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"Le Chowder" at Tankard and Tun is a rich mix of rockfish, mussels, and vegetables.
"Le Chowder" at Tankard and Tun is a rich mix of rockfish, mussels, and vegetables.
Amber Fouts, courtesy of Tankard and Tun

Fend Off Seattle's Winter Chill With Hearty Soups

Warm up today with the likes of French onion, pho, and miso clam chowder

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"Le Chowder" at Tankard and Tun is a rich mix of rockfish, mussels, and vegetables.
| Amber Fouts, courtesy of Tankard and Tun

When people mention the "Seattle Freeze," they're usually referring to how difficult it seems to make friends, since temperatures don't usually drop below freezing in these parts. But a distinct Seattle chill still gets deep into the bones throughout any wet, dark winter, and it can be hard to chase away.

Fortunately, there are plenty of welcoming restaurants where icy diners can thaw out. Chefs understand the clammy fix we're in and are serving up hearty soups to warm minds, bodies, and souls. In fact, now is the perfect time for diners to meet up with new friends over a benevolent bowl of broth and dispel any (literal or figurative) Seattle frost. Here are a few places to get started.

Note: Map points are ordered geographically, not ranked by preference. What restaurant makes your most comforting bowl of soup? Show it some love in the comments or send us an email.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

At Capitol Hill's sleek but comfortable Adana, patrons should tuck into a beautiful crock of Japanese-inspired miso clam chowder, a delicious twist on a coastal classic and one of the first dishes chef-owner Shota Nakajima and executive chef Chris Hoey collaborated on. A rich mix of miso, cream, dashi, sake, and Manila clam juice is cut with a touch of mayu, a pungent black garlic oil.

adana miso clam chowder by jenise silva for eater Jenise Silva for Eater

Somehow Nue's whirlwind of international flavors continues to fly under the radar in Seattle. But diners in the know sit at the pint-sized bar or one of the communal tables, think warm thoughts of equatorial nations, and order the biche de pescado. This Ecuadorian soup is sweet and savory, starting with a seafood base layered with peanuts, prawns, rockfish, corn, cassava, annatto, and herbs. Finally, aji criollo green hot sauce furnishes just the right amount of heat. It can't stay secret forever.

nue biche de pescado soup by jenise silva for eater Jenise Silva for Eater

Sam's Tavern

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Sam’s is a no-nonsense joint that serves up a housemade chili that’s anything but shy. Beef and sausage form a base that's topped with onions and cheese and hit with the right amount of cayenne. And swing by at happy hour to find the chili (not to mention some bacon and cheese) slathered over deep fried fries.

Jenise Silva for Eater

Marmite

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Marmite is still relatively new, but chef-owner Bruce Naftaly isn't, and the buzz around his offerings is justified. The five daily soups are all noteworthy, but his soupe du pecheur with rouille literally brings the sea to the diner, as halibut stock teems with Whidbey Island mussels, wild steelhead, ling cod, and petrale sole. If this savory special isn't in rotation, the poule verte broth with green cabbage, pork belly, country ham, and chicken pairs perfectly with a buckwheat crepe from Petite Gallette, Bruce's wife Sarah's newest venture down the hall.

Jenise Silva for Eater

Café Presse

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One of the ultimate places to enjoy “soupe à l’oignon gratinée,” classic French onion soup, is Café Presse. Settle in, as this bowl is the perfect blend of perfectly caramelized onions in rich chicken stock, topped with a large country-bread crouton and sealed with broiled Comté cheese on top.

Jenise Silva for Eater

It’s hard to top Ba Bar's pho tai oxtail when you're seeking a serious bowl of noodles and broth to stave off grey skies. Laced with star anise, the broth could almost stand on its own. But throw some tender oxtail and rice noodles into the mix and this bowl of soup takes slurping to a whole new level.

Le Pichet

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The winter chill seeps into your bones this time of year; a perfect antidote can be found at Le Pichet in the form of a leisurely lunch over a rich, creamy soup and a glass of French wine. Of course the restaurant has the classic French onion soup, but if the daily menu board lists celery root puree with walnut oil, fried shallots, and chives, jump all over that one.

