Foreign Cinema

4.6
6342 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 6342 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
4.6
food
4.4
service
4.7
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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Hawaii
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 1ambience 4

Waiter was disengaged. Did not refill water, did not ask if we wanted coffee or an after dinner drink. Brought the check without asking if we wanted it. That means goodbye and don’t come back. So I won’t go back. Too bad; I liked this place. Very disappointed in the service.

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PE
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food and excellent service. We will definitely go back.

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JW
New England
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Mom and sisters bday. The food was amazing and the staff was incredible. Definitely an overall perfect experience. Will be back for sure!

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M
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We had a wonderful dinner at Foreign Cinema. We both agree that the pork was the nest we have ever had! The servers were amazing, and made this birthday dinner a very special and enjoyable experience.

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RM
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 2

We arrived for our 5:30 reservation at 5:20 and joined the other patrons waiting in the rain, outside the the locked door. Although there were many staff milling around inside, and a large hallway before the reception desk, they didn’t open the doors until just after 5:30.
The room is basically a concrete shell so the sound just bounces around. My wife finally put in earplugs to reduce the noise level. The “movie” does not go on until 8:00 pm and although the having it playing is a significant feature of the restaurant this was not advertised or disclosed anywhere.
The food covered the scale. My oysters appetizer were fresh, well presented and tasted amazing. My scallops entree were ok but certainly nothing special and my wife’s chicken entree was not but better than kfc. Our waitress was the high lite of the experience. She was attentive and very professional. The support staff were also very good.
We left about 7:00, having not seen a movie and with headaches from the noise level.

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AC
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

To preface, my wife and I have been here a few times and always had a great experience. This time was just a weird. Got there at 8pm for our reservations and had to wait an additional 25 mins for our table. After the bar we got seated, and took them 15-20 mins more just to come by and serve us. Our waiter was not polite, nor did he recommend any dishes or wines. Service was super slow, and we weren’t the only table to notice this. Food was great though! Good quality ingredients and attention to detail on the dishes + dessert. I finally let them know towards the end of the meal about the service level. They did apologizes and gave us a free dessert which was nice and definite smooth things over; hence, we’ll still go and recommend folks to do the same! Probably just an off night for them?

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OT
New York Area
28 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great ambiance. Food was delicious.

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DG
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food is good and fresh. Loved the outside seating.

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d
New York Area
65 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place super cool. The food was so good the service was the BEST. Leo made our experience so memorable. Go go go

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

When I first started going to FC in its first decade I remember it mostly for brunches in that luminous courtyard. But now it’s dinner in the dining room. As an architect, I think that space: has a unique vibe: lofty but intimate; classy, yet casual. Service friendly yet very professional. Great menu flawlessly prepared but never overworked or precious.
Best Negroni in SF. I love taking people there for the first time. Or any excuse for an evening there.

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LF
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Relaxed environment with great music and atmosphere. The staff was wonderful. Great food with wonderful wine pairing. We will be back again!

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i
Jacksonville
51 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This restaurant is a must. From out waiter to recommended wine to appetizers to dinner and dessert. All was excellent. The movie shown was an added bonus. We will be back for sure on our next visit to San Francisco.

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r
New England
4 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I are leaving the bay area and we wanted to have a special farewel dinner and Foreign Cinema was the perfect spot. The ambiance ( I just love those lights), great service and memorable food will always be a memory of our time in California.

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JB
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Great food, great environment, bad service. Could barely order a second glass of wine..though it was slow and towards the end of the night. It was obvious that our 9:15 reservation was keeping our server there longer than he wanted to be. He seemed upset we wanted dessert afterwards as well, when it was only 10:15.

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C
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Celebrated daughter’s 20th birthday. Wonderful surprise with the personalized menu - total highlight of the night! Food was delicious and the surprise “happy birthday” sign that came with the dessert was icing on the cake! The entire staff was pleasantly amazing. The attention to detail with covering the plate when you step out of your table & refolding the napkin, etc...was outstanding!!

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OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server was absolutely spectacular. The food was on point. We will certainly be back!

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MH
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Great evening celebrating Mother’s day. The atmosphere and food at Foreign Cinema is the perfect formula for a perfect dining experience.

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K
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 4

Excellent food, but sub-par service for the price point.

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j
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 4

Our server seemed in the weeds at first but then it wasn't crowded much at all yet he still wasn't around all that much when we had empty glasses or menus on the table over half an hour in. It was my birthday which I noted in the reservation, we were never made to feel special or even particularly appreciated by either our server nor the hostess who told me to choose inside or out when I explained I didn't know either she wasn't helpful until my friend rolled her eyes and said we'd go check it out and come back. The meal was 'meh' and partially because the server was phoning it in but also my friends didn't like feeling like they were stuck on the side of a car park. I had been looking forward to going there but was seriously let down and for the money, it was downright ridiculous. The server was not helpful in choosing anything either and literally said he didn't know any of the choices my friend asked about (who has a serious allergy and he just offered a half-hearted 'we can do a vegetable plate') We came with a great attitude and ready to celebrate and instead were treated like a number and an afterthought. Shame really. I work with all F & B guys and now this is what I'll tell them.

