When “winter” hits San Diego (that’s about 50 degrees), locals bundle up in down coats, Uggs, and scarves like a blizzard is about to hit. For thin-blooded Californians, when the breezes blow, it’s all about hearty soups, stews and chilis for warm doses of comfort. Luckily, restaurants around the county offer up an enticing variety of hot goodies to keep body thermostats in check.
Here are some delicious options not to miss this season.
Quick-eats or takeaway
Boudin: Mosey into this San Francisco-based bakery and spot bread bowls on nearly every table. Based on a mother dough dating back to 1849, the sourdough bread is a favorite for soup and sandwiches. In addition to Boudin’s classic chili, clam chowder and butternut squash soup this winter, Boudin added hearty stews to its menu including beef, chicken pot pie, and shrimp and andouille sausage.
Fashion Valley: 7007 Friars Rd. #357, 619.683.3962; Claremont Mesa: 5407 Balboa Ave., 858.737.6571; boudinbakery.com
Urban Plates: When the cool coastal winds cause the shivers, head to this consistently popular spot for a selection of warming stews and soups. Go spicy with the sweet potato, carrot, and curry soup with jalapeno and lemongrass or the curry tofu and vegetable stew, made with green curry-coconut sauce, daikon, and ginger.
Carmel Valley: 12857 El Camino Real, 858.509.1800; La Jolla: 8707 Villa La Jolla Dr., 858.263.0818, urbanplates.com
Sit down and enjoy a bowl
Barbusa: Forget about dieting for one night while diving into the decadent lobster and seafood bisque at this Sicilian restaurant. Served en croute (inside of a flaky bread shell), the soup comes with chunks of lobster in a rich, creamy bisque.
1917 India St., Little Italy, 619.238.1917, barbusa.com
Cloak & Petal: Beckoning patrons to “come and unwind your soul,” this latest spot to hit Little Italy serves up a traditional Japanese treat — the Kabocha Pumpkin shirumono. The sweet potato-like soup is served with pine nuts and nori and will warm the body (and soul) during winter months.
1953 India St., Little Italy, 619.501.5505, cloakandpetal.com
Curadero: On a chilly day, pop downtown for breakfast or lunch with Chef Brad Kraten’s traditional Birria de Res, a spicy beef stew served with corn tortillas and frijoles de la olla that is sure to turn up the heat.
1047 Fifth Ave. #100, downtown, 619.515.3003, curadero.com
Mille Fleurs: A veritable work of art, the eye-catching butternut squash soup at this North County restaurant is both comforting and complex with light cream, ginger, pumpkin seed oil and cinnamon croutons.
6009 Paseo Delicias, Rancho Santa Fe, 858.756.3085, millefleurs.com
Tidal: Head over to Paradise Point on Mission Bay for Chef Andrew Reyes’ delicious and gluten-free creation, the “Island Style” coconut soup with spiny lobster, corn, Thai basil and shiitake coconut cream.
1404 Vacation Rd., Mission Bay, 858.490.6363, tidalsd.com
Waterbar: The new seafood spot on Pacific Beach that blends West Coast, East Coast and Baja cuisines also happens to offer killer ocean views. Cozy up with the house chowder, a twist on the classic with smoked fingerling potatoes, crispy pork, clams and celery.
4325 Ocean Blvd., Pacific Beach, 858.888.4343, waterbarsd.com