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Downey's

Certificate of Excellence
$$$$
French, Californian, Seafood, Contemporary
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1305 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 (Victoria)
+1 805-966-5006
Website
Monday
Closed
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
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 255 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 192
    Excellent
  • 37
    Very good
  • 19
    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
Fabulous!

I finally treated myself to a fabulous birthday dinner at Downey's! The wait staff, including Dan, were superb - friendly, efficient - wonderful. I was dining solo and well taken care of. Dan suggested the crab/papaya starter - it was superb and light enough so didn't ruin my appetite. I... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed April 21, 2015
travelalot32136
,
Calabasas, California
Good for:
  • Romance
  • Local cuisine
  • Special occasions
  • Entertaining clients
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255 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Calabasas, California
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2015 NEW

I finally treated myself to a fabulous birthday dinner at Downey's! The wait staff, including Dan, were superb - friendly, efficient - wonderful. I was dining solo and well taken care of. Dan suggested the crab/papaya starter - it was superb and light enough so didn't ruin my appetite. I ordered the grilled salmon with tarragon sauce accompanied by artichoke... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Long Beach, California
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2015 NEW

A group of us have gone on an 11 day wine & golf tour of California -- Napa, Sonoma, Pebble Beach, Big Sur, Paso Robles and Santa Barbara. We've dined decadently at some of the best restaurants. On the last day, we very unexpectedly had the best of the tour -- a dinner at Downey's. The black cod was easily... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
La Canada Flintridge, California
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2015

Enjoyed the small and sophisticated restaurant with its wonderful fresh fish and lobster appetizer. The mild lobster sauce on the sea bass was to die for. This place is for a quiet and relaxed dinner with a ever changing menu of several fine choices.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Corona Del Mar, CA
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2015

It was a nice small restaurant that was very personalized service was wonderful and the dishes are very unique. Food was outstanding and they have a phenomenal dessert selection. A nice romantic getaway.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Hong Kong, China
2 reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2015

The appetisers are in general good, fresh salad and crab cakes. But portion is really tiny. Entrees are average. Considering the portion of the dishes, the price tags are high. But, the ambience of the restaurant is good and the lady owner is very friendly.

Was this review helpful? Yes
los angeles
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2015

Ate at Bouchon the night before; tried Downey's the next night. We mentioned to the server that we had been to Bouchon, and she immediately said that the duck entree at Downey's was much better. So I ordered the duck, as well as the lobster and angel hair appetizer. The appetizer was excellent, but the duck was not. Bouchon's was... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
San Diego, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2015

Excellent food, service and atmosphere! Arrived a bit early and they found a nice table for us right away. The hostess/owner runs a tight ship, ensuring all aspects of the experience are just right (maybe a bit overly chatty, though...). They use a team service approach so you never wait long to get what you need. The food is phenomenal... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
San Diego, California
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2015

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
167 reviews 167 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 

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Restaurant Details

Location and Contact Information

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

Price and Cuisine

  • Average Prices: USD 30 - 60
  • 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?