The story: The Tipsy Pip has been drawing the crowds to this Marina tavern/pub since it opened in 2009. Chef/Owner Sam Josi offers hearty pig-centric dishes, including a popular macaroni and cheese.
Why I went: I’ve been wanting to try the place since it opened. Initially, they didn’t take reservations, which meant long waits. Recently I went to a dance performance at the nearby Palace of Fine Arts with my friend Craig, and we decided to eat here. Luckily, they now take reservations.
The vibe: The typical Marina vibe, and all crowded around the bar, making the noise so loud you can barely chat if you sit adjacent to the bar. (Coincidentally, when we dined they were showing one of the Giants playoff games on the television, so it was especially loud.) The back has a calmer, library vibe, and the patio is popular on warm days and nights.
The menu: Divided in sections called “sea,” “dairy,” “land” and “salad and soup.” There’s a definitely lean toward meats, especially pork, but a few lighter dishes like yellowtail tartare and the salads. It’s the down-home comfort food you’d expect from a gastropub, including a signature burger.
The booze: A large selection of beer, which made my beer-drinking friend Craig happy but also overwhelmed with the choices. You can order draft beers in the 10 ounce (piglet), 15 ounce (pint) or 20 ounce sizes (tipsy pig). There’s also 14 specialty cocktails, and because of the warm weather we’ve been having, I tried the “Spring Fling” made with Square One cucumber vodka, fresh basil, lemon, simple syrup and soda water ($12), which was refreshing but weak on the alcohol. Later I tried a nice Blind Pig IPA.
My favorite dish: All our dishes were packed with flavor and nicely presented. The Memphis-style Baby Back Ribs ($15) I ordered was a tad on the sweet side for me, but I enjoyed the mixed marble potato salad that came with it (perfectly cooked potatoes that kept their shape and some refreshing elements in the dressing). But I really enjoyed the seasonal roasted Brussels sprouts ($10) with bits of Marcona almonds and bacon and covered with Sonoma Dry Jack cheese shavings. It was just packed with umami flavor and really reflected, I believe, the way the kitchen highlights pork throughout the dishes.
Insider tip: Don’t order the ice cream sandwiches for dessert. We ordered that and got three sandwiches, but for all of them they seemed frozen (was tough to cut in half).
The last bite: The Tipsy Pig is bustling and can be a scene, but the food and beer selection makes it worthwhile. Flavors are enhanced by pig (and even the non-pork dishes were good) and the service is friendly
The rating: 3 out of 4 camera snaps
The deets: The Tipsy Pig, 2231 Chestnut St., San Francisco. PH: 415.292.2300. Open daily for dinner from 5 p.m.; brunch, Fri–Sun., 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Reservations, major credit cards accepted. www.thetipsypigsf.com
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