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  1. Distance: 0.05mi
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  1. Distance: 0.05mi
  2. Distance: 0.22mi
  3. Distance: 0.28mi
  4. Distance: 0.29mi
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Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.05mi
  2. Distance: 0.22mi
  3. Distance: 0.28mi
  4. Distance: 0.29mi
  1. Distance: 0.05mi
  2. Distance: 0.22mi
  3. Distance: 0.28mi
  4. Distance: 0.29mi

About 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.

1305 State St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Californian, Seafood, Contemporary French / American

Hours of Operation:
Dinner: Sunday: 5:30pm - 9:00pm, Tuesday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 9:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm

Cross Street:
Victoria

Dress Code:
Smart Casual

Price Range:
$31 to $50

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(805) 966-5006

Website:
http://www.downeyssb.com/

Catering:
Classical intimate dinner parties in your home with Chef John Downey for 6-20 guests.

Parking Details:
On street parking or two public lots available nearby.

Executive Chef:
John Downey

Additional:
Beer, Farm to Table, Non-Smoking, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Downey's Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.9

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

5.0

service

4.9

ambience

4.7

value

4.6

Noise

Moderate

89% would recommend it to a friend

Special Occasion (9)
Good for Anniversaries (8)
Good for a Date (7)
See All
Fit for Foodies (6)
Creative Cuisine (5)
Local Ingredients (5)
Pre/post Theatre (5)
Worth the Drive (5)
Authentic (3)
Good for Birthdays (3)
Cozy (3)
Notable Wine List (3)
Organic (3)
Romantic (3)
Neighborhood Gem (2)
Quiet Conversation (2)
Disabled Access (1)
Good for Groups (1)
Healthy (1)
Seasonal (1)
Tasting Menu (1)
Good Vegetarian Options (1)
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986 reviews
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vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on August 31, 2017

We love Downey's!! John and Liz are terrific!!!! We are going to miss them So much!!! They were an institution in Santa Barbara ❤ Gary and I wish them the very best in whatever lies in store for their next chapter of their lives!!!! Thank you for all of our superior meals weather for a special occasion or just a surprise splurge!!!! Love you both. XOXO Jill and Gary 🌹

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 30, 2017

Wonderful dinner. So sorry to see them closing. I was a very special evening.

Tags: Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 27, 2017

Outstanding service and the best meal I've ever had! Very sad they will be closing.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on August 27, 2017

We have been enjoying Downeys since they first opened 30-35 years ago. John is a fabulous chef and Liz is a charming hostess! He uses the finest ingredients! Its a delightful place for a special occasion.

Tags: Organic, Authentic, Local Ingredients, Worth the Drive, Notable Wine List, Good for Birthdays
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 26, 2017

Great meal, too bad they are closing up shop... this was 'the last supper' for us. We'll miss it.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 26, 2017

Has been our favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara for years! Sorry to see them closing but wish owners the best as they retire!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Organic, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 25, 2017

Downey's is closing at the end of this month (August 2017). The wine list appeared abbreviated, so we took glasses, rather than a bottle. Also, a lot of people were having one last dinner there so it was packed and noisy. Otherwise Kate and John were perfect hosts and the food (Hawaiian Swordfish and Noisette of Veal) were prepared and presented perfectly. It was our 59th wedding anniversary and a good send off.

Tags: Disabled Access, Local Ingredients, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service4
value4

 
·Dined on August 25, 2017

So sorry to see Downey's close - great place for great dinner

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies, Good for Birthdays, Local Ingredients, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 25, 2017

Downey's is and always has been 5 stars. We will miss Liz and John but wish them well in their retirement!

Tags: Seasonal, Special Occasion, Healthy, Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 24, 2017

We have loved John Downey and his restaurant for all the years it was open - 35! John was an early and generous supporter of our wine (Whitcraft Winery) and we held many winemaker dinners there, celebrated anniversaries and birthdays, and just couldn't say more about what a legacy John is leaving as one of the premier chefs in Santa Barbara. Favorites: duck, angel hair lobster, vegetarian plate and everything else!

He will be missed.

Tags: Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine, Authentic, Good Vegetarian Options, Notable Wine List
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 24, 2017

They are closing at the end of the month. I have been going there since 1982 and wanted one last top meal!