Jenise Silva for Eater

Tankard and Tun

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The Pike Brewing Company may be best known for its beers, but the comfort food at its original pub downstairs and this upscale sibling restaurant upstairs are a worthy match for stouts, IPAs, and more. At Tankard and Tun, chef Gabe Spiel focuses on seafood, turning out classics like fish and chips, but "Le Chowder" is the true winter winner, presenting like a soup but eating like a meal. Diners will crave this rockfish-mussel-veggie combo every gray Seattle day.

Tsukushinbo

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There’s no doubt Tsukushinbo cranks out fine sushi, but if you’re looking for a savory bowl of noodles to take the chill off, this hidden gem of a restaurant serves up some of the best slurp-worthy ramen around. You’ll find plenty of savory soba and udon options through the week, but stop by Friday for the ever-popular shoyu ramen special topped with pork, spinach, and fishcake. Word to the wise: Arrive early.

Jay Friedman for Eater

Szechuan Noodle Bowl

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There are plenty of noodle soups to choose from in this no-fuss joint tucked away in an unassuming storefront in the ID. The good news is, no matter what your order — whether it's the Szechuan beef tendon or the pickled vegetables and pork — you’ll amble away happier than when you arrived.

Hue Ky Mi Gia

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The number of noodle soups lining the menu at Hue Ky Mi Gia is dizzying. Each and every one of them is a winner in its own right. But if you're feeling overwhelmed by the choices, order the succulent braised duck bowl with egg noodle, bok choy, and shiitake mushrooms, a perfect combination to warm you right to your bones.

Jenise Silva for Eater

Lect's Soup Stop

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Lect's Soup Stop is a pint-sized grab ‘n' go in Georgetown that ladles up dozens of different soups a month. So if you've got a favorite you've been pining, for consult the daily soup calendar online where you'll find old-timey classics like split pea alongside chicken curry with basmati rice and pork chili verde.

El Paisano Rosticeria Y Cocina

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There aren't many places in Seattle that you can find pozole on the menu, at least not served Monday through Friday. El Paisano Rosticeria Y Cocina not only offers this savory hominy and pork stew for lunch crowds through the week, the restaurant makes some of the best pozole you’ll find in this city. Grab a booth and a bowl and fantasize about warmer climes.

Jenise Silva for Eater

Taqueria La Estacion

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You might be drawn in by the chickens roasting over an open flame out back, or by the tacos, tortas, and burritos being plated inside. But when there’s a nip in the air there’s nothing more satisfying than having birria de borrego ladled into your bowl. This Mexican lamb stew is richly flavored and is guaranteed to warm even the coldest of hearts.

Jenise Silva for Eater

Adana

adana miso clam chowder by jenise silva for eater Jenise Silva for Eater

At Capitol Hill's sleek but comfortable Adana, patrons should tuck into a beautiful crock of Japanese-inspired miso clam chowder, a delicious twist on a coastal classic and one of the first dishes chef-owner Shota Nakajima and executive chef Chris Hoey collaborated on. A rich mix of miso, cream, dashi, sake, and Manila clam juice is cut with a touch of mayu, a pungent black garlic oil.

adana miso clam chowder by jenise silva for eater Jenise Silva for Eater

Nue

nue biche de pescado soup by jenise silva for eater Jenise Silva for Eater

Somehow Nue's whirlwind of international flavors continues to fly under the radar in Seattle. But diners in the know sit at the pint-sized bar or one of the communal tables, think warm thoughts of equatorial nations, and order the biche de pescado. This Ecuadorian soup is sweet and savory, starting with a seafood base layered with peanuts, prawns, rockfish, corn, cassava, annatto, and herbs. Finally, aji criollo green hot sauce furnishes just the right amount of heat. It can't stay secret forever.

nue biche de pescado soup by jenise silva for eater Jenise Silva for Eater

Sam's Tavern

Jenise Silva for Eater

Sam’s is a no-nonsense joint that serves up a housemade chili that’s anything but shy. Beef and sausage form a base that's topped with onions and cheese and hit with the right amount of cayenne. And swing by at happy hour to find the chili (not to mention some bacon and cheese) slathered over deep fried fries.

