While we haven't seen much snow this winter in Detroit, it's been cold. And what better way to warm up on a chilly day than with a bowl of soup? Sadly, soup at many restaurants is the ho-hum side to the main entree. Looking for outside-the-can, anything-but-boring soups in the Metro Detroit area? Here are best local restaurants where you can get it.
This Polish restaurant-bar is cozy, family-friendly, and reminiscent of ethnic diners from childhood. Polonia has traditional Polish fare -- galumpkies, sausage, and pierogies -- but the soup is what draws us. They serve five soup varieties (all cream-based): duck, cabbage, beet, chicken noodle, and dill pickle. We did a taste test with our family. Duck soup wasn't a favorite (it was oddly sweet and sour). Cabbage and chicken noodle were good, and beet soup was voted great. But the dill pickle soup stole the show. The Polonia's soups are reasonably priced: $1.50 (cup), $1.95 (bowl), $2.95 (large bowl). Hours are Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 p.m.-7 p.m.
118 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit
There are two coney dog giants in downtown Detroit: the American and the Lafayette. They're right next-door to each other. While the American is glitzier, we're fans of the smaller greasy spoon at 118 Lafayette. The Lafayette's menu is simple, the prices fair, the staff fun, and the food comforting. For a hot bowl of fragrant chili, it's $3.45. Want onions and meat? It's $4.75. They've been serving it up hot for nearly 100 years. And you get entertainment -- waiters can balance 12 plates, six along each arm. Lafayette Coney Island is open seven days a week, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 a.m.
This Mediterranean-American restaurant has three locations in the Detroit metro area: Southfield (29649 Northwestern Highway), Taylor (22250 Eureka Road), and Bloomfield (39500 N. Woodward Ave.). They feature a wide variety of Greek chili, but the best soup is the chicken lemon rice. Soup prices vary: $3-4 per bowl. I like that you can get bagels and lox at Little Daddy's, too. Hours vary by location.
7620 W. Vernor Highway, Detroit
In southwest Detroit, finding great food isn't hard. Also called Mexicantown, the area is teeming with Latino restaurants, and Nuestra Familia is the best of the best, especially for caldos (soup). There are several varieties: pollo (chicken), menudo (honey comb), res (beef), pozole (pork), camarones (shrimp), and camarones y pulpo (shrimp and octopus). My favorite is the shrimp. Prices range from $5.50 to $9.50 a bowl. Hours of operation are Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Friday-Sunday, 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.
For elegant, understated Asian dining, Inyo is the place to go. They don't serve many soup varieties, but what they have is unique. For $20, two diners can enjoy yose nobe soup. It's made with crab, salmon, shrimp, clams, bok choy, and mushrooms in miso broth. Hours of operation at Inyo are Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
With more cold weather forecasted for Detroit, what other restaurants can you recommend for soup?
A lifelong Michigander, Marilisa Sachteleben writes about people, places, and events in her state's most pivotal city, Detroit.
- Dining & Nightlife
- Sports & Recreation