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“Very good food and service”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Downey's

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Ranked #22 of 528 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $60
Cuisines: Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Local cuisine, Business meetings, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer
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.
San Jose, California
Level Contributor
49 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Very good food and service”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 21, 2013

Most reviewers say Downeys has delicious food and we agree. Everything was very very good. Nothing amazingly unusual but many interesting, different items that looked and tasted really good and using mostly local produce I believe. Service also was very good -- way way above average. This is an expensive place so you'd expect good food and service -- so it's great when it works out like it's supposed to. Delicious things we had included: local crab salad with papaya, lobster/angelhair salad, watercress salad, veal, duck, mille-feuille (raspberry/white-chocolate desert). The almond crust on the rhubarb-strawberry torte was really great too, but the filling itself didn't excite me -- taste ok I suppose, so maybe too smooth or homogeneous to interest me.

Visited May 2013
Thank Brent T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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340 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
31 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Exclusive High End Old School Dining $$$$$$$$”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 13, 2013

This is the most expensive restaurant in Santa Barbara (excluding Montecito). The food is delcious, cooked to perfection, but a bit dated in style. The ambience is very quiet and dim. The owner comes by and chats a bit too much at your table, which I felt a little intusive. I imagine this resaturant to be perfect for rich old folks who want to be catered to on a regular basis. You will be handled wih extreme care and your food, while priced out of this world, will be everything you could dream of and you'll be able to carry on a quiet conversation with the owner, tableside, throughout the evening.

Thank Adverturousone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bolton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Absolutely Brilliant”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 13, 2013 via mobile

My girlfriend and I were in Santa Barbara just for one evening on our way back to the UK after 7 days in San Fran and Napa.

We have eaten at some fabulous places this trip but in all honesty - non as perfect as Downeys.

We had looked on TA and seen the comments so decided to get away from the tourist side and head towards Downeys.

I was in shorts and flip flops so expected from the restaurant images that this may be an issue because it looks quite formal. Not the case at all! We were welcomed in by the owners wife who was so charming! All the staff were professional - polite - well informed on the menu choices and all their ingredients. There was absolutely nothing to be faulted.

We had two lovely light starters ( nice to not get the usual American size ) Then had the Lamb and Duck main courses. Again faultless. Just exactly what we wanted for our last night!

The sweet and cheese trolley is to die for and the wine selection although small is very very good!

Overall I would say that this is the best all round meal I've ever had in the US - Napa and San Fran take some beating but Downeys did this with ease!


Rgds Nigel

Visited May 2013
3 Thank Nigel5567
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surrey, Bc
Level Contributor
36 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Downey's is WAY up!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2013

Warm and intimate presentation of fabulous taste sensations. This dining is way beyond the usual fare...French-style flare for perfection with west coast creativity for unusual combinations. Very nice wine selections. Prices not bad for such a great experience.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Ellie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Escondido, CA
Level Contributor
72 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Top Pick”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 5, 2013

We ate here for a special occasion dinner at the end of April, and I will have to say it's one of the best restaurants I have ever experienced. The appetizer was chilled lobster on angel hair, I had veal and my wife had broiled cod. Dessert was equally excellent. It is certainly not inexpensive but the quality and preparation of the food and freshness of ingredients made it a very memorable evening. I would definitely go there again

Visited April 2013
1 Thank dmckown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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