What’s In a Name? The Story of Il Porcellino
Say the words il porcellino [eel POR-cha-lee-no] and the reactions you get may vary. Talking to an avid traveler? The words will immediately evoke imagery of a bustling Florentine marketplace and the statue that stands within. Strike up a conversation with an adventurous cook and await the reflections of gorgeously roasted, crispy pork. But these days, ask a Chicagoan what il Porcellino means and soon you’ll be greeted with a new reply—a neighborhood trattoria that brings the heart and home of Italy directly to River North. Want to join us at il Porcellino? You can make your reservation by clicking here.
To fully understand what’s behind the il Porcellino name, let’s take it back to 1634.
Il Porcellino is…
A famous 17th-century bronze fountain standing in the heart of the Mercato Nuovo marketplace in Florence, Italy. Sculpted by Baroque artist Pietro Tacca in 1634, it means “little piglet,” even though the statue itself is that of an adult boar. As legend has it, whoever rubs its snout and places a coin in its mouth will be granted good luck and a return visit to the to medieval city.
Il Porcellino is also…
The Italian culinary term for pork! Ask any nonna and she’ll tell you that slow-roasted porcellino makes one delicious meal. Lucky for you, you don’t need Italian roots to enjoy this dish.
Today’s il Porcellino is…
Not only the signature dish but also the namesake of a new neighborhood trattoria that brings authentic Italian fare and a focus on local ingredients and artisans. Chef de cuisine Aaron Martinez and chef / partner Doug Psaltis crafted a menu of antipasti, housemade pastas, Sicilian-style focaccia pizzas and classic Italian dishes. A dessert cart offering two types of tiramisu (banana and traditional) and zuccherati an Italian bombolone with whipped mascarpone (think: a donut meets cannoli), is served tableside.
Looking for something to do to battle off the Sunday scaries? The il Porcellino family invites you to join their dinner table for Sunday Supper. Each week, chef Aaron Martinez and chef Doug Psaltis prepares a family-style Italian feast highlighting seasonal ingredients and dishes from different regions of Italy.
The beverage program, features bespoke cocktails – a choose-your-own-adventure style of libation. Italy’s signature Negroni can be personalized – done three ways – giving guests the opportunity to “create” a unique drink with the bartenders based on their individual tastes.
More into vino? Handpicked by sommelier Ryan Arnold, the wine list features small producers from all around Italy. It encourages sharing and offers different sizes and styles of bottlings, including a reintroduction to great table wine with fiasco del giorno selections presented in those familiar Italian wicker baskets.
So next time you’re in the neighborhood, stop in to il Porcellino located at 59 W. Hubbard St. and may good fortune always bring you back. For more information on il Porcellino visit ilporcellinochicago.com, give us a call at 312-595-0800 or follow us @ilporcellinochi on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.