The Long-Time Zagat Favorite Known for Homegrown Foods and Wines

Where: 1305 State Street, 966-5006,

What: Santa Barbara’s highest Zagat-rated restaurant that takes advantage of the treasure trove of locally produced foods and wines.

How Much: “Taste of Santa Barbara” tasting menu, four courses, $50, entrees $28-$39.

John Downey with a Fresh Local Crab Salad appetizer with Tuscan melon, pine nuts and fresh ginger-lime dressing.
Click to enlarge photo

James Sinclair

John Downey with a Fresh Local Crab Salad appetizer with Tuscan melon, pine nuts and fresh ginger-lime dressing.

The Dish: The warm embrace of this fine dining institution is as comforting in its ambience as it is elegant in its service and culinary presentation. Garnering impressive accolades from the foodie bible—The Zagat Guide—Downey’s is known for top scores in both food and service. Cal-French cuisine is prepared in a stunningly inspired fashion by chef/owner John Downey, down to the placement of each and every spring pea. John and Liz Downey opened the restaurant in its quaint State Street location in 1982. John mans the kitchen, while Liz oversees staff and service, also putting together a wine list with a bias toward local producers. A seasonally inspired tasting menu (four courses, $50) showcases the best of the harvest, currently featuring such delights as sweet corn soup with opal basil and Shelton Farms duck with cabernet sauce and baby white turnips. The regular menu changes daily, and right now you may be so lucky as to find Carlsbad mussels with watercress, sweet corn, and chile vinaigrette, or veal loin noisette with oyster mushrooms, sugar snap peas, and fettuccini.


1305 State St., Santa Barbara, CA
805-966-5006. More Info

View our complete restaurant guide here.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Goleta Target Store Confirmed

Set to open at Kmart location in 2019.

County Fire Chief Calls for More Fuel Breaks

Peterson wants to create a continuous front-country line from Montecito to Goleta.

Crime Rates Down, Youth Arrests Up in Santa Barbara County

A 'high percentage' of misdemeanor citations happen on school campuses.

Will Hollister Ranch Access Deal Hold Up Under Public Scrutiny?

State commissioners are taking a closer look at settlement over beach access to Santa Barbara County gated ...

Faced with a Gun, Sheriff’s Sergeant Holds His Fire

Sgt. Freddy Padilla reflects on potentially life-saving decisions during welfare call.