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  • Downey's

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Downey's Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.DowneysSB.com
  • Phone: (805) 966-5006
  • Hours of Operation: Dinner: Sunday: 5:30pm - 9:00pm, Tuesday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 9:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Californian, French
  • Executive Chef: John Downey
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, Farm to Table, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Classical intimate dinner parties in your home with Chef John Downey for 6-20 guests.
  • Private Party Facilities: Downey's restaurant is yours for the evening. Subject to availability, you may reserve our entire dining room for your dinner party. Chef John will plan a special menu for your party of 20-48 people. No room charges, but minimum expenditure is required. Amount will depend upon day of the week and season.
  • Private Party Contact: John Downey (805) 966-5006

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Victoria
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: On street parking or two public lots available nearby.
A word from Downey's
Fresh produce from the Santa Barbara Farmers' Market is skilfully prepared with sustainable seafood and naturally-raised meats by acclaimed Chef John Downey. We invite you to join us for dinner and taste why Downey's has been Zagat Survey's top-rated Santa Barbara restaurant for 26 consecutive years. The Downey family take great pride in their small, intimate restaurant. John heads the experienced kitchen staff aided by Liz who also handles the wine list and manages the dining room. You will be served by experienced and knowledgeable professionals who know when to be present and when to leave you to enjoy your dinner.Continued
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
Diner Reviews
  • "Service was very attentive; duck, salmon and halibut were all outstanding, as were the corn soup and desserts. We will definitely return here on our next visit to Santa Barbara."
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • "Amazing food over the years and the service is the best in town. You can actually have a conversation with your table. Great place for special romantic occasions."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "Once again a fabulous experience. Excellent, beautifully prepared and presented food. Exceptional service. We asked for a modification of a dish -- it was no problem for them. And the dessert trolley: all prepared at the restaurant from seasonal and fresh ingredients. Whenever I have business guests from out of town, I think of Downey's first."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "Impeccable service, delicious food. The green salad with blue cheese dressing is one of the best I have ever had. Chef Downey made rounds in the dining room...."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "Everything about Downey's was superb - divine food; friendly, knowledgeable and attentive service; very pleasant atmosphere. We'll be sure to go there again next time we're in the area."
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "We celebrated our wedding anniversary here as we regularly do. The service, ambiance, wine and, of course, food are the best. We will continue to come here for the special occasions in our life - love it!"
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "We did really like our experience. The service was top notch and wine list extensive, but even though my filet was expertly cooked and my wife's sea bass was cooked properly, we expected somewhat more in flavor."
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "Several years ago, we dined at Downey's, and had a wonderful experience. We returned recently, and found that the food, service, and ambience continue to be exceptional. The two dishes we chose -- the duck and veal -- were amazingly tasty, and the wine recommended by the hostess was the best chardonnay I have had. It went perfectly with the meal. I would highly recommend Downey's for a memorable dinner."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "On a Saturday night in Santa Barbara.....what a find. Food and service were fantastic! True gem!"
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "We've been here twice and both times it was excellent. Veal and salmon done to perfection. The signature dessert, mille-feuille, is the best I've ever had."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "If you are looking for the very best meal in Santa Barbara look no further, go to Downey's. We have never been disappointed in either the service and most notable the food."
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "It was our first time. Chef Downey came to visit our table before and after our meal. We've never had that happen. Food was excellent as was the service. I will eat there again to try other menu options."
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "Visiting Santa Barbara, we had heard of Downeys and decided to have dinner there after reading mixed reviews. Unfortunately, it was very disappointing. The black tuna dish did not have much flavor even though it tried with a mix of mango and chopped cucumbers as a base. We should have headed the warnings on the negative reviews. They really need a new chef to spice up the menu. "
    Dined on 6/4/2014
  • "Many choices in Santa Barbara. This place is a gem."
