I love soup. It has always been on my favorite food list when asked. I’m the crazy person who orders soup in the middle of summer and equally enjoys it on a cold winter night. A good bowl of soup always conjures up childhood memories and provides a sense of literal warmth and comfort. There are so many different types of soups to love and enjoy.
This list includes my favorite ones and where to find the best soups in Orange County:
Matzo Ball Soup
A staple in my household growing up, Matzo ball soup is my all time favorite. My grandmother used to make it for Passover, and since she has passed away I’ve been able to replicate my own recipe at home. Matzo/matzah balls are Jewish soup dumplings that are slowly simmered in a chicken soup-based broth. Benjie’s NY Deli in Santa Ana is my go to for Matzo ball soup.
Hot Tip: the larger the bowl, the more matzo balls you get!
Mama Avila’s Soup
If you have ever eaten at an Avila’s El Ranchito, this is one of the most popular items on the menu. It’s a large bowl of chicken and rice soup topped with avocado, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. I opt for no cilantro and extra avocado. This soup is a meal in itself and always very filling and flavorful.
Hot Tip: They even have a kids version that is just chicken and rice.
Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl
Growing up near San Francisco, we would often head into the city for family outings. Visiting Fisherman’s Wharf was always a favorite, and clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl was a must. Boudin’s Bakery has the best sourdough bread bowls and I prefer the clam chowder for sentimental sake. This San Francisco chain can be found locally throughout the OC and there is nothing more satisfying than eating your soup, dunking the sourdough top and then consuming the soup soaked bowl. This is definitely one of the best soups in Orange County.
Cockie Leeky Soup
As a student attending Chapman University, I needed a go-to soup place that was walking distance. Luckily I found Ruta’s in the Circle and their Cockie Leeky Soup. I’m a fan of anything chicken and rice and this was right up my alley. A creamy bowl of chicken, brown rice, and leeks…I found myself ordering the largest size I could and enjoying it all week.
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
I don’t love baked potatoes, but I do love potato soup. Perhaps it’s the creamy texture, hint of bacon, and dash of chives, but this high caloric soup is extremely satisfying on so many levels. Corner Bakery is my quick spot for loaded baked potato.
Hot Tip: Their broccoli cheese is a close second choice, and gets an honorable mention for best soups in Orange County.
Sizzling Rice Soup
Clearly there is a theme, and I enjoy rice in my soup. I’ve always added steamed rice to my wonton soup and I was thrilled to find sizzling rice soup. The crunch of the toasted rice and the sound when it sizzles onto the hot broth always reminds me of family. My family would often enjoy eating out and I have great memories eating at Asian restaurants and spinning the soup bowl around on the lazy susan. Some but not all Chinese restaurants have this soup. My favorite is at Chen’s Panda.
What are your favorite soups and where do you think the best soups can be found in Orange County?