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Foreign Cinema or Delfina?

orleanslaura Jul 28, 2008 07:56 AM

Which is better for a girls night out for two women in their 30's from NYC? Want good food, good wine/cocktails and a fun, lively atmosphere.


  1. d
    deanpaul2 Jul 29, 2008 06:07 PM

    Foreign Cinema. Delfina's too crowded and often with an older 'let's eat early' crowd...Foreign Cinema's food is great and you can skip around to Bruno's for drinks after and continue getting that happening crowd you're looking for...

    1 Reply
    1. re: deanpaul2
      Robert Lauriston Jul 30, 2008 08:46 AM

      Delfina is often full soon after they open at 5:30, but there's a different, younger demographic toward closing time. Lots of the most popular restaurants in SF are like that.

    2. m
      malachi Jul 29, 2008 05:24 PM

      Comparing the two seems a bit odd to me. They're really (really) different.

      If you want a "scene" complete with cocktails etc and food is of less importance - then Foreign Cinema should work.

      If you want food and wine in a "setting" and you can get by without cocktails or full bar - then I'd suggest Delfina.

      But it's kind of an apples to porkchops comparison.

      1. t
        Truffle Dog Jul 28, 2008 04:00 PM

        The food at Delfina is outstanding. The "vibe" is fun but the service and decor is very simple (as is the food - you might even call it "rustic" although it is as I said outstanding). Foreign Cinema is a cool place with good cocktails and you will have fun there, but the food is only pretty good. Delfina has the feel of a neighborhood restaurant but the quality of food is good enough that people come from all over the bay area to eat there. Foreign Cinema has the feel of an exciting destination restaurant/lounge but the food, while good, is not particularly memorable.

        Neither is a bad choice; if it was me I would pick Delfina, especially for a small group.

        1. c
          capt mern Jul 28, 2008 11:26 AM

          I'm kind of shocked you all pick Delfina. In my experience, Delfina doesn't take it all the way. Originally from NY, myself, I wouldn't recommend Delfina solely on the basis that it is Italian food. If you want to eat Italian food, you're so better off in the NY. Deflina not only often runs out of specials; I just think that overall the place is overhyped. And don't even get me started on their pizzeria next door. Talk about not being able to follow through.
          On the other hand, Foreign Cinema definitely has a vibe going.
          If you want great cocktails, fun, awesome atmosphere, and great GREAT local and organic menus, Foreign Cinema is the place.
          It is definitely more signature San Francisco.
          That's where I would go...

          1 Reply
          1. re: capt mern
            Robert Lauriston Jul 28, 2008 11:42 AM

            Delfina's menu changes every day so they don't have specials, or in a sense everything's a special. As with most places that change their menus daily, as the evening goes on they may run out of some dishes. Happens sometimes at Foreign Cinema too.

          2. rworange Jul 28, 2008 11:20 AM



            Upcoming Square One Vodka & Summer BBQ August 20

            chilled smoked corn soup
            blue shrimp and tomato terrine

            blanco, lime, agave, fleur de sel


            seared skate wing
            ham hock and corn hash, sungold cherry tomato nage, chantrel mushroom

            tropic of cancer
            blanco, curried corn nectar, grapefruit, giner


            grilled aged rib eye
            summer ratatouille, corn ricotta gnocchi, olive and sage brown butter

            prime meridian
            reposado, tomato, lime, vermouth agave, chili


            corn tomato truffle
            ancho and black salt

            In the End

            maple cornbread
            tomato, balsamic, agave ice cream

            anejo, fino, sherry, cream, huitlacoche foam

            1. singleguychef Jul 28, 2008 10:40 AM

              It's almost like Foreign Cinema is the old Mission and Delfina is the new? Delfina is getting more the buzz since the owner just won a James Beard award. But I would say both offers different things. FC is more stylish in my opinion and Delfina is more fancy casual? Maybe you should go with where you can get a reservation since both are fairly popular and good.

              1 Reply
              1. re: singleguychef
                Robert Lauriston Jul 28, 2008 10:54 AM

                Delfina's a chef-owned restaurant with the focus very much on the food. Foreign Cinema's sort of half restaurant and half lounge and not chef-owned.

                They opened within about six months of each other in 1998-99, so neither is particularly new or old.

              2. farmersdaughter Jul 28, 2008 10:22 AM

                Well, Delfina would be my choice between the two, because the food is just plain better and I like the scene better as well, but it doesn't have a full bar. If that's a requirement, you'd have to go to Foreign Cinema. Beretta does have a full bar, but it doesn't compare in the quality of the food or the experience to Delfina.

                1. j
                  jsgjewels Jul 28, 2008 10:07 AM

                  Not to turn your plans upside down, but I would recommend Bar Tartine for dinner and then a few cocktails at Beretta.

                  1. Civil Bear Jul 28, 2008 09:38 AM

                    I'd go with Delfina. Better food at better prices.

                    1. Pei Jul 28, 2008 08:21 AM

                      I vote for Delfina

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Pei
                        orleanslaura Jul 28, 2008 09:06 AM


                        1. re: orleanslaura
                          Pei Jul 28, 2008 09:42 AM

                          What Civil Bear said. It's nothing concrete that you could see from photos or reading a menu, just a general feeling that Delfina is more SF, tastes better, has a more fun vibe, and in general is somewhere I'd go to again and again whereas Foreign Cinema is not.

                          But Foreign Cinema does have its devotees (mostly for brunch).

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