Soup: It’s good when you’re feeling sick. It’s perfect when the weather is chilly. It’s the ultimate appetizer and it shines as a main course. However you like it, the wonderful soup places of California are serving up all kinds of delicious varieties. From coconut chicken curry to roasted butternut squash, these restaurants each serve up a bowl that truly takes the spotlight. Here are our favorites.
A restaurant reminiscent of a Danish lodge has been an iconic landmark for travelers along Interstate 5 between Los Angeles and San Francisco for more than 50 years. Known for its namesake all-natural split pea soup, an original family recipe, more than two million bowls are served every year. And, it literally set the bar for the phrase thick as pea soup.
You’ll find a menu of five different soups every day at this local chef-owned restaurant. Each is made with care using local, organic, grass fed, all natural and non-GMO ingredients as possible. Locals know to eat there when the coconut chicken curry soup is being served. Other favorites include carrot ginger, kuri squash, tomato basil and roasted eggplant.
With a spectacular view of the mountain, this is an awesome spot to relax after a day of mountain fun and experience a taste of Bavaria. The authentic German style food is hearty, comfort food, especially the “kartoffelsuppe,” a creamy potato leek soup served with fingerling potato chips and fresh herbs. Don’t leave without giving the giant Swiss alphorn a blow.
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When you step inside this boutique butcher shop, what you see and smell is a smorgasbord of fresh meat, all of which is used in the made-to-order deli fare. The soups are thick, robust and packed with flavor. The chicken noodle, Goulash, lamb, Greek chicken and potato soup all feature one of the delicately spiced, grilled or slow-roasted meats sold here. The traditional Goulash is a balanced blend of beef, paprika, potatoes and spices.
Carmel is known for its quaint, charming character and this restaurant personifies that quality. It’s warm and cozy with a blazing fire going throughout the breakfast and lunch service. Although a popular breakfast spot, it’s best known for its award-winning artichoke soup, voted best in Monterey County. Made fresh daily, it features a locally-grown edible thistle that’s painstakingly processed to capture the distinctive artichoke flavor.
Food served here is ingredient driven, so the menu on any given day is full of handmade, seasonal comfort food. At the top of this list is the cream of mushroom soup, a rich bowl of earthy, nutty wholesomeness. The mushrooms are locally-sourced. Chef favorites include candy caps, mousserons, agaricus, morels and porcini. The soup comes topped with fresh herbs and hand-made croutons.
Yes, this is ranch is known for its beef, but it’s also one of the largest agribusinesses in the nation, responsible for growing dozens of crops annually of more than 17,000 acres of farmland. Much of this produce shows up in the dishes served at the Harris Ranch Inn’s restaurant. Mouthwatering soups are well-represented. Local squash is highlight in the five spice kabocha and kuri squash soup, and farm-fresh vegetables are at the heart of the chuckwagon soup, that also features Harris Ranch ground sirloin.