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About Firefly Grill & Wine Bar
Let your hair down at the Firefly Grill and Wine Bar. This casual dining outpost serves up an appealing range of contemporary American small plates complemented by an award-winning wine list. Helmed by chef Justin Rambo-Garwood, the dining menu features tasty appetizers, fresh salads and mouthwatering entrees. Visit for lunch and get your appetite going with some chicken wings or bacon wrapped dates. Make a meal of the braised Angus beef short ribs, served with roasted garlic mashed potato and baby carrots.
Firefly's cozy ambiance plays well to friendly group outings. Visit during the happy hour window for impressive discounts on drinks. This restaurant and wine bar also boasts private dining facilities and offers catering services that can be customized to fit with different events. Firefly Grill and Wine Bar is open for lunch and dinner all through the week.
Encinitas, CA 92024
Hours of Operation:
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 4:30pm - 9:00pm; Friday - Saturday: 4:30pm - 10:00pm
Mountain Vista Dr.
$30 and under
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Parties from 10 to 200. Each menu customized for every party.
Private Party Contact:
Jim Barrasso: (760) 635-1066
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Firefly Grill & Wine Bar Ratings and Reviews
I am so sorry to learn that this restaurant has closed. Jim Barrasso, the owner is a wonderful person and wine lover. What does someone have to do to succeed in this tough business?? 100% of patrons would recommend this restaurant and the overall rating is 4.5. I truly hope that he will be financially OK and will miss seeing him and miss this very fine restaurant.
Rancho Santa Fe, CA
We were hoping for more of a small plates tapa dining experience. Not much is offerred for small plates. They could add about 7 to 10 more items to there starter/small plate menu. Salad great and the creme brulee excellent. Over powering on rosemary for clams and do not order filet bites over mash potatoes
We've been going to Firefly for years. It used to be great - now it's just good, some things are better than others. The house breadsticks, bread, and garlic oil & butter are still irresistible. Salads are generous, but lacking any "ooomph" in flavor, esp the house salad. Seafood Cataplana, one of their specialties, used to be much more flavorful, with more tomatoes in the broth, served with a wonderful chunk of grilled bread. Now you have to ask for the bread?!?! Why??? The steak bites starter was a joke - 5 or 6 tiny morsels of steak buried under a mound of mashed potatoes - not even a full bite each! The chocolate flan dessert was delicious, but both the espresso and the cappuccino were lacking in flavor and were not steaming hot. All in all, good, but not as good as it used to be, so we won't be rushing back. Too bad, because Encinitas is not exactly a mecca for good food, so there's not much competition. But service is always attentive and professional, so no complaints there!
We never rate or give reviews until we have been at least twice. Consistency is key for us. This was our second time and like the first it was fantastic!! The food was excellent and the service was as good as it gets! We had two different waiters and both were very good, friendly and attentive.
We now have Firefly on our list to return.
It's about time I gave Firefly a review. After all, it's our Go To place when we want a lovely atmosphere, delicious food and moderate prices. It always feels like a special occasion even during Restaurant Week. Or any other week!
If you're a fan of innovative cuisine and a uniformly GREAT staff, you might consider making this YOUR Go To place too!
What's delicious? Pretty much everything I've ever tried. They continue to change things up on the menu seasonally, so I don't want to recommend anything that's no longer available (like the heirloom tomato salad). Suffice it to say everything that comes out of the kitchen has been thoughtfully prepared.
Oh, and if anyone in your party is GF, they have a truly delicious warm Brown Butter Cake with Vanilla bean gelato that would fool the heartiest flour eater! Just sayin'...
I was starving, and thankfully my husband shared his pork meal with me while I waited for mine to come back from the kitchen. His pork was the most tender and moist of any pork I've ever had! The squash mash was a perfect complement with its natural sweetness. We also enjoyed his scallop risotto appetizer and kaffir key lime tart.
I ordered the blue cheese crusted filet mignon. It came with the cheese on the side. Odd. I had enjoyed a similar dish a few weeks ago at the Ranch House Restaurant in Ojai, and I was hoping for something as delish. What happened was the waitress had indicated on the order that I'm gluten free, which is true. Apparently, the kitchen chose to put the cheese on the side, rather than on my steak, thinking I might also be dairy free. Why in the world would I order something covered in cheese if I didn't want the dairy? They should have checked. I sent it back to the kitchen for the cheese to be added, and it was, sort of, plopped on top of my steak, and quickly broiled. Unfortunately, I was expecting the cheese to be melted into the steak as it cooked. That's how the Ranch House did theirs. In fact, the cheese melted in so nicely, that it was a subtle taste added to the steak, not a separate flavor altogether. I'm still curious as to how Firefly does the cheese as a "crust." Seems like it would melt, doesn't it? Despite it all, the filet mignon was nicely cooked and flavorful, but I was expecting something else.
Wine. I prefer a smooth, low tannin, slightly sweet wine, usually a malbec or merlot. Our waitress was not too familiar with the wine list, but she suggested one anyway. Fortunately, I asked for a taste, and I didn't care for it. Instead I ordered a 'tini, a vodka with pomegranate juice. It was delish, but not very strong. I had a second one, and barely got a buzz, and I'm a light drinker. Lots of calories and no buzz! Boo.
Anyway, we'll return, and I hope the pork dish is on the menu that night!
Been to Firefly a number of times previously and was quite disappointed this time. We chose the butternut squash soup and risotto with scallops for appetizers: the soup was good but it could have been ANY squash, you could not really taste the butternut squash flavor; the risotto was a little greasy. My daughter had the lobster crusted fillet for main course, it was acceptable; I had the white wine braised pork, it was so-so and the mashed potatoes were a bit sweet tasting (perhaps from the wine braise?). both came out a bit cold/cool, maybe they stood awhile before serving? Neither of the desserts were good: one bite taken of the chocolate -cake like cup, and the pear crisp was a far cry from a crisp anything...the cubes of pear were barely cooked and the topping was no crisp and had none of the expected homey goodness. Perhaps these failures were just a function of the pressing service during a busy restaurant week, as the experience a particularly the food did NOT meet expectations based on other visits to this restaurant. A true MEH.
