Adios, gazpacho! Autumn is upon us and nothing quite conjures up the image of the season than a hot bowl of hearty soup. Despite San Diego’s fairly warm year-round temperatures, there are plenty of restaurants that serve mouthwateringly delicious soups. What’s even better is many of these restaurants are kid-friendly. Prepare to be “bowled” over!
Photo credit: Marissa Mullen
For Seafood Fare: The Fish Market
If you’ve hit the beach to catch one last day in the sand before winter hits, this is the perfect post-beach spot. This North County mainstay manages to combine a rich and warm decor with a casual vibe, making this an eatery that’s both parent and kid-friendly. With a full-service oyster bar and fresh fish that’s broiled over a mesquite wood plank to capture the flavor, this place has top-notch seafood. You can’t leave here, however, without trying the world-class chowder (or get it to go with some fresh French bread!).
Whether you choose the Manhattan clam chowder (red and spicy) or the New England clam chowder (white and creamy), you will love the hunks of flavorful fresh clams in this hearty chowder. Its rich texture and perfect temperature make it the ultimate fall comfort food. If your finicky foodie doesn’t like chowder, he will have plenty to choose from on the kids’ menu. Everything from the panko fish and kids linguine to the mesquite grilled snapper and grilled cheese is beyond scrumptious.
640 Via De La Valle
Solana Beach, Ca 92075
Photo credit: Michelle S. via Yelp
For Shopping and Mexican Fare: Casa de Bandini
With a lively vibe, a raucous mariachi band, and access to the Forum Mall’s nearby koi pond, Casa de Bandini is an ideal destination when dining with kids. Parents will love that they can pop into stores like Anthropologie and Sur La Table after the meal. Kids will love making their holiday wish list at Geppetto’s Toys. Casa de Bandini offers plenty of items on their kid menu and all of the food is dee-lish, but what many people might not realize is their soups are out of this world.
The Sopa Azteca is packed with veggies and topped with chunks of avocado, sour cream, cheese, and cilantro. The chicken tortilla soup goes above and beyond most restaurants, with huge hunks of the most tender chicken you’ve ever tasted. But our favorite has to be the albondigas soup. Filled with vegetables and the restaurant’s homemade meatballs, this soup sets just the right the tone for fall. Enjoy it while dining al fresco, as they offer heaters on the patio for those brisk fall evenings.
1901 Calle Barcelona
Carlsbad, Ca 92009
Photo credit: Ferdi E. via Yelp
For Mom’s Cure-All: Milton’s Delicatessen
There’s not a better example of comfort food than matzo ball soup. If you know someone who’s on the verge of getting sick, stop at Milton’s for a bowl of goodness. Your friend will be forever in your debt! Even if you aren’t sick, however, you will savor the taste of this savory soup. With a super tasty broth, just the right amount of noodles, and a matzo ball as big as your head (okay, maybe not that big …), this soup will have you putting Milton’s in regular rotation.
If your heart is set on soup but matzo isn’t your bag, you’ll be happy with the wide selection of other housemade soups they offer as well. From old-fashioned chicken Soup to split pea and cream of tomato, Milton’s is certainly no one-trick pony when it comes to hearty soups. Located in the Flower Hill Promenade, Milton’s is the perfect stop before a day of shopping or letting Fido run wild at nearby dog beach.
2660 Via De La Valle
Del Mar, Ca 92014
Photo credit: Amber E. via Yelp
For a Brew and Soup: Stone Brewery Liberty Station
With a 11,315-square-foot garden, bocce ball court, outdoor cinema, and indoor and outdoor dining and bars, this place is a happening in and of itself. Recreated as a restaurant from the U.S. Navy’s old mess hall in 2013 in scenic Port Loma, Stone Brewery could almost be considered a San Diego attraction. While its impressive grounds might draw you there, the food will keep you coming back, again and again.
When it comes to setting the tone for the perfect meal, there’s nothing better than a savory bowl of soup. At Stone, the can’t-miss dish is their cheddar, garlic, and Stone Ruination IPA soup. Of course, it wouldn’t be Stone if this hearty soup wasn’t infused with one of their most popular IPAs but that isn’t all there is to this delightful creation. With roasted garlic, extra-sharp cheddar, and smoked paprika, this is a rich soup that will warm you from the inside. You might want to order a salad for your meal, though, as this soup – which Stone calls “beautifully bitter” – is beyond filling.
While the kiddos might not be on board with this pungent soup, Stone offers a unique array of items that will satisfy the heartiest of appetites. Instead of typical kid fare like hot dogs and mac ‘n’ cheese, wee ones can nosh on things like grilled hangar steak, baby back ribs, and teriyaki chicken bowls. Each meal on the kids’ menu is $8 and includes their choice of juice, milk, lemonade, or soda along with either an oatmeal fruit bar or ice cream for dessert. Now that’s some stone cold goodness!
2816 Historic Decatur Rd. #116
San Diego, Ca 92106
What’s your favorite spot to enjoy a bowl of warm soup? Tell us in the comments!
— Marnie Broderson