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A white bowl of matzo ball soup covered with thin slices of radish and turnip
Rye takes a fresh approach to matzo ball soup in West Loop.
Neil Burger/Rye Deli & Drink

20 Hot & Delicious Soups That Beat the Chicago Cold

'Tis the season to stay toasty

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Rye takes a fresh approach to matzo ball soup in West Loop.
| Neil Burger/Rye Deli & Drink

When Chicagoans can't feel their faces due to the frigid temps, there’s arguably no better remedy than a cup or bowl of soup. From rich and filling vegetarian chili to a modern spin on matzo ball soup, the city’s restaurants tout a wide variety of belly-warming options to keep the bitter winds at bay. Here’s where to find the city’s best broths.

Note: Ramen and pho were excluded and place in its own categories.

As of August 20, the city has mandated that everyone wear facial coverings while indoors. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Pho 5 Lua

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6261 N McCormick Rd
Chicago, IL 60659
(773) 509-0909
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Pho is delicious year-round but it’s essential when the temperatures dip. One of the best bowls is found at Pho 5 Lua on the northwest side, far from Argyle Street. The Vietnamese staple cures any ailment (or hangover) with an intense beef broth and add-ins like rice noodles, brisket, tendon, tripe, meatballs, bean sprouts, cilantro, Thai basil, and more.

2. Big Jones

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5347 N Clark St, Chicago
IL, 60640
(773) 275-5725
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The signature Gumbo Ya-Ya at Paul Fehribach’s acclaimed Southern restaurant is packed with Amish chicken, andouille sausage, and buttered Arkansas rice. The Cajun dish can be enjoyed as either a starter or a full meal, and is available by the pint or quart.

3. Taste of Lebanon

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1509 W Foster Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 334-1600

This Andersonville hole-in-the-wall offers tasty Lebanese food at wallet-friendly prices. Made fresh, the hearty lentil soup is a nice addition to a fall or winter meal.

4. Pick Me Up Cafe

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4882 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 248-6613
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This venerable vegan- and vegetarian-friendly spot has fully settled into new digs after relocating to Uptown in April 2020. The neighborhood may have changed, but fans can rest assured that its popular meat-free chili is as heartwarming as ever.

5. Han Bat

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2723 W Lawrence Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 271-8640

Hidden away in the back of a parking lot on Lawrence Avenue, this unassuming Korean spot specializes in ox bone soup. Called seolleongtang, the milky white broth is known as a hangover remedy because of its simple-yet-comforting flavor. Each bowl also contains choice of brisket, flank steak, tripe, tendon, or tongue. It’s accompanied by rice and kimchi and can be seasoned to taste with salt, chopped green onions, and chili paste.

6. Cafe El Tapatio

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3358 N Ashland Ave, Chicago
IL, 60657
(773) 327-5475
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Whether it’s chicken tortilla or cream of roasted poblano pepper, the Mexican soups at this mom-and-pop spot are made with plenty of love. Don’t expect any frills, just some good old fashioned home-style cooking. A second outpost is located in Glenview.

7. Soupbox

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2943 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 935-9800
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This Lakeview takeout spot has thrived due to a great variety of soups that are affordable and delicious. The Signature Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice is one of the highlights as it’s nourishing and satisfying. Pair it with a grilled cheese and wave goodbye to those wintertime blues.

8. Andy's Thai Kitchen

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950 W Diversey Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 549-7821
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Tom yum soup is a Thai favorite and its spices are much needed during the cold season. The rich and funky, spicy and sour broth is characterized by notes of lemongrass, alongside other ingredients like mushroom, onion, tomato, and cilantro. For a heartier option, go with ATK’s boat noodle soup: A complex, dark broth filled with brisket, rice noodles, Chinese broccoli, fried pork skins, and more.

9. Le Bouchon

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1958 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 862-6600
Visit Website

France’s iconic onion soup dates back centuries and needs little introduction. Thaw off by diving into Le Bouchon’s top notch version. It’s a beef stock full of caramelized onions with a layer of melted gruyere on top.

10. Pozoleria San Juan

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1523 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago
IL, 60651
(773) 276-5825
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One of Chicago’s small community of pozolerias offers the hominy soup in three different varieties: Roja, verde, and blanco. It comes with a number of toppings including avocado, cilantro, lime, radish, and cabbage, as well as chicharrones that are perfect for dipping.

11. Podhalanka

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1549 W Division St, Chicago
IL, 60642
(773) 486-6655
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If Chicagoans are missing babcia's sour soup, travel to this Polish Triangle restaurant that time forgot for a bowl of zurek, a traditional white borscht. If the fermented rye soup isn't their fancy, there are over several other "zupy" to choose from.

12. Lola’s Coney Island

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2858 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 687-9459
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Chicken Avgolemono soup is popular in Detroit where Lola’s Coney Island takes its inspiration. But beyond the chili dogs laced with mustard, the soup stars with shredded chicken, rice, and a lemony broth that is sublime and unexpected from a fast-food stand.

