The French Onion Soup at Maximilien
Ah, French Onion soup – a magical combination of beef stock, crunchy bread and gooey Gruyere cheese that just makes you feel all cozy inside. Soup season is here and there’s nothing more warming (or filling) than a big bowl of French Onion. In the past week, I’ve made it my mission to try every bowl of French Onion I could find in this city; I’ve consulted my friends and colleagues, every social media outlet I’m active on and, of course, Google and they all led me on a pretty delicious and very cheesy journey. After reviewing my notes and all the mouthwatering videos and photos I took, I’ve come up with a top ten list of where to get the best French Onion Soup in Seattle. This list is not ranked, every restaurant here has an amazing French Onion, but since I’ve been asked so many times over the past week what my favorite was, I’ll share with you dear readers – for me it was a tie between The Met and Maximilien.
Cafe Presse: Capitol Hill
This bustling French bar and cafe on Capitol Hill, is serving up fantastic french fare from pommes frites to charcuterie boards and their French Onion is on point y’all. They use a chicken instead of the traditional beef stock in their version, but it doesn’t lack even an ounce of flavor.
Place Pigalle: Pike Place Market
This is actually one of the first dishes I fell in love with when I moved to Seattle five years ago. It was the end of October and that cold fall weather had just set in. This was a magical and delicious discovery; and the touch of sherry they use in the broth makes it something extra special.
El Gaucho: Belltown
This French Onion is flavor packed and oh-so-cheesy y’all! Served piping hot in a cast iron at the always amazing El Gaucho; this is a don’t miss on the French Onion Trail.
Cafe Campagne: Pike Place Market
I think the photo speaks for itself here. I’ve had this French Onion many times and I knew from the beginning of this soupy saga that they’d make the list; I only needed to go in for a photo. They also have an incredible lamb burger and rosé collection here; as well as one of the most darling bars in Seattle.
Butcher’s Table: South Lake Union
This was, by far, the most unique bowl of French Onion I had on this soup quest. You may not know that Butcher’s Table is part of the Sugar Mountain family of businesses which also own Beecher’s Cheese. So, of course, they use one of their cheeses instead of traditional Gruyere; their Marco Polo cheese, which includes lightly milled and cracked green and black peppercorns. This was also the most expensive bowl coming in at $17 but to be fair there were actual pieces of beef in the stock of this bowl (and they were delicious).
The Met: Downtown
This bowl and the following were my two favorites. When I got this French Onion, it was my fourth bowl that day, which isn’t really even fair because of course I’m not going to like it as much as the first one I had when I was hungry! Or so one would think – I immediately knew I had found something special and devoured it.
Maximilien: Pike Place Market
This is my ideal bowl of French Onion, perfectly sized slices of bread on top just drowning in Gruyere and an amazingly flavorful stock. Plus, Maximilien is such a wonderful restaurant tucked away in Pike Place Market.
This spot in Greenwood is cool y’all; it’s like a dark, dive bar with drippy candles and bomb french food. And the French Onion Soup is only $8 when all the other ones came in at $13/$14 (except Butcher’s Table).
Toulouse Petit: Queen Anne
This wasn’t the cheesiest bowl of French Onion, nor was it super packed with onions as many of the others were. However, the broth was bomb and for me, broth is always the best part of soup.
Le Pichet: Pike Place Market
If this bowl looks familiar, it’s because it is. Le Pichet is sister restaurants with Cafe Presse and they serve the same bowl of French Onion goodness. Lucky for us, we can get this bowl up in Capitol Hill or downtown in Pike Place Market.