Nothing made my grandfather happier than having all his children and grandchildren around one, big dining table. A few times a year, we’d all go out for a special meal, he’d sit at the head of the table and he’d order a bowl of the house soup to start the meal. As the steaming bowls made their way to the table, he’d follow his first slurp with his signature saying, “I could make a meal out of this.”
I really love soup, too. Sometimes, I’ll even order two soups for dinner. I love soup that much. I love the way soup can turn a dreary night into a cozy affair. I love the way soup highlights the seasonal ingredients of a region. I love adding small shakes of salt and pepper to soup to see how the flavor deepens and changes. Of course, I also love that I often do make a meal out of soup and, each time I do, I feel connected to my grandfather.
In Tualatin Valley, the soup is on and the ladle is ready. As a self-proclaimed soup connoisseur, trust my recommendations for soups around the valley. From country classics to five-spice, I hope I convince you to order two soups for dinner, too.
Best Soups in Portland Region
When Trailhead Cafe says it has fresh soup, it means it. The eatery takes soup mainstays—think broccoli-cheddar, tomato and roasted red pepper—to the next level by using fresh herbs.
During a day of wine tasting, I try to plan the day so that we are close to South Store Café around lunchtime. A pale yellow general store converted into a happening farm-country lunch spot, South Store Café is as quaint as can be. The weekly soup specials are always a safe bet. I had a carrot coconut soup one week and a chicken and artichoke soup the next—they were equally delicious.
Decarli is the type of restaurant my grandfather would have loved. The restaurant itself feels special yet welcoming. Accordingly, the soups are accessible to many palates yet still delightfully unique. January’s soup includes a hearty mix of polenta, roasted chicken, parsnip and pecorino.
As Beaverton is known for its Korean food, I recommend Nak Won and its Duk Man Doo Gook dish, which simmers dumplings in a perfect savory broth.
Soup might not be what brings you to Tualatin Valley (unless you’re like me). That said, don’t keep these recommendations on the back burner.