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The Ballard Inn, Ballard, CA

The Ballard Inn

4.6
4.6
1036 Reviews
$31 to $50
Creole

Among the most exceptional and sophisticated Santa Ynez Valley restaurants is The Ballard. With its captivating and comfortable atmosphere, The Ballard is the perfect place to come together for a warm, social dining experience celebrating the bounty of the Santa Barbara wine country – wonderful wine and delicious food!

We deliver a truly delectable and extensive menu that features seasonal, locally sourced produce, seafood, and meats.

Whether you’re reconnecting with family and friends at our communal gathering table, or with that special someone at one of our more intimate tables, you’re in for a truly remarkable dining experience.

There's something on the menu for everyone, and all the dishes are small plates and meant to be shared, so come hungry!

Make a reservation

2 people

May 2022
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7:00 PM


Additional information

  • Dining style

    Casual Elegant

  • Cuisines

    Creole, West African, Low Country

  • Hours of operation

    Dinner Wed–Sun 5:00 pm–9:00 pm

  • Phone number

    (800) 638-2466

  • Payment options

    AMEX, MasterCard, Visa

  • Dress code

    Smart Casual

  • Executive chef

    Nikolas Ramirez

  • Catering

    We can prepare private dinners for events. Please call 805.688.7770 for more information.

  • Private party facilities

    The Restaurant at Ballard Inn is available for private events. Please call 805.688.7770 for more information.

  • Neighborhood

    Santa Ynez Valley

  • Cross street

    Alamo Pintado Rd.

  • Parking details

    Free parking in the rear.

  • Additional

    Beer, Corkage Fee, Gender Neutral Restroom, Indoor Fireplace, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Popular dishes

Menu

Gathering Table At the Ballard. $20 Corkage Fee Per 750ml Bottle

Main

  • Warm Bread Basket$3.00

    Herb Butter & Garlic Butter

    • Caesar Salad$16.00

      Avocado, Garlic Crouton

      • Apple Salad$16.00

        Honey mustard dressing, Frisee lettuce, Bacon bits, Pomegranate

        • Burrata Salad$18.00

          Figs, Mixed greens, Bacon, Peanuts, Sherry Vinaigrette

          • Tuna Tartare$21.00

            Avocado, cilantro salad, Spicy soy vinaigrette

            • Potato Gratin$12.00

              Yukon Gold Potato, Thyme, Gruyere Cheese

              • Duck Confit Risotto$18.00

                Parmesan cheese, Chives

                • Pan Seared Loup de Mer$30.00

                  Celery root puree, spinach, Brown butter caper sauce

                  • Roasted Chicken$23.00

                    Sautéed bell pepper, red pepper coulis

                    • Pan Seared Scallops$50.00

                      Spigarello, and Maitake Mushrooms, Truffle sauce

                      • Roasted Duck Breast$32.00

                        Leeks, Confit Potatoes

                        • Wagyu Coulotte Steak$45.00

                          Australian AA 8-9, Sautéed Broccolini, Oyster Mushroom, Pearl Onion Demi-glace

                          • Roasted Lamb Chops$35.00

                            Parmesan Polenta, Thyme Demi

                            Last updated: February 3, 2022

                            What 1,036 people are saying

                            Overall ratings and reviews

                            Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

                            4.6
                            4.6 based on recent ratings
                            • 4.6Food
                            • 4.7Service
                            • 4.7Ambience
                            • 4.4Value

                            NoiseModerate

                            Loved For

                            • California Central Coast

                              Fit for Foodies

                            • California Central Coast

                              Healthy

                            • Santa Ynez Valley

                              Best Overall

                            • Santa Ynez Valley

                              Best Food

                            • Santa Ynez Valley

                              Best Ambiance

                            • Santa Ynez Valley

                              Best Value

                            • Santa Ynez Valley

                              Fit for Foodies

                            • Santa Ynez Valley

                              Healthy

                            • Santa Ynez Valley

                              Neighborhood Gem

                            • Santa Ynez Valley

                              Outdoor Dining

                            • Santa Ynez Valley

                              Romantic

                            Sort by

                            Filters

                            1. BA

                              BradA

                              Central Coast

                              2 reviews

                              5.0

                              2 reviews

                              Dined on May 1, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              The fresh vegetables were excellent. Great, interesting flavors in all dishes.

