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The Playground

220 East Fourth Street, Santa Ana, CA
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Ranked #1 of 591 restaurants in Santa Ana
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $15 - $30
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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81 reviews from our community

86% Recommend
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
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
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

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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
3 reviews 3 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 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 1
Anaheim, CA
Top Contributor
256 reviews 256 reviews
170 restaurant reviews
126 helpful votes 126 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
126 reviews 126 reviews
87 restaurant reviews
49 helpful votes 49 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
2 reviews
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

Santa Ana, California
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2014

The Playground is one of those special restaurants that defies most conventional wisdom. A daily menu based on what is available at the wholesale market. Beef, pork, chicken and vegetables are cooked with flavors and approaches that will be new to you. Exploratory, experimental and experiential. The staff are knowledgeable and inform you the customer what the chefs have in... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Santa Ana, California
17 reviews 17 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2014

We've lived in North Santa Ana for over 20 years and have watched downtown grow into a thriving, hip destination. The Playground is a perfect fit...great location, cool environment, delicious food and a great staff help make it one of our favorite places. Our very picky 15 year old also found he liked foods he would have never tried anywhere... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

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