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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: Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, 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 110 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 79
    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
OMG OMG OMG

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... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed May 20, 2015
Surya K
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110 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
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
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
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 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
79 reviews 79 reviews
45 restaurant reviews
62 helpful votes 62 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 

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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 

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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...

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San Antonio TX
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
61 restaurant reviews
39 helpful votes 39 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

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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
3 months ago

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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?