Feasting on Pig’s Head at the Gorbals

Recently, I dined at the Gorbals and noticed they were offering pig’s head for $43. I questioned our server and she said it’d take about an hour to cook and it was good for 5-6 people. It also came with 2 sides. Although we had that many people that evening, we opted to have a regular (and delicious) dinner that night.

looks like a hunk of pork with teeth

But the idea of having a whole pig’s head intrigued me. So much so I mentioned it to a few people and next thing I knew, my group of six trooped over there last week for this piggy delight. I emailed to confirm they’d have the pig’s head that night and they told me they’ll save me one.

As it turned out, it isn’t a whole pig’s head but it is half. So there was only one eyeball to go around. Darn.


pig's head- skin removed


Chef Ilan’s family is expanding. It could very well be his partner was about to give birth at any moment but he was in the house that night (though not cooking– we later saw him walking his cute dog around the neighborhood). His capable staff explained the (whole) pig’s head is cut in half in house and then roasted for 12 hours. They then store it until someone orders it, re-seasoning and back to the oven for another hour.


pig's eyeball, food styled by the Minty


As much as I was the instigator, I was still compelled to just eat the “safe” stuff– the meat and perhaps those adorable piggy ears. Maybe a bit of skin. Sure, it was the cheek. That’s all right, ya know. It’s cheek. People can eat cheek.  I often do though it’s usually lamb or beef. My friend remarked she was very happy with the snout. A slight sense of dread washed over me. Snout? We’re eating snout? Back to the cheek, Minty, back to the cheek.

chewing on the eyeball

She likes it!

Then I ate something that was squishy. I don’t know what it was and when I questioned my table mates who were eyeball deep (haha) in their own pork lovin’, they just said, “eat it, eat it, eat it!”

So I did. And the squishy bit was weird. I think it may have been brain! Oh, that’s all right. I’ve had cow brain before and was fine (no mad cow disease here). But still, what was that?

pig's head destroyed

Apparently our piggy had cavities.

We all agreed afterward that while we liked our food (we also had the pork banh mi, bacon-wrapped matzoh balls, spicy broccoli and sticky toffee cake), we didn’t need to eat another pig’s head.


1. People firmly fall into two camps- pig’s head or not

2. If you’re in the pig’s head camp, you should be open to eating squishy things

3. Eating a pig’s head will win you points with boys but it was mostly women at our table

4. Booze isn’t not required but I suggest white wine to cut through the fat. Or beer.

5.  In fact, buy a round of beer for the kitchen (it’s under desserts on the menu)

The Gorbals

501 S Spring St

Los Angeles, CA 90013-2310

(213) 488-3408