Jenise Silva for Eater

Marmite

Jenise Silva for Eater

Marmite is still relatively new, but chef-owner Bruce Naftaly isn't, and the buzz around his offerings is justified. The five daily soups are all noteworthy, but his soupe du pecheur with rouille literally brings the sea to the diner, as halibut stock teems with Whidbey Island mussels, wild steelhead, ling cod, and petrale sole. If this savory special isn't in rotation, the poule verte broth with green cabbage, pork belly, country ham, and chicken pairs perfectly with a buckwheat crepe from Petite Gallette, Bruce's wife Sarah's newest venture down the hall.

Jenise Silva for Eater

Café Presse

Jenise Silva for Eater

One of the ultimate places to enjoy “soupe à l’oignon gratinée,” classic French onion soup, is Café Presse. Settle in, as this bowl is the perfect blend of perfectly caramelized onions in rich chicken stock, topped with a large country-bread crouton and sealed with broiled Comté cheese on top.

Jenise Silva for Eater

Ba Bar

It’s hard to top Ba Bar's pho tai oxtail when you're seeking a serious bowl of noodles and broth to stave off grey skies. Laced with star anise, the broth could almost stand on its own. But throw some tender oxtail and rice noodles into the mix and this bowl of soup takes slurping to a whole new level.

Le Pichet

Jenise Silva for Eater

The winter chill seeps into your bones this time of year; a perfect antidote can be found at Le Pichet in the form of a leisurely lunch over a rich, creamy soup and a glass of French wine. Of course the restaurant has the classic French onion soup, but if the daily menu board lists celery root puree with walnut oil, fried shallots, and chives, jump all over that one.

Jenise Silva for Eater

Tankard and Tun

The Pike Brewing Company may be best known for its beers, but the comfort food at its original pub downstairs and this upscale sibling restaurant upstairs are a worthy match for stouts, IPAs, and more. At Tankard and Tun, chef Gabe Spiel focuses on seafood, turning out classics like fish and chips, but "Le Chowder" is the true winter winner, presenting like a soup but eating like a meal. Diners will crave this rockfish-mussel-veggie combo every gray Seattle day.

Tsukushinbo

Jay Friedman for Eater

There’s no doubt Tsukushinbo cranks out fine sushi, but if you’re looking for a savory bowl of noodles to take the chill off, this hidden gem of a restaurant serves up some of the best slurp-worthy ramen around. You’ll find plenty of savory soba and udon options through the week, but stop by Friday for the ever-popular shoyu ramen special topped with pork, spinach, and fishcake. Word to the wise: Arrive early.

Jay Friedman for Eater

Szechuan Noodle Bowl

There are plenty of noodle soups to choose from in this no-fuss joint tucked away in an unassuming storefront in the ID. The good news is, no matter what your order — whether it's the Szechuan beef tendon or the pickled vegetables and pork — you’ll amble away happier than when you arrived.

Hue Ky Mi Gia

Jenise Silva for Eater

The number of noodle soups lining the menu at Hue Ky Mi Gia is dizzying. Each and every one of them is a winner in its own right. But if you're feeling overwhelmed by the choices, order the succulent braised duck bowl with egg noodle, bok choy, and shiitake mushrooms, a perfect combination to warm you right to your bones.

Jenise Silva for Eater

Lect's Soup Stop

Lect's Soup Stop is a pint-sized grab ‘n' go in Georgetown that ladles up dozens of different soups a month. So if you've got a favorite you've been pining, for consult the daily soup calendar online where you'll find old-timey classics like split pea alongside chicken curry with basmati rice and pork chili verde.

El Paisano Rosticeria Y Cocina

Jenise Silva for Eater

There aren't many places in Seattle that you can find pozole on the menu, at least not served Monday through Friday. El Paisano Rosticeria Y Cocina not only offers this savory hominy and pork stew for lunch crowds through the week, the restaurant makes some of the best pozole you’ll find in this city. Grab a booth and a bowl and fantasize about warmer climes.

Jenise Silva for Eater

Taqueria La Estacion