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service and food with a beautiful atmosphere.

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AS
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

the ambience was great .food was excellent .the reason for the 3 starts is service .it took almost 30 minutes after we were seated for anyone to get us water and a drink menu .
the hostess was less than friendly .
besides that we had no issues
they were accommodating to our various food allergies

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S
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 4

It was a bit too loud. The service needs improvement. Food was okay but a bit expensive for what you get.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 4

Had reservation for 7:30 over a month ago. Seated at poor table outside and asked to be reseated at a table either under a heat lamp or inside. Restaurant then asked us to go to the bar which was fine. Then seated in main restaurant. Took almost an hour and 30 minutes to get main entrees. Food was quite good but service was extremely poor for the prices being paid. Will not be back.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 2ambience 5

I love the ambience of this place. Eat outdoors under the fairy lights and watch a black and white movie projected on the wall. But do prepare for chilly nights, though they provide blankets too.
Main complaint- very slow service on 2 occasions I was here.

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JU
Melbourne / VIC
1 review
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My favourite restaurant in San Francisco! I dined there 2 years ago and again the other night and the consistency of excellent food, service and ambiance has not changed. Will be back again next year.

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JM
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 2ambience 3

Everything was very disorganized- we waited almost 40 mi s for a table then where seated with no menus for another 15 mins - we had to wave down a server and ask for menus- also I ask for them to remove an ingredient from a dish because I’m allergic & that didn’t happen & luckily my allergy isn’t severe. I’ll pass on this spot next time.

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BH
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

I’ve been here many times before but this most recent dinner was not up to its previous levels. Our server seemed overwhelmed and the evening dragged on a bit. Food was still good, so hopefully next time will be better.

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on May 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Have always loved it

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SO
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Came in for a 530p reservations and were seated in the outdoor area. Even with the "chance" of rain, and the neighborhood being a bit chilly; they had heaters which kept myself and my guest pretty warm. Service was consistent, and was always available when needed. From start to finish, staff worked really well together. Made if for a very easy, smooth dinner, after working a long shift for Cinco de Mayo during the day.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 4

Food - great as always
Service - terrible. 30 minutes to get drinks. Another 15 to get appetizers. Entirely too long.

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T
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have been going to Foreign Cinema since it opened, and every single time has been nothing short of astonishingly delightful and perfect. A group of 4 of us celebrated my birthday at Foreign Cinema for brunch yesterday. Everything was fabulous. The dining room and exterior courtyard are gorgeous. Our server was kind and wonderful in more ways than I have fingers and toes to count. I love that they had a perfect vegetarian entree at brunch ("Lager omelet, mushroom duxelle, Vermont cheddar, Raclette, Fontina, spring herbs; salad, crispy potatoe") -- it was bursting with delicious flavor and texture, and it was a nice large portion. Two table mates ordered the "Succulent pork loin w/ orange, garlic & fennel seed, Tuscan style broccoli rabe, Pecorino, soft baguette, French fries," and they both loved it. My fourth friend had the "House ground natural chuck burger, Barely Buzzed cheddar, our Dutch crunch bun, Bugré herb sauce, fries," and she loved that too. The "Warm cinnamon bun, citrus-scented cream cheese icing" is OUT OF THIS WORLD, and so is the Pop Tart! It's really terrific to spend time in a restaurant that is so extraordinary in every possible way (atmosphere, food, and service). I can't wait to go back, and it will be soon. BRAVO!!!!!

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic brunch spot.

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KJ
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Creative menu, nice outdoor seating area. This is a nice unique restaurant in the Mission :)

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m
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 2

I have always enjoyed foreign cinema, but this was a terrible experience. There were 3 of us for a 9:30 reservation, and we were sat on time. After that we were completely ignored. Any time we wanted to order something we had to physically flag down our waiter, who would hurriedly take our order while looking at the kitchen or walk away before we had finished. Even at 10:30 when the restaurant had slowed down quite a bit, there was no improvement. The food was good, but at that point we weren’t really rooting for it to be because of the horrible service.

At one point another patron pushed his chair out causing a bus boy to bump into our table and spill my drink on to me. This was viewed by other servers and hosts, and no one checked in or brought me another drink.

It was a pretty wild experience all together, and a huge bummer bc it’s quite a beautiful restaurant.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service & vibe

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SB
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 5

In general Amazing place, great ambiance, good food. Not good service!

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KG
Detroit
1 review
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waiter Alfredo was spectacular. Food was unique and delicious. Restaurant ambiance and lighting were stunning.

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HA
Central Coast
14 reviews
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Very good quality, innovative food. Fantastic wine list, wide selection of wines by the glass and carafe. Nice ambiance, but not stuffy, somewhat industrial atmosphere. Food takes center stage as it should but often doesn't.

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CM
Sacramento
10 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Very unique experience. The food was wonderful. The sesame chicken was outstanding. A very modern feel inside and lots of people having fun. The drinks are imaginative and wine list has too many choices. Restaurant is in a rougher neighborhood so take a taxi or ride share.

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OT
1 review
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

The place is beautiful ! But it is expensive for the food we had.

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