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The Best Soups in Cincy

By Heather Smith · September 30th, 2009 · Cravings


As the weather cools and we enjoy a season of colds and threats of flu, we can at least be thankful that we have soup to get us through. Yes, it’s soup season. That elixir that has nursed us through broken hearts, hangovers and mononucleosis.

To celebrate, here’s a list of some of the best soups in Cincinnati. (Of course, you’ll let me know if I left any out.)

Tomato Soup with a Twist

On its fall menu, Over-the-Rhine’s Lavomatic offers a lovely roasted Tomato and Basil Soup with herb goat cheese crostini ($7). Pair this with a Pinot Noir and Charcuterie Plate of house cured meats, pickled cucumbers and lemon and rosemary marinated olives ($11) and you have a fall-worthy meal. For something a little less pricey, Northside’s Honey offers a smoky, spicy tomato soup for $4.


In this food critic’s humble opinion, the best vegetarian chili in the city can be found at OTR’s Tuckers, one of Cincinnati’s oldest restaurants.

It’s not too spicy, and it’s rich with tomato and plenty of onions; it’s also only $3. Add the hardy Grilled Cheese Veggie DeeeLuxe ($3.75), thick with savory veggies and oozing with cheese, and you have a cheap (but definitely yummy) lunch. The second best vegetarian chili in the city can be found at Melt in Northside. This super-spicy Vegan Chili is $3.95 for a cup, $5.50 for a bowl and served with multigrain crackers. Pair it with the Gourmet PB&J with natural butter and raspberry preserves on French bread ($4.50) and you have the best grown-up kid lunch. (By the way, The New York Times also loves Melt, reviewing it in its June feature, “36 Hours in Cincinnati.”)

For carnivores, Camp Washington Chili is still one of the best, although you might argue for Skyline. Camp was voted No. 6 in Bon Appetit magazine’s Top 10 Chili Spots in its January 2009 “Comfort Food” issue. Fellow CityBeat reviewer Anne Mitchell says that Camp’s three-way ($3.90) is meatier than Skyline and spicier than Gold Star.

French Onion Soup

Before it reopened, Rookwood used to have the best French onion soup in town. Now, my favorite is the French Onion Soup Gratinée ($6) on the lunch menu of JeanRo Bistro. Pair this with a side of mashed potatoes or green beans ($2.50-$4) and you are one happy diner. JeanRo’s also has a mean Split Pea Soup ($6) if that’s your kind of thing.

Honorable Mentions

I could be wrong, but I’m going to guess that you’ve never had Asparagus Soup with Egg, Farro and EVOO. A what-oo? Farro is a light grain (low in gluten) and EVOO is a cute acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It can be found at Daveed’s at 934 in Mount Adams. I haven’t had it yet, but it sounds intriguing. The Italian Wedding Soup at Biagio’s Bistro also deserves honorable mention. Every time I go there with my Italian-American friend she can’t resist it.

CONTACT HEATHER SMITH: hsmith@citybeat.com



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