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  • Playground

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Playground Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://playgrounddtsa.com
  • Phone: (714) 560-4444
  • Hours of Operation: Dinner: Tuesday - Wednesday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Thursday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 2:00am
    Sunday Brunch: 11:00am - 3:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Californian, Contemporary American, Gastro Pub
  • Executive Chef: Jason Quinn
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Counter Seating, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Spurgeon
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: City managed parking lots are located one block north and south on Spurgeon Street; street parking available on Fourth Street (free after 8:00 p.m.)
A word from Playground
The Playground is a chef driven small-plates restaurant that highlights the freshest and most exciting available ingredients in dishes inspired by great culinary traditions all over the world. The menu changes daily based on available ingredients and the chefs’ whims. The optimal party size is between 4 and 6, so that everyone can sample a number of dishes. We're not the kind of restaurant where you should expect to order your own dish (plan to share,) to think in terms of starters and mains (who made those rules anyway?), or to customize your order. Each plate has been crafted by the chefs in the way they believe best highlights the ingredients. Modifying an element would change the dish into something we don't believe in, and we're not going to serve you anything we don't believe is the best we can do.

Please note that we allow two hours for all reservations. If you would like more time please give us a call and we can see if we can accommodate you.
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerCalifornian
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
  • Diners' Choice WinnerHot Spot
Diner Reviews
  • "Everything we had was great! The desserts were creative and delicious. Wow!"
    Dined on 7/22/2014
  • "Heard great comments from a friend about this restaurant and it did not disappoint. Both cocktails and small plates were well thought out with unusual flavor combinations and creative preparation and presentation. Loved the high quality dining in a totally unpretentious atmosphere. Already planning our next visit."
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "This is my 4th time here and 2nd time this year for my birthday and my best friend's birthday. Love, love, love everything about The Playground. The food is superb and the service is outstanding. Both Anastasia and Adam were friendly and attentive and Keith as well."
    Dined on 7/16/2014
  • "Great food and service. My only wish it that they used cloth napkins and tablecloths."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "Simply put, the playground makes dynamic and delicious plates of food! I only wish there was more of it on the plate. It is easily one of my (and my girlfriend's) favorite restaurants to visit."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "This was our second time in just 2 weeks going to The Playground. We came with friends this time(their 1st time). We each brought a bottle of wine since there is no corkage fee which is fantastic. We had their cauliflower starter...amazing! We had their pasta dish which also had cauliflower in it and we all loved it. The rest of my party had the burger not on the menu. They had fried chicken and pork buns. Every single thing we ordered was just so delicious and unique. A very creative menu. We had two delicious desserts celebrating our friends birthdays. The service was impeccable. We loved our waiter the entire wait staff is so well trained and friendly. Starting with the guy we checked in with when we arrived. We can't wait to go back."
    Dined on 7/10/2014
  • "The food in one word is "incredible"! I went with a friend. I'm not really fond of the community tables... especially because we'd not seen each other in 5 years and had some seriously personal catching up to do. But that aside the food was awesome! 1st round we got the pork bun and it was delicious! The pork belly was crispy and tasty. 2nd round we duck breast & the Wagu hangar steak. The steak was so good that we ordered another! For dessert we had the camp which was fun, but the toffee sticky bun was so awesome! It came with the most amazing salted vanilla whipped cream. 1 bite if that and the angels sang! I can't wait to go back! Oh, I almost forgot to mention that you can bring your own wine and they don't even charge a corkage fee!"
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Chef Jason always provides an exciting culinary experience. We have enjoyed so many "perfect bites" here. Food is always fresh and passionate in preparation and presentation . This particular evening we enjoyed the minted cauliflower appetizer, the heirloom tomato salad , the BLT Ramen , the roasted duck breast w baby kale,plumcot and brown butter farro salad,and also the Wagyu hangar steak YUM! Beer list is extensive, wine choices are interesting,well paired for the menu and very fairly priced by the bottle. We come here with open minds and palettes and are never disappointed."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "My husband and I were celebrating our 38 wedding anniversary. I did not realize there were communal tables but we were ok with that. We were seated and brought our own special bottle of wine...free corkage!! We ordered the mint spicy cauliflower which was delicious. I do not eat any meat so my poor hubby was at my mercy when we were sharing dishes. We also had the heirloom tomato salad with burrata which was also incredible. My hubby had Uncle Lew's fried chicken which he really liked. They sat a young couple next to use struck up a conversation and had a lovely time sharing our wines.They gave us a free dessert for our anniversary we enjoyed. Can't wait to go back with friends!"
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • "Never a let down amid the multiple dishes our little table ordered. Wait staff was super focused on our comfort. Kudos to all! I can't wait to try Sunday Dinner!"
