Foreign Cinema

Restaurants, Californian Mission
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
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Foreign Cinema
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Dave Whelan
Foreign Cinema

Fifteen years in, Foreign Cinema is now something of a venerable elder on the Mission hipster scene. Chef/owners Gayle Pirie and John Clark refuse to rest on their laurels, however, and the restaurant arguably improves with each passing year. The interior features an open-air courtyard where classic foreign films are screened against the back wall (there are tableside speakers for those who want to listen). But the focus is still the exceptional food, a seasonal selection of locally interpreted Mediterranean dishes such as lamb mixed grill with couscous, chickpea and lentil tagine, house-cured anchovies, and more than 20 varieties of oysters. At the hugely popular brunch, the organic fruit “pop tarts” are a must. Or try happy hour at cool adjacent bar, Laszlo.


Venue name: Foreign Cinema
Address: 2534 Mission St
San Francisco

Cross street: between 21st and 22nd Sts
Opening hours: Mon–Wed 5:30–10pm; Thu, Fri 5:30–11pm; Sat 11am–2:30pm, 5:30–11pm; Sun 11am–2:30pm, 5:30–10pm
Transport: BART to 24th St Mission/bus 14, 26, 48, 49, 67
Price: Main courses: $23–$32
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Kate W

Foreign Cinema is a great place to have a fresh, tasty meal. I'd probably be more impressed with it if it weren't for all the hype—so much hype! Don't get me wrong, the food is good, the service is good—but I can get most of the dishes on the menu, prepared just as well, at any hip new eatery in the city (or in any big city). Projecting old movies onto the outside wall is a cute touch, but not the stuff of legends. Everybody relax!