Restaurants & Bars


Santa Barbara - good food and one big disappointment


Live your best food life.

Sign up to discover your next favorite restaurant, recipe, or cookbook in the largest community of knowledgeable food enthusiasts.
Sign Up For Free
Restaurants & Bars 8

Santa Barbara - good food and one big disappointment

honkman | May 30, 2007 12:27 AM

After two years we finally had again time for a short weekend trip to Santa Barbara and had a really great time with good food.
We finally made it to Superrica and enjoyed the food (#13 and #16) and will definitely be back.
As every time when we are in SB we went to The Palace. (This time even twice though the second time wasn’t planned.) The Palace is not the best restaurant with the best food you will ever experience but it has good food and service and great ambience.
We had a good lunch at Pacific Crepes, a small french restaurant specialized in Crepes. A good lamb gyros with excellent greek salad at the Greek House Café on W. Haley St.

The only great disappointment was our dinner at Downey’s. It wasn't our first choice but after reading many good reviews on CH we were looking forward and we were very disappointed. There were many issues which make this restaurant below average:

- The bread was old and most likely bought at Ralphs or Vons.

- We only got a reservation after 9pm and we asked them on the phone if this would be too late and they would rush us. They said several times that they would never rush anybody and we would enjoy our meals. Well, three (!) minutes after we ordered our appetizers arrived at the table. They slowed down later but the whole dinner took less than 90 minutes and we felt rushed.

- Now to the worst part – the food: As appetizers we had the angelhair/lobster salad and the crab toast with curried fruits. Even if we are not in an Italian restaurant I expect that they should know when pasta is al dente, but I guess I was wrong and I got mushy pasta. The amount of lobster was very small and the vinaigrette absolutely bland. The crab toast was hard as a rock and more like zwieback but at least the curried fruits were good.

- The lamb loin was an unbelivable boring dish with some pieces of lamb loin, some green beans, shitake mushrooms, two pieces of potatoe and a bland sauce. This is something I could have easily done at home and wouldn’t have to pay $37. I go to upscale restaurants because I expect that a good chef is able to show creativity and imagination to transform a dish to something special but not at this restaurant were blandness is the standard. The second entrée was salmon with leavy greens and a basil-lemon sauce. And again everything was cooked ok but everything was also very bland.

- For dessert we had the passionfruit crème brulee – my first crème brulee without a sugar crust but some soggy sugar coating on the top and very artifical tasting passionfruit crème. The fruit shortcake tasted very bitter and was another disappointment.

I have no problem paying a lot of money for good food but I always expect to get good quality. But the quality at Downey’s doesn’t justify $140 for such a meal. This was one of our biggest disappointment in a long time and I think Downey’s is one of the most overrated restaurant I have ever seen.

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound