Tomato Soup - Sportello

In a city that feels like it’s perpetually rained-upon or snow-covered, Boston’s residents deserve a hot bowl of soup now and again. And it doesn’t just have to be clam chowder: From a spicy Mexican pozole to a decadent ramen, this guide to Boston’s best soups will have you reaching for a spoon in no time.

You can order any of the noodle soups at Dakzen without regret, but we find ourselves coming back to the Khao Soi. In this traditional dish from northern Thailand, starchy egg noodles and crunchy wontons are soaked in a curry broth that’s bright, creamy, and sweet. You’ll have a few proteins to choose from, but we recommend the crispy pork belly to further heighten the soup’s delicious contrasts.

You may argue whether it falls into the “soup” or “stew” column, but there’s little debate that pozole is the perfect antidote to damp and chilly New England weather. We’re particularly taken with the red version from East Boston’s Taqueria Jalisco, which layers creamy hominy with tender pork in a bright but spicy chili-based broth. The accoutrements that come on the side, including diced onions, limes, and crispy tostados, provide satisfying layers of flavor and texture.

That favorite childhood pairing—tomato soup and grilled cheese—grows up at this Barbara Lynch-helmed Italian restaurant. Sportello’s Spicy Tomato Soup gains extra flavor from the dashes of olive oil and red pepper flakes that mark its surface, and comes with a miniature, cracker-thin “grilled cheese” balanced on the rim that’s just begging to be dipped.

Perhaps it’s the requisite detour to Newton that encourages us to indulge, but the unsubtly named Chef’s Ultra Ramen has become our favorite Little Big Diner dish. So, what makes it “Ultra?” Some combination of a savory six-hour broth, robust alkaline noodles, the triple-threat of chashu pork, shoyu chicken thighs, and chili ground pork, juxtaposed with punchy white kimchi, bean sprouts, and scallions.

Did you really think this soup guide would end without covering a clam chowder? Of course, the Clam Chowder from Fenway favorite Island Creek Oyster Bar is a step above the rest. ICOB cooks its own house-made bacon into a broth made with fresh clam juice and adds bay leaves and herbs to cut the heaviness of the dairy. Fair warning: After consuming its dill biscuit garnish, you may never again be satisfied with a package of oyster crackers.

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