Foreign Cinema

4.6
6409 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.

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 6409 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
4.3
service
4.7
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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GD
London
7 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 5

I've dined dozens of times at Foreign Cinema and love it. The ambience is beautiful and the food wonderful, however, the service is consistently poor. It's impossible to get a drink delivered before the end of your meal, your water class is always empty and the server is always grumpy.

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

The oysters and drinks are amazing. The service and ambiance is phenomenal. The rest of the food was good but not on par with the prices. We went on a weeknight, I believe the brunch food is rated higher.

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CB
New England
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

Lovely ambiance, especially if you manage to get outdoor seating. The food was alright - some dishes were better than others. Overall, a little disappointing considering the price point. The portions were also unusually small - we have frequented a number of similarly priced restaurants with shared plates (Tartine, Rich Table, The Progress, etc.), and Foreign Cinema was definitely the stingiest in terms of portion size.

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

Food was good, but service was a bit slow, thought the waiter was competent.

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

Food was good but it took a long time for even our drinks to come out, let alone food. Server was nice but however. To be fair, we did go on Fathers Day so it was pretty busy.

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

Great food! Great service! Fun atmosphere. Little loud for intimate conversation, but a great night out with friends.

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

We go there several times a month

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

Super cool vibe and delicious, interesting dishes. 10/10 would recommend and I plan on going back for a fun, night out dinner!

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

Great outdoor seating area, very good food, and outstanding service. We've been back many times, and will certainly come back for more. Gas heating in the patio area can at times be too hot or too cold, so dress accordingly. Food quantities can be on the smaller side. One of the best restaurants in the Mission, for sure.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 5

The food was amazing but I give 3 out of 5 to the service. We felt like we were forgotten there, not attention to us and our table

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DC
Seattle
1 review
Dined on June 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Love the food and the ambiance. Not a great location, but worth going for a visit. Amazing service.

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f
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on June 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Our friends and I enjoyed our dinner at Foreign Cinema. The food that we ordered was tasty, but I felt that the Calamari appetizer was short on Calamari. It was half smothered with potatoes. Squid is not that expensive - a couple dollars for a $16 appetizer? Our two carafes of wine - one Chardonnay/one Pinot Noir were over-0 priced as well.

Noise level was extremely high - conversation impossible.

We had touted FC fried chicken, but discovered it missing!

Not sure we’ll return

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Not as good of food or service as previous visits, but still better than a lot of other options in the city. Will return but hope it was a one off bad night.

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M
New York Area
166 reviews
Dined on June 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always perfect but more perfect if the fried chicken is reinstated on the menu BTW the beef tarter is not as good as the carpaccio so why disappoint and substitute ?

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CA
1 review
Dined on June 11, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

Sitio bonito, un poco caro para la comida que ofrecen, pero en la línea de precios caros que tiene San Francisco

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JH
Denver
19 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Great atmosphere, original food that is delicious, yummy cocktails. Everything is imaginative and enjoyable but still so easy, none of it was forced or presumptuous. Loved this place!!

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JO
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Probably one of my all time favorite restaurants in the City. Must try the gaspacho and fried chicken. Don't forget to save room for dessert!

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JE
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 4

It may have been an off day, but the service was really bad. Our waiter took our order and then never reappeared. We got a cinnamon roll and it was so gooey we wanted to get fresh forks to eat our main courses. We couldn't get any of the staff to notice us to replace our forks. We also wanted some hot sauce and drink refills. We asked 3 different people, 3 different times. We eventually got forks, then hot-sauce and then drink refills from 3 other people. For the price and reputation I would have expected more. It soured our experience overall, especially when we received the bill.

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OT
San Diego
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

The plastic ceiling made the heat unbearable. We were first seated at a metal table that was physically too hot to touch from the sun. There was zero airflow on the patio- which I’m sure is fine on any other weekend in SF when it isn’t 95+. Then we ordered and my cocktail came after our first round of food which is just backwards.

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NF
New England
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was absolutely exquisite. I went to dinner from 730 to 845 though and they didn't play a film as I expected they would. So not sure what was up with that. Maybe they start it after 9 when it gets dark?

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OT
San Francisco
32 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

They’ve kept the food, service and lively ambience going for more than 20 years. One of my favorite places.

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OT
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We loved our waitress! Food was delicious and you can never beat the ambiance. Whose not a sucker for garden string lights?!

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S
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Great food and wine - menu not very clear re mea choices - is Lobster was cold not hot

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MR
San Diego
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 1

Such a scam. Be careful about the slot you are booking. Not all slots have the “cinema” experience and no where on the website or while reserving will you be prompted or told about this.
It’s good and romantic at night but otherwise just a loud patio dining with obnoxious staff.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Have not been to Foreign Cinema in a while. Took our 16 year old for his birthday dinner and it was really special. He said one of his all time favorite meals. Great ambiance and service. The fried chicken may be the best I’ve ever had.

