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  • Foreign Cinema

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Foreign Cinema
Foreign Cinema

Foreign Cinema Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.foreigncinema.com
  • Phone: (415) 648-7600
  • Hours of Operation: Dinner: Monday thru Friday, seating from 6pm until 10pm. Saturday seating from 5:30pm until 11pm. Sunday seating from 5:30pm until 9pm. Weekend Brunch: Saturday & Sunday 11:00am until 2:30pm.
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Californian, Mediterranean
  • Executive Chef: Gayle Pirie & John Clark
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Fireplace, Full Bar, Late Night, Non-Smoking Area, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Smoking Area, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Entertainment: Movies; see restaurant website for schedule. While we try to honor all request, none are guaranteed.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 21st St.
  • Public Transit: MUNI: 14 Mission bus; BART: 16th & 24th/Mission station
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: Valet is available, $10
A word from Foreign Cinema
Foreign Cinema is a 'one of a kind', nationally acclaimed restaurant combining foreign and independent films with Cal-Med cooking. Enjoy an industrial chic setting, complete with outdoor courtyard, mezzanine and full bar.
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
Diner Reviews
  • "Yummy is the one word I would use to describe this place. The menu, like the restaurant's atmosphere, is creative, fun and has an old soul to it all at the same time. Apps, mains and dessert are just fabuous all around. I prefer the more creative stuff, however I can't imagine anything being bad so order whatever you think sounds good and you will be happy. Service is friendly but not overbearing. They also show old movies at night. How cool."
    Dined on 8/2/2013
  • "I've been trying to go to foreign cinema for ages, but there's never been a reservation available ... until I went on a date on a Monday night and they had some free just a few days in advance. This place is amazing. The ambiance was incredible, I mean there's a movie playing while you eat, that's pretty awesome in and of itself. The food was nothing short of spectacular and the service was dedicated to making our night fantastic. It made the whole evening special and this is going to be the place we come to on our (future) anniversaries. I recommend it for anyone looking for a unique and exciting dining experience! You HAVE to sit on the patio to see the movie, so make sure you do!"
    Dined on 7/7/2014
  • "very poor service experience from start to finish. everyone had an attitude."
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "Our waiter Kieran was amazing and quick as well as subtle. The food was some of the best I've ever had. This was our (my boyfriend and I's) first time in San Francisco and we were looking for a romantic and special place to eat for one of our last meals in town. I'm so happy I chose this. The portions seem small but are quite filling and honestly appreciated because you are able to enjoy something else off the menu- a dessert or an appetizer perhaps."
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "Its our SF visit must eat place!!!!! The food, ambiance, & service are all top notch, the menu changes daily and is always a pleasant surprise. The best description would be a FIVE STAR relaxed restaurant without the five star pricing or black tie hassle."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "First time here last Saturday, awesome service, excellent food! Our server Ginger was very attentive and well versed with the menu. Had mozzarella and sardines for the appetizers. They were both great but my favorite is the mozzarella. Lots of flavors, very savory for an appetizer! For entrees, I tried their famous poppy seed fried chicken, it was the bomb! Yummy! Well cooked, moist, NO blood! I hate fried chicken that still has blood in it! Interestingly, we were seated by the bigger room with high ceilings that has a big wall with projected movies. I don't know if this was because I ticked the box on the reservation that says it's my first time here. Otherwise, didn't mind a private dinner date! I will definitely come back here soon!"
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "This is a great place, the food is great and the service, we planed to make reservations for or trip to sa francisco and this time we manage to get a table."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Enjoyed our dinner, great service and neat outdoor seating. Go after dark and request to sit outside on their patio, courtyard. After dark they play a movie on the courtyard wall. We missed this as our reso was too early. Great seafood and wine flights. I would have given half stars if it allowed me to do so here, so 4.5 food, 4.5 service, 5 ambiance, total 4.5."
    Dined on 7/4/2014
  • "Food and service were terrific. My sister and I went early before going to see the musical Showboat. We had two appetizers, main course, then a salad, and then two cappuccinos. The waitress was fun and helpful. Her attitude made the meal even better. Dinning out is theater so the whole package is important, food, service, atmosphere. I had eaten here before but it has been at least two years and was glad I went back and will be going again soon."
    Dined on 7/2/2014
  • "Unfortunately we were there before the movie was playing but we still had a great dinner on the patio. You can't tell by the outside but it is very beautiful inside."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "Had a table of six for a light dinner, too many other places to also try in the area...Service was not very friendly, we were in good spirits and asked questions but our waiter was pretty uninterested. Beef carpaccio was delicious but the serving size was extremely thin/small for the price. Felt the same about everything we ordered. Cocktails were good. Ambiance was top notch, especially for the neighborhood. A secret spot for sure."