                            2. P

                              Ponch

                              Los Angeles

                              9 reviews

                              vip
                              4.0

                              9 reviews

                              Dined on April 30, 2022

                              overall4food4service4ambience5

                              Original dishes. Very tasty. Service was pleasant and helpful. Food took far too long to arrive. Great spot.

                            3. R

                              Richard

                              San Diego

                              12 reviews

                              4.0

                              12 reviews

                              Dined on April 28, 2022

                              overall4food5service5ambience4

                              Menu was very limited (only four main courses) but what we ordered was excellent. The recent remodeling looked good. The service was outstanding.

                            4. MR

                              MonicaR

                              Los Angeles

                              5 reviews

                              5.0

                              5 reviews

                              Dined on April 22, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              Food is always special here. There is a new chef since our last visit a few years ago but the food was still excellent. They remodeled again and it is beautiful.

                            5. NH

                              NancyH

                              Central Coast

                              1 review

                              2.0

                              1 review

                              Dined on April 18, 2022

                              overall2food2service2ambience4

                              We came for Easter dinner and found the menu to be disappointing. The ambiance was nice and we loved the look and feel of the remodel. The service was decent but there was a delay in being seated as the restaurant was having staffing issues.

                            6. NF

                              NancyF

                              Mexico City

                              45 reviews

                              vip
                              5.0

                              45 reviews

                              Dined on April 16, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              Food was unbelievably delicious, the wait staff was perfect. Great evening.

                            7. LL

                              LindaL

                              Washington DC

                              1 review

                              5.0

                              1 review

                              Dined on April 14, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              Wonderful experience all the way around. One of the most creative fantastic meals we have had in a long time. Highly recommend!

                            8. OT

                              OpenTable Diner

                              1 review

                              5.0

                              1 review

                              Dined on March 25, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              Unique menu with excellent service and cozy vibes. We’ll be back!

                            9. MP

                              MargaritaP

                              Los Angeles

                              1 review

                              5.0

                              1 review

                              Dined on March 25, 2022

                              overall5food4service5ambience5

                              We really like the food , nevertheless they were some dishes that were on the salty side.

                            10. OT

                              OpenTable Diner

                              Los Angeles

                              1 review

                              vip
                              5.0

                              1 review

                              Dined on March 17, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              Just an exquisite meal. One we won’t soon forget. And the service and chef were just lovely and very attentive and engaging. Highly recommend.

                            11. ES

                              ESC1

                              Tahoe

                              3 reviews

                              3.0

                              3 reviews

                              Dined on March 16, 2022

                              overall3food5service5ambience4

                              Every dish was a taste delight. We had many dishes all parts of the menu, many dishes I had never heard of. But each dish had a unique delicious flavor.

                            12. NF

                              N2Fotos

                              Phoenix

                              66 reviews

                              vip
                              5.0

                              66 reviews

                              Dined on March 13, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              Lovely setting, wonderful service and great recommendations from a knowledgeable waitstaff.

                            13. JH

                              JayH

                              Central Coast

                              3 reviews

                              5.0

                              3 reviews

                              Dined on March 13, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              The food was absolutely delicious. We sampled numerous dishes, and they were all good. We plan to return for dinner again!

                            14. K

                              55Kevy

                              Central Coast

                              13 reviews

                              vip
                              3.0

                              13 reviews

                              Dined on March 11, 2022

                              overall3food3service4ambience2

                              We went to The Gathering Table last night, our first time there since the ownership change. The first thing that struck me was that the Gathering Table was gone. Seating is around the perimeter of the dining room. We were unfortunately seated next to the kitchen entrance so had a lot of traffic back and forth. The menu is quite different, with a Bouchée section, a Tapas section, a Gumbo section, and a Dinner section. We each ordered a Tapas (carpaccio and tuna tartare) and my wife ordered a Gumbo and I a Dinner (Nkatenkwen and Jambalaya). We enjoyed our starters quite a bit. They were flavorful and ample. However the Gumbo and the Jambalaya were not what was expected given their names. We are quite familiar with gumbos and jambalayas and have prepared both. The dishes presented bore little resemblance to their namesakes. If one expected a soup/stew when served a dish called gumbo and was served a chicken cutlet with sauce one might be off-put. And to have a plate of rice, a little chorizo, beans, some okra halves, and a hind quarter of bbq duck presented as jambalaya was similarly odd. That said, the flavors of our meals were good and we enjoyed them. Lastly, we were surprised to see no local wines by the glass, and, actually, very few local wines on the list. Given that our valley has several AVAs and dozens if not hundreds of wineries this seems a significant gap. Will we return – most likely, but not as often as we used to partake of the Gathering Table. Would we recommend - most likely if the friend wanted something different.

