The Purple Pig is a restaurant right on Michigan Avenue that serves tapas style Spanish and Mediterranean food. The restaurant had been on my Chicago restaurant bucket list for years, and I finally made it there when my sister was in town for 24 hours. It is always a bit risky to take an out of town guest to a restaurant that I haven’t tried yet, but everyone raves about The Purple Pig, and a close friend works there so I knew we would be well taken care of. The food was superb, and I loved how the menu included Greek, Spanish, and Italian cuisine with an attention to current dining trends. The small plate format means that we got to try lots of different dishes.
We began our meal with the Salt-Roasted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese and Pistachios (pictured above). This was a highlight of the meal. I love the flavor combination of beets and goat cheese – but what made this interested was the addition of the pistachios which added a nice crunch to the antipasti. It was a simple, yet well executed dish, certainly something you should try.
Next up was the Fried Smashed Potatoes served with a Tzatziki Sauce. The potatoes were fried in pork fat, making them extra crisp and flavorful. I am obsessed with potatoes, and I thought this dish was a fun combination of french friends and mashed potatoes.
Then we tried one of the Smears. We had the Pork Neck Bone Gravy with Ricotta, which was served with a hearty amount of fresh bread. The pork neck was similar to slow cooked pulled pork. It was very tender and added a nice rustic taste to the sauce.
My friend Mark recommended the Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with Gravy and Mashed Potatoes. This reminded me of the type of meal my parents would make – simple yet perfectly so. The Purple Pig specializes in the rustic foods that were traditionally prepared by peasants. The Purple Pig has taken these traditional dishes and brought them to Chicago, and it is clear why the restaurant is adored, and the winner of several Bib Gourmand awards. This pork fell apart – we didn’t even need a knife, and the potatoes and gravy matched it wonderfully.
We finished things off with a Summer Squash Salad with Arugula, Hazelnuts, Pomegranate Seeds, and a light citrus dressing . The squash as very thinly shaved and served raw. This was my sister’s favorite and she has already gotten to work recreating this dish at home.
We had a lovely time at The Purple Pig. Often I feel like buzzed about restaurants don’t live up to their reputations, but The Purple Pig was everything that I hoped it would be. It is also quite affordable!
The Purple Pig is located at 500 North Michigan Avenue – right on the Magnificent Mile. They have a large outdoor patio as well as indoor seating. They do not accept reservations.