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "Hands down the best place in Orange County right now for creative cuisine! These small plates are little flavor bombs that explode simultaneously with nuance and power. Great deference to the core ingredient in each dish with a subtle use of complimentary ingredients to really make each dish pop. Kudos to Jason and his crew for consistently keeping their menu fresh and the food simply exceptional."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "Always such impeccable service from a very friendly staff. Food never disappoints and love having a new selection each time I visit.. Ramen is always a must and the scrambled egg with shaved truffle over toast app is a wonderful addition."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "Reservations fill up fast and they have a strict rule about substitution but you know it works. As long as I'm told up front about it which you are then this should be a "no issue". Out of the dishes we ordered 0 were sent back. The staff was very friendly and the food was delicious. This was my 2nd time coming here but I'll def be back for more."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "Playground is unbeatably my favorite restaurant. From the pork belly sliders (which are a must order each visit) to the toffee fig pudding, you will be forced to make endless room in your stomach with hopes of tasting more. This place is a gem and I leave each time counting down to my next visit."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Very casual place, excellent food at a reasonable price. We loved & finished every plate our waitress recommended."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "One of the best meals I've ever had. The food was delicious, the service was great, and the prices reasonable. I know their menu changes often, but you if you see the pork belly steam bun make sure you order a couple!"
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "We went for our anniversary based on a friend's recommendation. We couldn't have been happier! The food was amazing, the service great and the whole evening a pleasure!"
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "Wonderful, unusual food. Great dining experience for the adventurous."
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "Everything was great! I loved the food! I loved the service! There are no corkage fees on Wednesdays!"
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "Made a reservation for 4 for Sunday lunch. Got a call on Wed. asking for a credit card. I was in the meeting, cannot do it. They warn me if I don’t give them a credit card by Friday, reservation will be canceled. I called back next day, had answering machine on, left message. They call me again on Thur. Gave them an AMX. Nope, they do not take AMX. Luckily I still have a VISA. By now, I lost all my appetite. But still stuck it out to see if all these hassle was worth it. We arrived on time, it’s 60% empty, no line out the door, no waiting. What’s with the credit card res? The food was good, the service was good, but NOT that good to worth the hassle for 4 people, casual lunch. I think all the good reviews are making them too arrogant."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "Fantastic food and drink from a team that is clearly passionate about making fantastic food and drink!"
    Dined on 6/11/2014
  • "This is dining like I have never done before. Every item we ordered was a unique interesting blend of flavors...ordering new items could become an addiction because you feel like you can't leave before trying everything before the menu changes! I can't wait to return."
    Dined on 6/11/2014
  • "Best service in Southern California with amazing fare at a happening location - a real gem hidden in Santa Ana. Cannot wait to come again and bring friends!"
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "This venue was highly recommended by many people, but ultimately this experiment in food while unique and a good value for the portions did not satisfy. Having been to several outstanding restaurants, we were disappointed with the flavors. In addition, the service was good, but not outstanding. It was our anniversary and we didn't get any love from our server. The employees seemed more interested in keeping this popular venue moving with demand rather than truly serving their patrons. We don't plan to return any time soon, but we probably will some day though. Maybe we are just too old. Or maybe we should have gone somewhere less experimental for our anniversary. It's more of an adventure than fine dining experience."
    Dined on 6/5/2014
  • "The food was excellent. We went for Sunday Brunch. They guarantee their food and drinks, so if you are not satisfied you can tell them and it is no problem to send it back abd have it removed from your bill. I don't know of many restaurants that do that, if any. Great atmosphere for families or gathering with friends."
    Dined on 6/1/2014
  • "I love this place. It is my fave food in Orange County! I love that the menu changes daily based on fresh produce and food. I've never had a bad dish here. There are some staples that remain on the menu that are notable such as the fried chicken and sticky toffee pudding. Always a delight dining here!"
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "What a great dinner and evening we had for our first visit to the Playground. Look forward to another dinner at the Playground."
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "Santa Ana is the place to be and at the Playground. I had the Floral Park signature drink - named for the section of SA - it was wonderful! The service is outstanding - there are so many interesting things going on - the open windows to the kitchen, watching Playground 2.0 people come, the Menu, surrounding buildings and more. Chef Jason mingled with customers and answered questions. Then the food - Thai dish, scallops, chicken, and the sticky toffee pudding and more!!!!! Can't wait to go back for Negroni Week - June 2-8."
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "It really was a fun evening, mainly because the service was stellar! It's a little loud and a little crowded but not so much that it took away from the overall experience. Love the eclectic take on how to make food by only using the best ingredients of the day. The dishes were unique and tasty but overall a little salty for my taste. One dish was cheerfully removed from the bill because we couldn't eat it. It was explained that all the dishes were purposely small so that you could easily do several 1st courses and share 2nd courses... we got too much food, but oh it was fun! They have an eclectic beer list, but can't speak to the wine list. Great time for foodie fun! Hoping to visit the sister resturant, some day!"
