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Review of Downey's

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Ranked #21 of 530 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $60
Cuisines: French, Seafood, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, 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.
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed June 12, 2014

After spending 4 weeks touring,and a week on a cruise ship to Alaska,it was a pleasure to enjoy fine food,presented so enticing,by such helpful staff,every course was a delight,(and we did have every course)I wasn't going to have dessert, but could not resist the array of mouth watering sweets on the trolly.Forgot to mention, the bread was real bread, and not a bun in sight! We would recommend Downeys to anyone.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Jennifer C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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350 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
Santa Barbara CA
Level Contributor
131 reviews
62 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
“Best Restaurant in Santa Barbara”
Reviewed May 29, 2014

I live in Santa Barbara and i am a foodie and this is your number one option. There really is only one drawback to Downey's which is they don't change their menu very much. That makes eating there for residents like me a little more challenging than for travelers. The food is California cuisine with a slight french overtone...lots of local ingredients which is terrific. Don't miss the crab toast appetizer and the rasberry mille feuille is to die for. The setting is simple but nice for conversation.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Imrahil5000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
73 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“For my parents 30th anniversary”
Reviewed May 27, 2014

My brothers and I sent our parents to Downey's when they went to Santa Barbara for their 30th anniversary. We booked them a table without them knowing and had their hotel put an amenity in the room with a note telling them they had dinner reservations. They had a wonderful time, and absolutely loved their meal. John and Liz Downey were incredibly helpful in planning this surprise for us, and took wonderful care of our parents all the way through. I cannot thank them enough for this, as I was stressed about trying to plan it all from afar. They loved the filet mignon and described the wine the waiter recommended as "like nectar." I cannot thank you enough for making my parents special weekend even more special.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Greg C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Level Contributor
36 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Found this through Trip Advisor & would recommend.”
Reviewed May 21, 2014

Yes this restaurant could be described as dowdy by some people but we would describe it as a restauarant oozing charm. It was unpretentious, and whilst the food was served simply on home style plates, the food was fresh and delicious. I had duck with fresh mango and natural grains. My partner really enjoyed his salmon with artichoke hearts. We both shared a green salad. We also shared the best dessert ever, a Mille feuille with white chocolate and raspberries followed by the best cafe lattes we have had since being in the USA. Both Dan & Tania made us feel very welcome. The walk to and from the restaurant from our harbour side accomodation was further than expected, but well worth it - an interesting walk through an eclectic and Beautiful Spanish influenced city.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Jenny K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
149 reviews
111 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Don't be put off by the slightly old fashioned appearance”
Reviewed May 11, 2014 via mobile

Having booked some weeks in advance we approached the restaurant slightly crestfallen at the rather old fashioned exterior. A quick peek inside and a check of the menu were suitably reassuring.
Although not full the service was a little hit and miss but pleasant. The food was good and for one of us the best meal of our holiday and nearly so for the other.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank Fussy_People
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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