CONTRIBUTED BY CHRISTINE BRUNS
I’m not usually one who just picks a random restaurant to eat at while walking by, but on a recent outing with my husband, that’s what we found ourselves doing. We were wandering through Haebangchon (HBC) and Kyungridan, on the strip just east of USAG Yongsan and north of Itaewon. We had planned to go on a hike up to Namsan, but needed some nourishment first. As we walked, we saw a bunch of cafes, but the sandwiches on the sign for Porchetta looked especially scrumptious (we worried that we might have just been really hungry, but nope!).
If you’re like me, you’re wondering, “What’s a Porchetta?” Turns out it’s a moist pork roast cooked over a spit and stuffed with various herbs and garlic. There was a great smelling teaser at the front counter as we entered.
The menu, though full of typos, offers up some delicious options – ciabatta sandwiches, grilled cheeses, salads, soups, and sides. They also have a decent beer menu, for those enjoying an adult beverage while out and about, as we did. I tried a tangerine beer – very nice and went down pretty easy. Not the best pre-hike choice, I’ll admit, but it was a Saturday excursion with no kids!
As we often do at new places, we ordered two different things to swap and compare. We ordered the Original Porchetta and the Memphis BBQ Porchetta, with a side of fries to share. The sandwiches each came with a simple cup of greens as a side salad; the fries had a great white dipping sauce, which you can help yourself to refills of at the counter.
I started with my half of the Original and Oh. My. Yum. I almost did not want to swap the 2nd half of it with my husband. It was so tender, had a great pesto sauce, and the ciabatta was excellent. I did give in and switch out for my half of the Memphis BBQ – and was glad I did! Sooooo good.
We will definitely be stopping by again to try out some of their other items. The restaurant has a small patio seating area and additional areas inside, and the staff was very quick and nice. This is definitely one of those hidden gems you should try out.
Porchetta Restaurant, Itaewon
Prices: from 7,000 – 13,000 won
Address: 이태원2동658번지 | 658 Itaewon 2(i)-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Google Coordinates: 37.5385806, 126.9874086
Directions: Seoul Subway Line 6, Noksapyeong Station (Exit 2) – walk straight until you hit the underpass. Cross the street (Noksapyeong-daero) using the underpass, walk out to your left, and cross the next street (Hoenamu-ro). Turn right and Porchetta will be a few meters down on the lefthand side.