The Ballard Inn
The Ballard Inn

The Ballard Inn

  • Dining Style: Fine Dining
  • Website: http://www.ballardinn.com/
  • Phone: 8006382466x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner: Wednesday - Sunday: 5:30pm - 9:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Fusion / Eclectic, Californian, Asian
  • Executive Chef: Budi Kazali
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, Fireplace, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: We can prepare private dinners in your home or for events. Please call for details.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Alamo Pintado Rd.
  • Parking: Hotel Parking
A word from The Ballard Inn
The Restaurant at the Ballard Inn is considered by many to be among the best dining destinations in the Santa Ynez Valley. With just 12 tables, soft music, candle light, and a roaring fireplace, the atmosphere is intimate and inviting. Chef Budi Kazali's award winning French Asian cuisine is sure to please, with signature dishes such as Hamachi Sashimi with Soy-Yuzu Vinaigrette and Grilled Kurobuta Pork Belly . Our servers are eager to help guests to relax and enjoy what we hope is a memorable dining experience. They will help to navigate our extensive wine list, replete with local and international offerings, to select the perfect wine to compliment your meal.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
The Ballard Inn reviews from OpenTable diners
52 reviews since May 21, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.7
    Service4.3
  • Ambiance4.4
    Noise LevelModerate
91% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (35)special occasion (32)romantic (29)notable wine list (27)great for outdoor dining (23)neighborhood gem (18)scenic view (4)good for groups (3)great for brunch (3)great for lunch (2)late-night find (1)hot spot (1)Show More
  • Great except for the server
    jagmackVIP
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    The food is outstanding with several innovative choices on the menu. A very nice wine selection, including the excellent Ballard Inn Pinot Noir. We liked our table in the nook corner near the fireplace. A very nice ambiance over all. The weak point sad to say, was our server. Several times she exhibited an attitude which we did not appreciate. Snappy backtalk to guests is a complete turn-off. We adjusted her tip downward for her disrespect.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Dining near Solvang
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    Enjoyed a delicious dinner here during our visit to wine country. The Inn is in a quiet location near Solvang. The food, service and ambiance were all excellent.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Special Birthday Dinner
    chrisVIP
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    As locals and have dined at the Ballard Inn for years. We brought our guests (party of 5) for a birthday celebration. I had called and requested a certain table and was advised that there may be bigger parties that would get the table. We were seated at a table just inside the doorway. The table requested had 5 seated. Our server quickly informed us that we would pay corkage for the wine we brought. No problem, however the white wine we brought was poured by the server without offering to place it on ice,we all received a warm glass of pinot blanc. The dining room seemed packed and was not inviting as it has been in previous visits. We have felt welcomed in the past. This experience made us feel as if we were just passing through town.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent food
    JCDP
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Food quality remains excellent at the Ballard Inn. Service was a little off on this night. Restaurant remains one of the best in the Santa Ynez Valley with consistent food quality and normally outstanding service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very special
    nativeangelinoVIP
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    We enjoyed dinner at the Ballard Inn. It was a beautiful evening, so we sat outside on the terrace. Very pleasant. Excellent food and service, and a reasonable corkage fee (we brought our own wine). Highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Return visit during our anniversary weekend, did not disappoint! Starters included the cauliflower soup and Hamachi ahi sashimi -- both were absolutely delicious and unique in taste and presentation. Entrees included the beef tenderloin and the rack of lamb, each of which was superb and perfectly prepared. Might prefer an alternative side to the ratatouille served with the lamb, which we did not request but most likely would be happily accomplished by the chef. Warm chocolate cake with house made orange chocolate chip ice cream rounded out the evening, sinfully magnificent! Service was impeccable on both nights, will definitely be returning before our next anniversary.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Our first time dining at the Ballard Inn restaurant, and it was truly the perfect way to celebrate our anniversary. Starters we tried included gazpacho and pork belly -- both were exceptional! For entrees we selected the crispy skin salmon and the duck breast, also both exceptional with the duck being the best ever tasted anywhere. Crème brulee for dessert topped off the evening, immediately decided we would return for our second night staying at the Inn so that we could try more menu items. Regret we have not dined here sooner!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wine country favorite
    travel2dineVIP
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    We dine at Ballard Inn ion each visit to Santa Ynex Valley for wine purchases. It's always a delight; great food, wine and service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Do not want to leave
    AnAM
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Had the most beautiful time here. Simple elegance at its best. Food to die for, staff really go out of their way to be of service to you. It's the little things they do for you that make it. Can't wait to be back here!
    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.