Tags: Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on August 20, 2017

IMO, this was THE BEST restaurant in Santa Barbara. But if you've never been, you're out of luck because they are closing after 35 years (owners retiring). It was never cutting edge, or cool, or happening. Just a friendly, sophisticated, family owned restaurant that cooked with the best ingredients, offered the best local wines, had great service, and was consistent year in and year out. HUGE LOSS to the local dining scene.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Groups, Romantic, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on August 20, 2017

Had dinner at this gem right before it closed, will certainly miss dining at Downey's.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 20, 2017

Downey's has been our favorite for over 30 years!
There is no other restaurant in Santa Barbara to compare.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Local Ingredients, Special Occasion, Pre/post Theatre, Creative Cuisine, Cozy, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New England)·Dined on August 18, 2017

August is the last month with john as cook and owner. 35 years!! Downey's will be missed

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
·Dined on August 18, 2017

Excellent ambiance, quality and creativity of meals. Best dessert I ever had...the fresh peach/ice cream dessert.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Notable Wine List, Good for Anniversaries, Worth the Drive
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on August 16, 2017

Delicious fresh food prepared by one of the true master chefs in our region. Sea bass and duck were both fabulous.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine, Organic, Good for Anniversaries, Local Ingredients, Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 14, 2017

Ist time dining there. It was a wonderful experience all round...Liz is so friendly and relaxed. So sad it's closing at the end of August after 35 years.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Organic, Hot Spot, Special Occasion, Local Ingredients, Good for a Date, Romantic, Fun
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on August 14, 2017

Downey 's has great food, lovely setting, lovely presentation, and great location near theatres. Sadly, they are retiring soon. (End of August 2017). No idea if the new tenant plans to keep any aspects of the original.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
·Dined on August 13, 2017

In our opinion, John and Liz Downey have created the best restaurant between San Francisco and Los Angeles. They have achieved this status over 35 years of continuous restaurant operation. That is no mean feat in Santa Barbara, where the average restaurant goes out of business in 3 or 4 years. John and Liz shop the local farmers markets, connect with local fishermen, and get the freshest food available. Then John puts his creative mind to work and voila, out comes the most amazing food you will ever eat.

Example: last Saturday night I ordered the "Tasting Menu," a prix fixe dinner. The second course was a cold tomato soup. I'm not a fan of cold soup, but I have to say this course was the highlight of my evening at Downeys, which is saying a lot, considering I'm a chocolaholic and their chocolate mousse cake is to die for. The soup was extremely fresh, rich, and rife with umame, if you know the term. It has inspired me to try to duplicate it at home with our fresh garden-grown tomatos.

Unfortunately for the gourmand, but very fortunate (and smart) for John and Liz, they are retiring on August 31, after those 35 years of hard work and dedication to the finest food in Santa Barbara. We wish them a long and fulfilling retirement.

Tags: Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Organic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on August 13, 2017

The food was excellent as was the service. We had a leisure dining experience without being rushed. Hate to see them close, but wish them well in their retirement.

Tags: Great for Lunch, Good for Anniversaries, Fun, Comfort Food, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 12, 2017

As we say goodby to a great Santa Barbara restaurant we are so thankful for the experience. The owners are a treasure and we wish them well. They will be missed.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on August 12, 2017

Had planned to come here but hadn't yet done so when we heard Downey's was closing after 35 years! We immediately made our reservation and are sorry to not have been here before. The prix fixe $58 4 course menu was outstanding. Four of us ordered that, the other 2 ordered a la carte and we were all content. The wine was well-priced and very good. Not an inexpensive evening, but so well worth the cost. We loved the atmosphere and to find a restaurant that wasn't so noisy was a special treat. We are going to try to come back one more time before the Downey's leave us to travel. They will be missed. Here's hoping their replacement won't change much!! Thank you so much for a memorable experience.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies, Local Ingredients, Quiet Conversation, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on August 11, 2017

Thanks for the great meal! We are going to miss you guys!!

Tags: Notable Wine List, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on August 10, 2017

They are closing at the end of August for good Too bad.

Tags: Romantic, Authentic, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on August 9, 2017

Fabulous, as always. Selfishly, I am so sad to see the doors close. I wish the Downeys all the best.

