Posted by: Debra Kolkka | February 25, 2012

Mushrooms of the porky kind


There is a new restaurant in Lucca called Nonna Clara. They serve great local food at reasonable prices. The setting is very nice and the service brisk and friendly.

They have translated their menu into English, obviously without the help of an English speaking person. I love it when restaurants do this and these translations were particularly delightful. Porcini mushrooms were described as mushrooms of the porky kind….really. I somehow missed taking a photo of this bit of the English menu, but I did get some of the others.


The porky mushrooms are featured here on bruschetta.



I’m still trying to work out….to the I crush. The beef steak is actually pork from the cinta senese, which is a particular type of pig from the area and it is very good. The pig has a distinctive band around its middle, hence the surrounded bit.

I went back the other day and the English menu seems to be retired for the winter. I hope they bring it back when the tourists return.







This last photo must be of Nonna Clara’s lovely old hands.

I hope you try this restaurant in Piazza S. Maria Foris Portam in Via Santa Croce in the heart of Lucca. Please don’t tell them I laughed at their menu. I know they should get help with their translations, but I hope they don’t. I think it is wonderful.


  1. Perhaps they translated with the help of Google, LOL.

    • I’m sure they did, or with a dictionary beside them. It happens everywhere in Italy, another favourite was ‘heggs with am and hasparagus’. If I was doing a translation I would ask a native speaker because literal translations are often wrong. Language is difficult.

  2. Oh Deb I just loved this one. Can’t wait to taste that
    Meat sauce of meat” and maybe just maybe.’The Wild boar in damp with Polenta’.
    Not laughing ,just looking forward to trying this delightful looking restaurant.
    Dianne Cant

    • Liz and I did laugh, not being mean, it is funny. In Italian it is Chinghiali in umido, which translates as Wild Boar in damp. Of course it is a type of casserole.

  3. I love mushrooms of the porky kind; should have fresh ones in September – no? I can’t wait to try this restaurant.
    Thank you so much for all your fascinating information.
    All the best,

    • It depends on the weather, but there should be fresh porcini in September.

  4. haha! We went to Thai last night and on the menu was ‘soft shell crap”. It looked pretty crap too! This restaurant looks delicious! xx

    • I don’t think I can beat soft shell crap!

  5. The wild boar, rabbit and tripe sound interesting……NOT! The best laugh I’ve had for the week – don’t you just love them! Ciao.

    • Wild boar and rabbit are delicious, but I don’t eat tripe.

  6. So sweet and so funny Debra. The poor things! Google translate at work by the looks. They have no need to worry though. The food looks delicious! Grazie Debra!

    • I would dearly love to offer help, but it may not be wanted.

      • No, I wouldn’t if I were you. I have tussled with that same thought at times in Italy but I’ve always resisted the urge!!! It will be interesting to see any revisions when it returns for the tourist season.

      • I wouldn’t like to hurt any feelings by mentioning the mistakes, but I do wonder why they don’t get a bit of help.

  7. All sounds sooooooo delicious, can’t wait to get there one day…
    Margaret McKelvie

    • The food is delicious, whatever it is called.

  8. Thats really sweet! Lets go there one day!

    • We should go soon, the food is very good.

  9. The food looks fabulous – the menu… well, very interesting! I have to say I like the sound of “Bruschetta to the porky mushrooms”. The rest looks a lot like the spam my blog receives 🙂

    • I haven’t tried the porky bruschetta yet.

  10. Oh my God, I’ve laughed till I’ve cried over this one. Too funny! I too love these menus, but I think this one is the best ever scouted in Italy. “I crush” ‘is puzzling…do you think they’re trying to express “mashed” potatoes in some way? What’s really charming is that things which sound awful are amazingly delicious. Wild boar in damp (this sounds moldy)…shin bone with onions (sounds like you only get a bone!)…beyond charming. Thank you for this. I needed that laugh.

    • It is a lovely little restaurant, I hope they do well. Most people would just have a quiet chuckle and get on with the important task of eating.

  11. I usually ask for the italian menu as everything sounds better in italian but I think in future I should get the english one as well just to check out the translation. Love it ! Another one for the ever growing list- I really do need to visit!

    • Having very fair hair, I look like a foreigner, so I am usually handed the English menu. I can actually read most Italian menus. I have made some clangers myself so I understand the difficulties.