                            15. CI

                              CINDYL

                              Los Angeles

                              1 review

                              4.0

                              1 review

                              Dined on March 10, 2022

                              overall4food3service5ambience5

                              The restaurant setting is lovely. Small dining room but did not feel crowded. Fireplace and throw pillows on the banquette. George, our server, gave us excellent service. The menu is limited and very eclectic. We shared 4 of the bouchées. The beef curry buns, the uni and caviar on hash browns, the Abalone mushrooms with a pureed like chimichurri sauce and the beef slider. The uni and caviar dish (very small so we ordered one for each of us) and the mushrooms were excellent. The beef curry buns were more bun than beef. Taste was very good but too much bread. Nothing special about the slider. We ordered the smoked halibut with caviar . Very disappointing. Not much flavor for a beautiful piece of fish.

                            16. PS

                              PatriciaS

                              Los Angeles

                              12 reviews

                              vip
                              5.0

                              12 reviews

                              Dined on February 27, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              Delicious take on jambalaya with a smoky duck leg on the rice and sausage. Baby lettuces salad had a unique flavor that was not oily. Attentive service from entire staff.

                            17. A

                              Ashley

                              Central Coast

                              1 review

                              5.0

                              1 review

                              Dined on February 27, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              Nick, our chef, was friendly, passionate and his food was amazing! Briana, our server, was attentive, kind and helpful! Overall, The Gathering Table had a very impressive group of people. My husband and I had the best dinner experience in years! We highly recommend The Gathering Table for its delicious food, great people, and warm ambience.

                            18. OT

                              OpenTable Diner

                              San Diego

                              1 review

                              vip
                              5.0

                              1 review

                              Dined on February 27, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              Anniversary

                            19. v

                              valleygirl

                              Central Coast

                              3 reviews

                              vip
                              3.0

                              3 reviews

                              Dined on February 26, 2022

                              overall3food3service3ambience4

                              The wine selection is limited and also very expensive for a bottle.

                            20. JP

                              JoseP

                              Los Angeles

                              2 reviews

                              5.0

                              2 reviews

                              Dined on February 21, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              Great Steak!!

                            21. S

                              Sara

                              Los Angeles

                              11 reviews

                              vip
                              4.0

                              11 reviews

                              Dined on February 17, 2022

                              overall4food4service4ambience4

                              The new menu is delicious and you cant beat the ambiance. Can't wait to return.

                            22. NP

                              NicholasP

                              Central Coast

                              1 review

                              5.0

                              1 review

                              Dined on February 17, 2022

                              overall5food5service4ambience5

                              Loved the food, we will be back and will recommend your place to our friends.

                            23. FD

                              FDDLO

                              Central Coast

                              4 reviews

                              vip
                              4.0

                              4 reviews

                              Dined on February 13, 2022

                              overall4food3service5ambience5

                              Attentive staff, explain dishes perfectly and with great enthusiasm. Just that food is a bit "different", so double check menu before going.

                            24. J

                              Jess

                              Los Angeles

                              1 review

                              5.0

                              1 review

                              Dined on February 13, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              fantastic food, very interesting fusion that i’ve never tried anywhere else. def a must try

                            25. PH

                              PhilipH

                              Los Angeles

                              2 reviews

                              5.0

                              2 reviews

                              Dined on February 12, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              Fantastic food and ambiance. Loved sitting near the fire. Service and knowledge of the menu was excellent and very much appreciated a visit from the chef. Combinations of flavors and tastes of the food were exceptional.

                            26. EM

                              EdithM

                              Los Angeles

                              7 reviews

                              vip
                              5.0

                              7 reviews

                              Dined on February 12, 2022

                              overall5food5service4ambience4

                              The gathering table is under new ownership and has a new chef that has created an extremely unique and vibrant menu. Lots of amazing bold flavors and spices. We absolutely loved it. Hadn’t had something different like this in California in quite some time.

