Savory, slow-cooked comfort foods like braised meats and the most buttery mashed potatoes you can shake a fork at are hallmarks of winter dining. But you can argue that when the temperature hits its low point, nothing warms the body and soul quite like a piping-hot bowl of soup.
Classic chicken noodle soup may bring back memories of watching cartoons during sick days from school, while tomato remains a formidable partner for grilled cheese. A good chowder hits the spot when dining by the waterfront (which is easy on Long Island), even if it’s frozen over.
At Hamptons restaurants, you can find soups in spades. From the aforementioned classics to offerings with creative twists, these are the best spots to celebrate soup season on the South Fork.
When hibernation season has you feeling like you’ve developed a serious case of cabin fever, a trip to this spirited, refined but unpretentious French bistro is in order. Naturally, a classic French onion soup is on the appetizer menu. The dry-aged beef stock adds serious flavor to the classic dish, setting the stage for (while perhaps simultaneously stealing the show from) other upgraded quintessential comfort foods like a mac ‘n cheese dish with truffles and a duck adobo with salsa verde and smoked feta.
This humble roadside café set just outside the bustling Sag Harbor Village is known for its Mexican dishes bursting with flavors. The soup options are hearty and savory — think a thick split pea soup worthy of being a main dish or a creamy Mexican corn chowder that pairs perfectly with burritos and enchiladas known for their fresh flavors.
This fresh food market, run by the same team as the one behind the local French bistro, Almond, is about friendly neighborhood vibes and fresh foods made from local ingredients. The menu changes regularly, but soup options include a bright carrot ginger, Matzo ball that sells out on the regular and lobster pumpkin bisque that epitomizes the transition from summer to fall.
Though this seasonal spot typically closes from late November through early March, it’s worth putting on this list so folks can get their last licks in of the spot’s lauded soups. Chowders comprise most of the soup menu — likely not a surprise, given the restaurant’s name. New England, Manhattan and corn are all for the slurping. A creamy lobster bisque rounds out the regular options. The casual shingled exterior, paper plates and nautical-inspired interior makes a trip there feel like a summertime clambake, even if you arrive in a winter coat for a late-season lunch.
A who’s-who of notable names has pulled up a chair at this upscale white tablecloth hotel restaurant on Sag Harbor’s Main Street. Jimmy Buffet, Bono and Christie Brinkley are among the names who have made an appearance (or several). It’s unclear whether they ordered the soup. If they didn’t, they missed out. A green grapes white gazpacho with almonds is ideal for an unseasonably warm day (or saved for summer), while a fresh-meets-smoky potato cultivateur is a four-season’s dish. Ditto for the lobster bisque, which is buttery, succulent and rich.
This centuries-old inn with refined, country-style accommodations, including rooms with fireplaces, also boasts a cozy, noted restaurant and tavern. The menu rotates seasonally, based on local ingredients available. The current offering is a cream of cauliflower soup with Mecox Dairy truffle tomme, roasted garlic and thyme. Another recent summertime hit was a chilled soup with sweet corn from Balsam Farms.
This not-too-far-out-East canal-side restaurant boasts a clam chowder that’s won annual awards as the best chowder in Hampton Bays. It’s a New England-style dish with a creamy broth, ample bits of clams and potatoes cooked just right and a side of saltines. Though a seat outdoors, perhaps in one of the Adirondack chairs overlooking the canal on the lawn, is ideal for summertime meals and happy hours, the ample main dining room with waterfront vistas is a cozy spot for winter lunches and dinners.