Haute Dining: Foreign Cinema–San Francisco’s Sexiest Champagne Outpost

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Sometimes it’s the most classic spots—the restaurants and bars that define a city—that we return to for basic comfort. And in the world of wine, especially on Valentine’s Day, that comfort often takes the form of the world’s most famous bubbles: Champagne.

Foreign Cinema, one of San Francisco’s go-to restaurants for interpretations of American and Mediterranean cooking, also happens to be the sexiest spot in the city for bubbly.

If your plan is to just drop in, then take a seat at the bar along the back of the light-filled brick room and peruse the lengthy wine list, which includes eight Champagne selections by the bottle, from Bollinger to George Gardet, alongside top California bubbles from Roederer and Iron Horse. (The former, in particular, makes the best stateside bubbles, bar none.)

An elegant option that falls outside of both categories is the Crémant d’Alsace Rosé by Allimant Laugner, rich in berry fruit and about as dry as crémant gets. There’s also a beautiful Prosecco Sorella Bronca; this sparkler from Italy’s Veneto region is the perfect expression of the traditional grape: creamy, toasty and slightly tart.

For a better view of the film being screened throughout the space, reserve a table, preferably on the enclosed patio. The current show is Duck Season, a playful re-telling of The Cat in the Hat, from Mexican director Fernando Eimbecke (2004).

And once you’ve settled in with your significant other and your bubbly, order up a batch of the kitchen’s legendary pimenton-spiced fried chicken, perfect with Champagne.

Foreign Cinema is located at 2534 Mission St., San Francisco, 415.648.7600; www.foreigncinema.com.

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