Foreign Cinema

4.6
6462 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Californian
Foreign Cinema is a one of a kind, nationally acclaimed restaurant combining independent films with California-Mediterranean cooking. Enjoy an airy yet chic setting, complete with indoor dining room with a fireplace, outdoor courtyard, mezzanine, gallery curated by Modernism & full bar in the main dining room. There is also a great cocktail bar, Laszlo, as you enter from Mission Street.
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What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
8.6

Foreign Cinema in the Mission is a San Francisco classic for brunch, and dinner is solid too.

Ratings 8.5-9.0:Now we’re in the range of absolutely excellent restaurants that you might go to more than once a year/lifetime. These restaurants tend to define a city, and make up the places that you absolutely cannot miss if you want to have any credibility as a restaurant-informed person in a major metropolis.
What 6462 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.3
service
4.7
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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AJ
London
3 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding wine!! The “holysh!...” flight was brilliant. Whoever picked the Pommard and the Cornas, I bow to them. Food was delicious and the service warm and helpful. Amazing evening.

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MM
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 4

Service was terrible. We were seated and did not receive a menu for 20 minutes. When we were finally served, the waiter never came back to ask if we wanted more drinks for another hour. Also, other than the employees helping clean tables or service food, the waiters and hostesses were not attentive or friendly at all. The food and ambiance was great, but it did not make up for their gross neglect to customer service. I will not be going back to this restaurant or recommending to others.

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KB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 5

Great spot for dinner and a movie. Unfortunately, the retro drive-in speakers were not really working. Nice staff, interesting entrees. A bit cold outside.

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OT
San Francisco
253 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had the BEST brunch at Foreign Cinema on Saturday. The cinnamon bun with coffee icing was amazing, as was the cherry pop tart. For entrees, we tried the hamburger and the summer scramble with corn, tomatoes and onions. Both were excellent and the scramble is the perfect summer dish.

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OT
Las Vegas
3 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 4

Good food, unknowledgeable server and slightly overpriced

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b
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

fantastic restaurant in great neighborhood. would return again. no movie shown too light outside!

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E
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We loved it - sat inside, gorgeous decor, fab cocktails and delicious food. Our server was charming - would highly recommend

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SG
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 3

We had a great meal with friends and the food was exceptional

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j
San Diego
7 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is a fun restaurant to go to. Although most restaurants rely on dairy and gluten-based recipes, FC has some entrees and desserts that could accommodate me (which I realize is not always easy). I had the sole for dinner - my friend and I split a dozen oysters to start. I had the seasonal fruit for dessert, which had a little meringue also. All of it was excellent - great flavors, not heavy - just right.

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MM
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of my favorite spots in the city. Worth every time I've been there. The owners have been super welcoming too. They allowed me to host a short film festival screening there in 2012.

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SF
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 8, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 4ambience 3

Small plates, big prices. I hope that trend dies. Also, it is unimaginable that in a quality restaurant, waiters clear plates one at a time, pouncing, before the whole table is finished and before everyone crosses their forks or knives. There's been such a loss of restaurant etiquette in good restaurants, sometimes I feel like I'm in a glorified fast food joint. Owners - check out restaurant etiquette.

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MR
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 4

Service wasn’t worth the price. Drinks came after food then we were told our orders were sold out and waitress rarely checked up on our table and was very short and rude when she did. Not worth the hype

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EK
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Possibly the best restaurant experience I’ve had in 7 years in the Bay Area. All of the good things proper old school restaurants deliver with none of the bad. Faultless service from staff that obviously enjoy working there, food with incredibly intense flavors highest quality ingredients and skilled cooking. Many SF restaurateurs should come and see how effortless elegance is achieved .

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 5

Food was outstanding but waiter was not very good. Perfunctory service at best.

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JB
New York Area
21 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our 4th visit to Foreign Cinema and it didn’t disappoint.
The atmosphere is lovely, the food is excellent, and the service is outstanding.
We had the swordfish which was one of the best fish dishes I’ve had in a long time. The curry sesame fried chicken is like no other fried chicken out there.
Our server was attentive, friendly and went above and beyond to help on of our friends.

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TD
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Wonderful food and service (as always). Thanks for a fantastic experience

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s
Seattle
3 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I've been to Foreign Cinema before for dinner but finally got the chance to come here for my birthday for brunch and I'm glad I came here! It was easy to book a reservation for 10 online, when they opened right at 11am we got seated right away and were accommodating when I had to change my group size to 8. Our waiter was very courteous and on top of taking care of our drinks and food. Everyone raved at the presentation and taste of their dishes! I will come back for brunch more often!

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DH
Montreal
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 1ambience 5

Great food and atmosphere, enjoyed our night out. However our server was quiet, mumbling and impossible to hear. Our plates and cutlery were cleared before we were even finished.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 2

Went there around 9:30 PM on a Saturday night. I booked the place months in advance but still had to wait to get a table. Even after waiting I didn’t get the table in the main hall where they play the movie. Anyway we were shown to our table. Our server had no expression on his face whatsoever. I was ordering and thinking is he even listening ? 🤔 The place was unimaginably loud. It was hard talking to my husband why was sitting right in front of me. And well there aren’t much vegetarian options (which I obviously knew before booking) so I wasn’t disappointed with my salad and soup. It was pretty good actually. But all in all I wouldn’t go there again.

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B
New York Area
37 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Foreign cinema continues to be a hidden gem ... trendy spot, interesting neighborhood, creative menu all add for a great experience. One caution - hiring staff could better mirror the overall experience. Our waiter seemed as if we were actually bothering him - so it negates the rest of the sparkle experience that one expects for the price of a dinner here. Foreign cinema has all the makings of being a great adventure, but poor casting makes it a downing drama.

