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A hand holds up a spoon full of cheese, stretching down to a clay pot of onion soup.
“Swiss onion soup” from Swiss Hibiscus, an extremely close relative to the soup from the neighboring country.
Swiss Hibiscus / Official

Where to Find Fantastic French Onion Soup in Portland

The finest comforting, cheese-topped bowls around the city

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“Swiss onion soup” from Swiss Hibiscus, an extremely close relative to the soup from the neighboring country.
| Swiss Hibiscus / Official

When Portland weather turns predictably damp and gray, fortifying stews and soups can be just the thing to make the cooler months feel cozy. And classic French onion soup, with its slow-simmered beef stock, umami-rich caramelized onions, and warm blanket of toasty cheese is like a comforting meal in a bowl.

Many places around town serve it year-round, of course, and it’s not strictly the province of French restaurants (though Eater has a map for that too). While the ingredients aren’t necessarily luxurious, tucking into an individual crock of French onion soup just feels fancier than a cup of chicken noodle or clam chowder.

This is a list of restaurants where French onion soup is available as a prelude to a full meal or can be the main event itself. Remember, maps are not ranked; they’re organized geographically.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Ripe Cooperative

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The secret to the astounding depth of Ripe Cooperative’s French onion soup is the inclusion of demi-glace in the base, paired with painstakingly caramelized onions. The gruyere-laden crouton crowning the bowl is made with house-made sourdough. The result is a meticulous version of the dish — ideal for a rainy, cold day. Ripe Cooperative is open for indoor and outdoor dining.

Petite Provence Boulangerie & Patisserie

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Local French bakery chainlet, Petite Provence, is more than just flaky croissants and crusty baguettes — it’s also a convincing boulangerie, complete with wicker chairs and rustic country charm. The restaurant serves a full-day menu of soups, sandwiches, and heartier fare like beef bourguignon at select spots. All locations serve the French onion soup, though, prepared classically with beef consomme and sweet, browned onions, topped with a toasted round of Provence bread and parmesan and Swiss cheeses. There are even to-go kits for sale, which include recipes that incorporate the soup in other preparations.

Swiss Hibiscus

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This Alberta district restaurant might be the only place in Portland to get a full-on Swiss meal. Along with traditional entrees like emince Zurichoise, many of the starters are a veritable cheese-fest: fondue, spätzli, and rösti all come smothered with Emmentaler. The Alpine restaurant also borrows from its western neighbor and proudly serves a so-called Swiss onion soup, which recently returned to its rightful place on the menu. As a pandemic adaptation, the rich soup is also available to go and includes cheese for melting on top at home.

Verdigris

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This French-ish bistro a few blocks off the Alberta strip offers both takeout and $40 three-course menus for dining in. The prix-fixe includes rib-sticking first course choices like cassoulet made with country ham and a French onion soup, capped with toasted brioche and gruyere. As an added bonus, the French onion soup is also on the happy hour menu, so it can be enjoyed a la carte, paired with a discounted glass of fruity red wine.

Clyde's Prime Rib Restaurant and Bar

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Rose City Park’s retro steakhouse serves up all the iconic mid-century fare, including French onion soup, which along with fondue became popular during the ‘60s in the US. Clyde’s version is based on veal stock, enlivened with a hit of brandy and topped with traditional accoutrements: toasty croutons and a thick layer of melted gruyere.

Papa Haydn

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The dazzling selection of layer cakes on display might be Papa Haydn’s calling card, though this Portland mainstay with locations on both sides of the river also has a robust savory menu with a standout French onion soup. Papa Haydn’s version is quintessential, with a foundation of house-made beef stock teeming with caramelized onions, layered with a crostini smothered in melty gruyere and parmesan cheeses.

Ringside Steakhouse

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Along with purveyors of rustic French cuisine, steakhouses are also a reliable source of decadent starters to tee up the main course. If diners can resist the siren song of Ringside’s famed onion rings, the baked onion soup is a welcome alternative. Served in individual copper pots, the deep amber stock is topped with a crouton, shredded gruyere, and spends a short time in the broiler to ensure a bubbly crust with photogenic char.

Jake's Famous Crawfish

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Despite ostensibly being a seafood restaurant, Jake’s is similar to Ringside and Clyde’s in that it has an old-school vibe that screams French onion soup. Rule of thumb: If shrimp cocktail is on the menu, it’s also a good bet there will be a cheese-topped soup. It might be hard to resist the chowder served in a bread bowl, but diners will be rewarded with a rich version served in a white crock crowned with golden parmesan.

Suzette

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Belmont’s Suzette is a go-to for its breakfast menu and crepes, both sweet dessert versions and savory ones made with buckwheat, but the cafe also serves a rendition of French onion soup that’s vegetarian, born out of a recent overhaul that removed pork and beef from the menu. The onion and mushroom soup gratinée’s foundation is vegetable stock fortified with caramelized mushrooms, finished with a toasted round of bread and bubbly gruyere.

