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Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.47mi
  2. Distance: 0.63mi
  3. Distance: 0.66mi
  4. Distance: 0.75mi
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Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.47mi
  2. Distance: 0.63mi
  3. Distance: 0.66mi
  4. Distance: 0.75mi

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.

251 N. El Camino Real Suite B
Encinitas, CA 92024
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Fine Dining

Cuisines:
Contemporary American

Hours of Operation:
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 4:30pm - 9:00pm; Friday - Saturday: 4:30pm - 10:00pm

Cross Street:
Mountain Vista Dr.

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(760) 635-1066

Website:
http://www.fireflygrillandwinebar.com/

Catering:
Parties from 10 to 200. Each menu customized for every party.

Executive Chef:
Justin Rambo-Garwood

Private Party Contact:
Jim Barrasso: (760) 635-1066

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

Firefly Grill & Wine Bar Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.4

Overall Rating

based on all time ratingsThis restaurant has not received enough recent ratings to display a current ratings snapshot
food

4.4

service

4.4

ambience

4.2

value

4.4

Noise

Moderate

94% would recommend it to a friend

Neighborhood Gem (612)
Notable Wine List (495)
Fit for Foodies (436)
See All
Special Occasion (378)
Romantic (367)
Good for Groups (133)
Vibrant Bar Scene (67)
Hot Spot (46)
Late-night Find (32)
Great for Outdoor Dining (28)
Great for Lunch (19)
Kid-friendly (14)
Great for Brunch (13)
Scenic View (2)
Creative Cuisine (1)
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397 reviews
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vip
 (San Diego)·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.

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 (San Diego)·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

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List
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vip
 (San Diego)·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.

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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (New York Area)·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.

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food3
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (Orange County)·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

Tags: Romantic, Special Occasion
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food2
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (San Diego)·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!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List
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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on February 27, 2016

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

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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (San Diego)·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.

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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on February 6, 2016

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

Tags: Good for Groups, Kid-friendly, Special Occasion
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food3
ambience3
service3
value3

 
 (San Diego)·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!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (San Diego)·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!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·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'...

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·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!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (San Diego)·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.

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food2
ambience3
service3
value2

 
 (San Diego)·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).

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food3
ambience5
service3
value3

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 20, 2016

James our server made for a wonderful dining experience!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·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.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

vip
 (San Diego)·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.

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food2
ambience3
service3

 
 (San Diego)·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

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Diego)·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!!!!!

Tags: Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 2, 2016

Another excellent meal. Thank you

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food5
ambience4
service4

vip
 (San Diego)·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!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·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.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Diego)·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.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Orange County)·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.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Diego)·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.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Orange County)·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!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Diego)·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.

Tags: Notable Wine List
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food2
ambience3
service2

 
 (San Diego)·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!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (San Diego)·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

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food1
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on September 27, 2015

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!

Tags: Notable Wine List
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food2
ambience3
service1

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on September 27, 2015

Food was very good. I had the "restaurant week" special and the wine pairing that went with it. Great job of pairing the wines with the very good food. The berry dessert was only "good" not "great" like the rest of the dinner.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List
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food4
ambience4
service5

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on September 26, 2015

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

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on September 21, 2015

The food was delicious: my filet and Dave's pork chop soo tender and perfectly seasoned! Salad and dessert too wonderful!!

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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on September 20, 2015

We go there frequently because the food is great . It is a quiet and relaxing place for anything from a burger to seafood.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service5

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on September 11, 2015

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.

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food4
ambience3
service3

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on August 25, 2015

This restaurant isn't some place I would eat all the time but it's nice for a change of pace once in a while. Service was great. Very loud group at the table next to us that accounts for the moderate noise rating

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience4
service5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on July 24, 2015

Delicious sea bass, friendly server and quick! The chicken and short ribs were also good, but the sea bass was the winner. Nice wine selection, reasonable prices.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on June 20, 2015

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.

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic
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food4
ambience3
service5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on May 30, 2015

Not kids friendly. Appetizers and drinks are great. Short rib is the choice.

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food4
ambience3
service4

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