Amazing food, service and ambiance.
Given the previous reviews left for the restaurant, we were very confused about our experience. The food was certainly prepared fine enough, but none of what we ordered was exceptional or outstanding. Certainly not unexpected. What was the most disappointing what is the quality of service we received. We were the first table to arrive, and it took them almost 15 minutes to come take our drink order. When they did bring us our glasses of wine, my Chardonnay was so cold it felt like it had come out of the freezer. I had to let it warm up for quite some time before I could enjoy it.
When it comes right down to it, if I’m going to spend that kind of money, I would rather go to a restaurant that consistently delivers exceptional food and service. Sort of a shame, as it’s so close to our home.
The kitchen is excellent but food delivery was terrible. Our first courses weren’t coordinated and our main courses were long delayed. On top of that an extra bottle of wine (which we did not order) was added to our bill.
Wonderful experience. Exceptional food and service. The chef, who you will meet, is a local treasure in a historic California setting. What's not to love?
Very delicious and progressive dishes along with traditional meals. The Executive Chef came out and met with the diners--nice touch. Would definitely go back again!
A great place to eat, drink and unwind. A local menu that changes daily. Pork belly and Napa cabbage was excellent! Lamb loin 'lollipops ' over kale polenta could not be improved upon. It was fantastic. Mashed potatoes with bacon and fresh chives, and dark chocolate cake were my undoing! Wonderful food, great service and I was glad the chef came out to visit the tables!
We had a wonderful night at The Gathering Table with our friends on Valentine's Day. The set menu was perfect (and ended with fondue!). The Chef even made a substitute vegetarian course for my friend last minute. Our server, Nick, was excellent and knowledgeable about the wine list and menu. We love going to The Gathering Table for date nights- it is hard for us to go anywhere else because the food and service are always spot on!
The perfect ending to an afternoon spent wine tasting.
The food was incredible and the chef even came out to greet us after our meal.
Great place! Food was delish 😁
Still the best food in the Valley. Problem is, while the remodeling of the restaurant and Inn are nice, the large "community table" in the center of the room ruins the once-intimate atmosphere, and makes the restaurant far louder.
The service by our waitress was very courteous. The sparkling wine she recommended was enjoyed by one and all. We ordered four of the "Valentine's Day" plates from the fixed menu. The food was delicious but was served out of sequence. We received our soup "after" the main course. I don't know if the kitchen was out of sync with the proper order but in spite of that hitch, it was delicious. The noise level was a tad loud and made it hard to hear everyone around the table so I had to limit my conversation to 3 of the 6 people at the table. The 2nd beer that was served to us was not the same one we received the first time around. We survived! The dessert was ok although the bread pudding could have been more flavorful. Overall, an enjoyable experience.
Horrible experience!!!!!!! This place USED to be a quiet, romantic restaurant with excellent food, but no more! I booked the Ballard Inn for Valentine's Day and found that they've changed their seating into a communal table situation. They have a long table with chairs and sort of jam you in to sit shoulder to shoulder with complete strangers. I mean, you are quite literally banging elbows with strangers and if they seated you any closer you'd be sharing spit. God help you if the person two inches away from you is wearing too much perfume or is talking about their latest surgery or crazy political views. There are a few booths around the fringe that were stuffed full of people. Not sure what was going on with that. I'll never find out because I'll never go back.
We celebrated our 30th anniversary at the restaurant on VALENTINE'S DAY and had a delicious meal beautifully presented. The people who were also dining there were in a festive mood and we ended up talking with the young people at the next table who are locals and work in the wine industry. Will go back to reserve the round table for a group of friends.
Chef Bodie as always creates wonderful meals!
Cynthia our server was truly fantastic!
Fantastic food, fantastic service, and really not expensive considering the quality.
Incredible renovation of space and menu! Ya gotta go'
The restaurant just received a "face-lift" and looks amazing. The new tapas menu is wonderful, although anything made by Chef Budi will be amazing! Our server Megan was attentive, helpful with choosing items, and delightful to deal with. So happy for the Ballard Inn and looking forward to returning.
This was the best New Year's meal ever. Our guests are still talking about it!
