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Hillary Hartley/Flickr
Hillary Hartley/Flickr
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A Spotlight On San Francisco Restaurant, Foreign Cinema

Picture of Samantha Cardenas
Updated: 9 February 2017
In a city where new restaurants are popping up left and right claiming to be the new hot thing, Foreign Cinema remains in a category of its own. Founded in 1999, Foreign Cinema has provided guests with a one-of-a-kind experience by serving dinner and drinks while acting as a movie theater and art gallery. There’s no denying it’s one of the best spots in the city since it has been awarded one of the Top 100 Restaurants by the San Francisco Chronicle for 16 years in a row.
Sumo Foreign Cinema | © Roland Tanglao/Flickr

Located in the heart of San Francisco’s vibrant Mission district, Foreign Cinema cannot be missed with its large metal door and protruding awning. Upon entering, guests can find their way to the main dining area by following the red carpet leading to the host desk. The red carpet provides a nice Hollywood touch being that every month a different movie is played while guests enjoy their dinner. Check back regularly to see what’s playing so you can plan your visit. The main dining room, with high ceilings and concrete walls, has an industrial feel that is warmed up by the dark hardwood floors, resulting in a lofty vibe. If your table isn’t ready, head on back to the bar and order something to drink as you wait to be seated.

Sumo Foreign Cinema | © Roland Tanglao/Flickr

This is also a perfect time to look over the menu. With Chef and co-owners Gayle Pirie and John Clark (also responsible for Show Dogs) curating the menu, guests can expect a delightful and unique dining experience. Having over a decade of understanding and experience in the food world, you can expect nothing but great things from a night at Foreign Cinema. Their passion and immense knowledge took them around the world to Europe and Asia where they opened several new restaurants and took the time to learn and perfect their craft. This was evident as they arrived back in the US to develop what would soon become Foreign Cinema. From an impressive oyster selection to dishes like Alaskan halibut, baby artichokes, white beans, basil, Castelvetrano olives, and aioli, every dish is bound to satisfy your sophisticated palate. With an impressive menu, it’s only natural that their drink selection is just as impressive. Pick your poison from hundreds of wines and other beverages hailing from Europe to right here in California.

One of the biggest appeals that draws people in is the fact that they play movies. Try and snag a table outside in the courtyard if you can. The ambiance is that of a summer backyard setting with lights strung across from wall to wall and heated lamps to keep guests warm on those chilly San Francisco nights. The range of movies is vast, with past films like Casablanca and The Goonies having played during dinner.

Pi at Foreign Cinema | © Dominiek ter Heide/Flickr

The combination of the sophisticated menu inspired by fare from Hong Kong to Europe, and the intimate setting of a summer night spent in the courtyard provides guests with a warm and comfortable feel that results in an ideal restaurant experience. Stop by Foreign Cinema on your next night out for a one-of-a-kind experience you’ll want over and over again.

Foreign Cinema, 2534 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 648 7600