What is more comforting than a warm, steamy cup of soup when it’s cold and gray outside? Fill a hollowed out bowl of bread with soft chewy insides and a crusty outer shell with soup, chili or a hearty stew, and you have the perfect winter meal. Read below to learn where you can find some different takes on this American favorite in DC.
Luna Grill and Diner
Hours: Mon to Thurs, Sun 8 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Fri to Sat 8 a.m.-12 a.m.
If you are looking for the best representation of the classic bread bowl, look no further than Luna Grill and Diner. Steamy, sweet tomato soup is served in a thick bread bowl for only $5.95. Break off pieces of bread and dip into the rich soup, or eat the tomato soup-soaked bread afterward. It is satisfying enough to be a meal, and perfect for those looking for a soothing lunch or dinner.
Hours: Mon to Fri 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sat 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.
For a different take on the standard soup-filled bread bowl, try Tuscana West’s gnocchi al fornarina. An undeniable guilty pleasure, this Italian country bread bowl is filled to the brim with potato dumplings drenched in a fontina, gruyere and parmesan cream sauce. The combination of thick bread, fluffy gnocchi and silky cheese sauce all leads to a deliciously gooey madness. This indulgent meal does come at a price though, as the dish will run you $18.95.
Hours: Mon to Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
The American concept of a bread bowl gets an Indian twist at Merzi. Naan, an oven-baked flatbread, is fashioned into a bowl heaped with your choice of meat or veggies and a number of sauces, including red chili chutney. Perhaps the most unique take on a bread bowl, it is also inexpensive, with all versions coming in just under $10.
Related: Best gluten free menus in DC.
Vie de France
Bakery Hours: Mon to Fri 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Sat 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; Sun Closed
Restaurant Hours: Mon to Fri, 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Sat to Sun Closed
Bar Hours: Mon to Fri 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.; Sat to Sun Closed
Another interesting take on a soup bread bowl is available at Vie de France, where a French bread boule is filled with a heaping Caesar salad. Vie de France’s breads and pastries are all baked in house fresh every day, ensuring that this bread bowl will be delicious—chewy, crusty and comforting.
Related: Best French food in DC
Hours: Mon to Thurs 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri to Sat 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
The ultimate in bread bowls may be Bertucci’s Tuscan vegetable torta. A warm Italian bread bowl is stuffed with roasted eggplant, zucchini, peppers, garlic, artichokes, caramelized onions, roasted tomato sauce and goat cheese, and then baked in a brick oven. This final step is what sets Berucci’s bread bowl apart from all others, as the brick oven melts the cheese, browns the bread, and brings out all of the dish’s many flavors.
Want more of the bowl and less of the soup? Check out some of DC’s best bakeries.
Priya Konings is a child welfare attorney and restaurant critic in Washington D.C. Her restaurant reviews can be found here.