We have dined at Firefly several times, and have never been disappointed. The food is excellent and the wine selection is large. The owner has a wide knowledge of wine, and knows how to pair these vintages with food. We have taken friends here, and they are always pleased.
The restaurant is relatively small, but because of its shape, noise is minimized. Lighting tends to be on the dim side, which makes for a relaxed or romantic evening. Very friendly service. And again - EXCELLENT food.
The food was fair, I went there for restaurant week. I had bay scallop risotto for appetizer, the risotto was under cooked. For entrée, I had filet mignon with lobster crusted on top. The filet mignon cooked well, but I was hardly taste the lobster crusted and the portion was so small
My fiancee had slow braised pork, it was not good, it was very salty. For dessert, I had the pear crisp, it was good. He ordered the dark chocolate cake, it was no surprised.
Firefly is a nice neighborhood place with great food and a perfect place to relax and enjoy dinner with a friend or two (or three....) Even though they took our favorite item, pork schnitzel, off the menu a while ago, we still enjoy every meal. The seafood cataplana is always a treat - so flavorful and delicious! Happy hour in the bar is always hoppin' for a small place, and the specials are perfect for sharing. Last visit had the mochatini - yummm!!!!!
Firefly continues to be at the top of our quality dining list. The bacon wrapped dates are a perfect starter. The wine list by the glass or bottle is comprehensive & we always are impressed with the selection of main dishes. Background music is a nice mix of contemporary smooth jazz perfect for a romantic date or small group dinner discussion. We will return often.
This is an exceptional restaurant. Jim, the owner, is the star of this establishment. The food is superb and complements the carefully chosen wine list. The wait staff is excellent. You can enjoy a meal there for a special occasion or you can drop in for a glass of wine and an appetizer at the inviting bar.
We came to Firefly for restaurant week. The duck pot pie appetizer was the highlight of the evening. The mahi mahi was very underwhelming. It smelled overly fishy and the lentils and vegetables served with it were extremely salty. My husband enjoyed his filet, but the lobster crust tasted stale. The deserts were a let down as well. Our server seemed somewhat uninterested in our needs and did not ask about the quality of our food. We had high hopes for the elevated food described on the restaurant's website, however Firefly did not deliver on our expectations.
The seating was fast and food creative and tasty, they extended sd restaurant week so we also ate well very reasonably, they do wine pairings for those who like that, we informed our server that we were celebrating my friend's birthday she was so observant to match her birthday candle to her blouse, we all enjoyed their starters, entrees and desserts, they have special items on their menu from time to time, I had a lovely stuffed zucchini flower there for the first time, though I looked all over Italy for it when on a trip with no luck, I needed to only go to my neighborhood firefly grill and wine Bar!
Used to love this restaurant haven't been there for at least a year ...seems food quality has declined incredibly. service is still good ambience is nice but did not enjoy the food. We asked the server about the chef seems there has been a new chef for a year or so that is probably the reason
We visited the Firefly Grill during restaurant week and while the price for an appetizer, entree and dessert was reasonable ($30), the food was lackluster. Little seasoning on the filet, and the "lobster" encrusted topping was more like a paste. Not very appetizing. The best thing about my meal was the tomato fennel bisque, and that was kind of marginal too. Service was incredibly slow. The wine list is extensive and the bottle we ordered was quite good. Glad I didn't pay full price!
Seated right away, host remembered my name from reservation which was a nice touch. Waited a bit for the waitress to take our order but she was knowledgable and food service was prompt. Had the seafood ceviche which was nice but forgettable and the lamb ragout which was outstanding! Petit Syrah was also wonderful. Would definitely visit again
I think the most memorable was the food. I think the service was ok. It was also difficult to find parking. They would probably benefit from a valet. When we first walked in, we spent 3 minutes just waiting for someone to attend to us and seat is for our reservation. Then we were seated and waited an additional 5-10 minutes before we ordered anything. The restaurant is clearly understaffed. Overall the food was very good. The create your own wine flight was cool.
We are new to San Diego and exploring the eateries nearby. Firefly sounded promising, the menu looked good and we made reservations for 6.30 on a Friday night. When we arrived, there were a few tables of senior citizens - or senior, senior citizens and that was it. The ambiance is rich, with warm colors and romantic lighting.
The menu was creative and eclectic and very reasonably priced. The specialty martinis were $10 and they had a tasting menu - 4 courses for $45, or $65 with the wine pairings. My husband opted for the tasting menu : white sea bass crudo with radishes and orange fumé; lamb ragu; (going blank on the 3rd course, I think a filet of some sort); and some kind of yummy butter cake. I opted for a few of the starter plates: baby kale salad with pancetta, parmesan and peppercorn dressing; red curry chicken wings with a green papaya salad and the spanish meatballs filled with manchego cheese.
The waiter was incredibly efficient and friendly and knowledgable, hustling between most of the tables solo; my moscow mule was just right and my husband liked the waiter's wine recommendations very much.
What was kind of sad was that once all the elder people (and first seating) cleared out around 7, not many more people came in. When we left close to 8pm, they clearly were only getting one seating that night - I don't know if Friday at peak hour is just not their busiest time, but when else would it be? Maybe locals know it as a place for seniors, or it's been around forever, or it's a crazy night scene around 10, but it's a lovely, neighborhood restaurant that deserves to be sampled.
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