Where Should I Take Five Sailors on Leave?

Categories: Ask the Critic
sailors_atten.jpg
U.S. Navy
Dressed in their whites ... and hungry.
Yesterday, SFoodie received, via Twitter, the best restaurant-recommendation request we've ever fielded. From EB:

My cousin in the navy just docked here. I need to find a place for dinner for me and 5 sailors. Any suggestions? #notjoescrabshack
The mind reels. I e-mailed EB for more specifics, and she said she had arranged to take the guys to Puccini & Pinetti last night, and wanted something tonight in the same price range. Oh, and she had convinced them to wear their sailors' whites tonight.

Here would be my three suggested plans:

First thought: the Marina & Cow Hollow. What about dinner at Kasa for great Indian food or the Tipsy Pig for California pub food like roasted halibut and bacon mac 'n' cheese? Union and Chestnut Streets might be the best neighborhood for wandering around afterward, dressed in uniform. (If any of the sailors should decide he needs to break away from the group for sights that I'm not asking him to tell about, the Cinch is only a quick cab ride away.)

Second thought: the Upper Haight.
For a more casual night out away from the water, you could start with a proper S.F. burrito at El Balazo or pernil and Creole shrimp at Parada 22, then move on to cocktails at the Alembic (if your charges are gastronauts, this is also a great place for dinner). Afterward: craft beer at Magnolia, World Cup games at the Kezar, or music at Club Deluxe, ordering a pizza from Giovanni if they still need a snack.

Third thought: Back to the Barbary Coast, now North Beach and Chinatown, where sailors on leave have been getting into trouble for more than 150 years. Apparently the guys already made a late-night run to Broadway, ahem, but what about making an evening of it? You could take them up to Sam Wo for Chinese-American food and regale them with Edsel Ford Fong anecdotes, followed by drinks and liar's dice at Li Po. Or start with amazing thin-crust pizzas at Tony's Pizza Napoletana and then hit atmospheric bars like Specs', Vesuvio's, Tosca, and the Lost & Found.

Got a question for the critic? Email jonathan.kauffman@sfweekly.com.
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@JonKauffman.

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The Tipsy Pig

2231 Chestnut, San Francisco, CA

Category: Restaurant

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