Superb food, service and ambiance. Can't wait to return.
We went for New Years Eve. Absolutely nothing other than a drink was served for 35 minutes, then the 5 course started to be presented. The food was excellent but the service was very lackadaisical and unenthusiastic. It took a full 3 hours to serve 5 courses, with long delays between each small course.
Our 1st time at the Ballard Inn did not disappoint. We tried the lingcod (never heard of it) and the fish was done to perfection. The entire meal was delicious.
There is so much ambience in the dining room and we sat right by the fireplace.
The service gets an A++.
We will definitely be back.
This was my second visit to the Ballard Inn. I chose the lamb entree. The lamb was tasty and the sauces were creative. I knew some of the wait staff from my previous wine country visits so the sight of friendly and familiar faces mad the experience noteworthy. I visited during the second weekend of Solvang's Julefest and was quite impressed with the decor of the restaurant. The noise level was a little high but with a full restaurant that is to be expected. Overall, the experience was very nice.
Chef Budi never disappoints, never. Our foie gras and sashimi hors d-oeuvres were beautifully prepared and presented. Our duck and rack of lamb cooked rare to perfection and were so delicious with the garnishes and side dishes. We have never been disappointed in anything Chef Budi prepares in the more than dozen times we have been to his restaurant. A shining star in the Santa Ynez valley for sure.
What an outstanding meal, We can't wait to go back. Creative, appealing, well prepared and presented and delicious food. Superb service
Just had dinner last Saturday night at the Ballard Inn with my wife.. We spit all of our courses and the kitchen accommodated them all. Ceasar salad was spot on, not too much dressing by very tasty. The leek soup was superb. The duck breast was the best duck I ever have had. The service could not have been better. All in all, it was a memorable dining night.
Undercooked veg. Sent back and reappeared unchanged and told by chef it was meant to be hard! Potatoes were almost raw and I spat them on side of plate. No veggie main course options to took the fish. Chef couldn't make the accompanying risotto as ' he doesn't have veg stock' - even I can make that! When a meal is poor the team can fix things but all we could hear was them complaining about me in the kitchen for daring to say food was substandard. Will not be back!!
Outstanding food, service and ambiance. Worth the trip.
Little bit an off night but still a great experience and of course great food. Been here 6 times from Kansas and keep coming back.
Amazing place for date night!❤️❤️❤️ The ambience and unique menu items together with a wonderful wine list and great service made for a beautiful evening... Thank you
Always a favorite. Service and food is always a cut above other restaurants in the area
Ballard Inn Restaurant is one of the great places in the Santa Ynez wine country. Food, service, etc are all exceptional.
One of the best meals I've had in a long time! I wish I lived in the area. I'd return often! It is pricey but you can see and taste where your money goes.
The dinner was wonderful, and our server and the chef were extremely accommodating to some very specific dietary restrictions. Even with those, they suggested substitutions and alternate methods of preparation which resulted in a relaxing and incredibly delicious meal.
We were disappointed. We have been going to Ballard for many years it's always been our go-to place. Service was great as always, but my food was almost too salty to eat. I had the yellow tail tuna. My husband had the lamb he thought it was ok, but nothing special.
From the first bite of salad to the last bite of dessert everything just blended perfectly in your mouth. I look forward to the day I am able to return there. My only critique: my fish tasted amazing but I would have loved some potatoes or rice to accompany it, the crunchy noodles didn't fit the bill for me.
Very nice dinner in a classy environment. Food (Duck and Lamb) were both excellent as was the service. Would recommend this place if you're in the area.
A very quiet dining experience, but then we were there on a Sunday night! Good food and service was very good.
Food was great as was the service. Enjoying a glass of wine on the front porch after dinner made the evening even more enjoyable.
Our favorite restaurant in the area hands down. We ate in the porch this time and it's a bit like stepping back to a simpler time.
A true dining experience. Excellent food, excellent service.
The six of us all graduated from the SYV High School and we try a new dining location one a month and this time it was the Ballard Inn. We arrived early and could hear, you know what age does to ones hearing, but most importantly the dinner was outstanding. We all decided
we would have a return visit.