Last month, I had the pleasure of enjoying brunch at Foreign Cinema for the first time. It was my best friend’s birthday visiting from Washington D.C., and of course I took it upon myself to brainstorm a couple of great places for a girl’s brunch. We landed on Foreign Cinema, which ended up being the perfect spot to celebrate with eight hungry girls.
We made a 1:30pm reservation far in advance and requested to dine on their outdoor patio — truly the ideal location for a birthday celebration. The perfect SF weather with sun beating down — while still covered just enough beneath the patio awning — reminded me (again!) why I love this city so much. In a way, the patio at Foreign Cinema felt like its own oasis away from the craziness of the location. Because I mean let’s face it, that part of the Mission District can be a bit… Much.
We loved everything about our experience. The ambiance to die for. The service prompt, friendly, professional, and kind. The cocktails perfectly balanced. The food as delicious as ever. I started with their Wild at Heart cocktail (loved this name too!) with the intention to order something else later on, but ended up drinking another few of those throughout my meal. It was my ideal cocktail — complete with aperol, dolin blanc, angostura bitters, fresh lemon, bitter lemon tonic and a slice of orange. For our food, we ordered a variety of dishes for the table including the following. Unfortunately, their house Organic Pop Tarts were not part of our order, but I know I’ll be back to get those.
Straus Yogurt with melon, figs, muscat grapes, yogurt, honey, toasted pistachios, mint. I’m personally a big fan of yogurt and fruit bowls, and this one truly tasted like heaven. Loved the addition of mint to top it off.
Lavender Baked Goat Cheese with poached tart cherries, tapenade, radishes, endive and baguette toasts. This one was a fan favorite across the table. I would eat it before all of my meals if I could.
Garden Tomatoes with baby beets, cucumbers, green beans, feta, peppercress, basil, red wine vinaigrette. Tasted like summer on a bowl — can never go wrong with fresh tomatoes and basil.
Plancha of Monterey Calamari with oaxacan mole rojo, chickpeas, lime, aioli, tortilla chips. This one reminded me of something I ordered in Mexico City. The chips were thick cut and divine, with the perfect amount of lime across the full dish.
For our mains, almost everyone ordered something different. I’m a big fan of splitting two larger dishes with someone in my group, and thankfully the birthday girl was too. We ended up sharing the Brunch Bowl with smoked salmon, roasted salmon rillette, farm egg salad, caviar, spelt toast, hummus, arugula, dill, and crema, as well as the Tunisian Shakshuka with baked eggs in slow cooked heirloom tomatoes, onions, zucchini, cumin, chilies, and feta cheese. I don’t think I could pick a favorite out of the two — they were both very different and made for a great pair together.
We were all so stuffed by the end that we didn’t end up saving room for dessert, but the Foreign Cinema team had a special birthday treat in store. They brought out a shaved ice of some sort, which came in a tall cocktail glass with a candle on top and eight small spoons for sharing. Given our collective feelings of fullness, this was a lovely dessert as it was light, refreshing, and easy to eat. We never figured out exactly what it was, as it wasn’t on their regular dessert menu, but concluded that the dessert was something along the lines of melon (honeydew?) shaved ice. What was so unique about it, was how the flavors came through each bite we took. I’ve found that shaved ice often tastes more like ice than the actual flavor it’s supposed to be — or at least towards the end when the flavor runs out — but this one was bursting with real melon and other fruity flavors throughout the entire enjoyment of it. What an incredible end to an incredible birthday experience!
Overall, I would recommend Foreign Cinema for anyone and everyone — especially when there’s a special occasion to celebrate. It’s excellent for groups of all sizes and for all ages. I’m sure a date would be lovely there too.