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General Info
Open since 1999, Foreign Cinema restaurant has garnered local, national and international acclaim as a quintessentially San Francisco dining experience. We offer a daily changing California/Mediterranean-inspired menu in an industrial chic setting located in the heart of the bustling Mission district. Dinner is served nightly as well as weekend brunch both Saturday and Sunday. Foreign and independent films are screened in our covered outdoor courtyard. Seating is available indoors fireside as well as upstairs in our semi-private mezzanine overlooking the dining room. Guests may enjoy cocktails and our complete menu from the main bar or on the patio outside. Modernism West, an art gallery in collaboration with Martin Muller and Modernism Inc, is open to the public most nights and is an ideal space for private dining. After dinner drinks with rotating DJ’s completes the evening in our adjacent bar, Laszlo.

Regular Hours

Payment method
amex, visa, mastercard
Price Range
Southeast San Francisco, Mission District
Other Email

Restaurants, Movie Theaters, Bars, Mediterranean Restaurants, American Restaurants
Other Information

Parking: Street, Valet

Wi-Fi: No

Bike Parking: Yes

Attire: Casual

Good For Groups: Yes

Cuisines: Mediterranean, American

Alcohol: Full Bar

Takes Reservations: Yes

Outdoor Seating: Yes


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George W.



Unfulfilling and Unsatisfied, If you're planning on watching the movie while eating dinner, be prepared for poor sound. In addition, plan on waiting awhile before recieving your food. As for eating outdoors, the picnic tables are not comfortable at all, especially when the drinks and plates are tilted on the uneven tables while you eat. Meal portions are small and unfulfilling.



Provided by Citysearch - 
What a great place

Love coming to dine here. The buttermilk chicken is one of my all time favorites. Good bone warming food. You can not beat the uniqueness of the restaurants design and theme. The carpaccio is great, the beverage selection wide, the meals offered are all yummy. We have not gone for brunch but the chance to dine outside is appealing on some SF days. Give this place a try I am confident you will not be disappointed.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Great palce to hang out...

Great palce to hang out in the Mission area. Lounge bar with upstairs overlooking the first floor. Not a big place but great DJ's and drinks.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Go to Laszlo if You Want to be Physically Assulted

I joined CitySearch specifically to warn all potential patrons, specifically women, to avoid this place.
I spent New Year's Eve here, as I was invited by friends who had reserved it for the evening, and had a relatively good time, until the end.
The bar's decent...kinda small and very small balcony. Drinks are what you'd expect for SF/Mission, minus I asked the bartender for something not much more difficult than a vodka/cran and his reply was ""not right now""'d think that if drinks are $7-10 a piece, he could make time, but I forgave him seeing as it WAS New Year's Eve.
At the end of the night, the steroid raging manbearpig of a bouncer stormed through the bar screaming that ?everyone needs to get the F**K out of the bar!? Well, like most normal people, we took this as our cue to leave. We (my best friend and I..who are 24 year old young women and about 5?3?) walk over to where are coats and purses are, by which time the bouncer had turned around and I guess decided we weren?t moving fast enough (it was maybe 10 seconds after he yelled to the whole bar), grabbed my friend and literally pushed her out of the bar, sans purse. After verbally trying to get the bouncer to understand that all we needed was the purse so that we could leave as he requested, I turned around into the door way to try to get back in so that I could physically retrieve it, but was met with a fist in my face and was knocked to the ground. At this point, I was angry and my friend was bawling outside because, not only did we just get physically abused for no reason, but we still couldn't get her stuff back, so I called the cops.
Moral of the story:
1) The bouncer?s name is Mike and he should be fired on the spot.
2) The manager never once came to see what happened, and thus, should be fired on the spot.
3) Women BEWARE. Evidently it?s acceptable for the men in this bar to physically assult women and get away with it.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Fine food and outdoor seating

This place has it all, it loses a star for price, but I love meeting friends here and watch the weird stuff on the wall over a good meal.



Provided by Citysearch - 
My favorite standby! Great space and food.

Knock on wood I've been almost a dozen times and have yet to have a bad experience. They make it look so easy! My only complaint is that it is a little loud inside.



Provided by Citysearch - 
They ruin birthdays

Food - Excellent. Wait Staff - Good. Concept - Unique..
NOTE - must speak quietly.

So why the one star?

In SF for a semi-annual gathering of my girlfriends (11 of us) from all over the country. We came to the Foreign Cinemna to celebrate my friend's 40th and my 36th birthday.

