Foreign Cinema

Overall Rating: 7.450

Address: 2534 Mission St.
Cross Street(s): Btwn 21st & 22nd Sts.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94110
Neighborhood: Mission
Phone: 415.648.7600
Hours: M-Th 6pm-10pm; F 5:30pm-11pm; Sa 11am-11pm; Su 11am-10pm
Type of Establishment: Restaurant
Cafe Rating: 7.50
Barista: 7
Savvy: 7
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: Faema
Coffee Rating: 7.40
Aroma: 7
Body: 7
Brightness: 8
Crema: 7
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 1.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Warming
Coffee Beans: Four Barrel Coffee
Cup Manufacturer: Inker
Price: $3.50
Last Update: 06/13/2014
First Reviewed: 09/12/2011
Notes: Outdoor Seating

This SF restaurant long had no espresso service. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing when restaurants know their limits of the things they can produce well and provide alternatives they can succeed at. That's not entirely the case with the espresso that's been more recently introduced here. A long, long hallway past a bar and various doors leads you finally to the reception area, which practically seems where you are exiting the back door of the space. But all the action is in back, between a wood-exposed, covered area on one side (which contains their bar and espresso service area) and an outdoor patio on the other (covered by a clear plastic awning). The outdoor space is where they show foreign films (their namesake) against a white-painted cinderblock wall under heat lamps (drive-in speakers included at each table). But inside they use a two-group Faema (formerly a La Marzocco) to pull shots of Four Barrel Coffee. Once filled insanely high with a pale, even crema, it's now a modest size pour with a medium brown crema just slightly on the thin-bodied side. There is a healthy Four Barrel flavor of sharper herbs and spices showing underneath in the cup. Formerly a flushed-out large pour, it's now a measured, balanced, and potent shot with sharp acidity, some body, and a primarily pungent flavor of fresh cloves. Served in multi-colored (formerly white) Inker cups with organic sugar cubes on the side. Milk-frothing also seems to be relatively strong.