Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Nov 19, 2013 04:41 PM

Where's the soul stirring Caldo de Pollo in the S. F. Bay area?

From San Francisco to San Leandro, can anyone recommend a great caldo de pollo ( Mexican chicken soup)?

Craving clear flavor-rich broth.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I don't know about great, but I thought Chava's was very good.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Thanks. What city is Chava's located in?

      1. re: Kentke

        Chava's Restaurant, 2839 Mission St, SF

      2. re: Robert Lauriston

        How long has it been since you were there? We used to go all the time, but hadn't been in a couple of years, until recently. We went on a Sunday morning. My chicken soup(my normal order)was terrible. Watery broth, dirty unpeeled vegetables and we had to ask for chopped onion and cilantro. Sad. We have started going to San Jalisco on S. Van Ness. Great service, great soup, great atmosphere.

        1. re: srr

          I haven't been in a while, sounds like it has gone downhill, or the B team that's there on Sunday isn't up to the job.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Any place that is known for Mexican soups better have their A-team in on Sunday mornings.

            1. re: srr

              Excellent point. Could be that the caldo is below par on the weekends because everybody's ordering menudo and birria.

      3. La Taqueria Menudo in the Excelsior (SF) use to be very good. Use to go there but never remembered the name until a drive by recently.

        Closer to San Leandro, I'd guess Taco Grill in the Fruitvale might have good caldo de pollo. They make very good pozole and other soups.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ML8000

          Thanks much. I'd heard about Taco Grill, and went so far as to call them today and ask about their version. Your recommendation means I'll be trying them this week.

        2. Chilango on Church near Market has a pretty good sopa Azteca, though I usually get carnitas there.

          Not Mexican, but I had the chicken pho at Lotus Garden on Mission recently, and the clear broth with fried shallots was amazing.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Windy

            Well Kind People~
            Here it is. Below is the original message I wrote. I'm new to chow posts and conversations, and so I decided it'd be better to keep to the point, and not indulge the writer in me.

            From San Francisco to San Leandro, can anyone recommend a great caldo de pollo ( Mexican chicken soup)?

            What I'm craving is a pure clear broth, with a flavor so dense that it is fulfillment in itself. I'm used to a broth that allows the soup to break down into 3 meals:
            Day one - just the broth and tortillas,
            Day two - the chicken and veggies in tacos, and
            Day three - you finish up the last piece of chicken, any veggies and remaining broth in the soup you brought home 3 days earlier.
            That's how I used to do it with a large Caldo de Pollo from La Barca's on Vermont in L. A. A large one for me, and a small for my sheltie Anubis, cause she loved it too.
            Oh to be home (back in L A) on a rainy day like to day....

            Okay, now I can report. I just finished the soup from Taco Grill. It was 'ok', but first of all they make their soup only using legs and what I later learned were pieces of the breast. In actuality, their soup sent me to the market, and I am now, doing what I was trying to avoid...making caldo de pollo myself.

            I mentioned broth as being what 'pushes' this soup for me. So my broth preparation will include chicken feet, along with a whole chicken and gizzards. The feet give an added depth and richness to the broth that is noticeable.

            Thanks VERY MUCH everyone for your input, and I still welcome your suggestions of other places to try.

            1. re: Kentke

              Thanks for the review on Taco Grill. Sorry it wasn't what you were looking for but didn't have the full requirements.

              For good and bad, Taco Grill is definitely a little bit gringo-ized, using Niman meats, not fatty cuts, etc. If you want the full monty, feet, gizzards and all that in the broth, you have to find a truly old school place or make it yourself as you did.

              As for the three day meal break down you describe, restaurants work on with a different logic. The process you're explaining is down home but universal to other cultures. While not exactly the same, that's more or less how jook is made at home.

              Hope you find what you're looking for. For just broth, might check out some Chinese places because they do the full monty and let it sit for a long time.

              1. re: Kentke

                I was at The New Spot in Dogpatch today and noticed a chicken soup with cilantro and lime on the board. Didn't try it though (get the panucho or pupusas). She mentioned the soups change daily. There's always at least one chicken soup.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. Good luck. I think maybe Vietnamese places are a better bet for great broth around here.

                1. Los Cantaros by Lake Merritt, Picante in West Berkeley (still missing Mario's La Fiesta's homestyle chicken soup...).

                  1. re: sydthekyd

                    Thanks Syd~ Checked the menus for both spots and they definitely look worth a visit. I used to enjoy the beef flautas at Mario's.