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1305 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-2609
+1 805-966-5006
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Ranked #8 of 445 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $28 - $80
Hours:
Sun 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Tue - Thu 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Fri - Sat 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Cuisines: French, Seafood, Contemporary, Californian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Victoria
Description: Downey's restaurant is the cornerstone of fine casual dining on State Street in the heart of the downtown Santa Barbara theater district. Chef John Downey has been serving "Farm-to-Table" cuisine since 1982. The dining room is comfortably furnished with well-spaced tables allowing for pleasant dinner conversation. Original plein-aire landscapes of local scenes painted by co-owner Liz Downey adorn the walls. Liz also is most often overseeing the smooth running of her dining room where you may expect professional yet friendly service.
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229 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    172
    33
    18
    3
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
boulder, co
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2014

Downey's takes the cake for wonderful local cuisine that's sophisticated but not over done. Staff was attentive, professional and knowledgeable but not intrusive. Have eaten at numerous Santa Barbara restaurants and just returned for a second remarkable meal. Dining a weeklong visit we enjoyed some very good meals in highly rated Santa Barbara eateries though some featured tiny tables, high... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Chorley, United Kingdom
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2014

Only in Santa Barbara for 2 nights. Chose Downeys from the trip adviser reviews and was not disappointed. My wife and I both had great meals. The main course of veal and pasta was excellent. The decor is simple, but hey. Some great wines on offer. Would definitely recommend. Don't understand the previous tro poor reviews at all. I would... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
John D, Owner at Downey's, responded to this review

Hi, it's Liz responding to your review. Thank you for writing and for coming to our dining room. I'm glad you enjoyed yourselves and we look forward to seeing you again sometime. Have a wonderful holiday season. More

Great Neck, NY
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2014

2nd trip to Downey's (ate here in 2006). Liz Downey, the owner's wife, greets you at the door. Her lovely paintings hang on the walls available for sale. Dining room is pleasant and well-lit. The dessert trolley sits there to entice. Food is excellent, though the bread served is very ordinary. We ate lamb and veal as main courses and... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
John D, Manager at Downey's, responded to this review

Thanks for your glowing response! We are here to please, and we're glad you enjoyed yourselves. Have a wonderful holiday season, stay warm, and eat well! Liz and John More

Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2014 via mobile

My wife & I had never been here before and thought we knew most of the restaurants in Santa Barbara. While the staff was pleasant enough the dinner was bad... really. Sea Bass undercooked that smelled and tasted old along with soupy veggies. My swordfish was undercooked and the accompanying simple half boiled potato was hard. Decor was mid-western 'fine... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
newport coast
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2014

We were very disappointed to dine at Downeys. We had a reservation, waited at the desk for at least five minutes while the maitre d spoke with a couple in the dining room. Waitresses saw us and looked the other way. Finally he came to us and asked "can help you" with such an unwelcoming attitude. We ordered wine which... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
John D, Manager at Downey's, responded to this review

Thank you for your comments. We take all feedback seriously and your input will help us to improve and refine. More

Jackson, Wyoming
Top Contributor
150 reviews 150 reviews
93 restaurant reviews
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2014

The food was very good. The mussel appetizer was wonderful (and different from any mussels I have ever had) as was the grouper with a tarragon mustard sauce. The atmosphere was quiet and refined. The service was attentive and professional We would recommend this restaurant to anyone wishing a quiet, elegant dinner with great food prepared in interesting ways.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
John D, Manager at Downey's, responded to this review

Thank you for your comments. We take all feedback seriously and your input will help us to improve and refine. More

Novato, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2014

Downey's was a pleasant surprise. You can tell the chef is classically trained, but the menu is up-to-date and execution is flawless. Looking for a place that is quiet enough to hold pleasant conversation? Downey's fits that as well. Great service from the team.

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
John D, General Manager at Downey's, responded to this review

Thank you for your kind words and Liz and I are very happy to hear that you enjoyed our dining room! More

Los Angeles, California
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2014

Great service to make you feel special. Nicely done menu albeit fewer choices than most. A quiet place for romantic dinner.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
John D, Owner at Downey's, responded to this review

It is a wonderful review that you wrote, particularly that you felt special when you were sitting in our dining room. Sometimes it does feel as though we are "having people over" for dinner! Thank you very much for your kind words about your night out our place. More

Los Angeles, California, United States
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2014

We were driving down State Street looking for a place to eat. When I saw the inviting store front and lovely Irish style sign I told my friend... this is the place. We were not disappointed. The food is exceptional, the staff is delightful and the setting is lovely. We were so impressed we ate there the following night!

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
John D, Owner at Downey's, responded to this review

Hi, it's Liz here writing from the little room behind where all the culinary action happens. Thank you for your sweet review. I'm glad you like the front and that we were able to tease you in the door! And John and I are both happy that you came back "for seconds!" Have a wonderful holiday season! More

Boston, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2014

The place doesn't look super impressive (it's nice but you won't walk in and go "nice place!") but the food and service is perfect. And being on the main drag in Santa Barbara you can walk around before and after dinner. I think they only serve wine but you're in Santa Barbara so you should be drinking wine! Ask the... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
John D, Owner at Downey's, responded to this review

Thanks so much for coming to Downey's and we truly your feedback. I see that you dined with us in September and we have been busy with our paint brush since then. Nothing too dramatic but we have spiffed the room up a little since then. The food, wine and service will continue to remain worthy of your kind praise. More

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Additional Information about Downey's

Address: 1305 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-2609
Phone Number: +1 805-966-5006
Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  Santa Barbara
Open Hours:
Sunday 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Tuesday 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Wednesday 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Thursday 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Friday 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Saturday 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Average Prices: USD 28 - 80
Cuisine: French, Seafood, Contemporary, Californian

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