    Dined on 5/27/2014
  • "Had an excellent experience at The Playground. Staff was friendly and attentive and the dishes were amazing and created with care. Wow. Really enjoyed the Sunday brunch. We went early and it was a nice atmosphere. "
    Dined on 5/25/2014
  • "I have been looking forward to trying Playground for a long time. I felt rushed by our server -- especially since she encouraged we eat family style which required more coordination for our table of four. I thought the food was good, but was served a bit on the cold side. It would have been much tastier if it were served hot. Overall the flavor combinations were nice and I'd try it again. Maybe it was an off night."
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "There menu changes each night. But we had... - Fried Cauliflower - Tasted okay, but there really wasn't anything special about it - Korean Style Wagyu Ribeye Tartar - Not edible, with a fowl smell (they took it off our bill) - Uncle Lou's Fried Chicken - The waitress describe this and it sounded amazing, but honestly I wouldn't order it again. - Cocktails, Floral Park - tasted like potpourri and I sent it back...got a Mai Tai to be safe but it was chalky...I didn't have the heart/nerve to send back another cocktail so it just sat on my table. I am a huge foodie and am making my way through LA magazines top 100 restaurants, this one is in the 60's. I love trying new and different food and this place was a huge disappointment."
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "Decided to take my wife to the Playground for our anniversary and it was like going to going to the playground of food. Josh our server was excellent: courteous, timely and knew the food on the menu. He kicked off my welcoming us and wishing us a happy anniversary. The food was either very good or excellent. Most memorable was the Chile scallops. Fresh, greater flavor and with a nice zesty kick. There was something else that my wife and I agreed was out of this world but it's not on the menu. Just ask;) Overall a great outing in a different atmosphere than your typical romantic outing for anniversary. The Playground had a lot of energy & vibe. Menu changes frequently so check it out & go back for new things..."
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "It was my birthday and I had not planned anything, sent out the word that I was looking for a great place and a friend said they had heard playground was good. Looked it up and made a reservation in the spot not knowing much about it. Expectations were completely blown away, I consider myself to be a foodie and I can tell you not a single plate was disappointing (I let the kitchen do their magic and serve whatever they pleased) burger was fantastic one thing I would change is the bun. It was a bit greasy and heavy (Altho it was still overall in the top 10 burgers I've had) it would be epic if the burger had the mushroom medley with poached egg mixed in as a topping ... What an amazing dance of flavors on my pallet! We had 10 courses total."
    Dined on 5/20/2014
  • "This place is the best - Love Playground! There are some unique dishes here and they are all super delicious. The service is always special and Katherine was excellent! I recommend that everyone tries Playground ASAP!!!"
    Dined on 5/17/2014
  • "Get the fried chicken and sticky toffee pudding... And something daring "
    Dined on 5/16/2014
  • "As usual, Playground is an excellent place for an interesting and relaxing dinner. The outdoor experience is a treat that one should try, especially during most of our excellent year-round temperatures. The menu always has some interesting items and all items are well prepared. "
    Dined on 5/16/2014
  • "Love going to the Playground. I am always surprised by the amazing combinations. I had the best hibiscus infused bourbon drink. "
    Dined on 5/15/2014
  • "This was my first visit to Playground. My mom and I got stuck in horrendous traffic. I called the restaurant and Kevin (I think) was so wonderful and accommodating. We were 30 minutes late but were greeted very warmly and our table was still ready! Christina, Our waitress, was over immediately suggesting libations and giving a complete overview of the restaurant. Due to our tardiness we were pressed for time to get over to a 7:30 play. Christina kept us on our timeline without making us feel rushed. The entire staff was helpful, the food was sublime and the signature cocktails; divine. Thank you for a lovely start to our evening. We'll be back (just not during peak hours on the 5 fwy). Thank you."
    Dined on 5/15/2014
  • "I had the pleasure of dining at The Playground on Tuesday, May 13th. From the moment we were seated we knew that we were in for an amazing experience. The staff was incredibly friendly and we had the most amazing server. Her name was Angela. She was so upbeat and friendly. She had such a great vibe and was very knowledgeable about both the food and the cocktails. The food absolutely blew our minds. We order four starters, four entrees, and two desserts and every plate went back to the kitchen completely clean. We have not stopped talking about our experience since and we cannot wait to go back. We live in San Clemente so it's a bit of a drive or I'd be there twice a week at a minimum. This place will not disappoint."
    Dined on 5/13/2014