  • Fabulous
    sycountrygirl
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Budhi out did himself. From the wait staff to the presentation of the food, everything was fabulous. It is a tiny restaurant with some outdoor seating. My step-mom is from Germany and an excellent cook. You know the food is over the top when even she is speechless. The portions are just right and the price is comparable to other restaurants in the valley. Although I do have to say the food was better than the majority of restaurants in town. We will definitely make this our new go to dinner spot.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Gem in the Valley
    Soni22
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    My husband and I recently went to the Ballard Inn for date night and it was amazing!!!! Chef Budi's take on the food was refreshing and delicious and left us wanting to go back for more! I had the Peach, goat cheese, and roasted hazelnut salad for starters which was sweet and light ,perfect for summer! My husband went with the new hamachi sashimi which he devoured. For entrees I chose the crispy skin salmon with the basil mash in a lemon sauce and my husband chose the beef tenderloin with mushroom au grautin! Mouth-watering to the last bite! He paired his dinner with the Consilience Syrah and we ended the night with the warm chocolate cake,ganache with vanilla ice cream. Absolutely one of the best dinners we've had in awhile! A++++
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Cozy and charming with unique food
    AndreM5
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    Perfect for those staying at the inn but many locals come here too. Food is creative and unique, sometimes just a curious twist on standards (e.g., duck breast with Indian spices), everything is well executed. If you stay here, eat here at least one night.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Another wonderful dinner
    PicodigioVIP
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    This is our third time at the Ballard Inn. Megan, our server, was the best. We celebrated my wife's birthday in the corner table; her favorite. Worth the trip to Santa Ynez, our get-away-place.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Anniversary surprise
    Saleslug
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    Kidnapped my wife for our anniversary and she had no idea until we exited Highway 154 at Los Olivos. We had stayed here before and it has always been xlnt. We arrived around 3pm, checked in, (we stayed in the Vineyard room) and took off to Los Olivos to hit some of the winery tasting rooms. At some of the businesses, if you tell them you are staying at the Ballard Inn, your tasting is free, (Longoria). We made it bake for the wine and cheese hour and hung out inside, as it was 97 degrees outside. We had dinner there onsite and had a great meal, (cold watermelon soup, Sea bass and Salmon). Overall great evening, finished with coffees outside on the porch. Breakfast was great too!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Needs more ambiance & flow
    Disappointed
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Outside seating was full, so we were seated inside. The inside has no ambiance. It needs an indoor/outdoor flow. It's like two separate restaurants.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Food and service was excellent. Enjoyed the atmosphere and the Inn was quiet and very clean
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Worth a try
    lewgenVIP
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    The food is always fantastic. The service is attentive, but not obtrusive. They know their wines! For a special treat, ask Chef Budi to select a wine for you to go with your food (we have him pick one for each course). You will be delighted and perhaps surprised by his choice, but never disappointed. This is our go to place for a special celebration, or anytime you want to impress someone. They never disappoint.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    I will not return to this restaurant, nor will my "foodie" friends. The service was the worst I've experienced at a so-called top rated establishment. The food servers seemed completely inexperienced, and no management was present at any point during our meal. The wait for everything from the wine list to our check, added to our overall disappointment.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    Exceptional food, service, and friendly staff! Will always be back and will always recommend!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not As Good As Expected
    FifthChild
    Dined on 7/2/2014
    The ambience and service was lovely but the food was a bit disappointing. I love garlic, but the Caesar Salad so strong and heavy that I could hardly clear my palate for the next course. The duck was cooked very nicely but, again, the sauce was too strong. The bread was fresh and crusty and homemade ice cream refreshing but the cookies we ordered were dry and caky with little to no flavor (butter or sugar). We were looking forward to this recommended restaurant but sad to say it was not among our top four for this area.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lovely Night
    RLSMKE
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    We visited the Ballard Inn as an extended family following a weekend wedding. It was the perfect conclusion to a great weekend! The food was great, the service was excellent and ambience wonderful.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, scenic view, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Deborah
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    Food was very good however the service was really slow, so if you don't mind spending a couple of hours for dining, the food is very good.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    Food is intelligently prepared and delicious. Wait staff is knowledgeable and gracious which adds to the dining experience. i was a single diner on a week night - the kind that can easily be overlooked. But I wasn't, which is a tribute to the quality of the service, the food and the training of the staff. I would recommend this lovely, intimate spot for small parties (2-6 people) who are looking for a quality, quiet dining experience. I think my teenage children, who are "foodies" in their own right, would have enjoyed this restaurant as well. My 17 year old son would have loved the duck, which was beautifully prepared, while my daughter would have adored the hamachi appetizer (as I did!).
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Fantastic experience
    PaulnKaren
    Dined on 6/25/2014
    Outstanding service by our lovely, personable waitresses. Especially good food done in a unique "foodie" style with superior ingredients Chef Budi Kazali visited our table to chat with us after the meal. It was our anniversary and we were treated as royalty. I would say this was one of the best dinner of our lives and would highly recommend The lovely Ballard Inn to everyone. It is small and quaint so plan ahead accordingly.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • With dread, an honest review...
    BlueMoonVIP
    Dined on 6/22/2014
    Ballard Inn: it's always been our "best place in Santa Barbara County" and therefore the absolutely super-best restaurant in the Santa Ynez Valley, that's for at least a decade now. We've celebrated there many a time, for special occasions and for lets-just-treat-ourselves ones, also. Always been very pleased with the food, ambience, and tolerated the ups/downs with the service because, hey...where else are we going to enjoy such fab meals? The other night was different. Along with the failing service (worse than last visit), the food wasn't great, too. The starters were as fine as ever but the entrees disappointed in such a way that we hadn't ever suspected was possible at Budi's fine restaurant. Overcooked, uninspired, boring almost.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good food, limited ambiance
    foodwinelover
    Dined on 6/18/2014
    This is a very good restaurant with a talented chef. Dining room is old and small, so ambiance is limited. Staff is young, attentive, and well informed. Veranda would be great for outdoor dining on a balmy summer night. Above average wine list. Don't know if they're open for lunch, but excellent dinner spot
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food.
