The Ballard Inn & Restaurant in Ballard, California
Tucked away in the peaceful community of Ballard, California, The Ballard Inn & Restaurant effortlessly embodies the adage, "the best things come in small packages." A divine bed & breakfast retreat amongst the idyllic vineyards of Santa Barbara's Wine County, Ballard Inn was recently voted one of America's "Top Ten Most Romantic Inns," and remains an ideal retreat for two. Upon your arrival, enjoy a glass of the region's finest on the inn's wraparound patio surrounded by fragrant foliage, or retreat to the soft color palette of your room. The inn's 15 rooms are elegantly and uniquely designed, with a calming, country theme, and each with its own individual story. Mildred's Room is decorated in soft blues and cream hues, and was named for the original owner's daughter, while the inn's most romantic room, Cynthia's Room, boasts a king sized bed, in-room fireplace, and private bathroom, all bathed in sensuous and soft red tones.
Wake up to a delicious and indulgent full breakfast, hot and made to order alongside a buffet offering of fresh fruit and pastries. Spend the day sampling the best boutique wines without ever having to leave the inn, at Ballard's on-site tasting room. Spread across just 1.8 square miles, the tiny township of Ballard is easily accessible on foot, or travel to nearby Solvang and explore the Santa Ynez Valley. To dine in one of the area's most intimate, romantic restaurants, simply return to the inn, and sample the delectable cuisine at The Restaurant at Ballard Inn, open for dinner Wednesdays through Sundays. A cozy, inviting atmosphere is set off by The Restaurant's roaring fireplace and completed by flickering flames of candlelight atop each table. Enjoy a delectably sophisticated menu in an amorous, yet casual atmosphere. Then, return to your room for a romantic evening by the fireplace. When you make the decision to refocus on each other, The Ballard Inn & Restaurant has the ideal space for the two of you.
Location of The Ballard Inn & Restaurant
Nearest Airport: SBA
Amenities for The Ballard Inn & Restaurant
- General Information
- 15 Guest Rooms
- Handicap Accessible Rooms
- Wine Bar
- On-Site Amenities
- In-Room Amenities
- Air Conditioning
- Hair Dryers
- Iron/Ironing Boards
- Luxury Linens
- Individually Designed Rooms
- En-Suite Bathrooms
- Wine Tasting
- Wine Tours
- Art Galleries
- Food & Wine
- Spring Getaways
Reviews for The Ballard Inn & Restaurant
To call this place fine dining is a stretch, sure it has the setting, but the service and quality is far from fine dining. First of all we'd booked a table for 7:45, we arrived early and decided to have a drink on the veranda as suggested by a server who said he'd come and get us when the table was ready. We had our drinks (excellent choice of wine) and then 7:45 came around. We waited another ten minutes for some one to call for our table before then having to find a server who told us they had to go and prepare our table and then would seat us. So all in all we were finally seated 20 minutes after our booked slot. This is a small restaurant seating around 40-50 guests, so with the four servers covering the restaurant should not have been a stretch at all. After being seated we asked for help with wine asking for something local and recommended. Our first server said they'd help with the wine request and then didn't at all. They also had to ask what type of water (flat/sparkling) we'd asked for twice! The water that then came out was served in a glass with food remnants stuck to the bottom. I asked to be changed which was bought out in a completely empty glass! The appetisers were bought out of which we ordered the soup and the Hamachi which were both excellent, well presented and tasty, which left a lot of expectation for the main course. We waited, and waited, and waited. In the mean time our glasses were not topped up by the waiter (fairly standard with fine dining) especially after buying a bottle of wine, water was not topped up and we generally felt pushed to one side as a larger table seemed to take precedent. All in all definitely not the sophisticated five star dining experience the website speaks of. Finally the main course arrived, the steak cooked wonderfully as were the sides, although bacon mash does seem like a slightly fail safe side to serve. The big downfall was the chicken, which comes with option of dark or white meat. I opted for dark preferring a deeper flavour. Unfortunately it was severely undercooked. A bit of red in legs and thigh meat with chicken is fine but cold and pink is not safe and not acceptable at all. Naturally I sent this back. Five minutes passed and a new plate arrived. The key word here is "new plate" my sides were still on the plate! My food had been heated up in order to cook the chicken through and re served on a new plate. In my eyes rule number one as a chef is, if a meal is sent back undercooked, you re-fire the whole dish, you do not re-heat and re-serve unless the customer requests that. You re-cook the dish so it is correct and cooked properly. Re-heating and re-plating shows lazy and poor chef etiquette. A complete lack of fine dining in both front and back of house. Nice dining area, nice decor, poor service and food that needs more work and more dedication pouring into it.
Ben M - London, United Kingdom
The Ballard Inn is a charming B & B on the outskirts of Solvang, California. The rooms are tastefully decorated with a country charm. The hostess, Christina is friendly and helpful to guide you through this regions wine country. We spent the afternoon in nearby Los Olivos which is a charming little wine tasting village. All the charm aside, the secret of the Ballard Inn is it's chef Budi Kazali. We stayed both nights at the Ballard, the dinner here the first night was so amazing that we cancelled dinner the second night in Solvang just so we could taste some more of Budi's creations on night number two. We are definitely coming back so we can experience the charm but stay for the food!
dkayne - Los Angeles, California
We've only gone for dinner. The restaurant the nicest decor in the Santa Ynez Valley. The food is excellent, the disappointment is there is no rhyme or reason to how the food comes out and often all at one time. One main course order of Risotto sat getting cold as it was brought out with the appetizer. One of the staff seemed in a rush to clear the plates that were still half full. The restaurant is a wonderful place for a private dinner, very comfy booths and also offers family style dining with one long table in the center. Suggestion: order one course at a time to avoid feeling rushed through a meal.
Roadtripsfan - St. Augustine, Florida
We stayed at the Ballard Inn for our Spring wine tasting in Santa Ynez. The rooms are individually decorated. The staff is very friendly and willing to help you find things to do in the area. The surrounding area is lush and green this year with all the rain. Breakfasts are unique with a different special each day. My one complaint is that noise from the restaurant guests travels up the stairway late at night.
travelinkathi - Cypress, California
This small restaurant located in The Ballard Inn, combines Asian flavoring in an exquisite way pairing different flavors with well prepared meat and fish. The spicing is quite creative and distinctly unusual. You've not had this before. We celebrated a major anniversary at dinner and drove from Santa Barbara to get to this restaurant and it was well worth the 40 minute drive. We left wondering whether this was the very best restaurant we have ever been to, as the food and the service (Cynthia) were that exceptional. I don't dispense 5 Stars. This place deserved 8 Stars, it was so uniquely delicious
Joel A - Santa Barbara, California