                            27. c

                              ckfilm

                              Central Coast

                              28 reviews

                              vip
                              4.0

                              28 reviews

                              Dined on February 12, 2022

                              overall4food4service5ambience5

                              Under new management and a new chef, The Gathering Table certainly offers a unique and tasty dining experience. The dishes were a fusion of Eastern and African flavors and the sauces did not disappoint. However, some dishes lacked in the area of fulfillment and were a bit thin on the protein, while others, a 20 ounce steak, were over the top. A bit more balance with the portions would help. Overall, an interesting dining experience.

                            28. FV

                              FayeV

                              Los Angeles

                              8 reviews

                              vip
                              5.0

                              8 reviews

                              Dined on February 5, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              We had an amazing meal; Corner table (in back) with lazy Susan was great for our large group. We LOVED everything. The cooked carrots were incredible. Who likes cooked carrots? These were top for us all. Bluefin tartare incredible as well. Cannot wait until I come back again

                            29. BL

                              BradleyL

                              Los Angeles

                              3 reviews

                              vip
                              5.0

                              3 reviews

                              Dined on February 4, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              Even though the restaurant was only in its fourth day of operations after an ownership change and closing, the food and service was amazing! All of the staff and management went out of their way to be friendly and gave us a great experience. The servers were extremely knowledgeable about the dishes, and the chef came out to greet us twice. On that note, the chef is creative and on point for a unique dining experience. Bravo!!

                            30. F

                              Frequentdiner

                              Central Coast

                              12 reviews

                              vip
                              2.0

                              12 reviews

                              Dined on January 30, 2022

                              overall2food2service3ambience4

                              The menu is new and it’s very gourmet. It’s also Tapas which makes it difficult not to share.

                            31. OT

                              OpenTable Diner

                              1 review

                              4.0

                              1 review

                              Dined on January 29, 2022

                              overall4food4service4ambience4

                              The Gathering Table is reinventing itself under new ownership and a new chef and they appear to be headed in the right direction.

                            32. RK

                              RKLA

                              Los Angeles

                              32 reviews

                              vip
                              4.0

                              32 reviews

                              Dined on January 8, 2022

                              overall4food5service3ambience4

                              Gasification and ambience were fantastic. Limited menu but everything we had was great - except they forgot the main ingredient on my apple salad (apples!). By the time anyone came by the table, I finished the salad. Service was okay - not very warm or personal.

                            33. AK

                              AmyK

                              Orange County

                              4 reviews

                              5.0

                              4 reviews

                              Dined on January 8, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              Beautiful restaurant, attentive friendly service, and delicious food from the warm salted rolls, French onion soup, frisée apple salad and sautéed carrots in a delicious cream sauce. The duck and Wagyu steak were both melt in your mouth and extremely flavorful. Well done, chef! And perfect job, wait staff 😊

                            34. SD

                              SpencerD

                              San Francisco

                              1 review

                              5.0

                              1 review

                              Dined on January 7, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              Food was out of this world good. And the service was top friendly and helpful.

                            35. OT

                              OpenTable Diner

                              Las Vegas

                              1 review

                              5.0

                              1 review

                              Dined on January 3, 2022

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              Excellent food. Best we’ve had in a long time.

                            36. JR

                              JohnR

                              Hawaii

                              4 reviews

                              5.0

                              4 reviews

                              Dined on December 30, 2021

                              overall5food5service5ambience4

                              The food was awesome! The wine was a little pricey.

                            37. HF

                              HollyF

                              1 review

                              4.0

                              1 review

                              Dined on December 29, 2021

                              overall4food5service4ambience2

                              It’s a small dinning area and we were seated right next to the one speaker for the entire room. Music was so loud for our table that it was hard to talk. Finally got it turned down but the music selection was awful and on some odd loop. Heard “these boots are made for walking” 4 times! No joke. Must have been loud for the servers too since they didn’t come around too often. Great food!!!! Really cool dinning area. Had said we were celebrating a birthday when we booked the reservation but not a single word about it after dinner. Not even a candle.

                            38. D

                              Dave

                              Los Angeles

                              27 reviews

                              vip
                              5.0

                              27 reviews

                              Dined on December 24, 2021

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              Our first dinner at the Gathering Table since the Ballard Inn recently changed hands was as enjoyable as those we've experienced there in the past. Sitting outside on the cozy veranda with heaters for added warmth, we tried the Pumpkin Veloute, Beet and Burrata Salad, and Chicken Viennoise. All were artfully prepared and delightful, as was the in-house peanut butter–and–chocolate ice cream—seriously, how could a Reese's fan turn that down? Everyone involved in the dinner was as welcoming and helpful as Ballard Inn visitors have always appreciated. Our compliments to the new owners and crew at the Gathering Table. It remains a charming destination for foodies in the Santa Ynez wine country.

