13 of Toronto's best soups
Too often, we overlook the humble soup: it’s just a side, or a daily special or a way to use up a fridge’s worth of past-its-prime produce. But when done right, it’s culinary alchemy at its finest – take seemingly disparate ingredients, pitch ’em in a pot and make magic.
It’s also a staple for budget-conscious diners. (These days, five bucks will barely get you a look from the waiter at many Toronto restaurants, but it’ll score you nearly half the soups on this list.)
And due to soup’s prevalence in countless home kitchens around the globe, it delivers comfort and nostalgia in a way that no other food can. As One Love Vegetarian owner Ikeila Wright puts it, “Soup is international. Everyone – every culture – drinks soup. Some soup is thin, some soup is thick, some soup is cold, some soup is hot – but there’s always some loving memory of something in a soup.”
What better cover star for our guide to Toronto’s best soups than the most opulent ramen in town? Konjiki’s lobster ramen ($28) is the Beyoncé of noodle soups, with a suitably exclusive pedigree: it’s only served on Wednesday evenings, and only at the chain’s North York location. But it’s worth trying at least once – as much for the velvety broth (laced with lobster cream reduction and mushroom oil) as for the entire lobster claw and tail floating serenely within it. Not enough room in the ramen budget? Equally worthwhile options include their signature clam broth with porcini and truffle – the one that earned their Japanese locations a Michelin star – or a brand-new spicy miso ($14) version that’s served as a twice-weekly special.
The French onion soup ($15) at O&B’s new Sherbourne bistro is a top seller, and with very, very good reason. A mix of two recipes chef John Horne picked up while working in Europe, the soup is a two-day project for Selby’s kitchen; the chicken stock is simmered for a full 24 hours, then merged over another full day with jammy, sweet onions slow-simmered in cognac and port. The result is a multi-layered, slightly boozy concoction, topped with a Gruyère cheese-curd blend that ensures your cheese pulls will be both impressive in scope and delicious in flavour.