When I my opened my eyes once completing my wish to bl0w out my candle - I see a woman (not a hostess, not a manager - but someone with the restaurant) leaning in over my friend to me and directing my friends and I to quiet down. This... AFTER my friends sang happy birthday and BEFORE I got to bl0w out my candle. WHO DOES THAT?!
We weren't overtly loud, no movie was playing (we were inside) and we were dropping about $700 w/o tip on the dinner. I think that should afford my friends and I to sing happy birthday and bl0w out our birthday candles.

To be fair - the manager apologized and purchased a round of drinks for the untimely and discourteous manner of her staff. But the deed was done.

Great job Foreign Cinemna -- now you have 11 angry women in all parts of the country recounting our experiences to all our friends of your employee's great finesse.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Perfect Date

I went here for my birthday and the food was great as well as the service. We sat outside and watched Amelie, it was a perfect evening. My favorite part was the lavender creme brulee, yummy! This place is a must if you live here or are just visiting as well as a great place to take out of town guests.



Provided by Citysearch - 
It's such a lame place for movie!

I feel really annoyed that this eating place dares to list itself in movie guide as a movie screening place. The movie is shown nightly there as a backdrop with very low audio. Don't even think of coming here to see a movie if you are serious of watching a movie. I recommend the Kabuki Theater where movies are shown seriously and has spacious seats. You can enjoy your cocktails and fabulous food inside the theater.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Reminds us of why we love living in San Francisco

Foreign Cinema offers great food in an inspiring, yet unpretentious and fun setting.

Dining in the Mission is so unlike any other big city dining experience. Yes, people wear way too much black in this part of town, and as an unpierced, un-scarrified strait middle aged dude, I must admit, I am still amused and relieved to see in the Mission District that the current counter-culture continues to thrive in a city often thought of to have had its hey day in the 60's. Gotta love the Mission District! And that's why it is the perfect setting for Foreign Cinema. Here we are reminded, and in some ways re-enlightened as we re-discover that art, wine, cinema, more wine, a fine San Francisco evening, and creative cuisine is a perfect and most joyful combination.

Foregn Cinema always has a creative menu and a really fun wine list. and the waiter and maitre d are always happy to talk to you about them. The waiters are also cool when my wife and I explain to them we would like to order 6 dishes and just share all of them. Appetizers, salads, entrees, veggies, dessert, whatever -- just bring the dessert last. (Lots of places act as if that's some kind of imposition -- like we're revolutionares trying to pull something over on their established order of courses and condiments. ""Warning! The deuce on table 17 is sharing a salad!!!) Not here, though. Here the waiter gets it. He sees we like to try lots of stuff, and that by eating like puppies off of the same plate and enjoying a meal over a couple of hours, my wife and I are actually enjoying ourselves. Of course, their nice wines by the glass list allows us to enjoy the meal even more with a different wine for each course!

Funny -- we love to sit outside so we can watch the movie, but the food is so good and engaging, we hardly ever pay attention to the movie!

uncleBad says that dining at Foreign Cinema is a San Francisco experiece that reminds us that this is indeed America's finest city for oh so many reasons.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Great Food, Ambience and Service!

This was one of my favorite casual dining experiences. We sat outside and saw part of the movie shown on the white brick wall - what a unique offering. It was a cold night, but the heaters kept us quite warm. I had to take my jacket off and the butter was melting on the butter plate. Cozy, but the only downside to that was it warmed the wine in my glass.

The food was incredible! Unlike another reviewer, the we found the pork chop to be thick, juicy and flavorful. It was served over a bed of fava bean ragout. We could watch the cooks shelling the fava beans through the window - what a job but highly appreciated.

Our server Eloise was very sweet and very knowledgeable about the wine list and the food preparation. I wish we visited the city more often to enjoy more experiences like this!



Provided by Citysearch - 
First time, will try again!

This is a trendy spot is located in Mission District. We were seated promptly, just a note, if you want to watch the movie make sure you ask for seating outside on the patio. Overall the portions were small but extremely tasty. The wine list had some great selections and the staff was helpful in that regard. I would give the service a C overall, our server had a bit of a stuffy attitude. The ambiance makes up for the average service and small portions. I will certainly dine there again and give it another try.



Provided by Citysearch - 
great brunch, but still left hungry

me and my girl went there for brunch, and were blown away by the food. a gourmet touch on everything, with a really cool atmosphere and original concept. the building itself was really hip and nicely modeled. but back to the food...every item we got was really tasty, and unique (home made pop tarts, fried eggs with balsamic..yum).
there was just one problem: we got appetizer, mains and desert (yeah for brunch, what's wrong with that?!) but left hungry. not that i wanted a ihop stuff-fest, but with the cost for brunch i was a bit disappointed. too bad because i'd like to have an 'every weekend' brunch place rather than a 'nice to go when friends/family are in town' place.