    SidesFanVIP
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    The food has always been excellent here. The service was uncharacteristically absent minded this time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Lovely evening
    sassyrein
    Dined on 6/4/2014
    Quiet dinner with friends. Lovely dinner and service.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great romantic dinner
    Kegmaster
    Dined on 5/29/2014
    The Ballard Inn is incredible. This is a place to go for dinner for those special occasions - anniversary, marriage proposal, birthday, any special celebration you can think of. I had the special entrée, Heritage Pork chop with lingonberry sauce, and she had the duck - both were amazing! We also had the beef tongue kebob and the asparagus soup for starters - both also were excellent. The wine list is good, with choices from local wineries as well as from other parts of California and around the world - you can find the perfect wine for your dinner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Superb
    lewgenVIP
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    A superb dining experience. For a special treat, let the chef select a wine to pair with each course. Amazing!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • consistent memorable dining
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 5/21/2014
    20 years ago I ate at the Ballard and have since been to Ballard only several times but each time is mouth watering memorable, literally, knock your socks off delicious.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 21 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 21, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.8
    • Food4.7
    • Ambiance4.4
    • Service4.5
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 253 reviews are from the The Ballard Inn reviews archive.
  • Romantic Dinner in Wine Country
    nozzydivaVIP
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    Ballard Inn and Restaurant has always been the place we eat when we visit Santa Ynez. Quality is always consistent and the food is exquisite. Service is impeccable. We love Ballard Inn and Restaurant. We have been going there over 10 years. My favorite is the Hamachi appetizer. It was slightly changed this time but it was still delicious!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food poor service
    BestlittledogVIP
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    Really mediocre service for such a beautiful restaurant and renowned chef. We were the first people in the restaurant and it took forever to get our drink orders and dessert. Food was fabulous however.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • My wife's 50th birthday
    Foodie
    Dined on 5/7/2014
    We enjoyed the food tremendously , But the service was sub-par, I was very disappointed that they failed to recognize my Wife's 50th Birthday celebration like I had stated when making the reservation. But overall it was good!
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Oh what a night!
    Woodisgirl
    Dined on 4/30/2014
    Celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with a wonderful dinner at the Inn. As always service was impeccable, food was the consistent deliciousness it is every time we come. It is one of our favorite places as we spent our wedding night there. Love the sashimi. Thanks Chef!
    Special Features:
    Romantic, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not ready for Prime-Time
    Phyl
    Dined on 4/26/2014
    Cute country Inn. The quality of the food, of the service, and the ambience is worth the drive from Solvang. But they blew any chance of redemption by blowing our reservation (made 3-weeks in advance). It took the staff 20-minutes to figure out where we could sit (and there were only four other dinners when we arrived). The original table offered was smack-dab in the middle of the service/seating traffic pattern (recall only four other dinners). The next table placed us directly in front of the glowing/hot fireplace. On the third try we were approporiately seated. Things went better after that.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • 5-star food, 2-star service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    The food at the Ballard Inn is exceptional, the service not so much. The asparagus soup was exquisite -- light, well-seasoned, not too salty and really let the flavor of the asparagus shine. For the entrees, my husband had the sea bass and I had the duck breast and they were both incredible! That duck was so tender it practically melted in my mouth and the sweet potato puree it came with was a wonderful accompaniment. Now for the not-so-good: the service. It started out okay, but we had to wait at least 20 minutes for our entrees to arrive and when we asked for coffee refills with our dessert they never arrived. The server was less than apologetic when we told her and it really put a damper on an otherwise lovely meal.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 4/24/2014
    A charming country inn, quiet and relaxed with excellent food and wine. A minor quibble might be that an extra charge is levied on special coffee, e.g. Cappuccino and espresso. It is hard to see how gratuity should be calculated as a 10% service charge on everything at the inn and restaurant is levied as a matter of course.
    Special Features:
    Kid-Friendly, Fit For Foodies, Romantic, special occasion, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • service
    bunkie
    Dined on 4/24/2014
    The reason for only a good rating for service had more to do with the kitchen being very slow despite the room being half empty. No explanation was given and no attempt to offer something as compensation. Our dishes, when they finally arrived, were excellent however--a duck breast and two whitefish.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, special occasion, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 4/23/2014
    A charming country inn, quiet and relaxed with excellent food and wine. A minor quibble might be that an extra charge is levied on special coffee, e.g. Cappuccino and espresso. It is hard to see how gratuity should be calculated as a 10% service charge on everything at the inn and restaurant is levied as a matter of course.
    Special Features:
    Kid-Friendly, Fit For Foodies, Romantic, special occasion, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.