Even in the dead of winter, when the chill seems to blowing off the river and the sea, Astoria has the liquid that will warm your soul.
Here is a soup for every day of the work week to keep your belly full and your body warm.
1. Silver Salmon Grille
11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday - Thursday
11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday
1105 Commercial St., Astoria
Surrounded by psychedelic artwork, seasonal garland and dozens of silver salmon “swimming” around the restaurant’s walls, the Silver Salmon Grille is a cozy place to stop in and warm up as you stroll through downtown.
The full restaurant and bar menu boasts a wide array of appetizers, specialty salads and lunch and dinners entrees including pan-fried oysters, coconut prawns and vegan veggie wraps with garlic shoestring fries.
The heart and soul of the Silver Salmon, however, lies with their award winning clam chowder. At $6 a cup or $8.25 a bowl, you have no excuse but to fill up on their creamy, smooth chowder. The clam base is brought to a boil and seasoned with white pepper, thyme and bacon, of course. The bowl is then garnished with paprika, parsley and a melted butter swirl.
I recommend going big and ordering their chowder and cheese bread combo for $13. The savory blend of cheeses and garlic herb butter on toasted french bread not only compliments the chunky chowder but acts as a saturating spoon when you get down to the bottom of the bowl — and trust me, you’re going to want to get every last drop.
2. Baked Alaska
11:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. Thursday-Tuesday
1 12th St. #1, Astoria
Baked Alaska is positioned on the docks right on top of the Columbia River. Between the exquisite view and all-encompassing menu, which offers seafood, chicken, steak, desserts and more, it’s easy to overlook the restaurant’s soup options.
But that is a mistake.
Baked Alaska’s rotating soup of the day menu offers seasonal, rich flavors that change daily. From creamy chowders to brothy stews, Baked Alaska combines flavor and seasonality to make each soup worth trying. In three consecutive days, the chef whipped up a brisket chili, a tomato dill and bleu cheese soup and a butternut squash soup with cinnamon — the variety and creativity is always there. If you’re a creature of habit, don’t worry, their house made clam chowder is also prepared and offered daily.
The soup of the day bowl, $8, comes in a massive, decorative dish.
During my evening at Baked Alaska, the soup of the day was a loaded cornbread chowder. With a heavy cream and polenta base, this rich, hearty soup filled my stomach and warmed my bones. The chowder features bacon, chicken stock, onions and shallots and is seasoned with butter and garlic.
Like my server told me, it’s not the healthiest soup, but it’s among the most delicious.
3. Curry & CoCo Thai Eatery
11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Thursday - Tuesday
125 9th St., Astoria
Curry & CoCo is one of the few thai restaurants in Astoria, so the pressure is on.
The restauran offers other dishes you’d expect to find at a Thai eatery like mango sticky rice, coconut shirmp and of course, Pad Thai.
But their expertise lies with their name — this restaurant knows curry.
With at least 13 curries always on the menu, not including their curry specials, the options are almost overwhelming. Stick to what you know and go with one of the yellow, red, green or panang currys under their “simple” menu.
Or, if you’re feeling explorative, branch out and try one of their nine signature dish curries. The intricate list ranges from “Shrimp’n Pinneapple Curry” to “Thai Pumpkin Curry.” The “Sweet Basil Salmon” caught my eye, but after chatting with my server, I ended up going with their “Tom Kha” curry soup.
Made with a coconut milk base, the soup is creamy and flavored with lemongrass, tomatoes, lemongrass, kaffiir leaf herb and spices.
Soup comes in all seasons, shapes and sizes. Don’t forget about the local curry stop this winter.
4. Tora Sushi Lounge
11 a.m. - 2 p.m., 4 p.m. - 9 p.m. daily
1197 Commercial St., Astoria
In the heart of downtown Astoria, right across from the Liberty Theatre, sits an unlikely “soup” destination. Though more commonly known for its namesake, Tora Sushi Lounge offers a delicious offering of brothy vegetables, meats and noodles that absolutely constitute as soup in my book.
Choose from a variety of udon noodles, which come soaked in a light broth and topped with anything from fired tofu to poached eggs. The restaurant also offers Sukiyaki, a rice noodle base with a rich broth topped with onions, carrots, napa cabbage, mushrooms and tofu.
On my visit, I decided on the Nabeyaki Udon which comes with chicken, vegetables including zucchini, carrots and onion, a soft poached egg and mixed tempura.
Between the round, thick udon noodles and the tempura fried shrimp and vegetables, the bowl is more than I could consume in one sitting.
The good news is, like most soup, this dish saves wonderfully. On you way out of the restaurant, ask for another order of udon noodles to add to your broth and vegetables when you dive into your leftovers later — the soup at Tora’s is a flavorful gift that keeps on giving.
5. Good to Go
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday - Friday
Closed Saturday, Sunday
1132 Commercial St, Astoria
Good to Go in downtown Astoria has everything ready for a quick and delicious bite to eat, including a range of soups daily.
The roasted red pepper bisque will satisfy any craving for a warm bowl on a blustery day.
The savory yet sweet flavors of the roasted red peppers are brought forth with a blend of spices and vegetables all in one pot. The soup comes in three different cup sizes, depending on the size of your appetite, and is accompanied by packets of oyster crackers to add a crunch to the creamy texture of the bisque.
If you’re hungry for more, grab a sandwich to go as well.