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Best Bread Bowls In The Bay Area

Porcini Mushroom Soup (credit: Jason Quinn & Anna Iwanicka/Wikimedia Commons)

A bread bowl can make a soup starter an entire meal, and it is oh so good. If you enjoy the tang of sourdough soaking up chowders, chilis and hearty soups, then wander over to these Bay Area spots to find your favorite bread bowl.

Fat Maddie's Grill
2005 Crow Canyon Place
San Ramon, CA 94583
(925) 355-1975

Fat Maddie's covers it all, from burgers, sandwiches, salads and sides, to gyros and vegetarian choices, plus you can eat it all either indoors or out. Fat Maddie's offers two sourdough bread bowl options: freshly made clam chowder or chili topped with cheese and onions. Bring the kids since Fat Maddie's has choices for them too. See the entire menu online at the website.

Race Street Seafood Kitchen
247 Race St.
San Jose, CA 95126
(408) 287-6280

A local popular seafood joint since it opened in 1969, Race Street Seafood Kitchen must be doing something right as it always seems to be packed, especially at lunch. The menu is more that just tasty fish and chips, with a wide range of seafood and fish choices, many available either fried or grilled. If you are looking for something a bit lighter than fishplates, try a Shrimp Louie salad or shrimp cocktail. No seafood joint is truly complete without thick and creamy clam chowder, and Race Street serves some of the best chowder around. The restaurant's award-winning New England-style clam chowder (Gold Medal from the Consumer Reaction Council, California State Fair) is available in a chowder bowl ($4.69) or sourdough bread bowl ($6.79), the latter a favorite way to enjoy potages. Visit the website to view the entire menu offerings.

Erick's DeliCafe
15495 Los Gatos Blvd.
Los Gatos, CA 95032
(408) 395-6363

Erick Johnson opened the first Erick's DeliCafe in Scotts Valley, California in 1973. Since then, Erick's DeliCafes have come a long way, with 32 Northern California locations. Known for their warm atmosphere, fast and friendly service and quality food, the DeliCafes give their pledge to remain just as they are, serving homemade soups, fresh salads and made-from-scratch bakery goods. Searching for a bread bowl option? Erick's has that too, with your choice of any Erick's soup served in a crusty sourdough soup bowl ($6.69) or the sourdough soup combo ($7.39), with your choice of soup in a bread bowl served with a side house salad. Visit the website for full menu and additional locations.

Le Boulanger
650 Castro St.
Mountain View, CA 94041
(650) 961-1787

As a Bay Area family-owned business, Le Boulanger profiles the spirit and good taste aims of Northern California. With three generations of baking tradition and experience, Le Boulanger prides itself on baking the freshest and best tasting breads. Yet, there is more to savor here than great bread. The bakery café boasts an expansive menu that includes pastries, homemade soups, salads, fresh pizzas, sandwiches, and a full service expresso bar. Included too is a Bay Area favorite - soup in a bread bowl (8 oz./12 oz.). Le Boulanger's Soup 'N' Sourdough features a portion of soup in a freshly baked sourdough bread bowl; a variety of soups are on a weekly rotating schedule. Check the website for menu options and soup schedule, prices, and additional locations.

Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a member of an independent filmmaking group. Her work can be found at

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