Foreign Cinema

4.6
6562 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 6562 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
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
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JG
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined a day ago
Overall 2food 5service 1ambience 3

I had to track down the server—even though he was next to our table with other guests. He did come over after I got up to get him—it had been 20 minutes...

I worked in fine dining and our waiter needs a refresher in steps of service. We still tipped him 20% —reluctantly but please address this.

F
San Francisco
182 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent chicken and pork chops. We enjoyed dining...a bit noisy for intimate conversation but great food and service

OT
Hawaii
9 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Wonderful dining experience, great food and even better atmosphere — we ate outside as butch cassidy and the sun dance kid was projected onto a wall and had excellent caviar followed by a beautiful wugu steak — great dinner!

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

Great place for a group or a couple on a date! Wonderful food and ambiance.

J
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Food and service were both good, but we were seated directly under a heat lamp. The stage wouldn't turn it down because it would affect the temperature of the tables on either side of us, but it was really really hot. Both my date and I had beads of sweat on our faces all night and it was a relief when we finally left.

OT
Surrey
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 2

Not as we expected. Thought film would be projected throughout restaurant but actually only visible if u sit in outside seating area. Food good & we had a nice helpful waitress. V loud so difficult to talk. Expensive & difficult splitting payment between us at the end, also not able to bring card machine to table, they wanted us to just hand over which as Brits we felt uncomfortable with.

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

The food and service are always great here. Love spending an evening at Foreign Cinema.

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

Foreign Cinema is a beautiful establishment that you can really tell pays attention to detail. Each and every staff member makes you feel happy, welcome, and taken care of. The food was perfectly constructed with every single flavor on the plate complementing one another. My husband and I came here for our first time because we received a gift card, but we will 100% be back and will recommend this place to all our family and friends!

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

I’ve worked in this industry for 28 years and I couldn’t be more impressed. From the service to ambiance to the dishes we had we were collectively floored! It’s been 10 years since I’ve been and I guarantee it won’t be another 10

NC
New England
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

always a favorite-had the porkchops again and they continue to impress! on the down side was the service-i am usually quite impressed but it was the little things-no bread being offered until far into the appetizer when i realized our table hadn't received-to the fact that the oysters and then the mains were all delivered w/out any description of what they were -(i think perhaps the service was backed up or something since our waiter didn't deliver the food but someone else who wordlessly placed them ) -our waiter never came by to make sure we were ok w/ what was given (had to track him down to find out what oysters we ended up getting since the 2 sets we ordered were apparently "unavailable." Normally i'm not a service wonk but given the prices and my history here i was disappointed at the decline.

CK
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 2

I have been going since Foreign Cinema opened and count it as a top 5 SF fav restaraunt, This was for my wife and my anniversary and we took our kids to celebrate and show them a "truly great SF restaraunt". Risotto came cool, wine wasn't served with the right food, we had to ask for more bread, the service was terrible. I love Foreign Cinema, but something was badly off on Aug 18th 2019.

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

Great food , attentive service. As expected the fried chicken dish was great. Sommelier was very helpful. A busy restaurant and a lot of fun.

C
Toronto
3 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome place. Great ambience even if sitting indoors. Of course outdoor seating by screen is preferred.

s
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was great, great delicious, huge pork chop and tasty calamari. We went on a Saturday night early around 7 and it was packed. It was so crowded the waiter couldn't stop to take our order but one of the managers came right over and took our drink order. That's the great thing about this place, it seems like they are all working to make it a good experience and it was.

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

It was fantastic! The food as well as the drinks were spectacular. Would definitely go again.

t
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food and service. Loved it!!

R
San Francisco
29 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Alfredo was a great server and very patient with our group. Everything was excellent except the Baked Alaska was different. The chocolate pot was the best I have ever tasted. The duck had perfectly crisped fat.

K
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a wonderful time at Foreign Cinema. Great food,love the ambiance. They always treat us like we’re special. That’s why we keep coming back, especially for our anniversary!

MV
New York Area
1 review
Dined on August 15, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

Great location, however rather noisy.
Flexible staff.
Beautiful menu. Champagne risotto was best risotto ever!
Nice wines and good action on our remarks.
Would definitely go back.
It was rather expensive but worth it!

L
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on August 15, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 2

overall, i was disappointed in this spot. there is so much hype around it and the food was just ok and the service was awful. our waiter was quite awkward at first and then he became very rude. the calamari appetizer dish was awesome and the risotto was good. everything else was just ok. would not come back.

