It’s easy for a foodie to find a great place to eat in San Francisco, but sometimes it can be difficult to get a reservation at the popular restaurants during peak dining hours. Instead of settling for another place to eat, try out Table 8, a reservation service that brings access and spontaneity back to eating out. No need to plan and book months in advance or get placed on waiting lists, because with Table8, you an book sold-out tables just days in advance. Some reservations require a nominal fee to book, while others are free, but for the ease and convenience, spending $20 for a top restaurant during peak dining time is worth it. This service is available in the top dining cities in the country, so it’s also great for checking out restaurants while traveling.
By reserving through Table 8, we were fortunate enough to score a 7:30pm reservation at Foreign Cinema, a San Francisco dining destination, with no problem at all. According to another dining reservation website, the 7:30 time slot was booked within 3 hours the week before, so getting a table for 2 in the evening would have been inconvenient, and quite impossible. Booking with Table 8 makes you feel like a VIP, which is a great way to impress your date!
Foreign Cinema, located in the vibrant Mission District of San Francisco, is a gem amongst cheap and tasty taquerias and hip and trendy bars. Walking up to the restaurant is like going to an old movie theater. The swinging doors open up to a red carpet that takes you down a long dark hallway. Vintage movie posters complete the theater vibe.
The 7:30pm reservation time on a Saturday in the summer couldn’t have been more perfect. It was beautiful to see the open air seating in the patio transform from a bright and airy environment to a romantic ambiance lit with candles, railroad lights, and the movie.
Foreign Cinema plays foreign cinema, believe it or not, and the French film, Farewell , My Queen, lit up the scene once the sun set. The French dialogue playing through the drive-in theater style speakers only added to the foreign experience, while giving you enough moments to catch up on good conversation. If the reservation were any earlier, we would miss out on the movie, and if it were later, we would miss out on the beauty of the patio (and also great parking spaces).
When being seated, try to request a patio table since that’s where the movie is being played and the open San Francisco air can be invigorating. It was a rare, warm night in the city, but should you go on a cooler night, heat lamps will keep you and your party warm. The interior of the restaurant is gorgeous as well with a cozy fireplace as the centerpiece, however, it can get too noisy for an intimate dinner for two. If you’re worried about the possibility of rain, the patio is also covered.
The patio’s ambiance is amazing, but what’s even better is the food. The California-Mediterranean menu changes daily to reflect the seasons, so each time you visit, you will have a whole new dining experience. We started off with a summer watermelon and arugula salad with balsamic crema, fromage blanc, basil oil, and maresh pepper ($13). This refreshing salad was perfect for the warm night, and the balance of the peppery arugula and creamy fromage blanc really elevated the sweet watermelon. The house sourdough and wheat bread are also amazing, and it was worked well to mop up the remaining basil oil on the plate.
For the main course, we went with the yellow fin tuna seared rare with crispy artichokes, tomatoes, fava bean puree, salsa verde, shaved radish, tomato aioli, and au jus ($31). The tuna was crusted with sesame and had an exciting vibrancy to each bite.
The other dish was sesame fried chicken with basmati and bhaji greens dirty rice, cucumber raita, lime, sultana, and kishmish ($25). This was a hefty portion of chicken with 3 pieces: a breast, wing, and thigh, and paired well with the Southeast-Asian influenced sides.
Foreign Cinema is also a great place for drinks. The bar is beautiful, and we had a taste of the Peace of Pyrenees ($10), a concoction with orange muscat, tonic syrup, seltzer, citrus, and dried stonefruit. It was a pleasure to indulge in the seasonal dried peaches, apricots, and plums after the drink was finished. This drink was light and paired well with the variety of dishes throughout the night.
What’s great about dining in the Mission is that there are so many options of places to go after dinner. Lazlo, the neighboring bar with a loft-like feel, is connected to Foreign Cinema by the hallway entrance and always playing some beats to enjoy.
Without this reservation from Table 8, this restaurant would have been foreign to me. Thank you Table 8 for saving a table for us! Can’t wait to try it out on the next food travels!