  12. I love the look of this restaurant – so charming with its bright colours and its inviting array of food. I love the look of Nonna Clara’s hands – judging from the way she touches the ravioli mixture, she is passionate about her cooking. Love the way the Italian language is translated into quirky English! I wonder if Italians laugh over the ways English people attempt to speak Italian?
    On a different plane re language, I remember innocently asking an American if he was ‘American’ in Australian Sign Language (the old version). I recall him looking offended and realised later that the Australian version for American was translated as ‘pig’ in American Sign Language.
    I reckon attempts at language brings so much colour into our lives!

    • Most people are forgiving of mistakes, we all make them.

  13. Lol. I’ll take the ‘I crush’!

    • It sounds delicious doesn’t it?

  14. There are some lovely ones there! But I’m afraid to laugh as I know my attempts with Italian are just as bad!

    • You have to laugh, it’s funny.

  15. It looks like the word “of” is used instead of “from” and “to” instead of “with”. I agree-it is sweet!! I ‘m sure whenever I leave a place they are laughing at my attempt to order! Ha. Thanks for the introduction-it all looks great.

    • I’m sure they have a quiet giggle at us too.

  16. How about ‘bagged of pig’ for pork cured in casings like salami (‘insaccati’ in Italian) and the rest of the sign about halfway down my blog I see a book coming on, Debra.

    • ‘bagged of pig’ is a good one.

  17. I love menu translations too! I saw some hysterical ones in China.

  18. Great to hear about a new authentic restaurant in Lucca and it looks very genuine, particularly because of the translations… Have you seen the English signs at the Santa Maria Novella parking? Hilarious!!!

  19. The menu is priceless! (Sorry to have been away for a few days.)

  20. I think their English translation is wonderful too. It made me smile, although I have no right to as I don’t speak a single word of Italian.

    • My Italian is fairly basic, I’m sure I make horrible mistakes.

  21. Ha! I’m sending this article to a Chinese friend who for years has fallen victim to my humor about mistakes found in Chinese restaurant menus. Actually it seems the more humorous the menu the more authentic the food… I must now google the recipes for “costs of steer” and “potato dumplings to the I [??] crush”…. All in all the restaurant doesn’t look like it serves any mistakes.

    • The food is very good, we can forgive the mistakes.

  22. Ah, Lucca, the lovliest city on earth.

    • I also think Lucca is very lovely. I go regularly and never tire of it.

  23. I especially love the photo on display of (probably) Nonna’s hands. What a lovely way to honor her and keep her legacy with them forever. Very special.

    • It is a great photo and a lovely dedication.

  24. I love the english signs overseas , it’s so funny.I was at a restaurant in Spain once ,where they have done the some thing. It was all very amusing , but this was the best.
    The spanish word for Dessert is Postre , so as a heading for Desserts they had Prostates.
    I should not laugh at this . When I first start to learn English and I didn’t know the word for saddle I referred to it in conversation as the horse’s chair.
    I think that was one of my best ones.
    (by the way, my kids still laugh at my english)

    • I told 6 people here that I had broken my horse until Paolo finally pointed out that it was una caviglia, not un cavallo, an easy mistake.

  25. Aww I love those menus where there are spelling mistakes galore. I find it quite sweet and charming 🙂

    • I do too and I hope they never change. I feel less charitable when I buy a guide book full of unreadable translations.

  26. I couldn’t stop laughing when I realised that they had translated lasagne al forno to “lasagnas to the oven”. The restaurant looks cozy and unfussy though, everything seems to be “made of the house”.

    • It is a very good restaurant serving local food. I intend to become a regular.

  27. Seriously, who doesn’t love a bit of ‘Lard of the collonata’?

    These are classics. So cute… But as long as the dishes taste great, I too would become a regular!

    • Thinly sliced lardo is not bad. It takes a bit of getting used to when you just see a slab of fat.

  28. There has been many times in our travels that we have needed to have a translation of the translation. It is so hard to ask a waiter what the english translation means with a straight face. Of course he has know idea and has to go get the original menu to figure it out himself. Chuckles are then had by all.

    • It is all in good fun.

      • Absolutely Debra. We are lucky that so many restaurants do make the effort to translate but sometimes the result is so funny. The restaurant looks very inviting.

      • Yes, at least they are trying to accommodate those who have no Italian.

  29. What a fantastic gimmick, do you think they bring it out for the tourists then? maybe they are laughing at what comes out of our mouths when we try to speak Italian! How lovely. and so joyous! c

    • I’m sure they have to hide in the kitchen to have a good chuckle at us and our bad Italian.

  30. Deb, this place looks like a great find! I’m reminded of a Chinese menu I read once, which listed “chicken with ginger smell”.. 🙂

    • I once had some ‘shrimp fravoured chips’

  31. That menu made me laugh out loud! So funny, and the food looks amazing.

    • The food is great and not expensive.

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