French onion soup at Le Diplomate. Photo courtesy of Le Diplomate Facebook
Is there a better soup than French onions? It’s less like a soup and more like a bowl of melted cheese, croutons and caramelised onions with just the right amount of broth – so in our opinion no. And since there are many soups, here’s a dish for any French onion craving.
The ultra-cheesy: The Diplomate
1601 14th St., NW
Le Dips French onion soup does not skimp on the cheese, which is dipped on top of slices of the brasserie’s delicious homemade baguette and fried until it bubbles. You will not see the robust onion broth on arrival, but it hides under all the incredible melted cheese.
The classic: Cozy
801 O St., NW
Leave it to a native French chef like Cedric Maupillier to perfect French onion soup. Classic bowls, rich in caramelized onions and white wine and served with a relatively restrained amount of gruyere cheese, are a go-to for brunch or dinner at the Shaw brasserie.
The classic (with a little twist): Central
1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Some things have not changed on Central’s menu in 13 years – although the place has now got a new look and chef. This goes for the onion soup: a robust classic with beef broth and caramelized onions that has been made slightly more sour with the addition of provolone cheese.
The vegetarian friendly: Primrose
3000 12th St., NE
You will not want to miss the beef broth in Primrose’s vegetarian riff. An earthy, rich liquid derives its flavor from kombu, mushrooms and deeply caramelized onions. Sorry, vegans, the sticky topping of gruyere and emmentaler cheeses are there to stay.
Soup and fire combo: La Chaumiere
2813 M St., NW
Is there anything better than dipping in a pot of soup next to a warming fire? The winter dream is a reality with this Georgetown man who takes his classics seriously. Gratinée Lyonnaise traditionally gets a rich twist with the addition of egg yolks and a shot of port wine.
The soup with a view: Parc de Ville
8296 Glasgyde, Fairfax
When it’s not completely cold (do you remember those days?) We love to indulge in a bowl of French onions on the chic wine bar on the roof terrace of this Mosaic District brasserie. Good news: You can always enjoy Chef Brendan L’Etoile’s classic indoors, even on the coldest days, when al fresco is not an option. Note that equally charming French siblings, Cafe Colline in Arlington and Chez Billy Sud in Georgetown, also offer the soup.
The new soup in town! And And Goose
2100 P St., NW
Chef Ashish Alfred’s latest French brasserie – a romantic Dupont Circle venue with hot brick walls and flickering candles – is not a replica of its sister sites in Bethesda and Baltimore. One thing all three have in common: you guessed it, sushi! We make fun, it’s a really delicious French onion soup. Match it with similar warming dishes like duck confit.
The French dip-French onion mashup: Randy’s Prime Seafood & Steak
8051 Leesburg Pk., Vienna
Two of our obsessions – French dip sandwiches and French onion soup – come together in this craving sandwich. Tyson’s steakhouse stacks thinly sliced primary ribs on a buttery roll from the sister bakery Best Buns and highlights it with melted gruyere, caramelized onions, truffle béarnaise aioli and hot beef juice. Duck fat fries take it over the top.