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Firefly Grill & Wine Bar

4.4
397 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary American
Perfect For:
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Notable Wine List
  • Fit for Foodies

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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
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Cuisines
Contemporary American
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Hours of operation
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 4:30pm - 9:00pm; Friday - Saturday: 4:30pm - 10:00pm
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Phone number
(760) 635-1066
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Justin Rambo-Garwood
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Private party contact
Jim Barrasso: (760) 635-1066
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Catering
Parties from 10 to 200. Each menu customized for every party.
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Neighborhood
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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
4.4based 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
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5.0Dined on December 31, 2013

Firefly has become our traditional New Years Eve spot. As usual selections were interesting and preparation was wonderful. No idea what was going on with the service. There were four of us and each course something was delivered to the wrong person. In one instance, to the wrong table.

We have notice d this before that there needs to be more attention to detail when good brought to table.

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4.0Dined on December 29, 2013

We have dined frequently here as a twosome, with large and small groups. Love the atmosphere and the food is excellent.
It is great if you want to have a conversation and dine leisurely. New Year's had a great prix-fix menu with or without wine.
They also have a great happy hour in the bar!

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4.0Dined on December 21, 2013

Very good job with their pre-fix diner & wine pairings

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5.0Dined on December 10, 2013

As usual, dining at Firefly was wonderful. There were six of us who all ordered different meals. Everyone thought theirs was the best. The wine lovers felt there was an excellent selection.

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5.0Dined on November 22, 2013

We are always pleased with our dining experience at Firefly, from our initial greeting at the door to the final morsel! Thank you.

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5.0Dined on November 17, 2013

Excellent dinner at Firefly. I tried the Baby Kale Salad for the first time, and it was superb! My husband had the tasting menu, always a delicious choice. Great to chat with Jim, and Jake did a fine job, as always.

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5.0Dined on November 16, 2013

In all the years we've been dining at Firefly, never ever has anyone had even a minor complaint or not finished everything on their plate. We've taken many people with varying palates over the years. Portions are the perfect size, the menu is always interesting and current. Fun cocktails and a great wine list. Just go, experience it personally. We don't go often enough!

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3.0Dined on November 15, 2013

I've eaten here a number of times and it seems like the menu doesn't change much. I'm gluten free, so my options are significantly limited, but I've had the exact same entree the last four visits, and I am pretty much over it. The short ribs are good, but nothing about this dish has changed. I really appreciate restaurants that change up their menu occasionally, or that offer evening specials. I think that there are likely better options for a truly great meal in this neighborhood.

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5.0Dined on November 3, 2013

We just moved here from LA a few months ago and Firefly is 5 min from our house so we decided to check it out. So glad we did! Owner greeted us at the door, very friendly. We split a bunch of items and enjoyed everything! Butternut squash soup was luscious, duck confit & Bleu cheese flatbread was very tasty ( was heavy in the Bleu cheese, but we happen to love Bleu cheese), Bleu cheese and Bacon macaroni was creamy and not overpowering at all! And the braised wild boar was also fabulous. Super tender and polenta was very creamy. I'm 9 months pregnant so I wasn't able to enjoy a cocktail, but looking forward to going back! With my husband's 2 beers, the bill was only about $60 which very reasonable for all that food! Service also great!

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3.0Dined on November 1, 2013

My husband and I both greatly enjoyed our entrees (blue cheese crusted filet & grilled salmon), but the crab cake appetizer and brown butter cake dessert were more "meh." The crab cake didn't seem to use the best crab, and the brown butter "cake" was more like a bread - not very moist or sweet. I'd stick to the main courses next time.

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5.0Dined on October 27, 2013

Wonderful dinner on Sunday evening at Firefly. My husband order the prix fixe meal--a delicious combination! The service was excellent--thank you Jacob. Jim was the perfect host, as always. Highly recommend Firefly.

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5.0Dined on October 26, 2013

Our dineout group has been active since 1986. Every month we find a spot to enjoy a meal. This is our third trip to Firefly, and it never disappoints.
The menu is varied, specials and tasting menu available, and the wine menu is designed for pairing with main dishes.
We also brought some of our wine which we enjoyed with a $10 corkage charge.
Members of our group ordered salmon and scalllops dishes and everyone enjohyed dinner.
'we also noted tht the decor had been updated. All in all, a satisfactory dining experience.

