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The Playground

Certificate of Excellence
$$
American, Californian, International, Gastropub
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220 East 4th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701 (Spurgeon)
(714) 560-4444
Website
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Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
Description: Chef driven, ingredient driven affordable small plates and craft cocktails...
Chef driven, ingredient driven affordable small plates and craft cocktails and beers. A young and creative team of chefs led by Executive Chef, Jason Quinn, change up the menu daily to keep the dining experience fresh and exciting. Orange County's "Best Bartender" making exciting craft cocktails 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.
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 114 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 81
    Excellent
  • 20
    Very good
  • 6
    Average
  • 3
    Poor
  • 4
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 stars
    Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4 of 5 stars
Give Payground a try...you'll think you're in SF not SA.

We've been a few times & would definitely go back. The food is fun & interesting. A word of warning... they only serve their coffer strong & black, so if you are wanting a latte or other...looke elsewhere.

4 of 5 starsReviewed July 1, 2015
Robert K
,
Santa Ana, California, United States
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114 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Santa Ana, California, United States
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2015 NEW

We've been a few times & would definitely go back. The food is fun & interesting. A word of warning... they only serve their coffer strong & black, so if you are wanting a latte or other...looke elsewhere.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Menifee
Level Contributor
55 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2015

I am writing this from firsthand experience. I came to this restaurant on Sunday at 8:30pm. I was with my husband and my 21 year old son. The hostess told us she would not seat us because they only seat a party of 4. If she would have explained that they are a reservations only restaurant on Sundays we would... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Level Contributor
19 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2015

In town on business, I had a co-worker strongly recommend The Playground. I sampled a few appetizers, two new beers, and their dessert...and I have to say, it was all spectacular. The first bite of each dish resulted in...*eyes closed, sigh, chew, sigh, and "oh my gosh!"* Literally everything was delicious. Our waitress was very attentive, and extremely friendly. I... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
27 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2015

Great vibe and even better food. Went for the second time last night and had a very good meal again. The menu literally changes every day although they do leave their signature items on the menu. I had the brussel sprouts Caesar salad and it was fantastic. Also had a fantastic Burrata cheese appetizer that was to die for. So... More 

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

Thanks so much for your review. I wanted to let you know that we have identified our bar as a bottleneck and we're fixing it. We were originally a beer and wine place and didn't build a bar to handle artisan cocktails. We crammed in one "well" for making cocktails when we got our full-liquor license, but with only one... More 

Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2015

The only words in my and my friends mouth were the words "omg omg omg"..it was a send off dinner for one of my closest friend who is leaving out of country. And man what a dinner!! A dynamic menu which changes daily.. A customized mock/cocktail. Each person of the restaurant is so so passionate. And amazing...pls pls pls try... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2015

We dined here while we were vacationing in CA. I grew up in Orange County CA but I now live in Florida. Downtown Santa Ana sure has changed! We had a customized tasting menu prepared by Sous Chef Matthew Fontanez. It was fantastic! The dishes were all very creative and tasty with very unique flavor combinations I have not experienced... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
La Mirada, California
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2015

Wonderful, brilliant tastes kept flowing out of the kitchen! Delightful! Perfectly described as each plate was delivered. We can't wait to return!

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
The O.C., California
Level Contributor
82 reviews
48 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2015

Playground is a very welcome addition to the revitalization of downtown Santa Ana. Dinner there was a GREAT experience. The menu changes daily with some reoccurring favorites. Plates are meant to be shared so that your table can explore as many of their offerings as possible. We ordered 9 dishes. Seating is at hightop 2's, 4's or community tables. You... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
Santa Ana, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2015

It has a kinky atmosphere and sometimes you sit at long raised tables with whoever else is at the table. The food is creative and superb; order and share the various hors d ovres and you will go home satisfied. Excellent service, good drinks. Reservation a must.

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

Thanks so much for this review. I really appreciate that your review and the most recent one preceding it have referred to us as "different" and "unusual." I'll wear those terms as a badge of honor. We don't try to be different, we just have a different way of looking at what a restaurant should be. And come to think... More 

Santa Ana, California
Level Contributor
15 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2015

I have been here a few times. Food is delicious and different. They are always changing the menu so you can always try something different every time you go. If you are accustomed to ordering your food a certain way... that's not happening here. They serve it the way it was meant to be served and that's it. I don't... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

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Additional Information about The Playground

Address: 220 East 4th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701
Phone Number: (714) 560-4444
Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  Orange County  >  Santa Ana
Average Prices: USD 15 - 30
Cuisine: American, Californian, International, Gastropub

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Restaurant Details

Location and Contact Information

  • Address: 220 East 4th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701
    (Spurgeon)
  • Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  Orange County  >  Santa Ana
  • Phone Number: (714) 560-4444

Price and Cuisine

  • Average Prices: USD 15 - 30
  • Cuisine: American, Californian, International, Gastropub

Restaurant Characteristics

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining

Description

Chef driven, ingredient driven affordable small plates and craft cocktails and beers. A young and creative team of chefs led by Executive Chef, Jason Quinn, change up the menu daily to keep the dining experience fresh and exciting. Orange County's "Best Bartender" making exciting craft cocktails 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.

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of The Playground and other visitors
1 question
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Santa Ana, California
4 months ago

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?