A warm bowl of soup is perfect comfort food for a cold winter day — maybe that’s why National Soup Month takes place during January? Yep, it’s officially National Soup Month. Weather during our “winter” might be bipolar, but these 9 must-have soups are all located within 10 minutes of campus. So if you happen to catch yourself out when it’s rainy, cold or even warm outside, these local Gainesville restaurants have a large variety of liquid happiness that cater to your tastebuds.
1. Bistro 1245‘s Butternut Squash Bisque
The butternut squash bisque at Bistro 1245 deserves a spot on your list of go-to soups. The proximity to campus makes Bistro 1245 a convenient stop for any student, and the soup is served as a daily menu item. Topped with a dash of nutmeg and a slice of toasted baguette, this soup is nothing short of liquid gold, so if you order a cup, you will probably ask for seconds. If you ask for seconds . . . you should really just order the bowl.
2. Bistro 1245’s Creamy Tomato Basil
The chefs at Bistro 1245 put their spin on this cold-weather classic, and it’s perfect for a dreary day. The soup is thick, rich and not too heavy on the tomato. Plus it is topped with a healthy serving of basil. It pairs perfectly with any of the sandwiches found on the menu, but if you’re looking for the classic grilled-cheese-and-tomato-soup combo, try it with the grilled three cheese sandwich, loaded with provolone, smoked gouda and gruyere. You can thank us later.
3. Chopstix‘s Pho
Nowhere in Gainesville will you find pho as aromatic and fresh as at Chopstix. This Asian cafe/bistro has an extensive menu packed with noodle soup bowls that will leave you full and satisfied. Pho is a Vietnamese, slow cooked broth soup with lots of herbs, seasonings and rice noodles, and at Chopstix you can choose between chicken, beef or meatball. Chopstix serves their soup with lots of garnishes and sauces, so you can customize your pho to your liking.
4. The Copper Monkey‘s Chicken Fiesta
This new menu addition at The Copper Monkey is one you don’t want to miss — it’s creamy, cheesy and chicken-y, topped with a dollop of sour cream and tortilla strips. Originally a nameless item, our very own managing editor, Carlynn, helped the new chef come up with the title, chicken fiesta, because it’s quite literally a party in your mouth.
5. Crane Ramen
Their menu might be concise, but that’s just because every single dish is packed to the brim with flavor. Gainesville’s newest obsession is Crane Ramen, and it’s worth the trip downtown. With new ramen specials on the reg and a daily menu that will completely destroy everything you ever thought about ramen (because, let’s be real, you’ve only ever eaten the packaged stuff), this is a must-have for “brothy soup” lovers.
6. Tempo Bistro to Go‘s Daily Soups
Tempo Bistro changes up its soups daily, but you can usually find what’s featured on the restaurant’s Facebook page. With vegetarian and vegan options, the soups (and other menu items, including sandwiches and salads) are made with fresh and organic ingredients. Pro Tip: you can ask to sample ANY soup for a taste test. The featured soup in the picture consists of slow-cooked Carolina field peas over brown jasmine rice topped with carrots.
7. Cymplify‘s Vegan Sweet Potato Bisque
Cymplify is yet another Gainesville cafe that uses some of the freshest ingredients around and has daily soup options, based on what tastes best. As a soup of the day, the vegan sweet potato bisque was definitely sweet, but in a healthy (not sugary) way. Since it’s plain and better suited as a side soup than a meal, get a smaller size and pair it with one of their sandwiches.
8. Harvest Thyme Cafe‘s Kickin’ Chicken with Rice
Boasting the title of Harvest Thyme’s “most popular soup,” the Kickin’ Chicken soup puts a unique twist on the usual chicken noodle by adding rice and some seriously bold flavor. This brothy, homemade soup made from fresh ingredients will be sure to warm you right up. Plus, Harvest Thyme has free delivery, so you can enjoy it from your apartment or dorm without stepping into the cold or rain outside. Win.
9. The Copper Monkey’s French Onion
As a crowd favorite, The Copper Monkey’s homemade French onion soup is loaded with cheese, bread (pumpernickel, white and wheat) and, of course, onions. It’s a paradise for any cheese lover — the thick, gooey layer of provolone and Parmesan on top is hard to pull apart, but who cares? Bring it on. Plus, at just under $5, it doesn’t wreak havoc on your wallet, either.