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RO
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Service was ok and food was mediocre

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OT
Toronto
2 reviews
Dined on June 5, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 4

Had the best table in the restaurant after moving from formerl outdoor area (no covered) due to huge drafts. Cool environment but average food and poor value. Waiter was a bit stuffy and lazy. Huge wine list but 90% over $150 a bottle!

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B
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on June 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing - favorite restaurant in SF!!!

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e
1 review
Dined on June 3, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

Poor solution provided by the staff while cold outside in the patio. Cocktails and whisky of the week very disapointing.

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NH
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was outstanding. The cocktails were fantastic. The service was friendly and professional. I loved the ambiance from the moment we walked in the door. I've been to Foreign Cinema before, but it's been awhile. I'm looking forward to going back again. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 2food 5service 2ambience 2

Very good food but the service of the bussers very unhelpful

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

Really great food in great ambiance. Prices are a little high but the food is worth it. Overall we had a great dinner.

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e
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service and fantastic food!

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L
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had brunch at a table for 10 in the patio. Both the service and food were excellent. Totally recommend trying all the different appetizers like the Calamari in mole sauce or the ceviche, delicious!

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PM
Austin
5 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

We ordered the balsamic eggs, june scramble, persian omlette and baguette french toast. Everything tasted exceptional. For drinks, we had mimosas with the grapefruit juice, as well as the Madras Bloody Mary. We weren't big fans of the bloody mary - it tasted far too acidic - though the mimosas were good. Alcohol was very expensive for what was served which definitely made the place less attractive for a return visit.

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b
San Francisco
26 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brunch here is one of the finest experiences SF dining has to offer! Everything is divine. Since the menu changes seasonally there’s always new things to try. This place only gets better with age.

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MG
1 review
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 2

We ordered a bottle of the prosecco from the standard wine list. It took over 25 minutes and multiple requests to get it, and when we did, it was warm. The food arrived before the prosecco! At no time did anyone apologize or attempt to make this right, but instead angrily said "the wine cellar is upstairs" as if that makes any difference. How hard would have been to politely explain that they didn't have any chilled prosecco available and it would be a bit of a wait? We could have adjusted our order or decided we were okay with the wait. The attitude of everyone we dealt with for this problem is honestly a bigger reason I cannot recommend this place than having to wait. If this is how they handle a fairly minor issue, I'd hate to see how they handle anything else.

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OT
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely experience

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EL
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was so lovely. Our waiter was awesome. But I believe you want a considered opinion. There were two things that troubled me. One was the fact we had a birthday celebration. And although I called ahead and asked for a candle with desert, and reminded the hostess again while we were being seated, I had to whisper to the waiter when the desert arrived without a candle. And I brought a bottle of Chardonnay from the year of my child's birth (1996). While it is true it may have already turned, over these many years, we wanted to give it a try. But when told there was a $40 corkage fee, we decided we would try it at home. There was a brief period of shame. Shame that this mother did not feel it was an appropriate use of funds. So yeah. We got over it. But $40 seems very, very steep.

The second observation was that we were seated for a 9:00pm reservation, which was great. I noticed the tables around us were not being re-seated and so there was no urgency to turn the table. Three of us had finished our dinner, and one had not. But the bus boys asked (politely) if they could clear the plates of those that finished. I feel that if you are spend $400 for dinner, the plates should remain until everyone is finished. I do not like to see guests eating desert with people still working on their main entree. This would certainly cause my mother to turn in her grave.

Otherwise, all was great. Many thanks,

Elizabeth Latasa

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AN
1 review
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 5

I made a reservation well in advance to secure a table for my birthday dinner.
Ambiance and location of seating was great, but people go to restaurants for the service, if the service is poor, no matter how good the food is, chances of a customer returning are very, very low.

Our server was almost rushing us out the door. We arrived at 8:30 and were out the door before 9:30 . . . that means that a large group of 6 sat, got fed and was out the door within an hour of arriving.

I don't remember the gentleman's name but he had an almost African accent. He wasn't rude, but he was also not very friendly or hospitable to a large group of women who were eating at the famous Foreign Cinema for the first time. I mean the guy didn't ask us if we wanted a second round of drinks or if we were interested in dessert, which I was, I mean it was my birthday. When the girls asked about specific food options his response was "I mean, everything on the menu is good, we change it every week" .. eek!

Well, my reason for choosing this place was because I met the chefs at a chef pop up in my workplace (Salesforce) last year. I was able to sit front row while they cooked our team lunch, and spoke about the restaurant. The experience was amazing, I even decided to purchase their book, But going to their restaurant again . . . there needs to be a very good reason for me to go back.

Hope your team works on their hospitality.

Best,
Aline

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