Provided by Citysearch - 

It was a tuesday night and my friend and I went together. We selected the seating outside.
Pro: Ambience, very romantic
Con: The seating outside was cold even though i sat right under the heat lamps.
Appetizer: calamari is fresh and bouyant in a sea of tomato and garlic. Too much garlic for my taste
sardines were in a small plate. I am asian so it tasted like salty fish and i did not enjoy this dish.
Main dish: Salmon is tender and good and it was on top of this vegetable and bean salad. i only enjoyed the salmon and beans everything else on the plate was unedible.
Pork tenderloin: the pork was chewy and very dry with couscus and sweet tangy beets. This dish was the worst dish of the night. It was horrible, very sweet it can be dessert
Dessert: garnita and for people who don't know what this is, its just crushed ice with syrup (think icy) in a margarita glass with a flower. I think presentation was the main reason that this dish cost so much because the dish does not worth $7. it was too sweet and for god sake its just ice!!
creme bruelle (forgot how to spell) but this was good. I think this was the high light of the night because it was smooth.
Overall I would not go back to Foreign Cinema because it was a huge disappointment!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Great atmosphere, even better food.

Before my most recent outing to Foreign Cinema it must have been over a year. While the service and food was pretty good then, this visit absolutely blew me away. I came in through the beautiful hallway to see the place PACKED. Despite the noise, crowds, and general anarchy I got smiles from several of the very good looking servers as they politley let me pass.
We were told there would be a wait and our table was running behind so we had some great drinks at the bar. Then a youngish, charming manager introduced himself and explained it wouldn't be much longer and bought us a round of drinks while we people-watched.
The carpaccio appetizer we had was amazing and the oysters were great. We wanted to order some wine and like clockwork the same manager appeared and asked how we were. He even remembered our names! He recommended a bottle in a fresh, unpretentious way and made us feel like family guiding us through their large, daunting wine list. The beef AND the pork simply knocked our socks off.
If you want the best people watching in town and really appreciate good food and wine, don't miss this place.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Great food and service, nice atmosphere

We arrived too early for dinner to see the movie. In the Spring/Summer months, the movie doesn't start until 8:30pm. ""Fiddler On The Roof"" was the movie scheduled to play the evening we arrived for dinner. It was a cold, drizzly day, so we opted to eat inside. The interior dining room has a high ceiling with fireplace. There's an adjacent bar which was crowded by 8pm. The raw oysters were really good and the foie gras was tender. I especially enjoyed my Petrale Sole, it was tender and tasty, not fishy at all. The duck was a bit chewy but the grilled quail served with it received rave reviews from everyone at the table. My strawberry crepes was mushy and I wouldn't recommend ordering it. My friend had the bloody orange and mango granita, which was delicious. The peach cobbler was good too. Our wait staff was friendly and our water glasses were kept filled. The food here doesn't disappoint.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Excelent Date Place!

Well I was looking for a nice dinner place in the city where I can take my loved one, and I saw the reviews about Foreign Cinema. I thought I'll give it a try and I called in and made reservations.
I was a bit skeptic about the place knowing that Mission area is not really the cleanest and nicest area of San Francisco, but once I got to it, I saw that I could have not been more wrong.
The setup is quite nice with half of seating inside by the big fireplace and half outside on the patio were the movie is being projected. Almost every table had its own heater so it was quite comfortable seating out. The tables were clean and the candle light in the dim exterior added an extra romance in the air.
The staff was really pleasing and accommodating.
The food was excellent. We started out the dinner with warm olives and the cheese and vegetables appetizers, which were quite nice. After that we had a serving of their asparagus soup which was quite tasty and light, and for the main course we got the Halibut and Steak. The fish was cooked perfectly well and steak was great too. I liked the onion jam and the butter topping on the steak.

Even after we were done with the dinner we just set there and talked and hold hands. Although it was almost closing time for the restaurant, no one rushed us to get up.

I would really recommend this place to all my friends, and I would gladly come back for dinner.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Service extrodinaire... delicious food & great wine

Loved the atmostphere, oysters, food, wine and service was fabulous! But I have the say... the service was the best I've ever had in the City... the wait staff works together to keeps water glasses full and patrons happy. And the food was amazing. And who doesn't love the fact that they project old movies on the building outside... how fun! :)



Provided by Citysearch - 
My favorite restaurant in SF

I love everything about this place. Their homemade foie gras pate is the best ever!!!! Also I really enjoy the ambiance... Great for a group or for a date night.

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