Downey's
Downey's

Downey's

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.downeyssb.com/
  • Phone: 8059665006x
  • 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: Seafood, Contemporary French / American, Californian
  • 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 8059665006x

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 Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Downey's reviews from OpenTable diners
98 reviews since June 25, 2014
Overall Rating4.9
  • Food4.9
    Service4.9
  • Ambiance4.6
    Noise LevelQuiet
100% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (76)fit for foodies (74)romantic (63)neighborhood gem (41)notable wine list (34)good for groups (5)hot spot (3)late-night find (2)kid-friendly (1)great for outdoor dining (1)Show More
  • A civilized outstanding meal
    jkugelmass
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    This restaurant is to be treasured. 30 years and counting is itself remarkable longevity. Every course (we had the price fix) was wonderful. A lobster butter sauce treated the perfectly cooked bass fish very well and was good enough to soak up in some bread, besides. The desert was bountiful and perfectly done with a James Beard tube of crust and a huge medley of fruit and cream. Oh my. Chatted with co-owner and well known Santa Barbara painter Liz Downey whose paintings decorate the walls. Not inexpensive, dinner with three glasses of wine and a well deserved tip was about $185 for two. The next time we're in Santa Barbara, we'll be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Perfect for the Occassion
    DaleF
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    We went to Downey's for a Quiet and intimate dinner and got exactly what we wanted. Everyone was nice, the food was Great and the Ambiance was what we were looking for.. We were left to ourselves like we wanted, as other people were entertained by the staff as they wanted. I would recommend Downey's for that special night or quiet evening for Great food (we had the Duck and Filet Mignon both tender and tasty and very well prepared.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Anniversary Dinner
    somethingnew
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    We had an amazing time. The food was DELICIOUS and the waiters were very knowledgeable about the food and gave excellent recommendations. We had a very romantic evening, and it was definitely a hidden gem on State Street in Santa Barbara. We will be visiting again, and would recommend this restaurant absolutely to anyone looking for a quiet evening out.
    Special Features:
    late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • 2nd visit in 9 years
    Jefe
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    We live in Southern California so visits infrequent. That said, wonderful then, and has maintained it's superb quality of service and food through out all these years - an amazing feat....or should I say "feast."
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Finest Dining in Santa Barbara
    AndreVIP
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    Excellent all around Duck and veal were both terrific Wine recommendation was right on the nose (sorry) We have visited SB several times in the last few years and my only regret is that i wish we had found Downey's sooner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Overpriced
    SBFoodieVIP
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    We had a nice dinner at Downey's, and the food was good. However, other than the desserts, which were delicious and creative, the menu is overpriced for what it is. The salads are the usual culprits, and the main courses are nothing new. I appreciate that it's a quiet, intimate place, but again, the decor is nothing to write about. The staff is professional and well-versed, but a little cold. There are other places which have more zing in the menu and less sting in the wallet.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lived up to their reputation!!!
    LiveAlegria
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    Downey's is the only restaurant of note in Santa Barbara that I had never been to. Cant actually say why...their reputation is legendary and they certainly lived up to it...just never made it over. It is now in my permanent rotation. Food was delicious, innovative and beautiful, wine list was stellar and service an delightful experience. Finally a fine dinning experience in Santa Barbara without the snarky attitude from the poorly trained wait staff!!! At Downey's just well trained servers confident in their abilities and committed to offering an unforgettable, never rushed, elegant night. Thank you, thank you for just getting it and doing it right. I feel silly actually for feeling like I've discover something new...just glad I did.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Excellent food
    Traveller01
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    As we discovered if you appreciate fine food then this is the place to go in Santa Barbara. The mussels and the duck both excellent. The rhubarb pie we shared - outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    My husband and I were in Santa Barbara on the last leg of our Highway 1 driving trip. We had dinner at Downey's our first night in town. We ordered the chef's tasting menu and it was the best meal of the trip. The crab salad, the porcini mushroom soup, the Hawaiian swordfish were all outstanding. The friendliness of the staff was something we really appreciated. We could not decide on a wine for dinner and the staff took the time to have us taste a couple of open bottles and help us make our decision. The next day we took a wine tour, and recommended the restaurant to people on the tour.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Downey's Restaurant Review
    ElMorro
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    We started with the lobster, angel hair pasta, and asparagus salad, then had the porcine mushroom soup. I had the roasted duck and my wife had the veal. All dishes were prepared to perfection and the flavors were divine. The restaurant decor is very tired and could use a makeover, but we are into good quality food so we can overlook that. The service and the friendly staff were as good as it gets. This is a very nice little gem in Santa Barbara for a quiet, romantic evening with high quality food.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Wow - Loved Downeys!
