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All 608 Santa Ana Restaurants

The Playground

220 East 4th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 560-4444
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Ranked #1 of 608 Restaurants in Santa Ana
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $15 - $30
Cuisines: American, International, Californian, Gastropub
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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 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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99 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Defiance, Ohio
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
119 helpful votes 119 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2014

My wife and I are big Food Network fans. When we found out that this place was owned by a previous foodtruck winner, we knew we had to try it out. Wow! We shared a butter lettuce, cherry vin, pepitas, apple, red onion, and manchigo cheese salad, and I must say it was the best salad I've ever eaten. This... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2014

We were staying in town for some business meetings and had a chance to try this out on our last night. Inventive cocktails led the way, as we tried to decide which tasting plates to pick. Let our waitress and the chefs call the shots omakase style, which ended up being a genius move. Got to try a wide variety... More 

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Minneapolis, Minnesota
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2014

Was in Orange County for business earlier this week and wanted a nice meal at a local place. Looked on Trip Advisor for some suggestions and selected The Playground. This is an extraordinary restaurant by all measures - environment, staff, menu and of course the food. There were three of us and none had been here before. Faced with so... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Orange County, California
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2014

We had heard the hype and came with an optimistic attitude but left very disappointed. The wait staff and front desk seem to be doing their jobs, everyone is circling around like well trained restaurant employees. The Manager is also checking up on every table and it all seems well orchestrated. We ordered fried chicken, 4 pieces and a wild... More 

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Robert Q, Owner at The Playground, responded to this review

Clearly we're not your kind of playground, but just as clearly we are appreciated by many others, so even your review's title puts me off. Why tell other people that we're not their kind of playground? I was naturally horrified by your review to the extent it reflected badly on my staff. I shared your review with my managers and... More 

Wilbraham, Massachusetts
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2014

This is a great small locally sourced restaurant, menu can change daily, had roasted Brussels sprouts, very good. Meant to share. Everything was great, had the sticky toffee pudding, had four guys at the table in great food comas. Awesome!!

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Costa Mesa
3 reviews 3 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2014

Whenever I have people visit from out of town, my boyfriend and I bring them here to The Playground. Their ever changing menu is guaranteed to have something for everyone, even the picky eaters. They're beer selection is great and so is their handcrafted cocktail menu! If you can get here early, right when the place opens, you are almost... More 

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Santa Ana, California
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2014 via mobile

The food at Playground is consistently good and if you don't like a dish they will remove it from your bill. The downside is their unwillingness to make changes to the dish- even something as simple as leaving a topping of of an item. Last time we were there they declined bringing out extra sauce. If you can get past... More 

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

Thanks for taking the time to write your review. Obviously we're thrilled you enjoy our food. We get up and do it again every day in hopes of hearing just that. You bring up a point that is frequently made about Playground: Our no-modifications, no substitutions policy. For some people that's a deal-breaker, so it's great that you mentioned it.... More 

Tustin, California
5 reviews 5 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2014

This is the only restaurant I want to go to...(other than sushi)....really! Even though we rarely make reservations, we always get a table, especially if you go early. They reserve seating on the patio, which I really like better anyway. There are heaters if you like, or you can even bring a blanket for your lap if you get chilly.... More 

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Orange, California, United States
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2014 via mobile

We live not too far away and finally tried this place, I'm sorry we waited so long. It's in a newly gentrified area of downtown Santa Ana with some other good options located nearby. We were able to grab two seats at the bar early one Friday evening, any later we would have needed reservations. The menu changes daily, no... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Robert Q, Owner at The Playground, responded to this review

Thank you so much for this review. I say that not because it was so favorable, which we sincerely appreciate, but because anyone who reads this review will understand exactly who we are. You've warned anyone who feels a need to modify dishes and you've highlighted that everything we serve is intended to be shared. So you've scared off people... More 

lake forest, ca.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2014

We went here for dinner tonight, and since we are fans of the Lime Truck, we had very high hopes. Let me just say, they did not disappoint. One of the best meals that I have ever had. I can't wait to go back!!

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, International, Californian, Gastropub

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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?