Foreign Cinema

4.6
6480 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 6480 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
4.6
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
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RW
Las Vegas
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 3

My experience at Foreign Cinema:

1.) Host: Was very professional and started off the experience on a good note.
2.) Service: After my party was sat, we were handed off some menu and then was not attended to for a good 10-15 mins which I thought was a little weird but didn't think much of it after. I wasn't able to tell part who my waitress was nor did anyone one went over the menu or special with us. Finally after 10-15 min my waitress came over and it was the the person who handed off the menu to us. I placed my order and then she left quickly away. Then another waiter quickly walked by and toss down a drink we ordered. I said TOSS cause he didnt even bother to spent a second to stop and place the drink down. When the food arrived there was no introduction of the food and we just had to guest what it was. The waitress did stop by twice to see if we were okay after the food arrived which is why I gave it a 2 stars instead of a zero. But overall it's not even closed to the level of service I would expect from this restaurant.
3.) FOOD: the food was amazing. They did a great job infusing the different ingredients and flavors. First impressions is why would they match that with those, but somehow they make it all work and I was truly amazed by the skill of the chef. The curry chicken we ordered was one of the most tender chicken breast I've ever had. The food was why I didn't complaint and why I gave an above average tip .

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JK
Western NC
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Practically perfect in every way...except the location (hidden in pretty dilapidated area of town). But don’t let that keep you from the best brunch ever! The atrium patio is great, service is impeccable, and food is stellar. Start your brunch with the Ugly Juice Pick-me-up shot of ginger, turmeric and lemon! Don’t miss the calamari in mole sauce!!! OMG! And the house made bacon is to die for!

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M
Miami
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was perfectly cook and delicious! The best Cinnamon roll I’ve ever had

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DK
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had wonderful service - I can't remember our server's name, I believe it was Felix. (?)
He was lovely, and made wonderful recommendations from wine, to
appetizer (the calamari!), and swordfish, prawns, and beet salad - all so amazingly delicious!

We were in from Los Angeles celebrating our 23rd Anniversary, and it couldn't have been a more lovely evening. From the ambiance... we had a great spot outside to view the film, to our delicious meal, and wonderful service - we were comfortable and enjoyed pleasant conversation with both staff and patrons. We are grateful, thanks so much - we will definitely be back! Congratulations on putting together a great team!

Kindly,
Diana and Ron Kikuchi

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FT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Delicious oysters; great wine list; not so good fried chicken; over priced.

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

I love Foreign Cinema—the ambiance, the food! That was why I was so surprised by the lackluster service last Friday (slow, inattentive, forgot some parts of order..), especially given the price point. Hopefully it was a one-off. We’ll still go back at some point.

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

Foreign Cinema is a treat! The food portions or just the right size. You feel satiated but not stuffed. That leaves room for dessert!

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

Went to Foreign Cinema after a long (years) hiatus. It was great. Each course was excellent and all our table enjoyed everything that was served. A terrific evening.

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

A great, unique, novel experience with seasonal foods to eat and drink

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

Great food and Service. Would definitely eat at Foreign Cinema again!

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JO
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Took our friend for a birthday dinner here. She loved it. The food, wine, and spirits were amazing. It was packed on a Wednesday evening, so it was a little difficult to have a conversation, but we managed! Great time!!

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JH
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and top service. Accommodated a child with allergies no problem. Looking forward to going back when next in SF.

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

Pricey but good food, great service, creative drink menu and exceptional atmosphere

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M
New York Area
170 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Perfect very San Francisco . Great environment good food etc. a real treat !!!

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 16, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 4

Host were not organized and rude. Waiter took 30min long to bring us bread/water after we sat. Will not return or recommend

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CS
Tallahassee
1 review
Dined on July 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Crazy good food. Great drinks. Awesome atmosphere. We ate late so I think or waiter was a little tired but would totally recommend this place!!

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RW
Hertfordshire
1 review
Dined on July 15, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Was really lovely food and venue but our waiter really wasn’t that interested in us - definitely felt like he couldn’t really be bothered with us. Maybe because we were with children, but our kids are well behaved and we spent a lot of money (easily done there!)

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AJ
London
9 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2019
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 on July 13, 2019
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 on July 13, 2019
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
255 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2019
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 on July 13, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 4

Good food, unknowledgeable server and slightly overpriced

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b
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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E
London
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
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
14 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
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 on July 10, 2019
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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OT
1 review
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

My wife, who I took on a date to Foreign Cinema, says she feels like the staff, from the hosts to the waiter and finally the busboys, made it their job to make us feel cared for. We were seated on the wonderfully climate controlled patio at 8:30pm on July 5th and enjoyed Good Morning Vietnam (perfect for this weekend), which started shortly after we got settled. The food itself is a bit of a blur—we shared the squash soup and goat cheese appetizer and I had steak and my wife chose fried chicken, but that’s an oversimplification of what we ate. I spread the goat cheese on the crisp bread slices they provided as well as on the warm baguette the waiter served with luscious, salty butter. The soup was spicy but wasn’t butternut squash soup heavy. My bistro steak was perfectly cooked and I wished for a bit more. My wife enjoyed her curry infused fried chicken but saved one of the two pieces (the couple at the next table shared that entree) so we could order dessert. We both savored the vegetables that accompanied our proteins. We ordered two desserts—the chocolate pot de creme was richly dark but not bitter but the sweet corn panna cotta was too subtle for the meal we had just had and didn’t feel like a closer. The leisurely service pacing, bustle of other guests dining and taking selfies and the staff remaining available but unobtrusive allowed us to thoroughly enjoy our evening at this ‘must go to’ restaurant.

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RL
San Francisco
4 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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