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1305 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-2609
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Ranked #5 of 429 restaurants in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence 2013
Price range: $28 - $80
Cuisines: French, Seafood, Contemporary, Californian
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Victoria
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197 reviews from our community

88% Recommend
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Southern Oregon
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2014 via mobile

We found this restaurant on TripAdvisor and the high rating is fully deserved. There are other restaurants that claim to serve seafood as a specialty but at Downey's they prepare it excellently, presented in a very attractive fashion, with local fresh vegetables. The staff is not only friendly but they are truly interested in having a meaningful conversation with their... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Beverly Hills, California
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2014

We had been trying to dine at Downey's for years, but we always went to Santa Barbara on short notice. This time we planned the trip and booked the table a month before. We knew Downey's was small, but we didn't know it was dowdy. It really needs a facelift! We were greeted at the entrance to the sounds of... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Las Vegas
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2014

Had dinner at Downey's and everything was fresh. You can tell the owners (husband and wife) take a lot of pride in their restaurant. This little restaurant is centrally located and easy to find. Once inside, you can see why you need a reservation. The staff were friendly and the food was great.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2014

Pear with prosciutto arugula salad, butternut squash soup, halibut, cheese tray, and amazing desserts deserve this lovely relaxed setting. Reservations are important here. The chef shops locally for the changing menu items. Plan to spend time to taste and enjoy the food. Excellent wine accompaniments are available as are fine teas. The service is excellent without being intrusive. Individual attention... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Santa Fe, NM
Top Contributor
102 reviews 102 reviews
60 restaurant reviews
112 helpful votes 112 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2014

We had dinner at Downey's with friends when we were in Santa Barbara last week. The restaurant came highly recommended by our innkeepers. It was my husband's birthday and we wanted to have a special celebration. We originally made a 7:00 reservation because we don't like to eat too late, but the inn called us back to tell us the... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
woodsander, Owner at Downey's, responded to this review

Thanks very much for your visit to our dining room. We are pleased that your innkeeper spoke highly of our cuisine and we would love to see you come in again. Although it sounds that we didn't quite meet your expectations, we really appreciate that you will consider returning to dine with us another time. More

San Antonio
Top Contributor
181 reviews 181 reviews
127 restaurant reviews
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2014

We came for dinner based on the high ratings and were not disappointed. Make a reservation in advance. A nice, well appointed and quiet place. Service is superb and servers know the reservation very well. The tasting menu is a good value. The crab and papaya salad with lime vinegarette dressing was superb and the choice of desserts was great.... More

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

Thank you so much for your review. I like the word "superb" and even more so with three (count em!) exclamation marks! Regarding the absence of a liquor license for spirits at our place, may I suggest you stop in at Opal for drinks? Then we want you back in our dining room! More

13 reviews 13 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2014

Downeys is like the Hope diamond in the jewelry box that is Santa Barbara's dining scene. A monster monster commitment to quality, a flair for creativity, and a passion for highest quality local ingredients are backed up with service dedicated to creating a perfect dining experience. Folks, don't miss this.

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

Thanks for your "monster monster" review! Come back when you are nearby and we'll be happy to serve you once again. Liz and John More

Roseville, California
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2013

This is such a charming place. The service is helpful and laid back, not at all pretentious or stuffy. The food is fabulous-they are some dishes that have been on the menu for years, that are always good. Lamb, Duck, but you really can't go wrong. My wife had an excellent cauliflower soup followed by an equally delicious black cod.... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Tierra Verde, Florida
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2013

The food and ambience were exceptional--the best duck I've ever had, moist, flavorful and tender, yet lean. The wait staff and Liz Downey made the evening particularly enjoyable. They were friendly, attentive, knowledgeable and fun. We let Liz surprise us with wine choices, that were tasty and unusual, yet moderately priced. A second tip: there is easy and plentiful parking... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Santa Monica, CA
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2013

We were greeted and made to feel most welcome by Liz, the owner/chef’s wife. There is something to be said when the owner is in the kitchen and Downey’s is a perfect example of that truism. The lobster starter with capellini, asparagus tips, radicchio and endive was sublime. The seabass was done in a sauce like a perfect bouillabaisse and... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

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