    Taralara44
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    From the minute we walked in the staff were wonderful, so attentive & helpful, they were also very passionate and knowledgeable about the food. It was easy to select from the menu because the staff could describe all the flavours and ingredients. The food was gorgeous and beautifully presented ( we had the duck & the lamb for mains both were absolutely yummy) . The restaurant was lit nicely & very romantic. We really enjoyed the evening - we would definitely recommend Downeys
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good experience.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Very quiet and refined. Appreciated the use of local sources for the excellent meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Excellent dining experience. We headed it was very nice, and it lived up to our expectations.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • TallyVIP
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    We have dined at most of the top restaurants in S.B since moving here 3 mo ago from san francisco. We were very impressed with the hight level of cooking and plating skills. The service was smooth,friendly and unobtrusive. We look forward to making this a regular dining destination.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great experience
    Garebear
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    We were in SB for our 38th Wedding Anniversary- checked out the previous reviews and Downey's lived up to them. Service was impeccable and food was outstanding- I'd come back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • PWs Feedback
    PGW1961VIP
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Very good menu and portions are just right. good atmosphere. Really enjoyed the restaurant and will come again
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • An Incredible Experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    I took my girlfriend to Downey's for our anniversary and absolutely could not have had a more enjoyable experience on all fronts. The service was spectacular, everybody knew EVERYTHING there is to know about each dish, and the food, well, I'm not sure I have ever had a meal on quite the same level. A lot of people may claim the best restaurant in town is somewhere else, but if you're looking for the best food in town, you must go to Downey's. the muscles were incredible, the tomato soup is mind blowing, and the lamb was off the chart incredible. My girlfriend had the halibut that was cooked perfectly in an incredible sauce, and the lobster angel hair appetizer was ridiculously good. reasonable price too for the quality.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • BJ45
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Small, intimate setting. Both the food and service was outstanding. Could not turn down the dessert selection! Would highly recommend.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Special Treat
    DiningDee
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    We went to Downeys for our 42nd wedding anniversary. We were seated in a small alcove at the back of the restaurant which made us feel very special. We had the tasting menu paired with wines. Every plate was beautifully prepared and tasty. The wines were wonderful. The wait staff were attentive. It was a beautiful and romantic evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • looking4goodfoodVIP
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    We enjoyed a delicious meal at Downey's and will definitely return when we are in Santa Barbara. The food was beautifully presented and was so tasty. Our servers were helpful, informative, and friendly.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Gourmet experience
    HuashanLuLynn2014
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    A real fine dining find in Santa Barbara with an eclectic menu. Service was excellent and we were delighted that Chef John came and spoke with us ...
