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“Quiet, elegant”
Review of Downey's - CLOSED

Downey's
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $60
Cuisines: French, Seafood, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Local cuisine, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
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.
Reviewed April 6, 2013 via mobile

You can actually have a conversation here! Service is elegant yet friendly. Food is excellent yet overly expensive. The cheese plate is especially egregious at $30 for 6 slices. I wouldn't eat here regularly but it's a good special occasion place.

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1  Thank travelingyogi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (358)
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207 - 211 of 358 reviews

Reviewed April 5, 2013

We went to Downey's for our 20 anniversary, it didn't disappoint! The food was excellent, service was just right, friendly and attentive without being too much. Our server made several nice wine pairing suggestions. It was everything we wanted for our special dinner.

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1  Thank CarMik20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2013

The all inclusive meal was well done and so was my fish! Service was excellent and we would eat here again in a minute!

Thank frack77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2013

Our visit to Downey's exceeded all expectations. We knew it was going to be an expensive fine dining experience at one of Santa Barbara's elite restaurants. Our expectations were sky high when we walked through the door. And somehow, they still turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. The service and the food were outstanding. It compares will with the most elite restaurants in California. They also maintain a personal touch that's not the least bit pretentious. Every part of the meal was excellent. Food, service, and atmosphere were all top notch. The next time we visit Santa Barbara, a visit to Downey's will definitely be in our plans.

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1  Thank cjn60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2013

Now at 30 years of serving food this place has lost nothing that has recommended it for these three decades. It is sort of hard to put a finger on what is so attractive. The food is always fresh and well prepared and generally creative. The wine list is interesting and quite fairly priced. Service is pleasant, helpful and discrete. There is a nice feeling when one deals with the owners directly. But none of these factors alone seems the key. In my opinion it is the quiet space and pace that puts Downey's on a level above other SB dining options which seemingly intentionally create noisy ambiance. Spacing of tables is conducive to privacy and the room acoustics are absorbent. It is a smallish place but seems just the right size for the chef and servers. No one is in a hurry and they make it clear that the table is yours for as long as you are enjoying the experience. With regard to the food one must note that it is fresh and well cooked no matter what is offered. We were particularly impressed by the baked goods and soup and the special interpretation of nicoise salad with wonderful marinated salmon. While not "perfect" the ingredients were clearly locally sourced which felt good. Highly recommended for a special meal or a good night out when the budget allows you to splurge a bit.

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1  Thank RHSSantaBarbara_CA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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