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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
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Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations, Late Night
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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Good for:
Casual Dining

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 109 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 78
    Excellent
  • 19
    Very good
  • 6
    Average
  • 3
    Poor
  • 3
    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
Fantastic new restaurant in Santa Ana

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... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed April 7, 2015
Melinda L
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109 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
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 1
La Mirada, California
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
2 helpful votes 2 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 1
The O.C., California
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
37 helpful votes 37 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 1
Santa Ana, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 helpful votes 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
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
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
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2015

Went here for the first time last night with my wife and didn't really know what to expect. On first glance, the menu was like a foreign language. I could pick out words here and there that I recognized like "chicken" and "wagyu beef," but almost every dish had me thinking, "uh... what?" After consulting the waiter, we decided on... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Huntington Beach, California
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2015

This place is sweet I really like the atmosphere and service. Menu changes so you have to visit often, lol. The Pork Belly buns are to die for. I could live off them for a few days at least...

Was this review helpful? Yes
San Antonio TX
Top Contributor
91 reviews 91 reviews
57 restaurant reviews
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2015

Had dinner tonight at The Playground and EVERY BITE was amazing! The cocktails are unique and they have a great wine and beer selection, too. We had three vegetable appetizers (Oh, Brussels sprout Caesar, I love thee.) and the fried chicken - freshly fried and seasoned deliciously! Have the fig toffee pudding - you won't regret it. The staff was... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2015

On a business trip in Santa Ana and found this place courtesy of trip advisor which has never let me down. Great restaurant with a chef and staff that obviously care very much about the food and atmosphere experienced by their customers. The food was fantastic. You can tell these folks have a real passion for their work. This is... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2015

We so enjoyed this restaurant. From the start to finish, amazing! Flat steak chimichurri, nice.....to the fig pudding.....WOW!!!! Please try this place......

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

I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to give us a review. More than that, I am very happy that you had such a great experience. Getting positive feed-back like this is why we get up in the morning. Happy New Year from all of us at Playground. More 

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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
2 months ago

See all questions (1)

Questions? Get answers from The Playground staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?