Big Bowl

The mini chain's Chinese hot-and-sour soup ($4.95 and $8.95), with its rich pork broth, plenty of earthy shiitake and cloud ear mushrooms and zippy vinegar bite, has restorative qualities that resemble those of a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup.

Galleria, Edina, 952-928-7888; Rosedale, 1595 W. Hwy. 36, 651-636-7173; and Ridgedale, 12649 Wayzata Blvd., Minnetonka, 952-797-9888,

Tao Cafe & Herbery

A pair of meticulously prepared bone broths ($6 and $7) warm winter-frazzled Minnesotans from the inside out. One is built with beef bones, garlic, ginger and turmeric, the other relies on shiitake mushrooms, miso, onions and umami-laden kombu. The kitchen also prepares a daily vegan soup ($4.25 and $6).

2200 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-377-4630,

Yum! Kitchen and Bakery

Owner Patti Soskin makes a spot-on chicken soup with matzo balls ($6.45 to $14.20, served with house-baked challah), the golden broth dancing with onions, carrots, celery and plenty of egg noodles and tender chicken. Does Soskin characterize the matzo balls as "floaters" or "sinkers?" "Somewhere in between," she said, noting that she prefers the former and her husband, Robbie, the latter. "That's why our marriage has lasted this long. We compromise."

4000 Minnetonka Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-922-4000 and 6001 Shady Oak Road, Minnetonka, 952-933-6001,