As a chill fills the art in Charm City this fall, only a nice bowl of hot soup can cure the rainy day doldrums. With a couple of Baltimore-area restaurants dedicated solely to soup and several other eateries serving hearty chowders and brothy Asian specialties, don't settle for Campbell's when you can chow down on fresh comfort food made in your backyard.
A pair of identical twin brothers deliver an ever-changing lineup of tasty soups at this bite-sized soup spot in Mount Vernon. Belly up to the kitchen window and check the chalkboard for piping hot specialties like French onion with Jarlsberg cheese and Thai sweet potato stew with peanut and coconut milk. Soup's On is sure to offer at least two daily bowls to appease vegans and vegetarians, plus some meat- and seafood-based soups. Each cup ($4) or bowl ($5) comes with toasted bread, and there's also a selection of sandwiches and salads on the menu. Slurp your soup in their tiny dining room or get it to go.
Atwater's is known for their bread, and has won countless "Best of Baltimore" awards for their doughy and crusty baked goods. And what could be a better accompaniment to a big hunk of freshly baked bread than soup? Luckily, Atwater's does soup just as well, including comfort food favorites like chicken noodle to creative bowls like Moraccan beef and lentil. Just be sure to call ahead or check the menus online before you depart, as soups change daily at each of Atwater's five locations.
1407 Clarkview Rd.; 410-296-0373
1425 Clarkview Rd. #300; 410-821-6021
529 East Belvedere Ave.; 410-323-2396
815 Frederick Rd., Catonsville; 410-747-4120
798 Kenilworth Dr., Townson; 410-938-8775
Chili might not technically be soup, but this little corner bar in Fells Point serves a legendary bowl of stick-to-your-ribs comfort food—and not the kind that is served over rice for substance. Besides getting a bowlful of straight up spicy chili, you can order the "chili bake," a crock full of the good stuff smothered with crunchy croutons and melted cheese. After a meal like that, you'll be ready to hibernate for winter.
It would be a huge oversight to mention soup in Baltimore without bringing up one of the staples of the city: crab soup. To pick out the crème of the crop when it comes to this dish may cause tempers to fly, but Sip and Bite in Canton is one surefire place to savor the shellfishy flavor. Just try to keep yourself from salivating as you are served a piping hot bowl of tomato broth with an abundance of juicy chunks of crabmeat poking out. Open 24 hours, you can get your fix into the wee hours of the morning at this place, one of Baltimore's best diners.
There are a handful of Vietnamese restaurants that whip up pho—a Vietnamese soup—scattered throughout Baltimore County, but Minato is one of the only places within city limits that serves up the dish. Beef- and chicken-based versions of this dish are served with a pile of bean sprouts and basil sprigs, plus soy sauce and hot sauce—all of which you can mix in to perfect a soup that fits your palate. At $9.95 for the more-than-generous "regular" sized bowl and $6.95 for a smaller bowl, the dish will warm your belly and satisfy your soup craving. Minato also surves udon, soba, and ramen if you're looking for options beyond pho.