13. GT Fish & Oyster

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531 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 929-3501
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Giuseppe Tentori and Boka Restaurant Group’s seafood hotspot is renowned for its refined shared plates. Diners won’t be judged, though, if they decide to order their own clam chowder. Served in a mason jar alongside housemade oyster crackers, the creamy soup is chockfull of bivalves and has a hint of smokiness thanks to the addition of Nueske’s bacon.

14. Cocoa Chili Restaurant & Catering

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135 N Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 725-3170
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This Afro-Caribbean ghost kitchen offers delivery and pick up from the Hatchery in Garfield Park. It’s the brainchild of Niquenya Collins who enjoys blending cultures (she knows five languages). Her chili with beans and beef is rich and dark with notes of, you guessed it, chocolate that don’t make it sweet. The flavor is balanced and worth seeking out.

15. Rye Deli + Drink

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25 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 602-2100
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Just south of Randolph Restaurant Row, Rye has earned a following for its creative and thoughtful modern take on Eastern European Jewish deli cuisine. Its matzo ball soup is a case in point: a fluffy blue corn matzo ball bathes in a fragrant broth made with a sofrito of sumac, za’atar, and Ethiopian berbere. Crowned by delicate curls of radish and parsnip, it’s a decidedly non-traditional approach that still manages to evoke nostalgia.

16. Greek Islands

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200 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 782-9855
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Greeks and non-Greeks alike favor this longtime restaurant for well-executed classics in a traditionally-decorated space. The avgolemono, or egg lemon soup, is an extra creamy version made with chicken broth, rice, egg yolks, and lemon juice. Greek Islands offers outdoor seating and takeout and delivery.

17. Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen

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1141 S Jefferson St, Chicago
IL, 60607
(312) 939-2855
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For those seeking Jewish comfort food, head over to this timeless delicatessen for a real deal matzah ball soup. Using the same recipe since 1942, it's no surprise that it's the best selling soup on the menu.

18. Taipei Cafe

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2609 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 374-1986
Visit Website

Beef noodle soup, a beloved dish in Taiwan and Southeast Asia, takes center stage at Bridgeport’s Taipei Cafe. The spicy beef broth is loaded with tender braised beef, chewy noodles, pickled cabbage, and green onion. Variations include an herbal broth version.

19. Taqueria Los Gallos

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4211 W 26th St
Chicago, IL 60623
(773) 762-7452

There are more than just tacos on the menu at this Little Village taqueria. In fact, its signature dish is a soup from the Mexican city of Guadalajara called carne en su jugo. Translating to “meat in its juices,” the soup stars beef broth teeming with grilled steak, avocado, bacon, and pinto beans.

20. Birrieria Zaragoza

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4852 S Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60632
(773) 523-3700
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Renowned for its roasted goat, Birrieria Zaragoza serves up a fantastic complementary dish: Consommé. It's cooked without meat drippings, so vegetarians are in the clear.

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1. Pho 5 Lua

6261 N McCormick Rd, Chicago, IL 60659

Pho is delicious year-round but it’s essential when the temperatures dip. One of the best bowls is found at Pho 5 Lua on the northwest side, far from Argyle Street. The Vietnamese staple cures any ailment (or hangover) with an intense beef broth and add-ins like rice noodles, brisket, tendon, tripe, meatballs, bean sprouts, cilantro, Thai basil, and more.

6261 N McCormick Rd
Chicago, IL 60659

2. Big Jones

5347 N Clark St, Chicago, IL, 60640

The signature Gumbo Ya-Ya at Paul Fehribach’s acclaimed Southern restaurant is packed with Amish chicken, andouille sausage, and buttered Arkansas rice. The Cajun dish can be enjoyed as either a starter or a full meal, and is available by the pint or quart.

5347 N Clark St, Chicago
IL, 60640

3. Taste of Lebanon

1509 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

This Andersonville hole-in-the-wall offers tasty Lebanese food at wallet-friendly prices. Made fresh, the hearty lentil soup is a nice addition to a fall or winter meal.

1509 W Foster Ave
Chicago, IL 60640

4. Pick Me Up Cafe

4882 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

This venerable vegan- and vegetarian-friendly spot has fully settled into new digs after relocating to Uptown in April 2020. The neighborhood may have changed, but fans can rest assured that its popular meat-free chili is as heartwarming as ever.

4882 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640

5. Han Bat

2723 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Hidden away in the back of a parking lot on Lawrence Avenue, this unassuming Korean spot specializes in ox bone soup. Called seolleongtang, the milky white broth is known as a hangover remedy because of its simple-yet-comforting flavor. Each bowl also contains choice of brisket, flank steak, tripe, tendon, or tongue. It’s accompanied by rice and kimchi and can be seasoned to taste with salt, chopped green onions, and chili paste.

2723 W Lawrence Ave
Chicago, IL 60625

6. Cafe El Tapatio

3358 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL, 60657

Whether it’s chicken tortilla or cream of roasted poblano pepper, the Mexican soups at this mom-and-pop spot are made with plenty of love. Don’t expect any frills, just some good old fashioned home-style cooking. A second outpost is located in Glenview.