                            39. a

                              ailee

                              Los Angeles

                              15 reviews

                              vip
                              4.0

                              15 reviews

                              Dined on December 19, 2021

                              overall4food4service4ambience4

                              The Gathering Table has been a favorite for several years and we were looking forward to Budi’s delicious creations, since we hadn’t been there since early September. The decor and name are pretty much the same but we noticed immediately an entirely different menu - albeit also constructed of plates to share - so asked our server if what we suspected might be true. Yes, Budi has sold the Inn and restaurant and there is a new chef in town. The transition apparently happened shortly after our last visit. While disappointed, we did see several things that sounded yummy and we were hungry and not about to get up and leave - we love to experience new local restaurants. We ordered the bread, apple salad, gnocchi, fish, pork shoulder and Wagyu beef. The bread was just two small pieces- warm and tasty but nothing special. It is kind of surprising it isn’t just a table item for all guests. The apple salad was large and was really quite good. A nice balance of sweet and salty, and good crunchy textures. Would order again. The gnocchi was soft, delicate and delicious. An interesting flavor profile with a definite citrus bent. It is a very small dish, but plenty enough for two, especially when sharing lots of dishes as we did. The fish had a great crispy skin and was tender and flaky inside. Great flavor. The Wagyu was outstanding. The pork shoulder was a teeny bit disappointing. It was tender and had nice flavor, it was a wee bit overcooked so a bit dry. Overall, we will miss Budi and his delicious fusion menu, but the new chef has talent and it is worth trying it out.

                            40. g

                              ginab

                              Los Angeles

                              9 reviews

                              5.0

                              9 reviews

                              Dined on December 19, 2021

                              overall5food5service5ambience5

                              One of our favorite restaurants ever. Figured we’d take our grown daughter, son, and his girlfriend so they could finally see what we’re always talking about. We had heard something about a new chef and a menu change and were a little apprehensive but we were very happily surprised at how amazing the food was with the new chef and French influenced menu. We ordered the whipped burrata, Caesar salad, and ahi toast appetizers- and our whole table was blown away- especially the burrata with beets and peanut. Three of us ordered the sustainable sea bass which was superbly prepared and delicious. My son ordered the pork and said it was incredible. My daughter had the chicken and was very happy. Do not miss the maple salted chocolate gelato sorbet if they have it. We figured it had to be made by sorcery. OMG.

                            Safety precautions

                            • Cleaning & sanitizing

                              • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
                              • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
                              • Sealed or wrapped utensils used
                              • Common areas deep-cleaned daily
                              • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
                            • Physical distancing

                              • Limited number of seated diners
                              • Distancing maintained in common areas
                              • Extra space between tables
                            • Screening

                              • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
                              • Staff temperature check required
                              • Contact tracing information collected

                            FAQs

                            The Ballard Inn is rated 4.6 stars by 1036 OpenTable diners.

                            Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

                            Make a reservation

                            2 people

                            May 2022
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                            7:00 PM


                            Google Map for The Ballard Inn

                            2436 Baseline Ave. Ballard, CA 93463

                            Additional information

                            • Cross street

                              Alamo Pintado Rd.

                            • Neighborhood

                              Santa Ynez Valley

                            • Hours of operation

                              Dinner Wed–Sun 5:00 pm–9:00 pm

                            • Cuisines

                              Creole, West African, Low Country

                            • Dining style

                              Casual Elegant

                            • Dress code

                              Smart Casual

                            • Parking details

                              Free parking in the rear.

                            • Payment options

                              AMEX, MasterCard, Visa

                            • Executive chef

                              Nikolas Ramirez

                            • Additional

                              Beer, Corkage Fee, Gender Neutral Restroom, Indoor Fireplace, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Wheelchair Access, Wine

                            • Phone number

                              (800) 638-2466

                            • Catering

                              We can prepare private dinners for events. Please call 805.688.7770 for more information.

                            • Private party facilities

                              The Restaurant at Ballard Inn is available for private events. Please call 805.688.7770 for more information.

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