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The Playground

220 East Fourth Street, Santa Ana, CA
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Ranked #1 of 594 restaurants in Santa Ana
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Price range: $15 - $30
Sun 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Tue - Wed 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Thu - Sat 5:00 pm - 2:00 am
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations, Late Night
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Spurgeon
Description: Chef driven, ingredient driven affordable small plates and craft beers. A young and creative team of chefs led by Executive Chef, Jason Quinn (formerly of The Lime Truck), change up the menu daily to keep the dining experience fresh and exciting. Full liquor license and Santa Ana's best beer program, with 15 craft beers on tap and approximately 60 bottled beers, including many rarities. The dining experience is different at Playground: You're expected to share, so don't think in terms of my dish or your dish, and we're stubborn about our no-modification rule. If you're adventurous you'll probably love it; if you need control over your dish preparation, you probably won't. Reservations have become nearly essential, so please call ahead if you'd like to visit or make an online reservation from our website.
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83 reviews from our community

86% Recommend
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
so cal
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2014 NEW

Six of us had a reservation for dinner. We were seated promptly, and the whole experience was one of efficiency and a food delight. I think it is best to come here with 6 people, as the dishes are meant to be shared. Six was the perfect number to let everyone get enough of each dish, those who proclaimed to... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
The Woodlands, Texas, USA
20 reviews 20 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014 via mobile

Great beer and cocktails. The menu changes daily, but there is nothing you can go wrong ordering. Perfect portions and incredible tastes. Best hamburger I have ever had, though it is not on the menu and in limited quantity. Desserts are wonderful also. Wish I could take this place back to my town. You will need a reservation so plan... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Anaheim Hills, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2014

The Playground was a recommendation to my husband and myself so we thought we would try it out. We were seated promptly with our Open Table Reservation and the service was nothing less than outstanding. All our questions were answered and we were even entertained with stories on how some of the dishes came to be. These people are passionate... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
California City, California
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2014

This is a cute trendy place however the menu is trying to be something that is just cant quite execute. The fact that you Cannot alter a dish is totally unreasonable. My husband was in the mood for a steak but he is allergic to plums so the Wagyu Hangar steak with roasted Plums was out of the question unless... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Newport Beach, California
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2014

I made a reservation for 4 people for Sunday lunch through Opentable.com. I learned that it is not easy to dine at The Playground, here are the rules: 1. The Playground will call you 4 days prior, during the day to get your credit card number and you should be ready to provide your credit card. 2. If you are... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Robert Q, Owner at The Playground, responded to this review

I am pleased that you enjoyed the food and service. I am a bit offended that you think our policies are founded in arrogance. I'd like to take a moment to tell you why we have some of the policies you listed. Perhaps you will take a kinder view of them. Perhaps not. Take a moment to consider how you... More

Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2014

My mom and I are traveling around the area over the next couple of days, and after searching for some local restaurant in between our hotels, I came across "The Playground." It sounded like a place that was truly unique and somewhere that we just had to try. It did not disappoint. We were greeted by the host and accepted... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Robert Q, Owner at The Playground, responded to this review

Thanks so much for this review. I've got a theory that the most basic human need is to be "seen" by others. I feel like you "saw" us. You understood that we really have no pretension or arrogance, we're just passionate about our craft and want to share that. You also understood that we use extremely fresh and sometimes rare... More

Santa Ana, California
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2014

The menu here changes based on the fresh ingredients that the chef procure. One must be a food adventurer to try out a place like this. From the sides to the main entres, the chef does not dissappoint. I am a regular and I am never bored of the dishes. If you are afraid to try new food, don't go... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Anaheim, CA
Top Contributor
291 reviews 291 reviews
196 restaurant reviews
143 helpful votes 143 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2014

Updated review: You will either love the Playground or think its not for you. Those who don't care for the Playground are usually the picky ones, and not willing to experiment. If that's you, then I suggest trying another place. I used to go weekly with my gf's when Playground first opened, and then we all got busy. It was... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Anaheim, California
Top Contributor
138 reviews 138 reviews
96 restaurant reviews
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2014

Oh my gosh! This place is worth the many 4.5-5 star reviews that have been boasted on TripAdvisor! I heard about this hipster-inspired restaurant through a foodie friend of mine. I had never heard of it, checked it out on various review sites, and low and behold: Over a thousand reviews saying this place is a gold mine for foodies... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Robert Q, Owner at The Playground, responded to this review

What a great review to wake up to. Thank you very much. You may be happy to learn that we're breaking ground this week on a new artisan cocktail bar and dessert restaurant above Playground. If you do end up waiting for a table, you'll be able to do it in the comfort of a spacious lounge, or on the... More

Fayetteville, Arkansas
3 reviews 3 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2014

Do not get the fried chicken!! They soak bone in thighs and drumsticks in a sweet vinegar and then bread and fry it and serve three of each in a bowl with nothing else as a side, no garnish, just six piece of greasy, sweet sour bone in fried chicken in a freakin bowl?

Was this review helpful? Yes
Robert Q, Owner at The Playground, responded to this review

Boy were we mismatched. It saddens us greatly to get a score of two in a review, but as I read yours I have an idea why you were disappointed. Unfortunately, you had several chances to avoid that disappointment: First, we are a strange restaurant and I do my best to discourage diners who find strangeness disquieting. We are nothing... More

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