Eat & Drink

9 Noodle Soups to Warm Up With in Charlotte

From international varieties like Greek orzo and hot-and-spicy ramen bowls to All-American chicken noodle, chances are good there’s a noodle dish near you that will warm you up on chilly days or when you need a little extra comfort food.

Futo Buta. Photo by Kyo H. Nam Photography.

Tonkotsu at Futo Buta

Conveniently located across from the Bland Street light rail stop, Futo Buta has been one of the hottest restaurants on the scene since it opened in 2015, and it’s not hard to see why. Their flagship ramen bowl, the Tonkotsu, is about as authentic of a dish as you’ll find outside of Tokyo (and perhaps within). Try the Tonkotsu if you’ve never been, but if you’re looking for a behemoth of a meal, challenge yourself to the Buta Bowl. This monster includes pork belly, duck confit and spicy pulled pork, along with double noodles cooked to perfection. The broth is very spicy (thanks to generous chili and cayenne pepper) and even a little smoky. An empty bowl here is an impressive feat.

Hu Tieu Dac Biet at Lang Van Vietnamese

Lang Van is a true Charlotte institution. The pho here is excellent, as are the accompaniments (try the crispy quail), but what really stands out is the service that treats you like family. Lang Van has a steady flow of customers who the staff is on a first-name basis with, and they’ll treat you with the same warmth, even if it’s your first time. Try the Hu Tieu Dac Biet with shrimp, beef, crab, sizable scallops, and rib meat, but you can’t miss with any dish you order.

Saigon Palace. Photo by Andy Goh.

Pho Do Bien at Saigon Palace

What separates Saigon Palace from other restaurants on this list is the quality of the ingredients used. Don’t let the obscure strip mall facade fool you, this is an excellent location for all foods Asian, and their pho is no exception. Seafood dish Pho Do Bien includes shrimp, crab and scallops with golden thin egg noodles. The broth has some back-end heat, and the taste definitely gets more complex as the ingredients meld together. When the temperature drops outside, head down South Boulevard to warm up from the inside.

Orzo Soup at Kebab-Je

For one of the best orzo soups in the city, you can impress your friends by ordering the off-menu lemon chicken orzo soup at Kebab-Je, a Matthews establishment with a second location off Rea Road. This delightfully composed soup has only the basics—carrots, lemon, pepper, and chunk chicken in a vegetable broth—but there’s something magical in that simplicity that makes this soup one of the most comforting you’ll find anywhere. Pair it with a plate of hummus shawarma for a cozy and satisfying Mediterranean meal.

Dish. Photo by Kyo H Nam Photography.

Chicken and Dumplings at Dish

Don’t be fooled by the name, Dish’s take on chicken and dumplings is more of a hearty chicken noodle soup than it is dumplings. Plaza Midwood’s staple Southern and comfort food spot has plenty of items that will warm your belly, but perhaps none more so than this one. Shredded chicken, a thick and peppery broth, and robust noodles are served with a fresh-baked biscuit, deviled egg and one side. For just $8.99, this soup eats like a meal, therefore making it one of the more economical picks on this list.

Pho at Pho Hoa

East Charlotte is definitely one of the best areas in town to find truly authentic ethnic foods. Although Pho Hoa is a nationwide franchise, the ownership is local to Charlotte, and you can still find some of the best pho in the city here. Here you’ll find a menu of exotic phos, including brisket, fatty flank, cilantro, and beef tendon. The dish comes served straight out of the kitchen, with big sprigs of thai basil, fresh jalapenos and bean sprouts. The broth is cooked to a perfect balance of savory and salty, making this an excellent bowl for when the cold months have you feeling under the weather.

Yama Izakaya. Photo by Andy Goh.

Udon at Yama Izakaya

Japanese noodle soups aren’t limited to just ramen. Udon, a thick wheat flour noodle soup, is often a lighter alternative to many of the beef and pork heavy broths found in ramen. Head to Yama Izakaya on Central Avenue for one of the city’s best udon dishes. The veggie udon offers a satisfying kelp-based broth that has a bold, beefy flavor, without all the fats and oils to weigh you down. Broccoli, carrots, leeks, cabbage and bamboo shoots make for a warm and fulfilling meal.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup at The Mad Greek of Charlotte

The Mad Greek of Charlotte has become known for serving some the most Greek dishes in town—and its lemon chicken orzo soup is no exception. Like at Kebab-Je, you’ll have to order this soup off menu, but this Uptown version is constructed quite differently from its suburban iteration. The orzo grains are much thicker and fuller, and the cuts of chicken, carrots and celery are all larger, making for a much chunkier soup. The dish is also served with the freshest and softest pieces of pita around. Pair it with their famous spanakopita dinner, and you’ll be ready to brave any chilly weather.

Chicken Noodle Soup at Landmark Diner

You can’t ever go wrong with a stop at the Landmark Diner. Their menu includes an all-American lineup of burgers, sandwiches, salads, and other entrees, while also featuring a strong selection of Italian dishes. No matter what you order, rest assured the kitchen will hook you up with a generous portion. That extends to their chicken noodle soup, which at just about $3 for a bowl is a tremendous value. Their bowl of grandma’s classic cure for the common cold includes wide and twisty egg noodles for a satisfying spoonful every time.