Best soups in the area
Soup makes you feel comfortable and at home. It’s the kind of thing you probably grew up eating on rainy days while watching movies inside—or when you were sick and it’s all that sounded good. Fall is prime time for soup, and staffers and contributors here at the RN&R have picked their favorites in the Reno area.Bangkok Cuisine Midtown
55 Mount Rose St., 322-0299
Somebody says, “Let’s do soup,” and my mind reels. While I enjoy soup the way mom used to make it, you know, in the red and white Andy Warhol can, when somebody says soup, I immediately think ethnically. This time, I was torn among the three treats of albondigas, menudo and chicken coconut soup. I went with the Thai at Bangkok Cuisine ($8). God, I love this stuff. Like Fat Bastard, I could slather myself in the silky coconut milk with the floating straw mushrooms and tenderly cooked chicken bits. That lemony flavor with the coconut milk is so light yet so filling, I can eat a large bowl at lunch and be satisfied until dinner.Golden Flower
205 W. Fifth Street, 323-1628
I’ve been really sick for about a week. It’s just a nasty cold, so don’t get too worried. Or too excited. But I’ve had a near constant headache, partially from dehydration. So, let’s talk about food. I love pho, the Vietnamese beef noodle soup that’s become nearly as ubiquitous as pizza in the last few years, and it’s especially good at this time of year when the weather’s all nipply, and my body is a sore, cold, tired snot factory. One of my favorite places for pho is Golden Flower because the pho ($6.25 for a large combo bowl) is really tasty, hot and restorative. The delicious grub, late hours, special nighttime menu and central location near downtown has made Golden Flower a favorite spot for drinkers, smokers, gamblers and other night prowlers. But it’s also a favorite place for me when I’m sick. That pho isn’t a miraculous cure-all tonic, but it helped a bit, and after I blasted it with enough Sirarcha hot sauce to kill a small child, it tasted really good even with all that mucus clogging up my taste buds.Brasserie St. James
901 S. Center Street, 348-8888
My dad taught me that soup was healing. As a child, I remember watching his calloused hands slice and sauté and stir the basic ingredients to make something magical. The French onion soup at Brasserie St. James is the only soup that has ever had that same effect on me. As the bowl is placed in front of you, tendrils of fragrant steam rise up and embrace you like a silent peace offering to your soul. It’s served in a traditional fashion, with a layer of oven-melted cheese and a piece of crunchy bread soaking in the broth directly under it. It is warm and sweet, a sharp contrast to the tanginess of the cheese. The bread adds texture and complexity, forcing the diner to experience the complex flavors of the buttery beef broth and stringy onions. It tastes like quiet afternoons in front of warm fireplaces as the storm rages outside. It feels like home.Sup
669 S. Virginia Street, 324-4787
Süp has the best soup in town, not only because of its name, but it’s also well-known for serving up some great cups, bowls, quarts and bread bowls full of the warm and yummy stuff. I love it here because it’s a laid back environment, pretty inexpensively priced, and it’s easy to grab some to go—just a cup, a big bowl or even a quart of the stuff. The patio is great for relaxing with a friend and a big ol’ bowl when the weather allows it. There are vegetarian and vegan options, too, for those that like that kind of thing. I’m more a meat eater myself. They’ve also got various salads, sandwiches and such to pair with your soup. There really isn’t a poor choice to be made here.Gino “the Soup Man”
Found at Whole Foods Market, Grateful Gardens Café, Great Basin Community Food Co-op and Grateful Gardens Express. For more information, visit ginothesoupman.com.
Winter should just be translated into the season of soup. It means bitter cold weather can be alleviated by savory broths, tender vegetables, and for some, hearty flavorful meats.
For Gino “The Soup Man,” both the brand, and the soup savior’s title, winter soup means rich, vegan, well-rounded flavors. The company strives to source ingredients responsibly and locally—when possible—that way you can connect to mother earth, without braving the chilling, wintry outdoors.
Although there is quite a variety, my favorite is the Luscious Lemon & Artichoke. It’s everything you want in a soup and more. Plus, I haven’t met a dish with artichoke that I haven’t liked.India Kabab & Curry Restaurant
1091 S. Virginia Street, 348-6222
I first went to the India Kabab & Curry Restaurant in Midtown because I heard their lunch buffet was decently priced, and the food was dream-inducing. I return again and again because of my deep love for their coconut and tomato soup. I long ago stopped picking up my spoon and instead use the garlic naan as a vehicle for the creamy cardamom-flavored soup. This soup only sometimes makes an appearance at the lunch buffet, but it always feels like it’s my birthday when it happens to be there. If you don’t like the gamble, you can also just order it during their dinner hours.Michael’s Deli
628 S. Virginia Street, 322-2323
My tastes in soup have always been very simple, probably because my mother made great soups that she learned growing up in a small Pennsylvania town, instructed by my grandmother and whatever other influences were around her, including the Pennsylvania State Grange Cook Book, a 1920s publication that gave me real respect for cooks in the era before electric stoves and regulated temperatures. Imagine trying to get the instruction “Bake for one hour in a hot oven” just right.
My mother’s potato soup was marvelous. There is nothing simpler in soups, and growing up I heard guests praise this concoction endlessly. It was carefully seasoned and simmered in a pressure cooker for hours, sometimes all night.
So when I tried the potato soup at Michael’s, I wasn’t expecting much. But it was terrific, with subtle tastes that blended well with the potato. It was not overwhelmed by salt as so many soups are. The texture and consistency of the soup was very good, not too thin but not afflicted with the overthickness of many restaurant soups.
It serves as a meal on its own, but when eaten with one of the café’s delicious sandwiches, it’s that much better.Momji Ramen
820 Holman Way, Sparks
It’s easy to proclaim Momiji Ramen the best ramen house in Northern Nevada, considering it’s the one of the only ramen houses north of Clark County.
But that shouldn’t deter any self-respecting foodie, as this Sparks hole-in-the-wall offers a soup dish unattainable anywhere else locally.
To be clear, Momiji doesn’t serve the instant ramen popularized by broke college students—rather, the noodles are handmade and the broths are incredibly flavorful, using ingredients like pork bone or miso as a base.
I ordered the cold ramen, and a friend got a pork-based bowl—both entrees came with generous helpings of noodles, plenty of broth, as well as tea and a delicious green tea flavored quasi-cheesecake.
Momiji has a pleasant, Japanese-style interior with a relatively Spartan menu—about seven or eight different ramens. Prices are reasonable; all entrées run from $6 to $8.