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5.0Dined on October 10, 2013

Firefly is our destination of choice when we want to "kick it up a notch" and stay in the neighborhood. We had our wedding dinner there and are regulars for New Years Eve, but it is equally good for a Sunday night burger after a hectic weekend or a light dinner at the bar.

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4.0Dined on October 4, 2013

Honestly heard about this restaurant from Chopped TV show as the chef participated and got to 2nd place, plus, the fact that its close to our home. So we decided to check it out and so worth it. The service was good and the food was excellent, we went for brunch and will definitely go back.

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3.0Dined on September 27, 2013

I came here with friends for restaurant week. The appetizer, a Belgian Endive with Blue Cheese was very "Blue Cheese". Big chunks of Blue Cheese overpowered the salad completely.
I then chose the Beef Trio. I liked the Short ribs, didn't care for the Filet Mignon which was very dry and almost well done instead of the medium I ordered. My friend had a true medium, but it was dry as well. The meat looked already dry on the plate. The bacon potato hash was very bacony, didn't taste anything else than bacon. The desert was supposedly a mascarpone cheesecake but it was not soft at all. The texture was like it had way too much gelatin in it. I did try the boar dish my husband had ordered and this was delicious. Also liked the wine pairing.

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5.0Dined on September 26, 2013

This was our first time, so we read the reviews, looked over the menu, and it still exceeded our expectations. Food, service, and atmosphere were all way above good. Ordering from the Restaurant Week menu (with pairing) allowed Firefly to put their best foot forward and they excelled. Looking forward to many more visits.

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4.0Dined on September 21, 2013

The food was great and the ambiance lovely...definitely will come back!

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5.0Dined on September 20, 2013

I wanted to try something new during Restaurant Week in San Diego....boy, did I make a good choice! My husband and I choose different items off of the prix fix that Firefly was doing for the event...wow! I had an endive & apple salad with a champagne dressing to start, lovely. He had lobster gnocchi to start, they were tender and delicious. My entree was a meat feast of bacon/potato hash topped with a beautifully cooked sirloin and a little rib croquette, all with red wine reduction...ooooohhhhh! My husband had the wild boar which was melt in your mouth. Dessert was equally delish - cinnamon creme brulee for him, and marscapone cheesecake for me! Excellent service, wine selection and ambience all added to the food! Loved this place!

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5.0Dined on September 19, 2013

Very enjoyable experience from the welcoming greeting to the thank you at the end of the visit. Service was charming and just enough. Food choices for Restaurant Week were interesting and varied as well as delicious. I will be back.

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5.0Dined on September 18, 2013

Highly recommend Firefly to all. Our party of four had a great restaurant week meal at Firefly. The food was delicious, our server; Jason, was attentive to us without being obsequious; Jim was the always-gracious host Thanks for another great night at Firefly!

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5.0Dined on September 15, 2013

I have eaten here a few times and have never had a bad meal. The food is delicious. They have a great Happy Hour too 7 days a week. 3:30 - 6:30.

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5.0Dined on August 18, 2013

My friends and I have been going to Firefly for several years now, and always enjoy the food and the great wine list. The weekend tasting menu is always a great deal, and offers a pleasing variety of dishes, along with optional wine pairings. The wine list has many reasonably priced selections, and Jim, the owner, gives great advice on choosing wine. This is definitely one of the best restaurants in San Diego county!

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3.0Dined on August 16, 2013

My party of 6 chose this restaurant based on the menu. Food sounded good, looked interesting, nice variety. All of this turned out to be true. We all loved out meal. Unfortunately, the evening was not as special as we'd hoped due to our waiter. He seemed to be barely coherent. Slow to approach the table, as he and other servers stood by just watching the dining room. The restaurant was not busy. He was not able to clearly answer questions about the menu. When asked "What berries are in the mixed berry cobbler?", he answered "Well, it's an assortment." and gave a laugh. We purchased a bottle of wine, but no one ever followed up to see if we wanted another. Overall, good food but the service did not make us feel like we were welcome guests.