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "It was a very quiet evening, with only 3 tables seated. We were greeted warmly, like old friends, even though it was a first time for us. Everything was really well prepared and delicious, though my vegetarian plate was far too heaped with beautifully presented good. I wish I wasn't traveling the next day or I would have taken half home. The 3 of us enjoyed each bite, especially the papaya/crab appetizer, the artchoke appetizer, halibut, salmon, and small white potatoes cooked to perfection! Don't miss the homemade strawberry ice cream, served alone, as a sandwich, or as a topping. My only suggestion is more rhubarb in the tart. It was dry and somewhat bland. Otherwise, everything about our experience was perfect."
    Dined on 5/27/2014
  • "Santa Barbara is well known for a large selection of restaurants of all types, but they frequently come and go. In contrast, Downey's has been providing a wonderful dining experience for more than 30 years, so you know it has to be good. Every course is created from only the freshest, finest ingredients and the flavors are incredible. The service is impeccable; not too familiar, not too formal, but always available and helpful. "
    Dined on 5/22/2014
  • "Downey's was an extraordinary experience! It is nearly impossible to find a restaurant that can serve such top flight food and a wait staff that elevates the experience to such a high level. If you are a foodie and are looking for a great experience, look no further. This is the place. "
    Dined on 5/15/2014
  • "Downey's reigns as Santa Barbara's most beloved restaurant. The menu is consistently interesting and creative, beautifully presented. Most recently, we hosted dear friends from Michigan and wished to share the best of our town with them. Downey's provided our guests with all we could have wished for. I'd like to stress though, the exceptional service. When we dine out, that's what we want, to be treated special, isn't it? No other local eatery can compare to Downey's service, from hostess Liz Downey through the wait staff. One feels as though you are dining in the Downey home. By way of example, we dined with our guests at two other restaurants this week, both excellent restaurants. And both offered mediocre service. "
    Dined on 5/13/2014
  • "It doesn't get any better! We have been great fans of Downey's for many years. Food and service are unsurpassed. This is definitely a Santa Barbara treasure. "
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "We always enjoy going to Downey's. It's one of our favorite's in SB. "
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "Probably Santa Barbara's best restaurant, Downey's never disappoints. The service is excellent----professional, attentive, but never intrusive. The food is top notch----perfect for that special occasion. The prix-fixe dinners are a wonderful way to experience chef Downey's talents, but my only complaint would be that the portions are too generous!"
    Dined on 5/7/2014
  • "My husband and I dined here two nights ago, and we are still treasuring the tastes and textures of our meal, a perfect blend of flavors from Downey's seasonal tasting menu. John Downey is such a wonderful chef, and the pastry assistant is quite gifted too. Fish perfectly cooked, sauce light, greens impeccably fresh, rhubarb tart outstanding. An equal share of the credit belongs to co-owner Liz Downey, who runs a peaceful, tasteful, and cell-phone-free (at least on this night) dining room. She makes patrons feel special, and no detail escapes her. She chatted with us and made us laugh when we arrived, and at the meal's conclusion she noticed that our server had committed the faux pas of delivering the check before we'd finished dessert. "
    Dined on 5/4/2014
  • "We've always loved Downey's. It never fails to satisfy. "
    Dined on 4/30/2014
  • "Downey's never disappoints! The food is terrific, the staff very accommodating and attentive. Liz Downey is always so nice to us and makes every evening with Downey's extra special. We have evaluated Downey's many times for OT and have never had a different opinion after any visit. That speaks to Downey's consistency of excellence. "
    Dined on 4/20/2014
  • "Because of the 28 food zagat rate ,I thought it would be- at least- ,a good diner.... What a disappointment! Service is completely un efficient ,and staff not smily. And the food....terrible ! It's a shame for zagat to give a 28 for such a food: crab without one interest,soup tasteless ,prosciutto over salted ,halibut over cooked....with potatoes not enough cooked. All was specially mediocre and not good. And ,if you make a complaint during the dinner at the waiter ,and at the owner.....they absolutely did not care ,and become still more unpleasant ! It was a terrible experience.,and I am sure never coming again !"
    Dined on 4/19/2014
  • "Not very "bright" as it were. I'm not sure what the hype is when it comes to Downey's. "
    Dined on 4/19/2014
  • "My wife and I were pleasantly surprised at Downeys, we had the taste of Santa Barbara and it was excellent. The mussels were served chilled with a sauce that again was excellent, the cauliflower soup was creamy and rich seasoned just right. The Halibut was served with an understated but delicious sauce. All and all a perfect dining experience."
