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“Excellent Place” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Playground

The Playground
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Ranked #1 of 680 Restaurants in Santa Ana
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $50
Cuisines: Seafood, American, International, Gastropub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Large groups, Bar scene
Dining options: Dinner, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Street Parking, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
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.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Excellent Place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 6, 2012

This is one of my favorite restaurants. I have never been disappointed. Weather I go there with friends or family it is always a spectacular experience. Food is exceptional and Service is always great.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank BG_Foodie_99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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175 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    127
    28
    12
    3
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Indonesian first
  • Any
English first
London UK
Level Contributor
182 reviews
101 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“What an amazing experience!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 1, 2012

Visited as part of a birthday party group and this buzzy local restaurant delivered on every front. Excellent service, fantastic original menu-the vegetable selection is amazing. Everything cooked to order. Very flexible BYO policy. All in all a great experience

  • Visited November 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank AllanCLOndonUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Jersey
Level Contributor
167 reviews
116 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Amazing!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2012

Playground is probably one of the best restaurants I've been to--ever! I was in town visiting friends and one of them suggested it. I loved the hip atmosphere of the place, and that it was in an unexpected neighborhood--definitely the jewel! It is currently still a BYOB, so we were able to enjoy our own bottle of wine. And I can honestly say that all of our dishes were great. We had the farro, pandit, sirloin, pork cheek, fried chicken, and the hamachi and there was nothing that we didn't love. One of the fried chicken pieces was a bit undercooked, but the staff was extremely accommodating and replaced our order right away. Our waitress was also extremely accommodating, as one of our friends was stuck in traffic, and she had no problems with us waiting for her at our table.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank prgirl73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Robert Q, Owner at The Playground, responded to this review, October 29, 2012
Thanks so much for the review. We're thrilled you had a good time.

I am responding to your review only to clarify one point you made. We're not currently BYOB. We have a beer and wine license and have been widely praised for our selection of craft beers, both on tap and in the bottle. Our wine list is modest, but we're proud of it, as we offer about a dozen high-quality wines at fair prices. The full liquor license is currently in process and we expect to begin offering artisan cocktails by the end of the year. The reason you were able to enjoy your own bottle of wine is that we charge no corkage fee.

We look forward to welcoming you back soon. Thanks again for the kind words.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Great food - beverages could be improved”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 20, 2012

The food was very good but the wine was over-priced and very skimpy! It seriously looked like about 4oz to 5 oz and was $10 It was so ridiculous we took a picture and posted it on FB. - we would have liked more but not worth it so we just had our water.
The other thing is that you can't order a glass of sangria, it has to be a pitcher (strange) but that's okay based on the skimpy wine portions it probably would have disappointed.
The only reason we won't go here often is that we like our wine with dinner, maybe its a better place for lunch when the beverage doesnt matter.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Melinda J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Robert Q, Owner at The Playground, responded to this review, October 22, 2012
As always we are grateful that you took the time to review The Playground. We're very happy you enjoyed the food.

I must say that this is the first time out of more than 600 reviews that anyone has commented that our wine program is skimpy. Our normal pour is 6 oz. and we are quite proud that our prices are the lowest we know of. For example, we sell Orin Swift's Prisoner for $45 per bottle. That's a great deal and unheard of in a restaurant. I wish you'd said something while you were here, because if we underpoured your glass of wine we would have happily fixed it.

The other thing you maybe didn't appreciate is that we charge no corkage fee. I encourage you to come back and to bring your own wine.

Since you mentioned lunch I need to remind TripAdvisor readers that we have discontinued serving lunch. It was a tough decision because we were doing a nice lunch business, but our staff and facilities are just too small to handle our ambitious new-menu-every-day dinner service and the quality of lunch we want to provide. We're expanding our facilities, so maybe we'll be able to bring lunch back in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Beach, CA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“First time for lunch”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 11, 2012

I've been a fan of the Lime Truck for a couple of years and have been meaning to try this since I first heard it was opening. So glad I finally got around to it! I went with a friend, and we got there a few minutes before they officially opened for lunch, but they were nice about it and let us sit at the bar. We split a burger, which that day came with maple bourbon onions and mustard aioli, an order of the Uncle Lou's style fried chicken, a side of fries, and a dessert. The burger, as they tell you straight up, is very rare. And it should be, because it would be a sin to overcook such a delicious combination of meats. The onions and aioli were both very distinctive and strongly flavored, but worked well as a combination. The friend chicken had a great, vinegary, slightly spicy crisp coating, and did not seem overly greasy or "batter-y." The fries were light and tasty with a nice homemade ketchup. The most memorable part of the meal for me, however, was the Mission fig sticky toffee pudding with a heavy whipped cream. Service was excellent and friendly.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank RAS_Selkie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Robert Q, Owner at The Playground, responded to this review, October 15, 2012
Thank you so much for your thoughtful review. I am especially glad that you enjoyed our lunch offering. We are quite proud of what we do at dinner, but given the constraints of our small kitchen and the ambition we have for creating a new dinner menu every night have made it difficult for us to create a lunch experience on par with our dinner offering. We have reluctantly decided that, until we can expand our facilities to allow us to achieve the same creativity and quality at lunch as we do at dinner, we are going to discontinue serving lunch. Hopefully everyone who reads your kind review will also read my response and save themselves a mid-day trip to the Playground. Instead, we hope they'll call us or visit our website to make a dinner reservation so they can experience us at our best.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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