Not all you’ll be eating this winter to keep you cheerful and bright is broth. Try these stews, pastas and dumplings when you need a boost. We don’t claim to have a cure for depression, but any of these restaurants are guaranteed to temporarily lift your mood and keep you warm during the freezing months.
The lesson at Jacques’ Brasserie is that this French winter classic doesn’t have to be heavy. Chef-owner Jacques Haeringer proves it by using fresh, organic vegetables to lighten up his nearly tender beef stew with his red wine braise that becomes a sticky reduction. 332 Springvale Road, Great Falls
At Il Cappero, Naples-born Tony Iliano brings his southern Italian cuisine to Loudoun in the form of pasta dishes that are sure to please. Our favourite? This piccata that ideally balances buttery comfort with the lively lemon and capers that give the restaurant its name. If you like your spaghetti al dente, this is the place. 19307 Promenade Drive, Leesburg
House Corned Beef
Not simple slices of marinated meat at Mattie & Eddie’s. Instead, chef-owner Cathal Armstrong takes her time (three weeks) to prepare her huge slices of brisket for customers. Fork-tender flesh is dipped in a creamy parsley sauce and rests on a bed of buttered cabbage. 1301 S. Joyce St., Arlington
Macaroni and Cheese
OK, so it’s officially a side dish. Don’t let that stop you from whipping up a meal of our favorite addition to Smokecraft Modern Barbecue’s smoked meats, like Chipotle-Cherry Duck and Barbacoa Beef Tacos. The noodles are cooked to a tantalizing bronze in a sauce made with Jack, cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella and “a secret ingredient”. Don’t ask what it is, enjoy it. 1051 N. Highland St., Arlington
Vegetarians already know the secret: Few things will make you experience the edible equivalent of hygge like a well-spiced dish with bouncy, squeaky Indian cheese for protein. Saravana Palace’s take on the earthy spinach dish, paired with a duo of balloon-shaped Poori buns, is sure to leave you feeling cozy. Even better? Hit the all-vegetarian lunch buffet to try even more dishes. 11725 Lee Hwy, Ste. A15, Fairfax
Braised meat, melted cheese and spicy soup for dipping. We can’t think of a better combination to beat the cold. For these occasions, La China Poblana offers the fashionable birria quesadilla. Can’t smell the quesadilla? There are tacos, burritos, pizzas and mulitas that use the same ingredients. 9792 Center Street, Manassas
Steak and Stout Pie
Leave it to Michael Burgess, the mind behind Vienna’s Pure Pasty Co., to top this cuddly stew in one of Hawk & Griffin’s most flaky shortcrust pastries. Local Mast Farms provides the Black Angus cubes that crumble into a deep, dark Guinness sauce. Thanks to carrots, celery and fresh onion, you will even get your vegetables. 435 Maple Avenue West, Vienna
There are three varieties of xiaolongbao broth at Yu Noodles. The wrappers are thick, but that only helps hold the rich broth inside. We really like the standard pork or shrimp and pork pockets, but for something you won’t find anywhere else, try the Spicy Pepper Soup Dumpling. 11217-C Lee Road, Fairfax
This story originally appeared in our January issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to our monthly magazine.