11 NYC Spots for Comforting Soups From Around the World
Hearty and warm bowls perfect for chilly winter nights.
Winter is coming, so let’s talk soup. As one of the world’s oldest dishes, pretty much every culture around the world claims a staple soup. Whether it’s Thai tom yum, Mexican pozole, or good old chicken noodle, each one begins with a base of water, aromatics and often animal protein to which the cook adds anything and everything from vegetables to spices to seafood.
Not only do hot soups feel nourishing for the soul, but hours-long cooking ensures that vital nutrients extracted from bones seep into the broth, yielding a bowl ready to kick seasonal maladies––and certainly, a comfort to consider in helping us feel healthy and warm in the upcoming winter months.
For Thai Diner co-owner and chef Anne Redding, soups are more than just a meal: “My Thai mother made me tom yum soup as a child whenever I got sick,” recalls Redding. “She called it ‘medicine’—that it would make me feel better.” Similarly, Little Alley chef Yuchun Cheung notes that Chinese custom dictates soup to be served as an appetizer because “the nutrition in the soup is better absorbed on an empty stomach.” He adds that “winter is all about getting and preserving nutrients,” so soup is a requisite order.
Thanks to NYC’s vast array of cuisines, there’s no shortage of satisfying soups from around the world to help us get through the winter. Below, our 11 favorite picks.
The dish: Matzo ball soup
Jewish meets Korean tradition at Umma by Noodlelove––a full-service, Korean-accented rebrand of the previous fast-casual spot, Noodlelove. Umma’s (mother in Korean) matzo ball soup, a spin on the classic with a chicken broth base, features “matzo balls” made from a mostly traditional Korean dumpling filling of chicken and matzo meal, spiked with zippy kimchi.
How to order: Reservations are available on the website for indoor/outdoor seating. Takeout/delivery via Seamless.
The dish: Chicken noodle soup
This hip, pink and green-tinged Lebanese market specializes in Middle Eastern and Eastern European pantry staples and prepared foods. Catering chef/founder Edy Massih debuted the project this past summer, and offers a lemony take on classic chicken soup inspired by a recipe from his grandmother. His version calls for chicken broth with roasted chicken, carrots, celery, vermicelli noodles, a hit of fresh lemon juice, and a garnish of parsley.
How to order: Outdoor seating is first come, first serve.
重庆老灶 (Chong Qing Lao Zao)
The dish: Hot pot
This year-and-a-half-old Flushing hot pot addition has earned a reputation for its 1940s-era Chinese aesthetic as much for its spicy beef tallow soup served in a nine-grid pot. The base is made from chicken bone broth, beef fat, chili bean sauce, plus a blend of 30 spices (Sichuan, clove, licorice), and chili. Pick from three heat levels and protein options from duck intestine to cumin beef.
How to order: Reservations are available by calling 917-563-7171 for indoor/outdoor seating. Takeout/delivery via Chowbus.
F & J Pine Tavern
The dish: Pasta fagioli
F&J Pine chef and owner Francesco Bastone honors his grandmother with this classic pasta fagioli at his Michelin-recognized Southern Italian eatery. The secret to his hearty soup: skin-on onions sautéed with prosciutto fat. He adds depth of flavor with garlic, celery, tomato, bacon, and finishes the dishes with pasta, cannellini beans, fresh Parmesan cheese, parsley, and basil.
How to order: Reservations are available by calling 718-792-5956 for indoor/outdoor seating available. Order takeout via phone.
The dish: Cowheel soup
The second casual space for famed Guyana-based German’s Soup touched down in Brooklyn back in 2018, introducing New Yorkers to a Caribbean classic: cowheel soup. A filling dish that conveys regional variations depending on who’s cooking, German’s take––a secret family recipe––incorporates a blend of yellow split peas and an undisclosed spice mix, along with stewed cow foot, plantains, corn, and onion.
How to order: Indoor seating is first come, first serve. Takeout/delivery via Uber Eats, GrubHub, Seamless.
Killmeyer's Old Bavarian Inn
The dish: Goulash
Parts of this traditional Bavarian tavern’s structure on Staten Island are believed to date back to the early 1700s, adding to the venue’s Old World feel. Regulars frequent Killmeyer’s for one of the Island’s lengthiest lists of world beers (with over 100 to choose from) paired with regional German fare, like the beef goulash soup. Think a brothier version of the classic egg noddle-beef stew.
How to order: Reservations are available by calling 718-984-1202 for indoor seating and the outdoor beer garden. Takeout/delivery via website.
The dish: Laksa
Laut Singapura––the year-old Singaporean street food spinoff of Laut, Manhattan’s decade-old Southeast Asian eatery––is serving a serious laksa. Equal parts rich, creamy, and spicy, chef Salil Mehta builds his noodle soup, made famous by Singapore’s myriad hawker stalls, with a spicy coconut milk broth and fortifies it with a fish ball, spongy tofu, a blend of both egg noodles and chubby lai fun rice noodles, plus mint and cucumber for freshness. Guests can customize the soup’s protein: chicken, shrimp, veggie/tofu, or seafood.
How to order: Reservations are available by calling 212-206-8989 for indoor/outdoor seating. Takeout/delivery via Caviar, GrubHub.
The dish: Yan Du Xian
This acclaimed eatery highlights regional Shanghainese cooking within a modest-sized, minimalist room. One of the standouts here is yan du xian, a quintessentially Shanghainese winter comfort food prepared with both cured and fresh pork, fresh bamboo shoots, tofu skin, and bok choy.
How to order: Reservations are available on Resy for indoor/outdoor seating. Takeout/delivery via ChowNow.
Sabor a Mexico
The dish: Pozole
While Sabor A Mexico looks like any other run-of-the-mill Mexican joint, this location (the City counts two more outlets) specializes in top-notch renditions of dishes from the southwest Mexican state of Guerrero. Try the delicate green chicken pozole, a light hominy corn soup served beside a plate of DIY avocado, onion, lime, and oregano garnishes.
How to order: Indoor and outdoor seating is first come, first served. Takeout/delivery via Seamless.
The dish: Tom yum soup
While chefs Anne Redding and Matt Danzer’s beloved Thai staple Uncle Boons has shuttered, their newer spot, Thai Diner, continues to serve. Within a kitschy, retro diner space decked out with vintage Thai embellishments, the team continues to plate their lauded Thai cuisine, inclusive of a flavor-packed tom yum soup. Expect a sour and fragrant soup with the surprising addition of rice––untraditional, but how Redding likes it.
How to order: Outdoor seating is first come, first served. Indoor seating is expected to commence in the weeks ahead. Takeout via Toast, delivery via Caviar, DoorDash, Seamless.
The dish: Borscht
Unfussy Tzarevna celebrates Eastern European cuisine by way of Russia, with influences from Georgia. Alongside more modern interpretations of classics, expect tried and true staples like Russia’s calling card soup–– borscht. While many Eastern European countries serve this sour beet broth, in Russia it’s typically made from a beef base. Chef Ricky Dolinsky honors this custom, building his with a short rib, stewed onion, carrot, beets, tomatoes, and garlic, stewed together for six hours.
How to order: Reservations are available on Resy for indoor/outdoor seating. Takeout/delivery via Seamless.