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5.0Dined on August 15, 2013

Wonderful Dining - especially the wine parings menu on the weekends

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4.0Dined on August 4, 2013

This is a Neighborhood gem that is hid with an outstanding food menu.

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5.0Dined on August 3, 2013

I heard so many people say this place was superb that I just had to try it. The food was absolutely wonderful. Fit for any foodie. Wine list was nice, not so big it take syou years to read, but just right and the wine prices were really good. They do not over charge you for a bottle in my opinion. I will definitey be heading back here again and again.

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5.0Dined on August 2, 2013

I have just been having a great meal every time I come lately, food, wine overall experience above the price point (note to Jim, don't go ruining the price value ratio with price increases now!!)

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2.0Dined on July 26, 2013

The ambiance is fine, definitely dark, with dark wood, colors. Service was ok, waiter would disappear for long periods of time. The food portions are very small. I ordered a seafood dish, I got 1 shrimp, 1 scallop, 4 clams, 1 piece of fish, all small. $27.

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1.0Dined on July 14, 2013

The portions served from the small plates menu were very small- substantially smaller than other local restaurants with similar menus and pricing. THe majority of the items we ordered were over salted (the mac and cheese was so salty that each of us had a small spoonful and didn't want more. The romaine salad was overdressed and very salty as well as very soggy. There were no interesting vegetable options on the small plate menu.

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5.0Dined on July 12, 2013

We have been to Firefly several times but had not eaten there in a while since during my last visit I was less than impressed with the food and service. Wow what a difference this time! There is a new chef and on weekends he does a chef tasting menu that you can do with wine pairings. It was just fabulous!! Each course was absolutely perfectly executed and the wine pairings to my palate (other than the Zin-sorry Jim) were just fabulous!! Erin, our server did just a great job as well, she was always around when we looked up and was able to answer questions about the food very enthusiastically, kudos to her. Just had a great, great time this weekend.

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5.0Dined on July 2, 2013

Great dependable warm neighborhood place with excellent fairly priced wine list.

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5.0Dined on June 23, 2013

Six of us had a wonderful evening at Firefly last Sunday...how can you beat choosing between the Prix FIxe or Sunday night burgers! Jim set up three glasses each for us to do a side by side tasting. We really felt like guests in his home. We lingered over dessert with no one rushing us out. Fabulous!

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5.0Dined on June 16, 2013

Great place for dining with great service and food.

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5.0Dined on May 17, 2013

We had a lovely dinner there. We started with the Tapas Trio, a favorite of ours. We also had the dinner salad which is OK. I had the ShortRibs which I always order because they are so good. My husband had the filet which was also excellent. Too full for dessert, darn. It's a bit pricey but very good. It's located in a strip mall, so there's no view except for traffic and the parking lot, so I wouldn't call it romantic. They also have outdoor dining and a Happy Hour menu which we have not tried yet.

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5.0Dined on May 12, 2013

Another truly enjoyable evening at Firefly for a combined Mother's Day/birthday celebration. Excellent tasting menu, and two of us chose one of the Sunday night burger specials. We lingered over dinner, and enjoyed the atmosphere. Jim was the consummate host, and Jake a thoughtful and attentive waiter. Our favorite San Diego restaurant!

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2.0Dined on May 12, 2013

The food was just ordinary, not real special for a brunch. I think they should add a fruit plate or something to nibble on while waiting for your order. I would not go back for the brunch.

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4.0Dined on May 6, 2013

Terrific evening out with good friends. The food was great - particularly the scallops. There was some disappointment, by one in the party, of the crab cakes. Duck confit was excellent. We would highly recommend it to our neighbors who are looking for a nice evening out, in a most pleasant atmosphere, and close to home.

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5.0Dined on May 6, 2013

Happy hour menu is excellent and it's available all night on Mondays. Service is always top notch.

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3.0Dined on May 3, 2013

We had a girls' night out dinner here on Friday night and it's definitely more conducive to a "date night." The ambience was charming and romantic. Dimly lit. Decent wine selection. We felt like we needed to censor ourselves a bit and tone down our volume since it was so quiet. Portions were a bit on the small side for the price. Something you'd expect downtown but not in Encinitas. However, I was very satisfied with my Filet, garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus.

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5.0Dined on April 12, 2013

Lovely place to celebrate our anniversary!

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