Foreign Cinema
Foreign Cinema

Foreign Cinema

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.foreigncinema.com/
  • Phone: 4156487600
  • 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.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
Foreign Cinema reviews from OpenTable diners
464 reviews since May 4, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food4.4
    Service4.1
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
90% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for outdoor dining (312)fit for foodies (305)special occasion (262)romantic (234)neighborhood gem (176)hot spot (159)good for groups (155)great for brunch (125)notable wine list (124)vibrant bar scene (65)late-night find (53)great for lunch (30)kid-friendly (28)scenic view (10)Show More
  • What's Not To Like?
    cwilsonVIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Have you ever had a bad meal at Foreign Cinema? Of course you haven't. We had a scrumptious lunch and we didn't ever order bacon! Perhaps if we ate at FC every week we would grow tired of it---but no--I don't think we would.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Hot spot
    lceCream
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    Lively atmosphere with great food. Outdoor area pleasant and movies shown at night.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • highest recommendation
    kurtdismasVIP
    Dined on 8/25/2014
    great food, great venue, great staff, terrific wine list. a consistent winner.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • You get what you pay for..
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004
    Dined on 8/25/2014
    The servers are healthy! Of course, you are paying for their health care. This is an inexpensive venue but the food is always good to excellent, innovative and pleasurable. The service is very attentive, polite and unobtrusive. One moment you're thinking you need more water and the next your glass if full, you're feeling the table is getting cluttered and the extra dishes are gone, you desire an additional item and the waiter appears. I don't know how they do that! It is my number one venue for Mission District dining, big party or romantic interlude, never disappoints. The bill may surprise you at the end of the meal. All the elements that made your experience delightful and satisfying leave a cumulative impact on your wallet.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always fantastic
    EatingSF
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Foreign Cinema is consistently one of my favorite places. Great cocktails, extensive wine list, excellent service and delectable cuisine. Great patio. Go!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fit for foodies
    CraigC
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Great dinner at foreign cinema. Flavours worked well together and perfectly balanced. Juiciest pork chop I've ever eaten. Desserts were perfect and the cocktails well mixed. Portion sizes perfect for us Europeans not too big but not small. It is quite lively noise wise but you get used to it. Beautiful space. Great understated service. Very reasonably prices for the quality of the food. Dined at Nopa the next night which paled in comparison to FC.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Mission Gem - Still
    KiddendadVIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    And great presentation. Brandade is a consistent table pleaser, though every dish showcased attention to detail and innovative pairing of fresh ingredients. But there is clearly a purpose to the matches beyond innovation
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • NinaVIP
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    The quality of the food was very poor. We don't understand why the Zagst rating was high. Terrible disappointment. Also thought the wines by the glass list was inferior. Very pricey and for what?
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Interesting
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    The restaurant, food, service, wine, and decor was all fabulous. Our waiter recommended a wine that the whole table loved. There wasn't a thing on the menu that we didn't love. Having a foreign movie in the background was kind of fun, but honestly we didn't pay attention we were so into the food and the company. The only off-putting part for me was the neighborhood. I've been told by people that live in San Fran that the neighborhood isn't bad and that I'm being silly. But as someone not from the city, I didn't feel comfortable there alone at night. I've traveled to a lot of big cities and found this neighborhood to be on my "don't need to visit again" list. Just a few blocks away things get much nicer, but the Mission has its own charm.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • All elements come together
    WellworthrecommendingVIP
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    This popular restaurant has been 'doing it' well for many years. The innovative, but not contrived, food and excellent service add up to a great dining experience. It's always crowded and definitely noisy, but when you're up for a really upbeat atmosphere with expert cooking and attentive service this restaurant is great.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent!
