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Little Sparrow
Little Sparrow

Little Sparrow Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.LittleSparrowCafe.com/
  • Email: Eat@LittleSparrowCafe.com
  • Phone: (714) 265-7640
  • Hours of Operation: Dinner;

    Tuesday - Saturday, 5:30pm - 11:00pm


    Saturday & Sunday, 9:00am - 3:00pm

    Cocktail Bar;

    Tuesday - Saturday, 5:30pm - Midnight


    Tuesday - Friday, 11:00am - 3:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary American, Californian, French
  • Executive Chef: Eric Samaniego
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Private Party Facilities: The restaurant and bar are available for private functions. Contact us for more details.
  • Private Party Contact: Naseem Aflakian (714) 265-7640
  • Entertainment: As entertainment, we feature conversation amongst friends and family. We have no televisions or live music.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 3rd Street
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Public parking garages and lots are located next door and across the street. Metered street parking available throughout the downtown area. Metered spaces are free after 8:00pm.
A word from Little Sparrow
Little Sparrow is a market driven neighborhood bistro housed in a historic-chic and inviting space. Bright and bold flavors in a romantic atmosphere create an exciting new restaurant concept nestled in Santa Ana's downtown artist village neighborhood.

Dinner service at Little Sparrow is fine dining in a semi-casual California bistro. The dining room is light, open, and intimate. Great for a romantic dinner or night out with friends and family. The bar, which feels more like a Paris lounge, features a large selection of house and classic craft cocktails as well as a focused selection of wines and beer.

During the daytime, Little Sparrow is a local cafe featuring fresh baked goodies, great coffee, and a variety of hand-crafted sandwiches.

Little Sparrow offers eat-in to take out for lunch.