OT
Sacramento
2 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service and food is great! Would definitely recommend.

g
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

We had a not great experience. 6pm reservation, ordered food right away and did not get served entrees until almost 8pm. Asked for multiple things and server forgot. Meal was $300 for 4 people which also felt high for the poor service.

A
Palm Springs
18 reviews
Dined on August 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and ambiance, definitely top notch!

c
1 review
Dined on August 13, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 2ambience 5

Flavor is mediocre at best. Server had an unfriendly demeanor and disposition. Food is way over priced for the flavor and portions provided. The only positive was the ambiance. Great courtyard to have dinner.

J
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 2ambience 5

The food, the ambiance, and the overall experience was incredible. One of our favorite restaurants in San Francisco. The patio is so romantic. However, our server was a bit cold and condescending but we'll try it again and hope for a better experience.

AL
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

Always love a Foreign Cinema brunch. But this time, for dinner, the service was really amiss.
Front doors were jamming so that multiple guests thought the restaurant was closed, servers were confused or awkward, and we were asked several times whether dishes belonged to us or whether we ordered them etc. Overall lots of misses in service at every turn. A little embarassed as a couple, but would have been even more so had I brought a client.

a
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall 2food 5service 1ambience 2

Great food. Horrible service ! African American gentleman server who seemed tired and completely not into being there ! Slow service but worse disinterested and lackluster . Told us lunch crowd had worn him out . Ya no kidding !

c
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 5

This is our second time to FC. we brought some visiting family members this time. They were out of so many dishes by dinner on Sunday, it actually starting getting funny whenever the waiter came back to tell us that they were out of sow thing because brunch was so busy. Not his fault- but perhaps tell people upfront when you are out of something, that way they can order the right drink, and they don’t get their hopes up. Food was not as good as the last time, either.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the best meals we’ve had, in San Francisco or anywhere else.

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

Food was delicious and the service great. Even gave us a candle in our dessert as we were celebrating our honeymoon.

LL
Tahoe
15 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

We were very underwhelmed. The food was not impressive at all. Small portions, overpriced, and most of it did not taste super fresh. We had oysters, lobster, shrimp cocktail and the baby lettuce salad. Cocktails were innovative and tasty, but small. Wine pours were meager and expensive. Noisy. We would not go back. We had great expectations after a rave recommendation. So disappointed.

F
San Francisco
26 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I really like Foreign Cinema. The food and the ambiance are really nice.

The servers are really nice and accommodating, but I recommend slowing down a bit. Our awesome waitress came back as soon as we sat down. That's nice but we hadn't had a chance to look at the menu yet. Food came really quickly, so were the constant "is everything ok", we felt rushed and constantly interrupted. As soon as one of us put our fork down, we were asked if we were done. Our plates were removed really quickly too. There were a lot of empty tables so i'm not sure I understood the rush but either way, it did impact our experience.

SO
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

Really poor service mind.
No smile no attention to customer.
Compared with service, high price as well.
Just for atmosphere experience is good.

C
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of our favorite restaurants in the city. Never disappoints!!

M
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I hadn’t been here in years and it is still amazing. Good, service and ambiance are still wonderful. I would recommend Foreign Cinema to anyone.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

This restaurant was highly recommended by several local foodies so maybe we just ordered the wrong things. We found the food very disappointing and quite overpriced for what it was. However, the wine list was spectacular and the sommelier extremely helpful.

JG
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our first visit here and it was great. A very cool place from the minute you step into the old hallway used for the movie theater. The interior of the restaurant is spacious and fun. We were there before it got dark enough for the movie to be shown, but I can imagine it would be a lively atmosphere in the courtyard area.

The food was excellent, from the soup, the baby lettuces salad, the baked cheese and duck appetizers, to the swordfish entree. Well prepared with unique seasonings. The pot de creme was rich without being too heavy.

Melanie was our server and she was knowledgeable, helpful, and always within reach when we needed her.

OT
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We showed up right at opening for a Saturday brunch. Everyone was friendly and sat us right away. The place has a lot of character but the food stole the show. I had the pork chili verde and was extremely happy with it. I tried my wife’s French toast and was amazed. It was all good!

R
1 review
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The food was absolutely delicious! Definitely is on the expensive side but you will have a good time :)

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Held a surprise birthday party for my wife. Foreign Cinema was great about seating everyone before we got there and humoring me when I came up and said we had a table for two. Our server was great and the chef even brought out an extra dessert. Food and ambiance were great.

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