3358 N Ashland Ave, Chicago
IL, 60657

7. Soupbox

2943 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657

This Lakeview takeout spot has thrived due to a great variety of soups that are affordable and delicious. The Signature Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice is one of the highlights as it’s nourishing and satisfying. Pair it with a grilled cheese and wave goodbye to those wintertime blues.

2943 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657

8. Andy's Thai Kitchen

950 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614

Tom yum soup is a Thai favorite and its spices are much needed during the cold season. The rich and funky, spicy and sour broth is characterized by notes of lemongrass, alongside other ingredients like mushroom, onion, tomato, and cilantro. For a heartier option, go with ATK’s boat noodle soup: A complex, dark broth filled with brisket, rice noodles, Chinese broccoli, fried pork skins, and more.

950 W Diversey Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60614

9. Le Bouchon

1958 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

France’s iconic onion soup dates back centuries and needs little introduction. Thaw off by diving into Le Bouchon’s top notch version. It’s a beef stock full of caramelized onions with a layer of melted gruyere on top.

1958 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

10. Pozoleria San Juan

1523 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL, 60651

One of Chicago’s small community of pozolerias offers the hominy soup in three different varieties: Roja, verde, and blanco. It comes with a number of toppings including avocado, cilantro, lime, radish, and cabbage, as well as chicharrones that are perfect for dipping.

1523 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago
IL, 60651

11. Podhalanka

1549 W Division St, Chicago, IL, 60642

If Chicagoans are missing babcia's sour soup, travel to this Polish Triangle restaurant that time forgot for a bowl of zurek, a traditional white borscht. If the fermented rye soup isn't their fancy, there are over several other "zupy" to choose from.

1549 W Division St, Chicago
IL, 60642

12. Lola’s Coney Island

2858 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Chicken Avgolemono soup is popular in Detroit where Lola’s Coney Island takes its inspiration. But beyond the chili dogs laced with mustard, the soup stars with shredded chicken, rice, and a lemony broth that is sublime and unexpected from a fast-food stand.

2858 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

13. GT Fish & Oyster

531 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654

Giuseppe Tentori and Boka Restaurant Group’s seafood hotspot is renowned for its refined shared plates. Diners won’t be judged, though, if they decide to order their own clam chowder. Served in a mason jar alongside housemade oyster crackers, the creamy soup is chockfull of bivalves and has a hint of smokiness thanks to the addition of Nueske’s bacon.

531 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60654

14. Cocoa Chili Restaurant & Catering

135 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60612

This Afro-Caribbean ghost kitchen offers delivery and pick up from the Hatchery in Garfield Park. It’s the brainchild of Niquenya Collins who enjoys blending cultures (she knows five languages). Her chili with beans and beef is rich and dark with notes of, you guessed it, chocolate that don’t make it sweet. The flavor is balanced and worth seeking out.

135 N Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60612

15. Rye Deli + Drink

25 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60661

Just south of Randolph Restaurant Row, Rye has earned a following for its creative and thoughtful modern take on Eastern European Jewish deli cuisine. Its matzo ball soup is a case in point: a fluffy blue corn matzo ball bathes in a fragrant broth made with a sofrito of sumac, za’atar, and Ethiopian berbere. Crowned by delicate curls of radish and parsnip, it’s a decidedly non-traditional approach that still manages to evoke nostalgia.

25 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60661

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16. Greek Islands

200 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60661

Greeks and non-Greeks alike favor this longtime restaurant for well-executed classics in a traditionally-decorated space. The avgolemono, or egg lemon soup, is an extra creamy version made with chicken broth, rice, egg yolks, and lemon juice. Greek Islands offers outdoor seating and takeout and delivery.

200 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60661

17. Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen

1141 S Jefferson St, Chicago, IL, 60607

For those seeking Jewish comfort food, head over to this timeless delicatessen for a real deal matzah ball soup. Using the same recipe since 1942, it's no surprise that it's the best selling soup on the menu.

1141 S Jefferson St, Chicago
IL, 60607

18. Taipei Cafe

2609 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608

Beef noodle soup, a beloved dish in Taiwan and Southeast Asia, takes center stage at Bridgeport’s Taipei Cafe. The spicy beef broth is loaded with tender braised beef, chewy noodles, pickled cabbage, and green onion. Variations include an herbal broth version.

2609 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60608

19. Taqueria Los Gallos

4211 W 26th St, Chicago, IL 60623

There are more than just tacos on the menu at this Little Village taqueria. In fact, its signature dish is a soup from the Mexican city of Guadalajara called carne en su jugo. Translating to “meat in its juices,” the soup stars beef broth teeming with grilled steak, avocado, bacon, and pinto beans.

4211 W 26th St
Chicago, IL 60623

20. Birrieria Zaragoza

4852 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60632

Renowned for its roasted goat, Birrieria Zaragoza serves up a fantastic complementary dish: Consommé. It's cooked without meat drippings, so vegetarians are in the clear.

4852 S Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60632

Related Maps