HelpiOS AppAndroid AppWindows Phone AppWindows 8 App

Not available on OpenTable

Unfortunately, this restaurant is not on the OpenTable reservation network.
If you like, we’ll notify you by email if this restaurant joins.
Is this your restaurant? Claim this listing

Firefly Grill & Wine Bar

4.4
397 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Contemporary American
Top Tags:
  • Neighborhood Gem (612)
  • Notable Wine List (495)
  • Fit for Foodies (436)

Similar Restaurants

About

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.

Dining Style
Fine Dining
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Cuisines
Contemporary American
icon/ic_clockCreated with Sketch.
Hours of operation
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 4:30pm - 9:00pm; Friday - Saturday: 4:30pm - 10:00pm
icon/ic_phoneCreated with Sketch.
Phone number
(760) 635-1066
icon/ic_new_windowCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_paymentCreated with Sketch.
Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
icon/ic_dress_codeCreated with Sketch.
Dress code
Casual Dress
icon/ic_chefCreated with Sketch.
Executive chef
Justin Rambo-Garwood
icon/ic_contactCreated with Sketch.
Private party contact
Jim Barrasso: (760) 635-1066
icon/ic_cateringCreated with Sketch.
Catering
Parties from 10 to 200. Each menu customized for every party.
icon/ic_locationCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_neighborhoodCreated with Sketch.
Neighborhood
icon/ic_cross_streetCreated with Sketch.
Cross street
Mountain Vista Dr.
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 397 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.4  based on all time ratings
4.4
food
4.4
service
4.2
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
Sort by
Newest
Filters
vipchefmarian (San Diego)
1.0  Dined on August 30, 2016

Closed. And with good reason. The owner was nice to only a 'select' few. I brought in a table of 15 people and didn't get the right time of day.

Report
Helpful
vipAngler92067 (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on July 5, 2016

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.
Sincerely,
Richard Santore
Rancho Santa Fe, CA

Report
Helpful
vipcolleen (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on May 7, 2016

Sever was great with recommendations and we tried so many items we took some home. Happy hour 25 percent off wines is a great deal too.

Report
Helpful
Lizz (New York Area)
4.0  Dined on April 16, 2016

Nice place with easy menu for picky eaters. We were a large group, and needed a quiet place for an early dinner. Very accommodating and nice.

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (Orange County)
4.0  Dined on April 4, 2016

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

Report
Helpful
vipOpenTable Diner (San Diego)
3.0  Dined on March 18, 2016

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!

Report
Helpful
vippbbts (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on February 27, 2016

We had the tasting menu and filet--- and loved them!

Report
Helpful
vipJimbo (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on February 13, 2016

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.

Report
Helpful
Designer (San Diego)
3.0  Dined on February 6, 2016

Food was ok, not that great...nice place to enjoy a meal with family,friends or a date!

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (San Diego)
4.0  Dined on February 6, 2016

Firefly has been a staple in the neighborhood for a long time. Jim does a great job of changing the menu and wine list to keep things interesting. Great happy hour too!

Report
Helpful
Oceansidefoodie (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on February 3, 2016

We were there on a Wednesday happy hour & surprised how quiet it was...heard that it was rare & that did not surprise us. Pretty place, good service & great food & wine!

Report
Helpful
Sandi (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on January 31, 2016

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'...

Report
Helpful
CarolynB (San Diego)
4.0  Dined on January 23, 2016

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!

Report
Helpful
sunnyknowsbest (San Diego)
2.0  Dined on January 22, 2016

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.

Report
Helpful
foodlover2001 (San Diego)
3.0  Dined on January 21, 2016

The food is average to above average for the price. The ambiance is wonderful and it is quiet enough to have conversations with your dining partner(s).

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on January 20, 2016

James our server made for a wonderful dining experience!

Report
Helpful
out4anevening (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on January 19, 2016

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.

Report
Helpful
viphappydinner (San Diego)
3.0  Dined on January 19, 2016

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.

Report
Helpful
Wanda (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on January 18, 2016

Ate here during Restaurant Week . Menu diverse and innovative. Food is delicious and well prepared and presented. Wine list good and reasonable
Staff warm ,welcoming.Makes you feel like you are an old friend

Report
Helpful
vipOpenTable Diner (San Diego)
4.0  Dined on January 3, 2016

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!!!!!

Report
Helpful
vipOpenTable Diner (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on January 2, 2016

Another excellent meal. Thank you

Report
Helpful
vipLinda (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on December 31, 2015

Thanks to Jim and his staff for a great New Year's Eve dinner at Firefly. Food is always delicious, service impeccable, and atmosphere serene. Our favorite!

Report
Helpful
CatGirl (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on December 9, 2015

While I have frequently dined at the bar section of the restaurant, this dinner was with a group of seven. Everyone loved their meal and enjoyed the ambiance of the restaurant. The service was perfection.

Report
Helpful
ParadigmShifter (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on November 22, 2015

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.

Report
Helpful
Gardenfresh (Orange County)
5.0  Dined on November 19, 2015

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.

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (San Diego)
4.0  Dined on November 14, 2015

The Cataplana was great. The chef is very good at adjusting for food allergies. They always have a great Cabernet on the wine list. The banana crean desert was very good. Service was very friendly and patient.

Report
Helpful
Deltalady (Orange County)
5.0  Dined on October 10, 2015

Our entire experience food wine and staff were wonderful. The restaurant was busy but the staff remained attentive.. . Would absolutely recommend!

Report
Helpful
Disappointed (San Diego)
2.0  Dined on October 1, 2015

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.

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on October 1, 2015

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!

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (San Diego)
2.0  Dined on September 29, 2015

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

Report
Helpful
1
2
3
14