    Dined on 4/17/2014
  • "Small, cozy, inviting atmosphere. Attentive, personalized service from the very knowledgeable and friendly staff. Crab toasts, lobster pasta salad, halibut, wine recommendation and blueberry tart were all outstanding. If we ever make it back to Santa Barbara, this will be on our list of must-do's."
    Dined on 4/15/2014
  • "We had a great experience at Downey's. We both ordered their featured "Taste of Santa Barbara". The meal began with very tasty crab appetizers. They were followed by a creamy broccoli soup we both enjoyed. Then the duck,. the Chef's specialty of the house. We each were served a breast and a share of dark meat. Either a leg or thigh. The duck was delicious. We topped off the meal with selections from their desert cart. A perfect way to end the evening. The service was excellent. We never wanted for anything during the whole meal. We will definitely return for another round."
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "I have dined at Downey's many times, and it is my favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara. Occasionally, I try other restaurants, but I always go back to Downey's. You cannot beat it."
    Dined on 4/9/2014
  • "We eat at Downeys when ever we are in Santa Barbara. It is our favorite Southern California restaurant. It makes for a wonderful evening."
    Dined on 4/2/2014
  • "Lovely small restaurant with great menu and service. Surprised wine list was not more extensive in offerings with a restaurant in the heart of the wine area. Very much enjoyed the evening!"
    Dined on 4/1/2014
  • "Great food a highly recommended small quiet Place. owner chef and wife make you feel Welcome. great service on all counts. MOSTLY locally sourced foods and wine. Small but very good wine list and very helpful pairing advice. Waitstaff were on it all evening. Quiet even with a party of nine nearby. F you your very good, food wine, and service for a an event sanding of conversation this is it. For two. $200: 42$ wine, appetizers, entree, shared dessert, Coffee, and tip. for the same price AND quality but and a more casual/energetic experience, try Bouchon."
    Dined on 4/1/2014
  • "This is one of the best restaurants in Santa Barbara and there are a lot of gluten free choices, which is always a challenge for me. Everything was prepared and cooked to perfection. A big plus is that Liz Downey's wonderful paintings are on display and available for purchase. We took our friends from San Jose there for dinner before a concert at the Arlington, and the staff kept us right on schedule, even with serving coffee and dessert. We felt as though we had spent a leisurely evening and weren't rushed at all. I highly recommend Downey's."
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • "I had a lovely dinner here. Crab salad was recommended and superb. As was the saffron-lobster sauce on the Seabass. My guest also had the artichoke salad and filet, both great choices. The service was very friendly and made us feel quite special that evening. Too full for dessert but the truffle mignardises that came with the check hit the spot! I hope to return again when visiting Santa Barbara."
    Dined on 3/29/2014
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "Wonderful food, quiet atmosphere, sophisticated service....what more could one want? Waitstaff never intrusive, everything was perfect!"
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "Our close friends recommended this place and have been dining here for years. We came in from Newport Beach and found this to be the most enjoyable place we've visited in Santa Barbara. The food was off the chart (and we ARE foodies) and the service was top shelf. The soda bread is a specialty and the halibut was amazing."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "Food, service, and ambiance all met expectations. For the most part, we had dishes most highly recommended by our server. Everything was very good (we had both meat and fish dishes), plus salad and dessert, but there was nothing earth-shattering about any of it. It was exactly what you would expect of a high-end restaurant, so you can count on a dining experience that is lovely, if not memorable. For that extra "pop," though, I would go to Bouchon, just down the street. The difference is that I usually leave Bouchon reminiscing specifically about each course that I ate. At Downey's, I leave with a general pleased impression, but no specific imprints."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "Classic continental cuisine with exceptional service. The food is well prepared and portions are good. The wine selection by the glass is very limited and was the only drawback with the occasion. I had fish and my wife had beef so getting a bottle of wine was not an option. The prices were very high and it is the only reason I would not recommend the restaurant."
    Dined on 3/14/2014