Foreign Cinema is a bona fide San Francisco dining institution. Nestled in the vibrant heart of the Mission District, it is the epitome of effortless cool. It’s absolutely a unique and memorable venue if you’re looking for a restaurant wedding venue. 

You can tie the knot surrounded by enchanting ambiance, artistic flair, and world-class cuisine as well as your favorite movies. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing insider tips and essential details if you’re considering Foreign Cinema as the backdrop for your big day. Get ready to fall in love with all that this iconic spot has to offer as I also share photos from previous weddings we’ve photographed there! 

As a wedding photographer, I find Foreign Cinema to be a visual delight. The indoor dining area boasts an inviting fireplace and open kitchen, adding character to the space. Their covered outdoor patio sets the scene for foreign and indie film screenings against a striking white wall backdrop. 

Wedding reception at Foreign Cinema San Francisco
Wedding reception at Foreign Cinema | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

About Foreign Cinema for weddings

It was in 1999 that Foreign Cinema made its debut in San Francisco’s trendy Mission District. This unique spot combines California-Mediterranean culinary delights with the artistic vision of Chefs/Owners Gayle Pirie and John Clark. 

Now, the establishment holds a place in many San Franciscans’ hearts. It attracts food lovers, film buffs, and local devotees with its winning combo of exceptional globally-inspired cuisine and diverse dining spaces. Weddings there exude the same modernist urban-chic vibe with a variety of spaces to choose from.

This venue is most commonly used for receptions (it makes a perfect pairing with San Francisco City Hall) but there are also ceremony add-ons available. 

One of the biggest benefits of booking this fantastic restaurant is that food is front and center of the experience, never an afterthought. And what amazing food it is. Its incredible 5,000+ Yelp reviews attest to that. 

Plated meal at Foreign Cinema wedding
Plated meal at Foreign Cinema wedding reception | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

The food is sustainably sourced, seasonal and organic – plus your wedding menu can be personalized. The restaurant menu itself is switched up daily based on the freshest produce, meats and seafood they can find. And, being a restaurant, there are of course no extras to rent like chairs, tables, table linens, glasses, plates etc (unless you wanted to upgrade your experience) – so you save a lot of money and stress there, too vs. dealing with a rental company and caterer. 

This restaurant is truly a feast for all your senses! I can’t help but adore the stylish industrial ambiance of Foreign Cinema. The space manages to feel both cozy and lively. It would be a great choice for a wedding reception or even an all-in-one venue for your wedding day. Let’s dive into more of the specific areas.

Areas of Foreign Cinema for wedding rentals 

Amate Terrace 

Amate Terrace at Foreign Cinema
Amate Terrace at Foreign Cinema | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

Capacity: 18 seated

Type: Outdoor; private or semi-private depending on booking size 

Availability: April to October

Features: Custom mural, designer floor tiles, cafe lighting and heating 

wide photo of Modernism West Gallery set up for wedding
Modernism West Gallery | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

Capacity: 60 seated, 100 standing 

Size: 1,000 square feet 

Type: Indoor; private 

Features: Curated artwork, A/V system, built-in bar, tall ceilings, skylights and wall of windows 

Mezzanine

Mezzanine at Foreign Cinema set up for wedding
Mezzanine at Foreign Cinema | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

Capacity: 30 seated, 40 standing 

Size: 400 square feet 

Type: Indoor; semi-private 

Features: Overlooks main dining room, exposed beams, concrete walls, wood floors 

Director’s Table

Capacity: 12 seated

Size: 150 square feet 

Type: Indoor; semi-private 

Features: View of nightly featured film in courtyard below, vintage 35mm projector nearby 

Laszlo

Capacity: 60 standing reception / 100 for drinks only 

Size: 700 square feet 

Type: Indoor and outdoor; private or semi-private depending on booking size 

Features: Full service DJ bar with lounge, custom-built banquettes, custom leather modular lounge seating, advanced sounds system, vast vinyl collection, sidewalk seating. 

Buyout 

Capacity: 166 seated, 350 standing 

Size: 5,000 square feet 

Type: Entire space 

Features: All features listed above plus outdoor heated courtyard, main dining room with fireplace, full bar, drive-in quality projection system for custom presentations or your desired feature film.

Note: gatherings of 61 seated guests or more require a restaurant buyout, which includes a variety of distinctive event spaces that are used in combination.

Other notes

Shuttle or Uber is recommended for guests because of the lack of parking in the vicinity. If driving, the Mission Bartlett Garage is recommended. It’s about a 2-minute walk.

bride, groom and guests cheersing on Amate Terrace of Foreign Cinema
Relaxed wedding reception at Foreign Cinema | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

Vendor Credits 

Photography: Zoe Larkin Photography (associate photographer) 

Planner: Mooi Weddings

Floral design: Wallflower

Dress: Sarah Seven

Mezzanine wedding

Photography: Zoe Larkin Photography 

Floral design: Wallflower

Dress: Kamperett

Suit: Hall Madden

Amate Terrace wedding

Floral design: Ampersand

HMUA: Urban Beauty Loft

Dress: Jesus Peiro

Suit: Calvin Klein

Shoes: Bryr Clogs

This couple had their ceremony at Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands – check out the post below!

READ MORE  Marin Headlands elopement at Hawk Hill

Further reading

For more San Francisco wedding venues, check out my complete guide linked below!:

READ MORE  32 Best San Francisco Wedding Venues 2024 (by a wedding photographer)

And for more Mission District locations to take photos for wedding or engagement, check out my hyperlocal guide below:

READ MORE  Top 10 Mission District locations for engagement photos

For more Mission District and similar wedding venues perfect for intimate weddings, check out the posts below:

READ MORE  BiteUnite San Francisco Wedding
READ MORE  Stable Café wedding photos & info (Mission District, San Francisco)
READ MORE  Wayfare Tavern Weddings - Complete Guide (with photos!)

Photos from Foreign Cinema wedding

couple posing outside cinema on Mission Street SF amate terrace wedding at Foreign Cinema, San Francisco speeches on amate terrace at foreign cinema wedding photojournalistic moments of wedding day at Foreign Cinema, Mission District couple outside San Francisco wedding reception venue Foreign Cinema Wedding photos from Mezzanine of Foreign Cinema cocktail hour set up at Foreign Cinema wedding candid photography at Wedding reception at Foreign Cinema San Francisco bride and groom cheersing at Wedding reception on Mezzanine at Foreign Cinema candid guest photography from San Francisco wedding reception venue Modernism Gallery West Wedding photos from Foreign Cinema wide shots from Modernism Gallery West wedding reception Wedding reception at Foreign Cinema Wedding reception at Foreign Cinema San Francisco first dance at Modernism Gallery West, Foreign Cinema

About Zoe Larkin Photography 

Looking for a San Francisco wedding photographer? You can learn more about our services at the links below: 

Foreign Cinema wedding photos showcasing the diverse rental areas available at this chic Mission District industrial-chic yet cozy restaurant wedding venue #sanfranciscowedding #bayareawedding
San Francisco restaurant wedding venue Foreign Cinema

I hope to be back at Foreign Cinema soon, shooting your lovely wedding reception! 

Zoe Larkin

I’m Zoe, a wedding photographer based in San Francisco! My style is candid, capturing authentic moments for my couples all over the Bay Area and Northern California. Creating content is my passion! Follow along the blog and Insta!

foreign cinema wedding photos

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Foreign Cinema Wedding, San Francisco

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