Available for private parties.
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
Diner Reviews
  • "Enjoyed a really nice meal at Little Sparrow over the weekend. Unique menu with nice choices, great food and service. Speakeasy bar in the back a treat for before dinner. Will definintely return. Refreshing change from typical california restauant."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "We enjoyed Little Sparrow but were surprised that it got best restaurant by Orange Coast. I am frustrated by the lack of really good foodie restaurants in Orange County They are so much better in Los Angeles and it's annoying. I just don't understand why they can't step up their game when it comes to food. The food at Little Sparrow was good, but nothing amazing. The carrot salad was really dissapointing. The decor is cool and fun but it is so loud, we barely could hear our own conversation. If we had a big group, it would be great because you could basically take over the restaurant, which the table next to us did. Overall it's good, but not great."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "Had a very good meal at this small restaurant. The menu, while not large has something for just about everyone. The dishes were well prepared and very tasty. The service was attentive and friendly."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "To celebrate any occasion, Little Sparrow is a real treat! Servers and staff are very knowledgeable and willing to share information and answer any questions about the food and its preparation, to assist with wine decisions, and to explain mixed drinks as well. Appetizers are unusual and delicious!"
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "This restaurant in the revitalized downtown Santa Ana area brings class and fine dining to an area that sorely needs it."
    Dined on 4/10/2014
  • "Good things sometimes come in small packages. Food and service were exceptional. Prices were very reasonable."
    Dined on 4/8/2014
  • "Third time back at Little Sparrow and continue to love the sexy food and drink! The octopus appetizer was out of this world as well as the farro salad. One sip of the "Old Cuban" cocktail had me swooning! The only negative is that the dining room is simply too crowded with tables now. To the point that it was actually sort of awkward even trying to get up to use the restroom. Demand is high, and space is at a premium, but they might want to limit reservations to a couple tables less or perhaps it's time to find a new and slightly larger nest."
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "The Sardine special was incredible. Our meal was perfect from start to finish."
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "We saw this restaurant on the cover of Orange Coast Magazine, rated #1 and decided to try it. Disappointed!"
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "Absolutely wonderful beautifully prepared food. Server was knowledgeable about both food and wine and was very attentive. Will definitely go back even though it is a trek up the 5 to Santa Ana from SJC"
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "Food is so-so. My wife's mussels dish was uncooked. Scallop dish was good but too watery for a pasta dish and Brussels sprouts did not belong in the dish. The service was inconsistent. Manager took orders from table that was seated 10 minutes after us first. Took too long for our dishes to come out...I grew a beard waiting for the dishes to come out. Did not even bother with desserts. Wait staff never even acknowledged or apologized for the long wait. Asked for our check at the same time that the entrees arrived and we've never done that before. Just lost future business from 2 well-traveled and well-dined customers. We only came because Orange Coast Magazine named it 'restaurant of the year'---really? seriously? Get out of town!"
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "Sunday Brunch No wait at noon on a Sunday. Ordered pancakes ($~9), biscuit (~$2) and chicken sandwich (~$12 with fries). Everything tasted fine except the french fries were soggy. Pancakes were standard. The star was the biscuit- flaky and delicious. I felt main brunch items were a dollar or two overpriced- portion size was small and food unsophisticated relative to recent brunch places I have visited (Ie. Milo and Olive, Huckleberry). Parking is easy in the area (structure). The biscuit was worthwhile."
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • "Impressed w quality of food and ambiance at brunch. My group ordered eggs Norwegian, CRÉME FRAÎCHE pancakes, vanilla bean French toast, and bacon and Gruyere omelette to share. I could see why it was voted Best Brunch in OC. The dishes were perfectly prepared with a note of sophistication. The 5:10 eggs were cooked with just the right runniness of the yolk; the creme fraiche that came with the pancakes had a ginger flavor that went so well with the syrup; the omelette was perfectly fluffy with the just the right amount of saltiness from the bacon and cheese, and the toast was not cloyingly sweet or soggy while the bread was clearly coated with syrup. The decor is understated elegance, and service unintrusive."
    Dined on 3/23/2014
  • "Promptly seated in the room with the bar. Good energy as well as ambience and the service was attentive. Little Sparrow has made a commitment to craft cocktails, and while that's not our thing, appear to do it well. Simply wish they were equally as committed to their wine (mostly French) and beer (mostly imported) program. Both very limited with rather obscure selections. Including the specials there were 9 entrees on the menu;The Barramundi and skirt steak specal were enjoyable enough but lacked the wow factor. Perhaps some of the other choices do. At 8:30 with a 7:15 reservation and a $150 check, they were not exactly shy about letting us know it was time to go. That was a wow, but the wrong kind. We might try it again...."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "We went on the day I got Orange Coast magazine announcing that they had selected Little Sparrow as Orange County's Restaurant of the Year, so we brought the issue with us. The owner, Bruce, lives in our neighborhood and hadn't even seen the article before we brought it, but was aware of it. Both he and the head chef, Eric, spent time before, during, and after our meal talking to us, making us feel very welcome. The food, as usual, was fantastic. It was a bit pricey as we ordered two bottles of wine, 3 appetizers, and 3 desserts, but all was very tasty. The chicken was melt-in-your mouth tender, the scallops cooked to buttery perfection, the venison rare and full of flavor, plus the walnut-fig dessert tart was fantastic."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "Didn't know what to expect. Walked in and was seated promptly. The room is very cozy and cute. They have a beautiful flower arrangement on the counter beneath a spot light. The noise lever was low. I can hardly hear the background music but I think it was French. I ordered the stinging nettle tagliatelle and my husband had the pork chop. The pork chop was amazing! It looked more like a tomahawk chop. Big and juicy! I ended up eating most of his chop. The stinging nettle was prepared perfectly, but I wouldn't have minded a little bigger portion. Ohhh then there's the pineapple cobbler. That was Devine. I love this new restaurant and will be back to try more food and cocktails. Pork chop and cobbler!!! A must!!"
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "Noise level lowered. Nice neighborhood spot. Menu is somewhat Limited and the salad selection terrible. If Black Cod is to be a Signature dish they should always have it."
    Dined on 3/6/2014
  • "I had pasta and wild mushrooms which was very good but overpriced."
    Dined on 3/5/2014
