007

                Always happy to add a 1+ for NE Soup Factory (only caveat, sometimes a bit salty). Marjorie does a fantastic job of creating a changing menu of very good soups and her staple Chicken Soup is top-notch. Excellent Asian soups can be found at Shanghai Gate, Jo Jo Taipei and, for can chua, the vietnamese restaurants in Dorchester (Sunrise is my favorite). The Spot in Watertown is a great little breakfast place that also makes good soups and salads at lunch.

                Shanghai Gate
                204 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA 02134

                JoJo Tai Pei Restaurant
                103 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

              2. re: itaunas

                I eally enjoyed the grits with pork at Magic Oven. Tthe cow hoove one you referred to is from there or Tropical?

                1. re: trufflehound

                  trufflehound I had the caldo de mocotó at the Tropical Cafe in Marlborough and thought it was a better restaurant version from others around town. Not certain about other Metrowest versions, although there are some other reasonable options in Somerville. I have yet to try them either at the Lloyd's cafe diner car or the Hollis St location (former Brazzille space) in Framingham so can't speak to the version, but am a fan of their menu overall and haven't made it because of timing. Magic Oven seems to kept up the consistency compared to the other Brazilian bakeries but I haven't tried their caldos. BTW there is another slightly more upscale Brazilian restaurant in downtown which is hiring staff to open soon -- only know a few tidbits about the construction of it rather than the food, but trying to find out a bit more.

          2. One of my favourite soups is at Jae's Cafe. The hot and sour soup with chicken remains an original and delicious version.

            1. I love the soup at Pho Viet's and the Malaysian chicken soup, all found at the Super 88 Food Court, Packard's Corner, Allston.

              Pho Viet
              1095 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

              1. FOLLOW UP:

                We ended up at New England Soup Factory and had an excellent lunch! We went to the one in Brookline Village, that the personable counterman Rex said was the original location. Of our party of four, I was the only one in a soup mood, but the others greatly enjoyed sandwiches with various cold cuts on crunchy good French rolls.

                As others have said, the staff is friendly here. They gladly give samples of the soup which prevents you from ordering something you don't like.

                I tried a sample of the Gazpacho and it was delicious! Just how I like it, cold, refreshing, tomatoey-cucumbery- and peppery. Rex said they use Scotch Bonnet peppers, which I didn't detect until 15 seconds after I took a sip and got that familiar HOT burn! Some days I might love that, but since I am preparing for surgery I decided to pass on a full serving.

                I also sampled the Iced Hungarian Black Cherry! Cherry lovers, this one's for you, it was delicious!!! A light purple color, with a sweet but not overly sweet fresh black cherry flavor with a hint of spice which gave it depth. It had cream in it and I really liked it a lot. But I knew I only had room for one bowl of soup so I chose one with protein - the Chicken Vegetable. The broth was a tiny bit salty for me, but otherwise quite good and the chicken and vegetables had good flavor. If I lived in Mass, I would be eating this once a week, and the Black Cherry twice a week. (when they have it)

                All in all, this place is a little gem for soup lovers. And quite convenient right across from the Brookline Village (D line) T station.

                Thank you everyone for those other recommendations. I have printed this thread for upcoming visits!

                New England Soup Factory
                2 Brookline Pl Unit 4, Brookline, MA 02445

                3 Replies
                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                  thank you for reporting back and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                    Thanks for the thoughtful report, Trish, and good luck with your surgery.

                    1. re: bear

                      You're welcome teezeetoo and bear! Thank you for your kind thoughts!