Powered By OpenTable: Restaurant Reservations. Right this way.
Restaurant Reservations - Free • Instant • Confirmed
  • Downey's

  • Online Reservations


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
Foodspotting photos
See all photos >
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
Diner Reviews
  • "Downey's is really special; one of my favorite 2 or 3 restaurants in Santa Barbara. Food is excellent and the staff is attentive without being obtrusive. The little alcove is perfect for a romantic evening."
    Dined on 7/20/2014
  • "Downeys is truely a fine dining experience. Try the Taste of Santa Barbara for local ingredients at their best."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "For over thirty years, this fine dining establishment has provided high quality, delicious food. I first came here 28 years ago and just returned. It is all that I remember. Pretty remarkable for a restaurant and its chef to remain so relentlessly committed to quality.. Another remarkable experience at one of my all time favorite and best restaurants. Thank you--"
    Dined on 7/16/2014
  • "This is my favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara. The food is amazing! Every dish shows what a great chef the owner is!"
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "We just got back from a weekend in Santa Barbara, and the best meal we had was at Downey's. Although I previously lived in Santa Barbara for 4 years I had never eaten there - and I was missing out! We had a wonderful meal from start to finish. The food was fresh and delicious, with generous portions - you feel like you had a meal at a friend's house who just happens to be a gourmet chef. We also love restaurants where the owners take time to great their guests, and Downey's owners do that. They welcomed our (very well behaved) 6 month old baby, and were warm and friendly to us throughout the night - checking in to make sure we were happy (and we definitely were). We plan on making Downey's a regular stop when we are back in town."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "The food and service were once again superb. For starters, the prosciutto and melon was very delicate and the SB smoked salmon plate absolutely wonderful. My wife and I try not to order the same entrée almost anywhere, but the veal dish called out to both of us and we were quite happy having the same dish. Desserts were wonderful and the timing of the desserts with the Westside Santa Barbara power outage could not have been more romantic. Honestly, the service staff lit some extra candles and those parties left in the restaurant at almost 10PM still had a wonderful time finishing dinner and dessert in virtual darkness. Kudos to the staff."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "I gave Downey's high marks in everything but foo. The menu and the food could also have gotten a high score except for one thing. Their meats are overmarinated. My lamb dish should have been wonderful except that whatever the meat was marinated in (or left too long in) left it with little texture and little of the distinctive lamb flavor I sought. Sauces, everything else, was terrific. Initially I wanted the duck but I'm gluten-free and the waiter found out from the chef that the duck was marinated in soy sauce so I switched to the lamb. My son ordered the duck and he said that he was disappointed because all he could taste was the soy sauce--and he is a lover of soy sauce. Fix that and this place would be near perfect."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "We ordered the tasting menu, which was excellent: appetizer, salad, entre, dessert. The items were creative - certainly not in any way ordinary; and artfully plated. We were told that the same items were available on the menu but there the portions were larger. We both found that the tasting menu portions were ample -- in fact, just right. The service was attentive but not overbearing. The wine list was good -- a bit pricey, but a nice range of prices and varietals. We got there about seven on a Friday evening, and the place was about half full -- but about eight it filled up. We would certainly dine here frequently if we lived in the area. A good choice for interesting and different menu items nicely prepared and presented."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "This was the best dining experience in Santa Barbara . The small restaurant was decorated so sweetly with art for sale, white fresh cloths and fresh flowers on the table.The host knew all about wine pairings and described all the dishes. We had the famous duck and a sea bass. Prior, we had a smoked salmon salad with fresh limes. It was unbelievable. We will definitely go back while we stay in SB."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "We have eaten at Downeys many times and each meal is beautiful to behold and delicious. It is far and away the best restaurant in Santa Barbara, and among the top in any city."
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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 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
  • "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
  • "On a Saturday night in Santa Barbara.....what a find. Food and service were fantastic! True gem!"
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "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
  • "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