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Wonderful
    larryVIP
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    imagine going to a good friend's home for dinner except that your good friend is an outstanding professional chef who knows how to choose fresh local ingredients and incorporate them into outstanding dishes. You walk into Downey's and feel at home in a relaxed, friendly environment. The room is clean and uncluttered featuring local paintings by one of the owners. And then there's the prominently displayed dessert trolley mid-room. Downey's is consistently excellent. It remains our favorite Santa Barbara restaurant for an exceptional meal served perfectly
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • HappyCustomer
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    Incredible! Best restaurant in Santa Barbara. We can't wait to return. John, Liz and the staff are the best. The food is unbelievably good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Simply special
    KAS1VIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Downey's is truly special. Chef owned smaller restaurant where the service and food are the best.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    Over the years Downey’s has been a choice while visiting in Santa Barbara. This summer’s visit continued the list of great dining experiences. Service was outstanding. The veal was the best of any restaurant visited in the last year. Excellent dining experience! Highly Recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Quality
    Elle
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    This is our second visit to Downey's and we were not disappointed. The restaurant has a very elegant yet homey feel. The staff seem invested and caring. The owner/chef has a small menu with a good selection of wonderfully prepared food. The wine list is a good selection of some the local wineries. What more is there to ask for. We had another lovely evening.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • As Great as we Expected
    John
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    Excellent food and elegantly presented! Farm fresh ingredients make it even better. The service was superb and all our menu selections were superb. Downey's has definitely earned their reputation as one of the top couple of restaurants in Santa Barbara.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • perfect perfected
    larryVIP
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Downey's is so predictable..... a peaceful, pretty room, friendly welcoming staff and on-site owner, great menu expertly executed, and, ultimately, a dessert trolley that defies moderation. Time and time again Downey's delivers
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Best in Santa Barbara
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    Downey's is my 1st choice for a perfect meal from beginning to the desserts, which are spectacular. Appetizers & entrees are perfectly prepared of fresh ingredients, for the most part locally sourced, and the presentation is creative & lovely. We were 5, 3 of whom had not been to Downey's two of whom were from out of state, with much international dining experience. We were ages 19 to 85 - all raved about the meal and our evening together.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Stellar Dining at Downey's
    Justabeth
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    My dinner at Downey's was the finest meal I have ever had. The delectable artichoke heart salad offered wonderful contrasts between mild and bitter flavors, and soft and crisp textures. My main course was local fish, with potatoes and greens, and a creamy sauce made from tomatoes and two kinds of basil. The fish was perfect, as were the potatoes and the greens. But the sauce went way beyond perfect -- it was sublime! It carried each of the otherwise perfect dishes to a level I could never have imagined possible. For dessert, we had chocolate torte and the signature raspberry torte. Everything was creamy or crisp or flaky just exactly where it should be, and marvelously light and bursting with flavor. The local Sauvignon Blanc was exquisite.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • You will not be disappointed
    mothersdaybrunch
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    This was my second time to Downey's and I wish I lived closer to come once a week! I was on a yearly business trip last year and discovered this hidden gem on "State" street. The food is terrific and so is the dining experience! You will not go away disappointed. The service is excellent. A little on the mid range for cost but well worth it.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food
    RichVIP
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    I had the lamb and it was delicious, all food was good. Liz knows her wine. We will return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Fantastic find!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    This restaurant was recommended by friends who visit the area frequently. This was the best recommendation ever - Downey's is on our short list for the best meals ever. The absence was nice, we were seated at a perfect, romantic alcove near the back. The service, the ambience were excellent. The food - OMG, over the top good! All the courses were excellent, but the standouts were the lobster and angel hair salad and the lamb. Absolutely, a special dining experience. Among my favorite meals ever!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Special Place
    Flossie17
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    Whenever there is a special occasion, I choose to go to this restaurant. It is consistently wonderful in every way.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Magnolia0220
    Magnolia0220VIP
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    A great meal!!! Great wine!!! Great hospitality!!! Overall perfect dinig experience for our one night in Santa Barbara!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Santa Barbara's best of the best!
    CACoastlady
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    By far our favorite special occasion restaurant in Santa Barbara, CA. The food is always excellent, as well as the service. This time a family with four young children came in and the room was noisier than usual (Downey's is not a restaurant where one would usually bring children.) We love the dining experience at Downey's because it is usually quiet, which is very unusual for the restaurant scene today. It's still our "ten" in the ratings.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fine dining
    Coverpoint
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    My wife and I had a very enjoyable evening at Downeys. The signature dishes which we ordered were of a very high standard. We ordered a good wine and were fortunate that the the owner of the winery happened to be dining as well so we were able to have a chat. We will certainly return next time we are in Santa Barbara.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • My favorite restaurant in SB
    katemVIP
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    John Downey continually amazes with his wonderful and innovative menu, which includes locally-sourced ingredients. The white sea bass and the black cod (in a Meyer-lemon sauce) were great.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful experience
    YumYumVIP
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    We thoroughly enjoyed this small gem of a restaurant. We were a party of six and every dish ordered by our group was really outstanding. The service was attentive without being overbearing and we'll definitely be taking friends and family here in the future.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet