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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.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
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
$31 to $50
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Classical intimate dinner parties in your home with Chef John Downey for 6-20 guests.
On street parking or two public lots available nearby.
Beer, Farm to Table, Non-Smoking, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Downey's Ratings and Reviews
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 🌹
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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