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • " Wonderful spot for brunch. Lovely setting, terrific selections, great service. Don't miss the sides of bacon and sausage. To die for."
    Dined on 6/29/2014
  • "Good food, marred by an uncomfortable experience with the waiter. My dining partner and I split the bill, and when it came to be signed, at the bottom were printed suggested tip amounts. I used that for reference and signed - only right when the waiter came back did I realize that the suggested amounts were on the *full* bill, not just my half - meaning I was about to tip 40%! So I scratched out the first amount, and wrote in a more reasonable 20%. The waiter took it, read it, then came back and started apologizing that I "didn't have a good experience." He didn't even look at the fact that I'd tipped a healthy 20%, and it made me look cheap in front of my dining partner, even though I hadn't been."
    Dined on 6/22/2014
  • "The food was awesome, the atmosphere was great. Too bad we could only get a reservation earlier in the evening so they hadn't started playing the movie yet (they start at dusk). But, the patio was so pleasant, the service excellent, and it was my favorite meal of the week in San Francisco."
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • "Run don't walk to Foreign Cinema while corn is in season. The salmon with corn and chanterelles was amazing. Summer at its best. For appetizers we tried the oysters (super fresh) and the burrata with sliced summer squash and both were great. In addition to the salmon, we tried the pork chop which was also very good. Can't wait to go back."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "I enjoyed pretty much every aspect of dinner here. I had been for brunch many times but it was my first dinner experience. We sat in the courtyard area...loved the ambiance, projected film, the food and the energy of the space. The oysters were the best I have had, and there was a great wine selection. The only challenge was towards the end of the meal, when we hadn't finished our wine or food yet, we had 5 (different) people ask us if we were done, all within 8 minutes of each other. There were open tables nearby, so I didn't understand the need to rush us, but regardless the rest of the meal experience was enjoyable and I would certainly return for dinner again."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "My boyfriend and I had a wonderful date-night dinner at Foreign Cinema. We requested to sit outside and enjoyed the ambiance (they have numerous heat lamps which helps with SF's typically cold evenings). The food was great, service was nice, attentive, but not intrusive, and overall it was just a great experience!"
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "FRIED CHICKEN WAS DA BOMB YO!! FRIED CHICKEN WAS DA BOMB YO!!FRIED CHICKEN WAS DA BOMB YO!!FRIED CHICKEN WAS DA BOMB YO!!FRIED CHICKEN WAS DA BOMB YO!!"
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "Our food was fantastic. The wait staff was attentive. The ambiance was great. No complaints from me!!"
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "Our only disappointment was to ne seated in the newer room, a kind of art gallery. Very white, tables are spread out. Ambience is not as fun. But food was delicious + waiter very kind."
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "I am going to say that Foreign Cinema is now at the top of my list for when I am taking out friends and family (especially out of town guests). The outdoor patio is urban chic and the service was very attentive. The fried chicken dish was one of my favorite meals I've had in the city and exceeds that of Wayfare Tavern in my opinion! The prices are a bit high but it is worth it - and the food exceeded my expectations. Oysters were fresh and delicious, main courses combined unlikely flavors and were memorable, and the desserts were simply divine! I will be back and I stand by my endorsement of this great dining experience! Encore!"
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Because we often have to fight with amazing traffic to get into the city on Saturday evenings for dinner, we do not get to Foreign Cinema as much as we would like. The "trip" in (from Marin) was well worth it. We had a wonderful dinner in a lovely, bustling, restaurant. Service was excellent. We plan to fight traffic again soon."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "There is nothing quite like dining under the lights in the courtyard at Foreign Cinema. Whether there's a flick showing or not, the ambiance is delightful. Service on both visits was spunky but slow. Yes, we need a few minutes to review the menu, but not 45. However, the candid and even sarcastic recommendations on what to order and why was amusing, helpful and welcome. Food was lovely. Particularly enjoyed the sesame honey fried chicken (mouth watering), for which they are known."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Exceptional service and wonderful, flavorful dishes! The only thing I would consider asking is that the portion size be increased a little given the average entree only price was $31 to $45. Everything else was great. Wonderful place for a special evening with the cinema playing and the ambience."
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "I had the risotto for dinner - it was spectacular! My dad had the duck, which was also very delicious. Pluot rose granita was an unexpectedly great way to end the meal. Great wine list and atmosphere - will definitely be going back!"
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "Great food, inventive cuisine with perfectly balanced flavors! Wine list is extensive and well chosen. The atmosphere romantic and warm! I'd come again and again!"
