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Downey's

Certificate of Excellence
$$$$
French, Californian, Seafood, Contemporary
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1305 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-2609 (Victoria)
+1 805-966-5006
Website
Today
5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Tue - Thu 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Fri - Sat 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Description: Downey's restaurant is the cornerstone of fine casual dining on State...
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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Good for:
Casual Elegant
Romance
Local cuisine
Special occasions
Entertaining clients

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 248 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 187
    Excellent
  • 36
    Very good
  • 18
    Average
  • 3
    Poor
  • 4
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 stars
    Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4.5 of 5 stars
Most recent review
Better than its reputation

A very small restaurant that has an equally small menu, however, the quality cannot be topped and the service is likewise outstanding. This place is the old Santa Barbara I remember and enjoyed. The prices are on the high side, however, the value is great and you will not be disappointed. As it... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed March 24, 2015
fdl1948
,
San Diego, California
Good for:
  • Casual Elegant
  • Romance
  • Local cuisine
  • Special occasions
  • Entertaining clients
  • Dinner
  • Reservations
  • Late Night
Add Photo Write a Review

248 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
San Diego, California
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2015 NEW

A very small restaurant that has an equally small menu, however, the quality cannot be topped and the service is likewise outstanding. This place is the old Santa Barbara I remember and enjoyed. The prices are on the high side, however, the value is great and you will not be disappointed. As it is small, reservations are a must. Recommend... More 

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

We are so pleased that you enjoyed our restaurant, and we thank you for your positive review. Hope to see you again! More 

Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
166 reviews 166 reviews
94 restaurant reviews
150 helpful votes 150 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2015

Downeys may have been here for over 32 years, but it is as young and fresh as early morning. If innovative, light and delectable cuisine is your hearts desire, this is the place. If you are looking for an ocean of tranquility in a sea of cacophony, this is the place. If you are looking for flawless service where the... More 

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

Wow! Thanks for all you words of high praise. We are so glad you enjoyed our place! You might have written a new slogan for us: "Downey's is waiting for you!" I love that! More 

Santa Barbara, California
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2015

Downey's restaurant is amazing! It is a small place that is big on taste, quality, charm, and class. The owners are some of the most genuine and warm people who care about every aspect of your experience at their restaurant. These qualities are mirrored in their staff. This restaurant is expensive, but it is worth every dime. If want to... More 

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

Thank you. Again and again. We are so happy to hear from you and we appreciate your kind words about us and our staff. More 

Santa Barbara, California
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2015

Downey's is the place to go to celebrate a special occasion, propose, honor someone or treat your special honey to a dinner to remember. It is not the place to take young children, go to after a rousing sporting event or if you have to watch your dollars. The food is presented beautifully, tastes fantastic, and consistently excellent. We highly... More 

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

Thank you. It is one of the finest ways to spend an evening, having meaningful conversation while eating something that you love. If ever you know you want duck, please give us a call so we can be sure to have it on the menu for your "go to" favorite dish! So glad you like coming to see us! More 

Santa Barbara, California
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2015 via mobile

We go to downey's for a special treat several times a year. It is a small, intimate space with delicious fresh food with imaginative touches and wonderful desserts.

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

Thanks for writing! We're very happy that you enjoy coming to our dining room. More 

Seattle, Washington
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2015 via mobile

Downey's is a classy , traditional and not to trendy, formal and unpretentious. The staff was very cordial and knowledgeable. This is the place if you are looking for an exceptional plate to impress you. My dinner was superb - artichoke salad with a simple vinaigrette, the creamy heart of the artichoke was perfectly cook served on a bed of... More 

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

You are so kind! We're glad you had a good time as well as sharing your impressions of your meal. Thank you for taking the time to write such a lovely review. More 

Santa Barbara, California
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2015

We chose Downeys for dinner before going to an Ensemble Theatre performance at the Victoria Theatre. The restaurant is also very near the Arlington and Granada theaters. The service was fantastic, very attentive but not at all over bearing. Using fresh local products our dinners were nicest we have had in a long time. We had appetizers, seafood main dishes... More 

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

Thank you! So happy that you had a good time and got to the theater on time. What a great date night! More 

Portland, Oregon
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2015

After a long drive along coastline, we landed for the night in Santa Barbara, CA. Saturday night on State Street was packed, every restaurant we went to was packed & long waits ~ came across Downey's, got lucky and got a table. Wasn't starving, just wanted a nice glass of wine and something light ~ was happily surprised with lobster... More 

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

I love appetizers. They are like wonderful little tantalizing morsels that only make me want to try something else. I see it worked for you too! Thanks for the review and we look forward to your next visit! More 

Corona del Mar, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2015

Staff, food, ambiance, everything was spot on! I had the lamb, which was prepared perfectly. The deserts were excellent as well. It's no accident that this restaurant is ranked so high. One of the best, and most surprising, unique restaurants in Sant Barbara!

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

Wow! Thanks to you for your high praise. And we are very happy that you enjoy coming to our dining room. Thank you, thank you, thank you. More 

rhinebeck,ny
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2015

We were sent here by the owners of the B&B where we were staying. The chef has been here for many years and has an excellent reputation with the local community. The food was delicious. The hostess, the wife of the chef, was very attentive to our needs. Her artwork adorns the walls of the restaurant. An altogether wonderful evening.

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

Ah, thank you so much. We love our little restaurant and are so glad you enjoyed coming here too! More 

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Restaurant Details

Location and Contact Information

  • Address: 1305 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-2609
    (Victoria)
  • Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  Santa Barbara
  • Phone Number: +1 805-966-5006

Price and Cuisine

  • Average Prices: USD 28 - 80
  • Cuisine: French, Californian, Seafood, Contemporary

Restaurant Characteristics

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Good for: Romance, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients

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.
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

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Downey's staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?