    janlikebeerVIP
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    We had three dishes: the little gem lettuce, monterey calamari, and the herbs de province lamb. All were perfectly prepared, with wonderful ingredients, and nicely presented. However, the lamb stood out as one of the best tasting and prepared that I've experienced and paired with the merguez sausage - wonderful! The service was attentive and accommodating. All around an excellent experience!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious Food
    Sevillachica
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    This was the best meal that we had while visiting San Francisco. My husband and I both ordered the lamb entree which was awesome. We also enjoyed the inventive and original cocktails.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Nathan
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Great food but a little overpriced. It is a cool and fun place to go and we are glad we went. My only issue is the price. All entrees are basically $30, apps are around $15 each and the oysters are a ripoff at $4 each. Drinks were reasonable for San Francisco. You only see the movie if you are sitting outside which they don't tell you in advance. The good however was my steak was fantastic and my wife's chicken was incredible. The healthy sf tax of 3.5 % is a joke and should averaged in the cost of the food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfect anniversary dinner
    TomZ
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Couldn't have asked for a more perfect dinner to celebrate. We had made reservation at 9:30, but they were able to accomdate us at 6 because of changes to our plans. Very little wait time (seats at bar for the wait) and a very helpful/friendly waiter.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Interesting space
    foodcritic
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Located in a fairly grungy area in the Mission. It was a pleasant surprise to open the door and enter a lofty, open space with soaring ceilings and a huge wall which movies are projected on after dark. The food was more than decent, though not extraordinary. My omelette was only accompanied by a small side salad, making the $16 price steep. To not serve toast with an omelette is really chintzy, so hard to give full marks for the meal.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Wonderful restaurant
    noladinerVIP
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Everything was fabulous! Outstanding food and ambience. I can't wait to go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Date night
    Melissa
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Great outdoor dining and perfect for a date night or dining with friends. Goat cheese, charcuterie board and pork dishes were all fabulous.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Exciting dinner
    rbsb
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    We walked to the restaurant from our nearby hotel and never felt worried or concerned. When we arrived the place was packed and we were seated upstairs. The energy level was high and the noise level was also high. The food and wine were excellent. WE tried a sampler of west coast oysters and they did not disappoint. The desserts also did not disappoint. Highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Still Great after ??? years
    OpenTable Diner Since 2000VIP
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    There are some restaurants that just have staying power. In SF, a few come immediately to mind - Zuni, Boulevard and Foreign Cinema. All three feel as fresh and creative as they did when they opened. Foreign Cinema gets everything right - service, atmosphere and food. Aside from a satisfactory but bland Beef Carpaccio, everything was great, especially a duck breast with a perfect melange of Mid-East flavors. We hadn't been to FC in a few years and were glad to be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Cookin' in the Mission
    Tarquin61
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    During a recent trip to San Francisco my wife and a colleague were recommended to dine at Foreign Cinema. What a great recommendation. Firstly we needed to adjust the booking and the staff were fantastic in accommodating our change in numbers. The food was a stand out. Starting with some of the freshest oysters from around the northwest and east. Following that we devoured the olives, the charcuterie board, heritage pork chop (yum), the King Salmon and one other dish that my memory has failed me on, but must have been good. Add to this liberal splashes of wine and great service round out a terrific evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • a favorite
    Boysniteout
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    We always dine here at least once with visitors from out of town -- or in-town for that matter!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, late-night find, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    after 25 years , Foreign Cinema still performs at its best . the food , especially the main courses werev very tasty and creative .. best place in town for oysters !!! it is MY San Francisco place to take first time visitors
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • cool spot
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    brought my cousin who was visiting from out of town. we all loved it. i will definitely be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Still a favorite
    yadayada
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Another wonderful night spent at Foreign Cinema! We've never been disappointed. This was the first time we had ever been seated upstairs. It was not my preference as the noise level from the main dining room detracted from my romantic evening. I recommend the outdoor dining if you're going for romance. Scallops were to die for- try them!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Timing is everything
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Foreign Cinema remains one of San Francisco's culinary gems. From the friendly staff to the wonderfully romantic environment to the outstanding and unique food experiences. This particular trip was only a disappointment because it too 25 minutes for them to bring our entrees out after they had removed our appetizer plates. When I inquired as to how much longer we might need to wait, the waiter simply smiled and said it would be out shortly. No apology or concern. The difference between great restaurants and the best is always about the timing and consideration of the service.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Saltiest food ever
    JonO
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Our friend recomended this place to us and we went for my wifes birthday. We ordered 2 oysters, beef type appetezier, duck and cobe beef steak for main. First we taste the duck and it was very salty. However we thought it iwas the style of it. After we tasted the cobe beef we had exact same amount of saltines. I dont remember how many glass of water i drunk to remove that salty taste from my mouth, after the dinner. We paid almost $140 for two people and got the taste of the one dollar sign restaurant. Non of them would have been matter if my wife were not dissapointed so much because she was so excited about this place. Second thing, we thought it would be romantic ambians, but forget about regular outdoor sitting, there was not even music
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • foodiebr13
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    Amazing food, good service, vibrant ambience. The light is really romantic. Try a seat on the patio. Highly recommend it for travelers, like myself.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great find
    Hdc86
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    This place was a recommendation and great find! Good food, good service. Definitely recommend!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Simply grand!
