Superlative Soups: The 9 Best Soups in New York City

While New York City may be more known for its bagels, pastrami, steak, and edible diversity, the soup scene here is pretty good. So, without further adieu, here are the best soups in NYC and where to find them. 

bowl of soup and two silver spoons
We found the best soups in NYC so you don’t have to search. Photo credit: Navada Ra

Since the autumn weather is turning to a chill and winter is ominously on its way, it is officially soup season in the Big Apple—the perfect time of year to slurp up some hearty restorative goodness. 

Sopa De Mani at Bolivian Llama Party

Most people frequent Bolivian llama Party, located in Sunnyside, Queens, because of their excellent salteñas. The excellent meat-and-broth-filled pastry is like the lovechild of a Shanghai soup dumpling and a Latin American empanada. 

But the beauty of BLP is that they also cook up some Bolivian dishes you don’t see outside of the Andes Mountains very often. Case in point: delicious sopa de mani. A peanut-and-beef-broth-based soup crammed with tender brisket, peas, and potatoes and topped with truffled shoestring fries and parsley. 

Pho Bac at Hanoi House

The pho at Hanoi House in the East Village is different from the Vietnamese soup you find at almost every other Vietnamese place in the United States. That’s because, as the name of the restaurant suggests, it’s from northern Vietnam. 

When the Vietnam War (or, as it’s called there, the American War) ended in 1975, tens of thousands of southern Vietnamese fled their native country for the United States and other lands. Many of them opened restaurants and the food they served was what could be found in Saigon and other southern Vietnamese cities. And thus, there are almost no northern Vietnamese restaurants in the United States. 

Enter Hanoi House. The pho here, like back in the Vietnamese capital, has a murkier, more seasoned broth and is not bobbing in vegetables. It’s less sweet because northerners do not sprinkle sugar into everything like they tend to do in the south. Instead of a side of sprouts, basil, and jalepeño peppers that you get in southern restaurants, Hanoi-style pho comes with a side of pickled garlic and hot chili sauce. It’s ideal for a cold day and for staving off a cold, and it also happens to be the best pho in New York. 

pho soup bowl with noodles
In addition to its delicious pho soup, Hanoi Hause also offers great cocktails. Photo credit: Cats Coming

Beef in Hot Spicy Soup at Super Taste

It’s not clear if the owners of this diminutive Chinatown spot intentionally chose a pun for the name of their restaurant—”Soup-er Taste”—but it works. And the Chinese soups on offer here really do live up to the name of the restaurant. The beef in hot spicy soup is one of the best things to get here. Yes, it is pretty taste bud numbing in its heat but the broth is rich, delicious, and restorative. Super Taste is a great place to plant yourself on a cold autumn or winter day.  

Garlic Soup at Koliba

Koliba is so old-school, they still refer to their restaurant as “Czechoslovakian,” even though that country officially split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on January 1, 1993. 

But when you scratch the surface—or just scan the menu—it’s clear that Koliba (3111 23rd Ave)  is more of a Slovak-leaning eatery.  Whatever the case, this rustic spot in the Queens neighborhood of Astoria is designed to look like the inside of a mountain lodge in the Tatra Mountains. And it serves one of the best bowls of soup in New York: garlic soup.  Which you can usually only find in pubs in Bratislava and elsewhere in this underrated European country. The soup, sometimes called česnečka—pronounced “ches-nech-kah”—is laden with enough garlic to kill a cold. And also shares bowl space with some cheese, rye croutons, potatoes, and a beaten egg.  

 Cesnecka garlic soup
Czech garlic soup may have humble origins but it’s absolutely delicious. Photo credit: Nillerdk

Tsak Sha Chu Rul at Phayul

Once you arrive at Phayul (37-65 74th Street) in Jackson Heights, Queens, don’t fear having to remember or know how to pronounce the name of this Tibetan soup. Just utter the words “cheese” and “soup” in succession to each other and soon enough, a hot bowl of Tibetan yak milk soup will be staring you in the face. 

The soup, which is studded with beef and noodles, is as decidedly funky as a James Brown guitar riff, thanks mostly to the yak milk cheese. It’s super hearty, so come with a dining companion and share a bowl, taking spoonfuls in between bites of delicious 

Goat Pepper Soup at Buka

This Bed-Stuy restaurant specializes in the underrepresented cuisine of Nigeria. Goat pepper soup, a staple in nearly every home in Nigeria, is both spicy and nutritious. And delicious. At Buka expect to find a large bowl of tender goat meat in a broth spiked with thyme, Nigerian spices, and liberal sprinklings of cayenne pepper. 

beef broth served in silver bowl
Dive into traditional Nigerian dishes at Buka. Photo credit: ENESFİLM

Akamara Shinaji Ramen at Ippudo

Ippudo, with locations in the East Village (65 4th Ave)  and the Upper West Side (321 W 51st), is the most popular ramen spot in New York City. It is also arguably the best. (See the nightly lines outside.) And the akamara shinaji ramen on the menu here is one of the best noodle soups you can find in New York. The porky broth is rich and deeply satisfying and will lift any blue spell from your head and heart with just one spoonful. 

Borscht at Ukrainian East Village Restaurant 

One myth about borscht, the delicious beet soup eaten in Eastern Europe, is that it hails from Russia. That is false. It’s Ukrainian. Or Polish. It depends on who you ask. But for your soup-seeking sake, it really does not matter. 

Just plop down at Ukrainian East Village Restaurant, hidden in the back of the Ukrainian National Home in the East Village. The building has such a drab interior it looks like a Soviet-era building that was picked up in a small town in Ukraine and dropped here. Which makes it that much more fun and authentic to slurp up delicious borscht in a restaurant where you’d almost expect to find everyone chain-smoking and partying like it’s 1959. After, wander into the Ukrainian dive bar, the Sly Fox, located in the same structure, for some vodka shots. 

red soup in white ceramic bowl
Ukrainian East Village Restaurant’s old-school, diner-like decor is the perfect setting for its delicious borscht. Photo credit: Polina Tankilevitch

Bosanski lonac at Djerdan Burek

Bosanski lonac, pronounced “bo-zan-ski loh-natz,” translates to “Bosnian pot.” This soup is so popular in Bosnia and Herzegovina that supermarkets in Sarajevo and other towns in this diminutive Balkan country, sell frozen vegetables just for this dish. Bosanski lonac is just as diverse as the nation it originated in. 

The typically large bowl is bobbing with ultra-tender, slow-cooked lamb and beef, and vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, and potatoes (though ingredients can vary, depending on the region of the country). The broth is rich and savory and ideal for slurping on a cold day. Djerdan Burek, located in Astoria, is one of the very few places in this city with nearly nine million people and more than 20,000 restaurants, where you can find Bosanski lonac. And it’s worth seeking out.