Cafe Du Berry

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Cafe du Berry has been serving fans of French-inspired fare with Pacific Northwest touches at its unassuming South Portland location since 1984. Despite using local ingredients, there’s nothing particularly nouvelle about Cafe du Berry’s menu, which means Portlanders will classics like escargot drenched in butter, and of course, the deeply savory French onion soup, which arrives in an earthenware crock, with picture-perfect rivulets of melted cheese dripping down the sides.

Ripe Cooperative

The secret to the astounding depth of Ripe Cooperative’s French onion soup is the inclusion of demi-glace in the base, paired with painstakingly caramelized onions. The gruyere-laden crouton crowning the bowl is made with house-made sourdough. The result is a meticulous version of the dish — ideal for a rainy, cold day. Ripe Cooperative is open for indoor and outdoor dining.

Petite Provence Boulangerie & Patisserie

Local French bakery chainlet, Petite Provence, is more than just flaky croissants and crusty baguettes — it’s also a convincing boulangerie, complete with wicker chairs and rustic country charm. The restaurant serves a full-day menu of soups, sandwiches, and heartier fare like beef bourguignon at select spots. All locations serve the French onion soup, though, prepared classically with beef consomme and sweet, browned onions, topped with a toasted round of Provence bread and parmesan and Swiss cheeses. There are even to-go kits for sale, which include recipes that incorporate the soup in other preparations.

Swiss Hibiscus

This Alberta district restaurant might be the only place in Portland to get a full-on Swiss meal. Along with traditional entrees like emince Zurichoise, many of the starters are a veritable cheese-fest: fondue, spätzli, and rösti all come smothered with Emmentaler. The Alpine restaurant also borrows from its western neighbor and proudly serves a so-called Swiss onion soup, which recently returned to its rightful place on the menu. As a pandemic adaptation, the rich soup is also available to go and includes cheese for melting on top at home.

Verdigris

This French-ish bistro a few blocks off the Alberta strip offers both takeout and $40 three-course menus for dining in. The prix-fixe includes rib-sticking first course choices like cassoulet made with country ham and a French onion soup, capped with toasted brioche and gruyere. As an added bonus, the French onion soup is also on the happy hour menu, so it can be enjoyed a la carte, paired with a discounted glass of fruity red wine.

Clyde's Prime Rib Restaurant and Bar

Rose City Park’s retro steakhouse serves up all the iconic mid-century fare, including French onion soup, which along with fondue became popular during the ‘60s in the US. Clyde’s version is based on veal stock, enlivened with a hit of brandy and topped with traditional accoutrements: toasty croutons and a thick layer of melted gruyere.

Papa Haydn

The dazzling selection of layer cakes on display might be Papa Haydn’s calling card, though this Portland mainstay with locations on both sides of the river also has a robust savory menu with a standout French onion soup. Papa Haydn’s version is quintessential, with a foundation of house-made beef stock teeming with caramelized onions, layered with a crostini smothered in melty gruyere and parmesan cheeses.

Ringside Steakhouse

Along with purveyors of rustic French cuisine, steakhouses are also a reliable source of decadent starters to tee up the main course. If diners can resist the siren song of Ringside’s famed onion rings, the baked onion soup is a welcome alternative. Served in individual copper pots, the deep amber stock is topped with a crouton, shredded gruyere, and spends a short time in the broiler to ensure a bubbly crust with photogenic char.

Jake's Famous Crawfish

Despite ostensibly being a seafood restaurant, Jake’s is similar to Ringside and Clyde’s in that it has an old-school vibe that screams French onion soup. Rule of thumb: If shrimp cocktail is on the menu, it’s also a good bet there will be a cheese-topped soup. It might be hard to resist the chowder served in a bread bowl, but diners will be rewarded with a rich version served in a white crock crowned with golden parmesan.

Suzette

Belmont’s Suzette is a go-to for its breakfast menu and crepes, both sweet dessert versions and savory ones made with buckwheat, but the cafe also serves a rendition of French onion soup that’s vegetarian, born out of a recent overhaul that removed pork and beef from the menu. The onion and mushroom soup gratinée’s foundation is vegetable stock fortified with caramelized mushrooms, finished with a toasted round of bread and bubbly gruyere.

Cafe Du Berry

Cafe du Berry has been serving fans of French-inspired fare with Pacific Northwest touches at its unassuming South Portland location since 1984. Despite using local ingredients, there’s nothing particularly nouvelle about Cafe du Berry’s menu, which means Portlanders will classics like escargot drenched in butter, and of course, the deeply savory French onion soup, which arrives in an earthenware crock, with picture-perfect rivulets of melted cheese dripping down the sides.

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