  • "We were truly looking forward to an evening at this restaurant, one we have been eyeing to try for months. We were delighted to try during Restaurant Week. Although we can respect the kitchen and their decision, we were never called nor alerted that the LS had ceased their offer until we asked after sitting. Given the hype circling this spot we were not deterred to have the freedom to discover the menu on our own. We were disappointed by our entrees --the chicken was bland, pork was basic and burger was OK. The cod was the only refreshing item but nothing to return for. The service seemed to often avoid our table, despite their friendly and gracious demeanor when in contact. Our drawn-out evening left us with no interest in dessert."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "For the price, and the quality of meal, I thought it was overpriced and not up to the reviews I have read. I had higher expectations for the meal that was served. It was a Saturday, so maybe that was the reason that it was not up to par but it shouldn't be. There are other similar ( small plate / foodie ) restaurants in the area that are better ! It had excellent ambiance."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "Love this place! Service was perfect. Food was awesome. The pork chop and cobbler is a must have. Place was packed so reservations is a must. Drink list is endless. I had a couple Harvest Moons and Downshifts. Stellar!! The dining room is separate from the bar. Different vibes in each room ... pretty darn cool! Will definitely be back! Thx Little Sparrow! I'm a fan!"
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "A lovely surprise - another winner from my Open Table list. The long drive was worthwhile. The venison to die for. The lemon tart - OMG - save room or take 1/2 home, like I did. Stinging Nettle tagiatelle, unusual, but OH SO delicious, the mushrooms were amazing. I stopped at licking the plate."
    Dined on 2/25/2014
  • "Unfortunately my anticipation of dining here did not live up to the hype. Although things got better as the night wore on waiting 35 minutes for our drinks kind of put everything else in a negative light. I'm not talking about anything fancy, just a simple martini and bourbon neat. Once we finally did get our drinks though everything else started falling into place. The food was very good I was just disappointed that three tables that were seated after us had their drinks and were eating before we had our first drink."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Couldn't believe I was in downtown Santa Ana. Little Sparrow has a New York or San Francisco vibe. Great craft cocktails and the food is delish."
    Dined on 1/2/2014
  • "First and foremost, hats off to the chef for the outstanding venison! The deer was cooked to perfection. I appreciate the fact that the venison was not drowned in any kind of sauce and yet any hint of gaminess was absent. It was ideal both tender and juicy. The butter in the couscous was the only compliment needed. Of equal delight was the beet salad. A well balanced mixture of beets, goat cheese, green leaves, and roasted nuts. To top it all off, the craft cocktails were a fantastic. Herbs, pepper, ginger, etc... were just the right twist to make the ordinary well drink extraordinary. Even the ambiance was a neat with the old time music. From start to finish we enjoyed our experience. We'll be back!"
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "We were quite surprised by this little restaurant in our beloved Santa Ana! The food was great, but the service was even better. Their cocktails are definitely something we will come back for. I hope they keep up the good work, and help make Santa Ana the new go-to foodie heaven of OC :)"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Feels like a neighborhood restaurant in San Francisco. Service is great and the menu worthy of foodies. The bar is next door and has an interesting cocktail menu."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "Well deserved because the menu, food and service are exceptional."
    Dined on 2/13/2014
  • "Great look to the restaurant. Everyone in our party ordered different drinks only to hear that little sparrow had flown away with all ingredients necessary to make our drinks! Menu was interesting but didn't deliver. Our fish was undercooked and the charcuterie plate went almost untouched. Service was rough"
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "My girls and I came for one of our birthdays and had a fabulous time! We had the charcuterie plate, the sweet onion risotto (amazing!), and the farro salad to start. We shared the blackened cod (our favorite), the pork chop and the chicken. For dessert, the brownie with mousse is cold and almost ice creamy...super delish! Our meal was inventive and delicious! We'll be back!"
    Dined on 1/30/2014
  • "Very interesting menu, with some exotic selections like venison. Very cheerful staff, very hip! I would reccomend it, we had a nice time with long time friends."
    Dined on 1/25/2014
  • "Everything we ordered was exceptional and authentic. Interesting specialty drinks. Wished I lived here so I could go back and try the burger."
    Dined on 1/23/2014
  • "Upscale retro-themed restaurant with innovative menu; the lunch menu lists po' boy and pork belly sandwiches as well as a more conventional burger and Turkey sandwich and three types of circles are offered. Service is pleasant and efficient. Like most trendy restaurants, there is lots of ambient noise. Walking along the side of the restaurant from the parking garage to the entrance, one can see an impressive cookbook library."
    Dined on 1/23/2014
  • "We went with my 90 year old father in law who does not like interesting food. The hamburger was perfect for him and very good! They accommodated my vegetarian daughter which has been unusual in the downtown restaurants. Drinks were amazing and overall a great place. It just gets pricey after a few!!"
    Dined on 1/22/2014
  • "This is the first time in my 30 years in he US that I finally get to eat a delicious "boudin noir"...don't be scared by the color of this gem of French popular cuisine. try it, ask for it if it's not on the menu!! the Chef at Little Sparrow is great. Venison was very tender . The black cod was exquisitely cooked, moist and tender. The beet salad the best I had in OC until now.I recommend this restaurant."
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "Local charm and atmosphere, easy to find, good parking all makes a client ready for a nice meal. That's what we experienced before sitting down. The server was observant, helpful with menu choses and descriptions. The appetizer was the perfect amount to be shared and unusual. Our entrees were lovely. My bolognese sauce was succulent with layers of flavors. Serving sizes are optimal, no take-home. Desert was outstanding as well. It is so refreshing to eat well at a cafe with so many ++++s. Keep doing what you're doing"
    Dined on 1/17/2014
  • "Service - bar tender took over 5 minutes to order a drink and another 15 min to get a glass of wine . Long wait for our table ...almost 40 min.. Food was good but not great. It's a very good place for Santa Ana. Nice decor and vibe. Bartenders need to be a little more respectful of all customers not just their buddies."
    Dined on 9/27/2013
  • "Felt like I had been whisked away to a neighborhood cafe in Paris! Food is wonderful -- come with an open mind, especially if you are not familiar with real French cuisine. We had our three year old with us and the chef graciously offered to make him an off menu mac and cheese, which he loved! Prices a bit on the high end -- but worth it for a special occasion!"
    Dined on 11/15/2013
  • "My wife and I had wanted to try this little restaurant since it opened a year or so ago. We found a sitter for our 7 year old and gave it a try. Wonderful find! We tried the bone marrow for a starter recommended by another patron we met that evening. Glad we did. Main coarses of salmon NY strip steak. Every item great including speciality drinks. We will return."
    Dined on 1/10/2014
  • "They were very busy due to Art Walk, but they accommodated us graciously. We got a table in the bar, which was fun. Great foodie addition to the revitalized Downtown Santa Ana, which is really taking off."
    Dined on 1/4/2014