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  • Downey's

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Downey's Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.DowneysSB.com
  • Email: Dinewell@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
  • "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
  • "Charming & elegant - never rushed, but mindful that we had a theater time at 8pm to meet near by. Will eat here again. Limited,but superb menu selections."
    Dined on 3/18/2014
  • "We enjoyed an unforgettable dining experience. Chef Downey's deft use of ingredients and amazing stock enhance each dish. I loved the duck!"
    Dined on 3/4/2014
  • "We were in Santa Barbara with a group of friends and joined a woman who lives in Goleta and was the one who recommended Downey's. Everyone in the group was able to find selections that appealed to their tastes- even the plant based folks. Our round table for 7 people was perfect for conversation and everyone enjoyed themselves."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "simply wonderful everything was just right for a delicious meal"
    Dined on 3/11/2014
  • "Have been trying to go to Downey's on every trip to Santa Barbara and we finally made it. Glad we did; wouldn't go back. The ambience is simply dowdy. For a small room with carpet and limited tables, it was quite noisy. The server brought us the wrong wine, explained the preparation of every single dish, whether we wanted to know or not, and generally was very pleasant but inefficient. The food was good........not great, as we had expected. Not worth the $90 a head.....including tax and tip."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "Food and service very good. Comfortable atmosphere. Could use some updating of the dining area."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "There's a reason why Downey's has been open 30+ years: fresh high quality food, excellent preparation, great service! We've been going here for over 10 years and the consistency is always there. Owner's have trained a great kitchen staff when they're not manning the stove, which is a sign of a well run business. Friendly, informed servers; oh, and they do a wonderful dessert cart!"
    Dined on 3/4/2014
  • "Quiet so you can hear each other, dependable and well crafted food, Downey's never disappoints. With Liz running the front and john in the kitchen, they provide a rare environment where the owners are your hosts. The food reflects years of refining the menu and perfecting techniques. The service is without question, the best in town. The dining room is peaceful and not an exciting "scene" . The customers can run to the geriatric but every time I go, I think I should come more often. When you can spend more on inferior meals at Luckys or the Biltmore, Downey's is a great value."
    Dined on 2/27/2014
  • "We have gone to Downey's three times as we don't get to Santa Barbara as often as we would like. This restaurant has a small menu of locally grown and sourced items done very well. The service is some of the best we have encountered in restaurants. They pay attention but are not hovering over you. The local black cod with meyer lemon sauce was delicious. My wife enjoyed the mussels. Next time we are in Santa Barbara we will be going to Downey's."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Food was wonderful, service perfect. Great to meet Liz Downey and see her lovely art work on the walls."
    Dined on 2/25/2014
  • "This is not a hip and happening place. In fact, I'd say the ambiance is a little dated and tired. But the service is warm, efficient and caring, and if you want to experience a series of beautifully prepared, exquisite takes on local ingredients, then this is the place. The lamb is certainly a must-try. They also had a very fairly priced wine list of (mostly) central coast wines. Definitely, we were very pleased with our choice for the evening."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "What a wonderful restaurant. Nothing to disappoint here and we are so happy we chose Downey's for a special birthday dinner. It was quiet and a very special evening. We will be back again soon."
    Dined on 2/21/2014
  • "Returned again this year and found the food still good although the service slipped a bit by one person. The changed wine list misses some good wines that used to be available. Not sure why given they are still available in any decent liquor store/wine shop. Will probably come back again despite some increases in price."
    Dined on 2/19/2014
  • "We spent Valentine's Day weekend at a very nice B&B in Santa Barbara, so I needed a nice, romantic place for a special dinner. I did my homework & chose Downey's from the website and reviews, fully expecting really nice but finding fantastic. The prix fixe menu was outstanding, creative, perfectly prepared, beautifully presented, and truly delicious. The room is lovely & the service was unpretentious & simply perfect, with clear devotion to helping us enjoy our experience to the max. We even found a great wine we'd never had from a new-to-us local vineyard: a tannat from Lone Madrone, big (16%!) & full with dark fruits and fairly high acidity but moderate tannins & oak (exactly as described by the staff). A great time was had by all!"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "It was a perfect Valentine. I celerbrated the day after because of my schedule. The food was fantastic. Do not look at the desert cart! I ended up ordering one of everything. The staff worked together and made sure that we were taken care of. Thanks Liz You made it a special night. We can't wait to come back."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "We drove up from San Diego for a Valentine's Day getaway, including dinner at Downey's. Did not disappoint. We were a little under-dressed, jeans a collared shirt, no jacket, just judging by others in the restaurant, but nobody seemed to pay any attention. We got impeccable service, and the food was incredible."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "We have been going to Downey's for many years and we always do for Special date nights, Like our Anniversary,Valentines Day, or any time we want a night out for great food and wonderful service!"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Wonderful food and service. A family owned restaurant with great vegetarian food. My husband loves meat and had a wonderful meat dish. One of our favorite places to dine."
    Dined on 10/20/2013
  • "Downey's still provides an elegant and intimate restaurant with excellent service and fine food. The menu is creative without trying too hard and the desserts are a special treat (and worth every calorie). Not a large selection of menu options, but certainly enough to satisfy any foodies. A perfect place for a romantic dinner."
    Dined on 2/12/2014
  • "We went with "foodies" from San Francisco who were very impressed, as were we."
    Dined on 2/9/2014
  • "Delightful evening. Exciting food, fresh, interesting sauces. Advice for wine perfect. Paintings were compelling, nice local."
    Dined on 2/8/2014
  • "We have long regarded Downey's as the pinnacle of excellence in Santa Barbara dining and were not disappointed on our most recent visit. The food, always the best of local fare,was beautifully prepared and served flawlessly. The only problem came when our waiter neglected to take note of the theater startingtime we had informed him ofof which we had informed him when we were seated and we missed the first ten minutes of the long anticipated performance which began less than a block away. Certainly our mistake in part by enjoying the wonderful cuisine, but not quite what we have been spoiled to expect at Downey's.Nevertheless, we will return again enthusiastically."
    Dined on 2/5/2014
  • "Downey's is where we taken anyone we want to bless with a wonderful dinner! No better choice."
    Dined on 1/26/2014
  • "Downey's is an upscale dining experience in Santa Barbara that is competent on all levels but don't go expecting it will live up to it's Zagat 29 rating. A 29 Zagat rating is very rare and reserved for restaurants operating at the highest level of perfection; a solid 26 is a more appropriate rating for this restaurant. Food at Downey's was noticeably and outstandingly fresh, well presented and reasonably priced with most entrees at about $30. Service was outstanding and very friendly. Atmosphere is comfortable and warm but quite basic. Overall, we enjoyed our meal, the best we have eaten in Santa Barbara."
    Dined on 1/26/2014
  • "This quaint dining establishment has been in business as long as I can remember. The evenings are very rewarding in its ambiance, and the menu is very unique in a subtle way. Well done to Downeys."
    Dined on 1/25/2014