By Annika Tomlin
January is National Soup month. Winters get chilly in Arizona, so we’re here to celebrate the month and share the best soups in the Valley. Ranging from spicy and savory to the comfort of homecooked soup, these restaurants have something for everyone.
The next-generation kitchens at Café Zupas source 203 premium ingredients each week to create its soups, salads and sandwiches. Add a kick to your day with the pumpkin and chorizo soup. This hearty soup is made with Mexican chorizo, fire-roasted corn, onions, Roma tomatoes, cilantro, black beans and green chiles and mixed with a creamy pumpkin broth. Get a half-sized bowl with a salad or sandwich or a regular bowl for a full meal.
Café Zupas, 1935 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, for additional locations see website, 602.889.7866, cafezupas.com, $4.89-$6.89.
Commonly used to celebrate holidays in Mexican culture, the posole rojo is sure to put you in the spirit. This soup is slow-simmered and full of comfort. It tickles the palate with flavorful Latin layers from the charred tomato and roasted chile-based broth, pork, hominy, lime, jalapeño, onion and cilantro. Dried chile peppers including ancho, guajillo and chiles de arbol are soaked and reconstituted to make the chile paste, which is used to simmer bite-sized pieces of pork until tender in this traditional-style soup.
CRUjiente Tacos, 3961 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, 602.687.7777, crutacos.com, $9.
Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soup
Offering a homecooked meal-style soup, Linda’s tortilla soup does not disappoint. Starting with a tomato-based broth with carrots, celery and onion, customers take the creation in their own hands and decide what to include. Accompaniments include roasted tomatillo chicken or green chili pork shoulder for the meats and sauteed spinach mushroom or smashed Jack potato for the veggies. Cover it with asadero or chihuahua cheese or spice it up with mild red sauce or spicy green.
Gadzooks, 3313 N. Seventh Street, Phoenix, for additional locations see website, 602.279.5080, gadzooksaz.com, starting at $5.75.
Noodles & Company
Noodles and Company offers more than just its namesake. Available as a small or regular bowl, the Thai chicken soup is a delectable selection that is gluten sensitive. This coconut curry chicken soup combines onion, cabbage, red bell pepper, lemongrass, lime, galangal, turmeric, shiitake mushrooms, carrots and shallots.
Noodles & Company, 2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, for additional locations see website, 480.921.3500, noodles.com, $5-$6.25.
Originating in the mid 1880s, pho is a Chinese- and French-style soup. The rice noodles and spices came from China, while the French popularized eating red meat. One of the several phos available at Pho Thanh includes pho tai made with sliced beef in a beef broth that is slow cooked and delicately seasoned with exotic spices. This dish is topped off with fresh Vietnamese garnishes, including the sawtooth herb possessing medicinal properties.
Pho Thanh, 1702 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix, 602.242.1979, $4.50.
Red, White & Brew
There’s nothing typical about the French onion soup at this Northeast Mesa gem. Filled to the brim in a small crock, the soup is topped with a thick layer of cheese that oozes down the sides. Formerly a regular on the menu, it’s been demoted to a frequent special. It pairs perfectly with the marinated sliced steak salad.
Red, White & Brew, 6740 E. McDowell Road, Suite 102, Mesa, 480.807.9393, rwbaz.com, $5.50.
Soup & Sausage Bistro
Blending the flavors of several Eastern European dishes, including those from Ukraine, Poland and Russia, Soup & Sausage Bistro focuses on high-quality homemade comfort food including its solyanka soup. Offered as a cup or bowl, this thick and spicy gluten-free soup comes with smoked sausage, bacon, potato, pickles and carrots. Add a dollop of sour cream or a side of bread to help cool it down or make it a full meal.
Soup & Sausage Bistro, 13240 N. Seventh Street, Phoenix, 480.319.2208, myeurokitchen.com, $5.49-$6.99.
Guests at this Taiwanese restaurant follow a three-step process to create their meal—choose a pot, pick a spice level and then choose rice or vermicelli or substitute for instant noodles. One of the dozen pot options is the lamb hot soup that contains lamb slices, vermicelli, enoki, mushroom, imitation crabmeat, meatball, fish cake, kamaboko, pork blood rice cake, fried tofu skin, clam, sour mustard, brown beech mushroom, tofu and cilantro. Spice level ranges from none to flaming spicy.
Tasty Pot, 66 S. Dobson Road, Suite 148, Mesa, 480.809.6780, tastypotusa.com, $13.99-$18.99.
Standing the test of time, Tomaso’s Italian soups make us excited for the winter. Perfect for any seafood lover, the creamy lobster bisque combines spicy seafood broth, puree of vegetables and lobster, and heavy cream. Made with quality Italian white wine and a seafood stock put together with lobster shells, the sophisticated bisque is rich, velvety smooth with luxe lobster meat pieces in every bite. The key to the bisque is building robust flavors with butter, garlic, mirepoix, which has onion, carrot and celery, and tomato paste.
Tomaso’s 3225 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, 602.956.0836, tomasos.com, $12.
Vegan House serves quality vegan food created with authentic Asian spices that boast a flavorful meal for a healthier lifestyle. The restaurant uses vegan meats and seafood that taste like the real thing. That includes the tom kha soup—a Thai coconut soup with soy chicken, mushroom, tomatoes, onion, cabbage, carrots and exotic herbs in a coconut milk broth. Choose a spice level from mild to medium, hot or Thai hot.
Vegan House, 20 W. Adams Street, Phoenix, 602.258.3426, veganhouseaz.com, $13.
As the weather cools down, the Euro-inspired restaurant Zinqué is a great place to find a flavor-packed soup to enjoy out on the outdoor patio and warm ambiance. The broccoli, spinach and green curry soup is an excellent choice for people wanting a lightweight but fulfilling meal. This creamy vegetarian soup has spice, vitamins, healthy greens and savory curry that will surely add some kick to dinner.
Zinqué, 4712 N. Goldwater Boulevard, Suite 110, Scottsdale, 623.745.9616, lezinque.com, $11.