Yesterday’s lunch special at the Mexican restaurant Reposado was billed as cioppino, though it was recognizably a Mexican-style sopa de mariscos ‘seafood soup’. Meanwhile, cioppino is standardly described as a fish stew (as in the Wikipedia article on the dish), though it too is a seafood soup, essentially a clear tomato soup with a whole lot of seafood (ncluding fish) in it. Exactly what Reposado was serving yesterday, with some significant differences in details: the basic soup at Reposado had no wine in it; the Reposado dish had a lot of vegetables in it (not just the sauteed onions in the basic sauce, but also potatoes, carrots, poblanos, and zucchini); and the Reposado dish had some Mexican ingredients (fresh chiles, cilantro, and lime) rather than the Mediterranean ingredients of classic cioppino (shallots and bay leaves, in particular; the two soups share basil, oregano, and an anise-flavored ingredient, either aniseed or fennel).
Cioppino is a San Francisco dish (so it’s no surprise that sopa de mariscos would be billed as cioppino in a Bay Area restaurant), but its roots lie in Italy; the sopas / estofados / caldos de mariscos of Latin America, Mexico included, have their roots in Spain; so both originate in the fish soups and stews of the maritime Mediterranean, from Greece and Italy to France and Spain, which vary locally but share a family resemblance.
After a celebration of cioppino and sopa de mariscos, I’ll go to a linguistic question, namely the soup vs. stew question.