    SopranoVIP
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    Been meaning to come here for ever so long. Absolutely came through on every level. Great service and everything we ate was great. We were seated in the courtyard and just had the best time. Definitely deserves its Top 100 spot!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food allergy and no problems!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 8/4/2014
    My teen foodie son has a number of food allergies. I mentioned it in our opentable reservation and the server was wonderful helping us to select and verify safe foods for him. He ate nearly all of the appetizers including a delicious onion ring garnish baked in rice flour and his first delicious capaccio. He topped off the meal with a housemade cinnamon soda and then ordered a second. Sadly there were no desserts he could eat except perhaps a granita and it was too cold for that (SF summer). It was wonderful!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food, bad service
    Sffoodie
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    The food was amazing, however, the service lacked. Our waiter never checked on us to see how things were going. Our drinks were empty and when we ordered another they did not come until after we were finished with out meals. About 10 minutes after our meals actually. We also could see the drinks sitting at the bar the entire time which was frustrating. The ambiance is very nice and I would recommend it for brunch. Reservations are hard to get and for the food it's understandable why.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • FC
    Kong
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    Just a great meal. The food was wonderful and sitting outside in the courtyard with the movie playing in the background was very cool. Definitely a very fun night.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Don't sit upstairs. Amazing food.
    NandoNick
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    The 2nd floor seating area is removed from the ambiance and disappointing. Ask to sit outside (where they show movies) or inside where you can still see the romantic theme outside. The food was simply awesome. Fresh, creative and inventive at times. The service from our waiter was great. Just sitting above the kitchen and out of sight wasn't fun.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent
    Prince123
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    I have been here many and it is always the best! Great service, food and drinks! Friends loved the restaurant and enjoyed the evening.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Felt like Europe
    Amanda
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    Went here for dinner on a Thursday night. It was such a lovely outdoor area with good energy and fun crowd. The food was very good and the waiter was very helpful with drink suggestions.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excelent choise
    aaas24
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    I booked a dinner for my boyfriend and me after reading about this restaurant online. It turn out a great choice. Our waitress was incredibly kind and friendly. Our glasses were never empty despite the fact that the place was almost full. The list of wine was impressive and the environment was very unique and boheme. Downsides? It is a bit too noisy and expensive. Don't worry about the cold, they have torches to warm you up and the food is great, and book your dinner after dark to enjoy the movie. I recommend the beef carpaccio, best I've had ever.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great with friends and lovers
    Boysniteout
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    The food is excellent, and the portions are reasonable and appropriate, meaning not too large and not too small. One exception: the Valrona pot de creme was larger than expected, so plan on sharing it unless you want to waddle out of there. We loved everything we had. Service attentive but not intrusive.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Wonderful overall experience
    DISAPPOINTEDinLG
    Dined on 7/28/2014
    Great food... Fresh and interesting taste combinations. Also very good sized portions for such quality food. Very friendly and knowledgeable waitress. Overall it was a wonderful dining experience. My wife and I had a fun night there.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Really disappointing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    We have been to Foreign Cinema for brunch countless times over the last 5 years. It is one of our favorite place to bring visitors from out of town, which we did on Sunday. The service was inattentive and slow. Food was not up to standards. I ordered a second bloody mary which took 15 minutes to get to the table and when it did it was bland and definitely not a 'Foreign Cinema' classic bloody mary. I asked the waitress if I could get more spice or something to make it taste better and she said it was a new batch and was really unhelpful. Not impressed at all with our experience... hoping it was a one off fluke.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Loved it!
    MissMeena
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    Seriously loved everything. Don't leave without trying the sticky bun or chile verde. Nom nom nom!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.