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The Ballard Inn
The Ballard Inn

The Ballard Inn Details

  • Dining Style: Fine Dining
  • Website: http://www.ballardinn.com
  • Phone: (800) 638-2466
  • Hours of Operation: Dinner: Wednesday - Sunday: 5:30pm - 9:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Californian, Fusion / Eclectic, 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.Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Diner Reviews
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/16/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/2/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/29/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "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!)."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/22/2014
  • "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"
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "The food has always been excellent here. The service was uncharacteristically absent minded this time."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 5/29/2014
  • "A superb dining experience. For a special treat, let the chef select a wine to pair with each course. Amazing!!!"
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "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. "
    Dined on 5/21/2014
  • "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!"
    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."
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 5/7/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 4/30/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 4/26/2014
  • "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. "
    Dined on 4/25/2014
  • "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. "
    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. "
    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. "
    Dined on 4/23/2014
  • "I had one of the best meals I've had in a long time, and the 3 people I was with felt the same. I'm a foodie and a sommelier and I must say, everything was great at this place: amazing food, great service, a very nice reasonably priced wine list. We were celebrating an anniversary and a birthday and our server and the restaurant really made the occasion feel very special! Thank you Ballard Inn!!!"
    Dined on 4/19/2014
  • "We have been there for 4 times and foods always so delicious. We will return to have dinner there again soon. Thanks!!😍 "
    Dined on 4/19/2014
  • "It was a fabulous experience. Incredibly tasty food and lovely service. The Creme Brûlée was the best we've ever had! Would go back for a special occasion."
    Dined on 4/3/2014
  • "Had been looking forward to this experience for so long, but we were very disappointed, especially for the prices charged. The flavors were fine, but the presentation and unprofessional attitude of the server made for a disappointing evening. We won't go back. The server swore she served us the Arctic Char, but it was definitely not Char but the grouper instead. Finally she admitted it was the grouper and when we sent it back, she immediately returned with 2 orders of char that was barely warm. We're not stupid, don't try to fool us."
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "We went there for our 55th anniversary and thought the place was charming. The food was excellent . My husband and I had the sliced duck breast and was very tender and tasty. We also had the asparagus soup first and thought it to be nicely seasoned. The dessert was to die for. Chocolate cake (warm) think it had another name, but it was topped with homemade vanilla ice cream. Worth every calorie."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "Something has gone horribly wrong with the servers/kitchen staff timing. Our two previous dinners here have come one course right on top of the other: I had to ask the person delivering my entree to take my salad plate away first because the table was too small to accommodate both plates; another time, I was not even finished with my appetizer when entree was delivered. This visit: we requested a brief 5 min. pause between courses, only to discover that it was one of those nights when the wait between courses was quite lengthy, so an eternity passed between courses, as was the case for the other tables around us (as happened to us about 3 and 4 visits ago). The food sparkles; we just wish the dining experience did, as well...as it used to!"
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "Great food and service. Just wish the tables were a bit more spread out, felt a little cramped. Overall, great evening."
    Dined on 3/5/2014
  • "Food was delicious and service was impeccable. The chef came out after our dinner to ask how everything was. We'll go back!"
    Dined on 3/5/2014
  • "This was a very special evening for us. I was disappointed that when we arrived we had to wait 5 minutes for a hostess to seat us. We also requested bread three times before we received any. Other than those disappointments, the evening and dining was superb. I highly recommend the roasted butternut squash soup and sashimi for appetizers, as well as the succulent duck and rack of lamb for the main course. They were sublime."
    Dined on 3/2/2014
  • "The food was really good at this restaurant - Budi is an amazing chef! However, the ambience and the service leave something to be desired. There were may 20-25 people in the restaurant the entire time we were there, and yet, the service was very slow and lack luster. It's a shame because the food is amazing! For the caliber and the price of the food, they should invest more in their service!"
    Dined on 3/2/2014
  • "Without a doubt, this was the finest meal I have had when visiting the Santa Barbara area. Equal to the best in LA and NYC. A true pleasure! I rarely take the time to review or critique anything but this was such a fabulous meal I felt compelled to comment."
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "For our second trip to the Ballard Inn we had a late reservation on a Saturday. Dining room was busy, with a boisterous group dominating the room. Could have made for a really difficult evening, but the service, food and wine more than made up for a bit of inconvenience. I started with tempura oysters and followed with duck breast. Oysters were fabulous. Great taste and texture with nice accompaniments. Duck was perfectly prepared and delicious. Companion had the soup starter and loved it, followed with fish entree that she loved. Can't rave enough about the Ballard Inn. Great food complemented by the best service in a warm, cozy room at reasonable prices. Any chance you have to eat here... take it!"
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "This little restaurant was outstanding...everything from the ambience to the service was phenomenal. I rarely leave reviews but felt compelled to in this instance. My lady and I had a reservation here after a long day of wine tasting up in Solvang. We walked in and were seated next to the fireplace. We immediately commented on the intimate environment. The food was some of the best that I've had. We literally wanted to pay the chef a compliment in person. Appetizers were delicious, the wine was amazing, entrees out of this world, and the creme brûlée for dessert was off the charts! Overall, I rate this experience five stars and will be going back for sure. You have to try this little gem!"
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "Possibly one of the best meals i've ever had. It felt like being served in the dining room of a friend's or family member's home. Very warm and cozy environment anchored by an inviting fireplace. i ordered the duck and it was a revelation. Perfectly prepared! My companion has the fish and he and i both thought it was amazing. Great local wines. Impeccable flavors and presentation. Ballard Inn was indeed a treat!"
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "I took my wife out to the Ballard Inn for Valentine's Day. The menu was a 4 course fixed price menu with optional wine pairings. Although the food was very good, and our server nice, the food took extremely long between courses. Also, with the wine pairing, our wine would be poured, and yet the food for that course came 30 minutes later. Meanwhile, we saw other tables get their wine actually with their food. The food and wine may have been worth the $120 each, but the service was not. Maybe this was because we were the youngest people in the restaurant."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "We thoroughly enjoyed our 3 nights at the Ballard Inn. The special Valentine's Day dinner on Friday was the perfect start to a memorable birthday weekend. Early morning coffee, a very nice breakfast and delicious cookies hanging on our door at night were all a treat. Our bed was very comfortable too. My wife and I along with our daughter and son-in-law all had a great time. Thank you to all at the Ballard Inn."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "If you ever get a chance to visit the Solvang/Los Olivos area, treat yourself to a wonderful evening at the Ballard Inn."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "The food was superb and the service was outstanding. It was a little cramped and the tables are very close together. It was a truly great fine dining experience in spite of the closeness."
    Dined on 2/13/2014
  • "My wife and I have dinned all over the Santa Ynez Valley and the Ballard Inn has been the best experience we've had in over 9 years of dining. The food was outstanding and the best surprise of all was the excellent service which I couldn't stop talking about with my wife (she finally told me to zip-it). I would highly recommend The Ballard Inn to anyone who enjoys excellent food and service!!! Nice job Ballard Inn!"
    Dined on 2/13/2014