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "Was not impressed with this place. Had high hopes and even medicore hopes would have been a let down. Service was terrible. Didn't feel like any attention was paid....kind of just expected us to enjoy everything. Food was underwhelming and even confusing. Duck was such a small portion and way too much anise and lavender flavor. The chicken was ok, but nothing stood out. Honestly, we were glad it was over and was ready to leave. Will not be back. The "foreign" film that was played was recently released American film and it just seems to be a gimmick cause you can't at all watch or hear it. Won't be back."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "The food was good, nothing bad but nothing out of this world. BUT what I remember most was bad service. They seemed to have a lot of staff and it's a fairly big place but apps came out slow, the entrees came out fine. The 2nd glass of wine I had ordered well in time for the entree showed up a few bites in. Then we ordered dessert when she finally came back around. We ordered a dessert and a dessert wine. We finished the dessert and they picked it up 5 minutes at least before they brought the dessert wine!?!? She proceeds to say "sorry but we seat around 400 and sometimes people slip through the cracks. And said another comment that basically said she didn't have time for all her tables. If they fixed the service, overall would likely be 4."
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "The scallop appetizer and cold lobster were fantastic as were the drinks. However, with the two other fish dishes (salmon), the order was explicitly stated to be cooked medium and both came raw. I know it is the chef's preference but it killed the "specialness" of the meal."
    Dined on 6/17/2014
  • "You don't come here to eat, you're here to get social. When we got there, the highchair was ready which is good but the strap is broken. An expensive restaurant can't provide a safe child seat, that's a minus. It's not really a family restaurant so we didnt mind. After we were seated, our waiter came and never introduced himself nor asked us how we are or if we have been there before. Food portions are not huge so if you're hungry you might want to order more. My wife had the steak which she like it, while I had the salmon which was on the rare side. I could cook a better salmon than that. The calamares was okay but again the portions are small. We had desserts just to try something to be excited but it wasn't spectacular."
    Dined on 6/16/2014
  • "we celebrated our anniversary at foreign cinema and had a wonderful meal and a wonderful time. everything was perfect -- service, food, ambience, everything. a memorable evening. a bit noisy for my taste in the inside dining room, but we sat in the courtyard and it was just perfect. thanks!"
    Dined on 6/16/2014
  • "If you want a quiet place, go to another restaurant. You will have to talk very loudly to have a conversation."
    Dined on 6/16/2014
  • "About a third of the dishes we ordered were very good - the rest were just OK. The major complaint was overseasoning (the duck was overwhelmed with anise, the pork chop had too much curry spices on it)."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "Loved the restaurant, food, and wine, however our waiter seemed to have a very pretentious air about him. He was dismissive and rarely looked at us while he answered our questions about the menu and wine pairings (in fact, almost seemed annoyed at our inquiries). That being said, I would recommend others to go to this restaurant, as I understand that one staff member is not necessarily reflective of the restaurant culture."
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "My husband and I wanted to go somewhere unique before our evening plans in the city. This was such a great way to start the night off! Great service through our entire time dinning. Great location too, we found parking for only $2. But we did consider the valet option since it was affordable as well. An extensive wine list - we liked we could order a carafe. Food was amazing! So many different flavors, colors and ingredients made it so fun to enjoy our meal."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "We had an absolutely delicious meal here, it was a fun place to be in and had an excellent wine selection."
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "This place has excellent food and although I felt our waitress did an excellent job drinks, bread and getting started was a touch slow. Still not a big deal and they did an excellent job. Chicken which was their specialty was ordered by table mate and she wasn't thrilled with it. My steak was fantastic, plat of lamb chops and sausages also got rave reviews. Pot de creme was awesome. I also happened to have forgotten my camera on the back of my chair and they retrieved and saved it for me. So big kudos for their excellent camera capture and save techniques."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "Avoid this place: Sat @ 6:15...patio, ordered 2 appetizers. @ 7:30 ONLY ONE delivered. Waiter: "the salmon always takes a little longer"-we did not ORDER a salmon appetizer. 8:30, still no dinner, asked 3 times for bread-told "we're baking it". Entree's finally arrived. Waiter: "management would like to buy desert to make up for the long wait". Advised neither of us eat deserts. Check arrived, surprised no other form of consideration was offered...no manager came by table, no offer to drop cost of ONE appetizer (never got the 2nd), buy us another drink-nothing, telling us : "We acknowledge we've ruined your night, we'll buy you desert...take it or leave it". Our gratuity matched the horrible taste in our mouths we left with. Never again."
    Dined on 6/12/2014
  • "Exceptional food, great wine, excellent service and very cool ambiance. You can sit inside or outside (heaters available if it's cold). Once it gets dark, they play old movies on the back wall which you can see if you're sitting outside. Enthusiastically recommend."
    Dined on 6/12/2014
  • "There are newer places to eat but novelty does not hold a candle to creative, perfectly executed cuisine in an understatedly elegant setting that never falters and always pleases. It is my special occasion restaurant of choice, but it also works for out-of-towners, family dinners, relaxed brunches, late nights, drinks for pre-gaming..... Can you tell I love this place?"
    Dined on 6/11/2014