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RL
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food, wine, service, and ambiance. I appreciate any restaurant who sources organically, sustainably, and locally.

It doesn’t get any better!

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OT
Vietnam
2 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was fresh experience

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LR
San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

We love Foreign Cinema and often head there for very special events or when friends come from out of town. This time we enjoyed ourselves as always, but there were two weak spots in my meal: the opening cocktail, which was weak and uninteresting, and the rhubarb gelato with nectarine granita to close. The gelato had almost no rhubarb taste at all... it was overcome with chai-like spice, and the granita was a weird, slightly slimy consistency. Otherwise the dinner was fabulous and the service outstanding as always.

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MC
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 4

Just not a good night. We will still go back.

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MF
1 review
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

Food was really good, except desert, which was nothing really special.
We had a reservation for birthday celebration, it was 9 pm, we were seated promptly, but then it took some awkward time for our waiter to bring us a menu. Then we ordered wine, but he put it somewhere far from the table (on ice), but nobody told me where did they place it, so when I wanted another glass, and our waiter was somewhere, it wasn`t possible to find neither him, nor our bottle. Service was bad, honestly it was 9:30 pm, and I could feel waiter really wanted to go home. But once again, kitchen did a great job, unfortunately our waiter did his best for us not to enjoy it for 100%.

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RE
Yorkshire
3 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Great place, go after dusk if you want to see film. Better to be seated outdoors than in. Food really good.

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OT
Calgary
1 review
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Anniversary

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FQ
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Saw a list on FB of the top 10 romantic restaurants in SF. So easy to make reservations with Open Table. Celebrated our 29th anniversary. Started with a cocktail at the bar-Longtime Companion. 😋It was served in a beautiful glass-so tasty. Atmosphere was hip and trendy. Yes I had bread and butter-very small serving of butter. 😐My husband ordered the pork chop which was generous in size. I ordered fish and was still hungry. So we ordered a cheese platter. Overall great dinner experience. Next time I’d like to catch the movie. So go go go.

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a great place! Beautiful restaurant and amazing decoration! The food was amazing, delicious but light at the same time and very innovative. I was very impressed and loved the experience!

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DL
London
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Great vibe and lovely food, good value too!
Staff very helpful

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Birthday dinner

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JL
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Food wasn't up to par compared to past dining experiences there. Pork chop was super salty; weird sauce drowning the 4 seafood appetizer. I expect a great meal at FC and this wasn't one.

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JL
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 4

My 5th time dining at Foreign Cinema - was disappointed this time with the poor execution of our appetizers (burnt crostini) and extremely small portion sizes (duck liver crostini dish only had 1 piece) to share between 3 not-so-hungry people. Probably will not recommend this restaurant again to my friends visiting the city.

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OT
San Francisco
254 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It is summertime and Foreign Cinema’s menu is filled with delicious fruits and vegetables, including melon and tomatoes and corn. For appetizers we tried the summer melon with fresh mozzarella and cocoa nibs. It was excellent, as was the prawn cocktail. For entrees, we tried the salmon “BLT” with crisp prosciutto, tomato wedges and greens, and the swordfish with white corn and snap peas. Both were delicious. Can’t wait to go back.

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R
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was sooooooooo good that I will come back :-)

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PH
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food and service are conisitantly very good. This time was no exception. Our server struck what for me was the perfect balance between being attentive and giving us our privacy. The drinks are always inventive, one of the few places I am comfortable with experimenting.

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OB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing, amazing, amazing! The ambiance of the restaurant is superb, the food not only looked nice on the plate, but tasting so so good! The flavors were so nice! Great drinks, and the server was excellent!!

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KW
New York Area
1 review
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Foreign Cinema was a great restaurant with fantastic food, atmosphere and service. As two Melbournians, we were very impressed! Thank you for a great evening.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 4

The waiter was aloof at best, rude at worst. Was not helpful when choosing items off the menu. When we asked for his favorites, he asked us what meat we liked the wrote down the dish that corresponded with the first thing out of our mouth. However, The sommelier was lovely. He came up to the table and helped us understand the menus, and offered to help us choose a nice bottle.

The rose champagne we ordered was warm, flat and actually tasted like well water. I think it was from an old bottle. They replaced it promptly but without much grace.

Except for the cod appetizer, the food was lovely and the seafood extremely well cooked. However the appetizers - all four - came out minutes after ordering which made the whole experience feel rushed (even though it was probably just the kitchen being very efficient).

Then the waiter disappeared and we waited for 20 minutes to order dessert.

It was such a disappointing experience since I had been looking forward to eating at foreign cinema for the past 3 years. It may have just been a series of unfortunate experiences which usually get spread out over a customer base, but I don’t think we’ll go again. There are so many lovely restaurants in this city.

Thank you for passing this review along.

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s
San Francisco
67 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 4

Sometimes when I go to Foreign Cinema I really do have a good time but it's just too hit or miss. I can accept that the menu changes and sometimes there's just not going to be a lot on there that excites me. Fine, I'll try something new. But what just really, really irritates me is the service there is sometimes great and sometimes it's just, well, poor. Or even pretentious. On this visit it was both poor AND pretentious. I think our server may have gotten their feelings hurt because we brought along our own bottle of wine (expensive bottle for a special celebration). We gladly paid the $40 corkage. He opened the bottle and left; no glasses. After an extended wait (which was par for the course that night) we flagged down another server and asked for glasses. All night long we got the feeling that we just didn't meet our server's standards, this in spite of the fact that we order multiple appetizers, entrees and desserts. I'd excuse this one night except it's not the first time we've had this kind of experience there.

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