Here’s the Soup: Cafe Luxembourg’s French Onion Soup and More Warming Winter Elixirs

Photograph courtesy of Cafe Luxembourg.

By Susanne Beck

With frigid temperatures bearing down on us, the time seems right to get out — or order in — to celebrate this month’s designation as National Soup Month. Despite its often salty undertones, soup has long been considered an elixir of sorts for body and spirit. The word itself suggests “hygge” and all the winter-warming imagery that comes along with it. And the steam from the bowl seems to offer a low-cost facial to boot.

While this writer prefers the depth of a good strong broth (think Brodo at 2144 Broadway near 75th Street), restaurant personnel point to a broader range of tastes and availability around the Upper West Side.  Among them:

Café Luxembourg’s General Manager, Rachel Cornish, says that for years the crowd favorite has been their French onion soup. “It’s a classic.” Savor a cheesy bowlful at $18 at 200 West 70th Street.

Lena, cashier and assistant general manager at Saiguette (935 Columbus Avenue at West 106th Street) tells us that while they have a large number of pho soups, “Number 21 is the most popular.” Depending upon which variation of beef you choose, the pho includes thin rice noodles with beef broth, onions, lime, bean sprouts, basil, jalapeno, hoisin siracha for meat dipping and a choice of three types of raw beef. Monday through Friday, from Noon to 5PM, you can enjoy it for 10% off the list price of between $12.50 and $14.50.

Over at Viand, on Columbus and 85th Street, Nick the manager confirms that they offer at least five different soups a day. This time of year, it’s the Greek Lemon Chicken for $9.75 that attracts the day and nighttime soup lovers.

And if ramen is your thing, check out Zurutto Ramen and Gyoza Bar at 142 West 72nd Street, where a helpful staff member says the spicy Zurutto Tantan (Spicy level 3; sesame chicken broth, spicy oil, ground pork, seasoned boiled egg, onion, scallion, onion, and bamboo shoots) for $15 satisfies more than most.

West Side Rag would love to hear about your favorite place and soup to slurp the warming. Put it in the comments and we’ll compile a list to get us all through the winter.

On Wednesdays, WSR highlights the favorite local dishes of readers in a column called Here’s the Dish. Send your favorite dish with a photograph to westsiderag@gmail.com. It’s good for your neighbors and for local restaurants — and the byline is a lot of fun.

You can read all our Here’s the Dish columns here.

Happy slurping! 

FOOD | 28 comments | permalink
    1. Charles says:

      Flor De Mayo – 2651 Broadway 83-84 St.
      Parihuela – Spicy Seafood Chowder 12.00
      (Fish, octopus and mussels in a seafood and cilantro broth)

    2. Claire says:

      Paste e Fagioli – Patsy’s – 74 and Col. – $9 – It’s a meal!

    3. Charles says:

      Correction
      2651 Amsterdam 83-84St.
      Flor De Mayo

    4. Leon says:

      I am curious about people’s favorite matzah ball soup. I used to like Artie’s but they are long gone. Any suggestions, preferably between 72 and 96? And preferably at a reasonable price?

      I find that sometimes random diners often have the best soups (I like the basics – chicken noodle, matzah ball, etc) though they tend to be particularly salty.

      • geoff says:

        same problem here. i couldn’t get past the salt. i started making my own: Zabar’s matzoh balls are pretty good. i make my own broth: save your vegetable trimmings as you go along, store them in the freezer. boil up your remains from a Whole Foods organic rotisserie chicken ($10). takes 40 minutes. use low heat, broth will be clearer. soup day—unfreeze some broth, add the matzoh balls, a little chicken if you like, a little carrot and voila! salt to taste. by the way, the prepared white clam chowder sold at Fairway at around $10 is better than any restaurant chowder i’ve ever had, especially the oyster bar at grand central.

        • Leon says:

          Thanks! I agree – Zabar’s has good matzah balls but their broth isn’t so great, so your idea of taking their matzah balls and making your own broth sounds like a good idea!

      • John says:

        City Diner on 90th and Broadway has sublime matzoh ball soup — way better than Zabar’s, but that’s not saying much. Fluffy, supple, swimming in the perfect broth.

      • nyuws84 says:

        Deli Kasbah on West 85th near Broadway. Best around pricey but worth it.

    5. Paul says:

      My heart arteries clogged just by looking at the photo.

    6. Chow says:

      Lentil soup from Seven Hills Mediterranean grill at 158 west 72

    7. Grace says:

      Viand’s Greek lemon chicken soup is amazing! I think it is only on the menu on Thursdays, so I buy 2 so I can have it through the weekend! ; )

    8. life long UWSider says:

      The Hummus Place (between 75th-74th/Amsterdam) has the best (and least guilt-inducing) Butternut Squash soup. Carrot Ginger also excellent.

    9. ZooZooB says:

      At Miss Saigon get the Soup Cari Tôm, a curry noodle soup with chicken or shrimp. For $9.95 you get a generous serving, what seems like a quart of soup and, packed separately, a tangle of rice noodles, the chicken (or shrimp) and cilantro. Cari Tôm has a tomato rather than coconut base, and it was surprisingly spicy with a tangy sweet and sour vibe.

    10. Lee Apt says:

      MY OWN – SMOKY SPLIT PEA SOUP! SUPERB!

    11. Steph says:

      The Pho Shop, W 72 st

    12. Deb says:

      Cafe 82 has FANTASTIC soups! Yankee bean, Lentil, Split Pea, and an incredibly hearty vegetable soup. I often go there for a big bowl of soup for supper! This is now and has always been my go to place for soup and all things breakfast….with kindly staff and yummy food! AND, it looks as sparkly as the day it opened in 1993! (don’t for get to try their cakes!!!)

    13. Françoise Simon says:

      Manny’s Bistro has very good onion soup and great moules/frites 70th & Columbus Ave

    14. Larry K says:

      Cafe du Soleil has wonderful french onion soup with baked over Gruyère cheese. Hot and not salty. Love stopping there for one with a glass of vin. 104/105th St. On west side of Broadway.

    15. Christine says:

      The pozole at El Mitote is wonderful on a cold day

    16. Trudy Robbins says:

      The French Roast on Broadway and 85th street has great onion soup. And City Diner on 90th and Broadway has wonderful matzoh ball soup–kept me going through covid and cold winter days.

    17. Karen L. Bruno says:

      $18.00 FOR SOUP!!!! And no one even commented on it!

    18. uwslifer says:

      The best way to enjoy the French Onion soup at Cafe Luxembourg IMHO is at the bar, preferably when Ryan is working. He is simply the best bartender on the UWS, maybe because he lives here too. He seems to know everybody, and creates a wonderfully comfortable and communal atmosphere for his guests.