Tags: Cozy, Worth the Drive, Romantic, Notable Wine List, Tasting Menu, Seasonal, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Anniversaries, Local Ingredients, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on August 9, 2017

Downey's provided another spectacular meal, excellent service and wine list worthy of all it's extraordinary ratings for so many years. We wish John and Liz Downey a funfilled and enjoyable retirement beginning later this month along with our appreciation for the scrumptious and delightful cuisine and ambiance we have experienced on every visit to their special treasure of a restaurant.

Tags: Romantic, Disabled Access, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Quiet Conversation, Seasonal, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine, Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Local Ingredients, Cozy, Worth the Drive, Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on July 31, 2017

Downey's is still the best in Santa Barbara for really great food. A pity they are leaving.
It is unlike any other restaurant in the area and well worth the trip.

Tags: Notable Wine List
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value5

 
·Dined on July 31, 2017

Best food in town! I'm so sad Downey's is retiring (but understandable too). I ordered the lobster salad, chilled cantaloupe soup, sea bass. Every dish was delicious and I savored every bite. Last but not least, the freshly made peach dessert.....yum! It was worth the calories.

The wait staff was knowledgeable, friendly and courteous. I need to return before Downey's last day.

Tags: Good for a Date, Tasting Menu, Worth the Drive, Good for Birthdays
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 31, 2017

35 years of dining here and never disappointed! John and Liz are fabulous and the food is absolutely divine!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on July 30, 2017

They are closing the end of August so if you are going, go soon. This is one of the best places I have ever eaten. I'm sad they are closing (retiring) after 35 years.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on July 30, 2017

This terrific restaurant is closing at the end of August 2017. The owners are retiring. Go before it closes!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Business Meals, Romantic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
·Dined on July 30, 2017

The food and service were outstanding. I started wit the Lobster and Angelhair Salad with Aspargus, Sundried tomatoes, Olives & Basil which was outstanding and followed with the fabulous Grilled Duck. The leg and thigh had a crispy skin, and the breast was a perfect med rare. My wife had the Taste of Santa Barbara Menu which started with the Downey's Prosciutto and figs, followed by the sublime cold Cantaloupe soup with ginger, the Wild King Salmon entrée that was moist and delicious. We finished with a small cheese plate that was terrific.

The beautiful local paintings were created by Liz. I loved the luscious and vibrant green painting of the Hidden Valley/Veronica Springs area.

I'm very happy for John and Liz and wish them well in their upcoming retirement. Hopefully, John will create a cookbook.

Tags: Authentic, Seasonal, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Good for Birthdays, Tasting Menu, Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine, Worth the Drive, Romantic, Local Ingredients, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on July 28, 2017

The only thing I can say about my favorite restaurant in SB is that the owners are retiring (after 35 years). I am going back at least one more time before they do. Amazing food (white seabass so wonderful) and a prix fixe menu that is well worth the very small price.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Romantic, Creative Cuisine, Quiet Conversation
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Kansas City)·Dined on July 23, 2017

Delightful evening with personal and professional service, excellent food well presented.

1 person found this review helpful.
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on July 15, 2017

Great as usual!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Hawaii)·Dined on July 15, 2017

Lovely place - we dropped in before a night at the Santa Barbara Bowl and found everything to be to our liking. The Owner/Host was very kind and thoughtful, a good conversationalist. The food was meticulously prepared and all tasted divine. Lovely wine selections as well.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Anniversaries, Authentic
1 person found this review helpful.
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on July 15, 2017

WE HAVE BEEN EATING AT DOWNEY'S FOR OVER 20 YEARS AND THE FOOD IS STILL EXPERTLY PREPARED FOOD. THIS IS A RARE RESTAURANT WHERE YOU CAN ACTUALLY HAVE A CONVERSATION BACUSE THE NOISE LEVEL IS SO HUSHED. THE MENU DOESN'T CHANGE MUCH BUT EVERYTHING IS SO WELL PREPARED. LIZ ALWAYS REMEMBERS YOU. IT WAS FUN TO SEE PHILIP, LIZ AND JOHN'S SON ALL GROWN UP HELPING OUT.

Tags: Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on July 11, 2017

Great food. Great service.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on July 11, 2017

It is very nice and pleasant place for a special occasion. We like it.

Tags: Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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