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“Let's eat at the Playground .....Girlfriend”
Review of The Playground

The Playground
Ranked #1 of 693 Restaurants in Santa Ana
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $50
Cuisines: American, International, Gastropub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Spurgeon
Description: NOTE: We're doing major renovations that will require us to close the restaurant from July 18 through July 29. We're sorry if this causes you any convenience. 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.
Reviewed August 26, 2013

I was very surprise in a good way how awesome the food was. I like the idea that the menu changes daily, small plates and we all get to share the dishes we order. We went to Sunday Brunch and the menu had great dishes. The Pancakes and peanut butter and jam french toast was so yummy. Our service and drinks were also very good. This is a place you need to go once and I know you will go back.

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Thank patticup
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (186)
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136 - 140 of 186 reviews

Reviewed August 25, 2013

Awesome. Is there much more to say? Just try new items. The food is so interesting we laugh every time we taste something new.
Some things not to miss if they have them: pork belly buns, cauliflower nachos, the burger (not on the menu, just ask for it).
This is tapas style. share everything, go slowly and enjoy.
Yes it is in Santa Ana but that is part of the fun. We live in Irvine but because of our experiences at the Playground we rarely go to Newport or Laguna restaurants anymore. We try to go the the Playground a few times a month and the other restaurants in Santa Ana once or twice a week.

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1  Thank gmgOc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2013

Santa Ana itself has not been the best neighborhood lately but in the middle of the chaos, I'm glad playground is here. The chef are very straight forward, no substitution, and menu changes daily. The chef's imagination is playful and innovative.

They call them small plates but it's not really small. Each dish can be shared 2-3 people with a few bites here and there. Enough to satisfy your palette.

Dish 1 was Fried Cauliflower, Mojo Verde, Sultanas, Almond, Capers. Vegan? yes. Am I a vegan? no. Do I hate Vegan? yes Do I love this dish? Hell yes. I've never tasted cauliflower this good. Everything was in harmony. The Mojo Verde has the right acidity partnered nicely with the crunch of the cauliflower. A must order.

Dish 2 was ???? ???? Terrine, Velvet Sunrise, Pine Nut Crumiel, Lime Zest, Black Pepper, Brioche Crisps. The server was excited. Who would be. It's ???? ???? being served in California. If you don't know what ???? ???? is then you're not a foodie. The serving is pretty generous. The terrine was creamy, silky, and rich. 'Nuff said.

Dish 3 was Kurobuta Pork Shoulder Taco Plate, Heirloom Tomato Salsa, Guacamole, Sour Cream, Black Beans. Unfortunately, this was the dish that lost it's 5 star. It was a normal taco plate. Nothing out of the ordinary and it was pretty much something you can get from anywhere except it cost $20 here. The pork however was pretty tasty on it's own though.

Dish 4 was Grilled Wagyu Hangar, Spicy Hatch Chile Polenta, Crunchy Onions, Goat Cheese, Cumin Honey. The Hanger itself was amazingly tender and good. This is a properly aged, well cooked medium rare beef. Good sear on the outside and soft and tender center. It's softer than a filet mignon at Mastro's. The only downfall was the polenta. It does not go well with the beef, it was too sweet for my taste. The beef was gone but the sides were almost untouched.

I would go back again to see what else they can do. I'm happy I found the Playground. Now I want to be invited for their famed Playground tasting courses.

All that for $83. Not bad for what you're getting.

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Thank Jay M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2013

Small plates; no substitutions; menu changes daily; come early because they run out of popular items; make reservations they book fast; parking on street or around the corner in parking garage; Did I say small plates? well prices are NOT small, so be prepared to pay for this adventure. You can share plates, but usually only enough for two (we were 5). Desserts were yummy, we cleaned the plates.

Thank galisgr8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2013

We had the Playground Sunday evening clean-out-the-kitchen meal and enjoyed it thoroughly. We had 13 or 14 courses (including three desserts). Each was very good and several were phenomenal. The pacing was very quick, but I think we were the last table seated. The staff was friendly and responsive.

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Thank too_few_trips_1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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