Portland is known for its rain, and nothing tastes better on a cold, wet day than a steaming bowl of soup. We love our ramen, but the city’s wide-ranging culinary scene has plenty more to offer. Whether you’re craving Mexican pozole or classic chicken noodle, these soup spots will warm you from the inside out.
Tucked away inside a nondescript strip mall on Southeast 82nd Avenue, you’ll find a Portland soup institution. Ha VL is a beloved lunch spot dishing out two rotating Vietnamese soups daily. The offerings go way beyond pho to include snail noodle soup and turmeric noodles with sliced shrimp cake. (See an unofficial menu here.) Flavorful, authentic, full of tender meat and served with toppings like fresh basil and pork cracklings, Ha VL’s soup is widely thought to be among the best in the city. (In fact, it’s so popular, they almost always sell out early.) In addition to the piping hot soups, Ha VL also offers Vietnamese banh mi and to-die-for iced coffee. Pro tip: you can also find their delicious soups and sandwiches at sister restaurant Rose VL on Southeast Powell Boulevard
Savor Soup House
A favorite of the downtown lunch crowd, charming food cart Savor Soup House is a master of American classics like chicken noodle and clam chowder. The menu rotates daily and includes vegan and gluten-free options, like the signature tomato soup with fennel and orange. Pair your soup of choice with a delicious deli-style sandwich (we love the “Miss Lizzy,” with ham, brie, caramelized onions and hot mustard) or a build-your-own grilled cheese.
Whether you need a lunch-time warm up or a late-night soup and booze combo, the pho at Luc Lac will set you right. This bustling Vietnamese restaurant is always busy and worth the wait. Made from a family recipe, their rich spiced pho comes with your choice of meat (like brisket, round steak or tripe) and is served with a pile of fresh veggies and garnishes. (Vegans take note: their veggie broth is also highly lauded.) Pair your soup with one of Luc Lac’s revered cocktails, like the Samba Zing with mezcal, jalapeño and basil.
Tazón! Pozole at Tournant
Once a month, Portland culinary event space Tournant hosts “Tazón! Pozole,” a warm-hearted pop-up centered on traditional Mexican pozole. This slightly spicy soup is loaded with hominy and stewed meats, and topped with refreshing garnishes like lime, onion and radish. Wash it down with tequila or mescal. (“Tazon! Pozole” is usually held on the third Thursday of the month. Check Tournant’s website for details.)
Hot Pot City
A build-your-own Chinese soup buffet, Hot Pot City is a warm and cozy go-to for downtown workers, families and everyone in between. With its DIY nature, Hot Pot City is perfect for picky eaters or groups with different dietary needs and tastes. Here’s how it works: First, choose your broth, be it vegetarian or one of many meaty and spicy options. (We vote for the Thai-style hot sour soup.) Next, fill your plate with all the meat, seafood, noodles, fresh veggies and dipping sauces your heart desires. Cook it all up in the piping hot broth at your table, slurp it down and repeat. Meals are all-you-can-eat, so come hungry!