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Hem 27 Soft Shell Crab noodle soup
Photograph: Graham Denholm

The best soups in Melbourne

Brace yourself against Melbourne's cold weather with these hot bowls

By Rose Johnstone, Delima Shanti and Rebecca Russo

From comforting classics to sinus-clearing spicy broth, we’ve burned our tongues through some of our favourite go-to soups in Melbourne. Refer to this list when the chill (or a nasty cold) hits and your mum’s not around to dish out the homemade stuff.

Feel like some more comforting food? Try Melbourne's best dumplings and the city's best places to get a pub roast

Melbourne's best soups

Minestrone at Pellegrini's
Photograph: Graham Denholm

1. Pellegrini's Espresso Bar: minestrone

Restaurants Melbourne

Nonna would be proud of this chunky minestrone soup. Packed with peas, carrot, zucchini, silverbeet, beans and celery, it’s your daily veggie quota swimming in a tomato base. It comes with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and there’s even some tube pasta in there for good measure. Served with fresh buttered bread, this is as authentic Italian as you’re going to get outside the Boot.

Hem 27 Soft Shell Crab noodle soup
Photograph: Graham Denholm

2. Hem 27: banh canh cua

Restaurants Vietnamese Flemington

If you think Vietnamese noodle soups have light broths, try Hem 27’s banh canh cua, a rich soup made with silky tapioca noodles that are similar to udon. The thick crab gravy soup is slightly spicy and tangy, with flecks of crab meat. Toppings are generous – there’s fish cakes, mushrooms, and pork loaf – but the crowning glory is the deep fried soft shell crab.

The Old Raffles Place
Photograph: Graham Denholm

3. Old Raffles Place: Bishan vegie laksa

Restaurants Singaporean Collingwood

Could Old Raffles Place’s Bishan laksa be one of Melbourne’s best vegie laksas? We think so. Their creamy coconut-based noodle soup is big on peppery heat and is scattered with generous helpings of fried eggplant cubes, okra, snowpeas, bok choy and tofu. Unfortunately they use pork lard to cook dishes here, which is good news for meat-eaters, but makes this vegie laksa a no-go for vegetarians.

Shop Ramen pork belly ramen
Photograph: Graham Denholm

4. Shop Ramen: pork belly ramen

Restaurants Fitzroy

Sometimes we wish Shop Ramen sold their shoyu soup in takeaway cups for that afternoon pick-me-up, but until they do we’ll just have to keep ordering the pork belly ramen. The ramen’s clear broth with a light, soy sauce seasoning cuts through the richness of the slab of pork belly, which adds a smokiness to the soup. Don’t be afraid to make some noise when you slurp those al dente, handmade noodles.

Beef soup at Soi 38
Photograph: Vince Caligiuri

5. Soi 38: beef boat noodle soup

Restaurants Thai Melbourne

Soi 38’s life-giving boat noodle bowls will make you feel warm and cozy almost as soon as you smell the steaming broth. Go with the beef boat noodles that harness the sinus-clearing qualities of a hot and fragrant mix of chilli, star anise, lemongrass and galangal. Our bowl was topped with tender braised beef, beef balls, kangkong (water spinach), and fresh bean sprouts to help line your ribs.

Pho Chu The soup
Photograph: Graham Denholm

6. Pho Chu The: beef pho

Restaurants Richmond

They do one thing at Pho Chu The and they do it well. Their piping hot bowls of pho come out fast, and the huge bowls are decked out with spring onion, coriander and tender noodles. The broth is dark and salty from the bone marrow, and you should try the 'Special beef' if you're game for some offal in your soup. Vegetarians, you’ll have to ask nicely for the vego option.

The Soup Place pumpkin soup
Photograph: Graham Denholm

7. The Soup Place: pumpkin soup

Restaurants Cafés Melbourne

This laneway soup bar will warm you from the inside out in more ways than one. See that wall covered in post-it notes with messages like “Be safe tonight, you are important”? They’re from generous folk who have tacked an extra $3.50 onto their $7.50 bowl of soup to feed a homeless person in Melbourne. The Soup Place call it a 'pay it forward' system. On a winter day, there’s nothing better than a steaming bowl of creamy, chunky soup ladled straight from a big, black kettle and served with crusty baguette.

Hungry for more cheap eats?


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