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Certificate of Excellence
French, American, Contemporary
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1305 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-2609 (Victoria)
+1 805-966-5006
5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Open now
All hours
Sun 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Tue - Thu 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Fri - Sat 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
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319 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 312: English reviews
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

We were holidaying in Santa Barbara last month and decided to try Downey's based on reviews. We were not disappointed. The appetizers (crab salad and salmon) were delicious (and "normal" sized for one person which was a relief) and the black cod and lamb entrees we tried were excellent. We don't normally bother with desserts but had to try the... More 

Thank Mma_Ramotswe
John D, Owner at Downey's, responded to this review

Thanks so much for taking time to write your positive review. We will look forward to seeing you next time you feel the need to escape the cold wintry chills of old England. Cheers...John & Liz More 

Los Angeles, California, USA
Level Contributor
31 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

I must tell you how delicious a dinner was enjoyed this week at Downey's in Santa Barbara. From soup to main course to cheese course to desserts ... it was non-pareil. Old fashioned white table cloths with white walls covered in local artists'( very local ) paintings ...it's quiet and simple. Yet it's slightly over the top ... desserts are... More 

Thank Robert W
John D, Owner at Downey's, responded to this review

Thanks for your thoughtful review. We truly appreciate your feed-back. Were you thinking of the squab? We hope to see you again soon...John & Liz More 

Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We choose Downey's to celebrate since it may have the best food in Santa Barbara. The hostess and owner Liz Downey seated us at a comfortable table. The ambiance is subdued and QUIET an almost impossible finding in today's world. Fine, limited menu with fresh organic greens. I had a veal dish on bed of pasta with mushroom sauce and... More 

Thank mountain18
Ventura, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We were looking for a place really special to celebrate our 40th anniversary and found it at Downey's. Great atmosphere, quite, best service and excellent food and presentation. The Mussels and Duck Breast, the best ever. Liz and the front staff make you feel like you have been coming their all your life. Thank you for the most enjoyable dinning... More 

Thank Vtajim41
John D, Owner at Downey's, responded to this review

Thanks so much for spending your special anniversary with us and also taking time to write such a lovely review....John & Liz More 

Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
101 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

I have been here a few times and every time I go, it is just okay. The decor is so dated and it seems like the chef is simply phoning in instructions for how to cook the food that has been the same since my parents started going there! There are many better places to go to in town...so don't... More 

Thank Lucky7Traveler
John D, Owner at Downey's, responded to this review

Thanks for visiting us several times. I'm sorry you have not enjoyed it each time. Unfortunately we cannot be all things to all people. More 

Santa Barbara, CA
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Downey's has been our favorite restaurant for years - always the same high quality, creative menu in a very elegant but understated setting. My husband and I love the little alcove at the back for special occasions. Everything on the menu is outstanding - but, according to my husband, the homemade desserts are "to die for." I don't know how... More 

Thank VickieBHS
Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
362 reviews
124 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

For almost 30 years now John Downey has provided consistently top quality offerings. Loccated on State Street next to the Arlington Theater it is in a prime location. Be sure to ask for the specials of the night. John uses locally produced food prepared in a most wonderfully delicious manner. Hard to beat. Michelin should give him a star!! Enjoy.

Thank EDD1967_83
Ventura, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2016 via mobile

Tonight was our first visit to Downeys tho' we've lived in Ventura, CA for over 40 Yrs. We were the first guests of the week (first in on Tuesday PM) so were privileged to enjoy a private dining experience for a portion of the evening. Thoroughly enjoyed Downeys prosciutto, the filet and lamb entrees, a cheese course and dessert all... More 

Thank Judy J
Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2016

For over 30 years I have been celebrating special occasions at this wonderful restaurant. John Downey is Santa Barbara's best chef, and has been doing farm to table with local ingredients for as long as I can remember. The food is always excellent, served simply with finesse, in a casual central coast style. Updated classics with a twist, that are... More 

Thank goldee59
John D, Owner at Downey's, responded to this review

Thanks for your kind words which capture everything that we are trying to achieve at Downey's. Thanks for your long-standing support also. Thirty years is a very long time! More 

London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2016

Seated promptly, serviced was efficient but not overbearing. Food was excellent!! We had Duck, Salmon and Crab salad and everything was well done. If you like the"deal" menu I recommend it as it saves money and everything comes from the regular menu. Only problem is there ius no streets parking but there is a muni parking lot within a block... More 

Thank saltzmanm
John D, Owner at Downey's, responded to this review

Thank you for your review. We look forward to seeing you on your next trip to Santa Barbara. More 

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Restaurant Details

Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 stars
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
    4.5 of 5 stars
Average prices
$30 - $60
French, American, Contemporary
Restaurant features
Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Reservations
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
Good for
Local cuisine, Special occasions, Romantic, Business meetings
Open Hours
5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Location and Contact Information
  • Address: 1305 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-2609
  • Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  Santa Barbara
  • Phone Number: +1 805-966-5006
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.

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Downey's and other visitors
1 question
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santa barbara
9 months ago

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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?