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Food for thought: Dinner and art make a perfect pair at this SF museum

The Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco | Courtesy Drew Altizer Photography

Enjoying a meal prepared by a rising star chef while surrounded by fine art may sound like something only the 1% can afford. But at the Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco, known as ICA SF for short, eating delicious food against the backdrop of beautiful art is a luxury accessible to all. 

The free contemporary art museum, which made a splash in the SF art world when it opened last year, continues its chef pop-up series this Thursday, featuring Indigenous Mexican flavors from Molcaxitl Kitchen.

An outgrowth of a takeover series called Meantime and the brainchild of chef Jacob Croom of torta pop-up and roving Chicano supper club My Friend Fernando, the culinary series is meant to highlight local food and beverage makers, support small businesses and build a sense of community. Previous pop-ups to pass through include Mishmish, which serves vegan Palestinian food; Mexican maiz specialist Bolita; and the coffee-centric Fluid Cooperative Cafe.   

The ICA’s chef pop-ups also offer the opportunity to dine in the Dogpatch museum’s galleries. If you’d like to kick off your noshing with an appetizer of art, the museum’s curators will present a free tour of ICA’s current exhibitions at 6 p.m. Thursday. Resting Our Eyes, a thought-provoking exploration of Black womanhood, is currently on view. 

While the event is open to all and food is available for purchase while supplies last, there are special perks for members of ICA’s 901 Club, including complimentary drinks and menu items. Memberships, which support keeping admission to the museum free, start at an approachable $9.01. Interested diners can RSVP at, and prospective members can sign up for the 901 Club here. The chef pop-up series continues on Thursdays through mid-August with a rotating cast of chefs, pop-ups and eateries.  

ICA SF’s Chef Pop-Ups

🗓 April 27 | 5-8 p.m.
🎟 Free admission with RSVP | Food available for purchase