Playground
Playground

Playground

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://playgrounddtsa.com/
  • Phone: 7145604444
  • 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, Gastro Pub, Contemporary American
  • 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.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
  • Diners' Choice WinnerCalifornian
Playground reviews from OpenTable diners
175 reviews since May 5, 2014
Overall Rating4.6
  • Food4.7
    Service4.6
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelEnergetic
97% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (148)neighborhood gem (101)hot spot (91)special occasion (83)good for groups (77)great for outdoor dining (48)vibrant bar scene (48)late-night find (34)romantic (17)great for brunch (16)notable wine list (14)kid-friendly (8)great for lunch (4)Show More
  • Local foodie
    2foodiesVIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    The food was good and imaginative. It is difficult to judge the size of the portions and what combination work together as the menu varies daily on the availability of fresh ingredients and the season. The service started out well but as the restaurant got crowded the service level dropped off. The ordered dishes were progressively delayed. Beside this, The Playground remains a good restaurant with its own charm and ambiance. A definite repeat.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food!
    mishelley25
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Everything we tried was amazing. The food is served when ready, so our meals came out at different times. It was ok because we ended up sharing everything and gave us the chance to try more items on the menu, which changes constantly. And the black fig pudding dessert is an absolute must!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • 10/10, WB
    FeedTheSwede
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    Fantastic restaurant. The food was inspired and delicious. The service was amazing, it felt like the service staff took pride in their job and went out of their way to make customers feel at home. Price was not unreasonable for such a great experience. Will definitely come back here again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Lived Up To The Hype
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    The Playground was recommended to me by a few co-workers who simply raved about it and all the hype was worth it. I brought my fiance there for his birthday and he really does appreciate some great food as someone who loves to cook himself. I mention that its great for groups because the seating there is all high benches and there is no corkage fee, so you really could save a ton of money by just bringing a bunch of your favorite wine. The waiters and waitresses are all very kind and knowledgeable and truly help make the experience great! I also loved how every day they had a new menu based on the freshest ingredients. It's hard to beat the perfect combination of textures, colors and flavors packed into every dish!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fabulous
    SomethingNewForDinner
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    I've been meaning to get to The Playground for quite some time, and finally did this week. So glad I did. My husband and son both call it their new favorite restaurant. The food is fresh, inventive and delicious. Likewise their craft cocktails. It is unusual for a restaurant at their affordable price point to create new dishes every day. Very impressive. What is really remarkable is how happy and attentive their staff is. You can tell they really believe in what they do. We will become regulars.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food, tight seating
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    I think they should pull away a few chairs from the long tables to give people a little elbow room. The good was great, but I wouldn't go back unless I get a private table or they do something about the space on the share tables.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Great Find
    glutton
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    My husband and I were blown away by the creative, tasty dishes. I wish I had more room to try other things, but what we ordered was superb, especially the plum salad, papaya salad and the sticky toffee pudding was to die for. It rivaled the sticky toffee pudding I've enjoyed in England.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Absolutely delicious food!
    Fortunecooky
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    This was our first visit. Had been unsuccessful in getting a Friday reservation 2 weeks in a row and finally settled for a Tuesday evening. Well worth the wait. The brown butter scallop sashimi was amazing. We ordered the Imerial Wagyu & Uncle Lou's Fried Chicken; both were fabulous. The fig toffee pudding was to die for and I will come back for this dessert if nothing else.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great dining experience
    Sabrina
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    Excellent service, from the host to the server and other wait staff. The food has very innovative concepts, and most of them work. Very unique!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic!
    RedO
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Every time I come to The Playground I am amazed. How do they do it? How do they keep changing the menu and always including such a fabulous variety? How do they keep making the best food in the county? How do they do it for such reasonable prices? I think this is such a fantastic restaurant. If you haven't been, you must try it!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Really Good Meal
    lovesfood
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Very satisfying experience. There were so many starters we wanted to try that sharing was a great way to satisfy our curiosity. The cornbread was sweet, spicy and piping hot. The ribs were just right, the corn excellent and we enjoyed the Sujiko Bombs. The beet carpaccio was good but not outstanding. Our server was very knowledgeable in the cocktail arena as well as the food. Actually, all the staff was helpful and eager to help you enjoy your experience. Back to the food- we ordered the halibut ( good), the pork chop ( huge and done with a wonderful maple glaze), the fried chicken (great special spicy sauce). As for dessert, both the Smoked Cashew Panna Cotta and the Black Mission Fig Sticky Toffee Pudding were excellent. Will return!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fun adventure for foodies
    NatK
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    We had heard about this place through a friend, so my husband and I decided to try it out for our anniversary. We didn't know what to order, so we asked the waiter for the "omakase" dinner. He hit it out of the ballpark with every dish! We couldn't believe how AMAZING everything was. From the host to each member of the wait staff that came to our table, this place made us feel welcomed with open arms. The Playground is now officially our new favorite restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Interesting and Good food.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    We had the cornbread, the ramen and the halibut. The cornbread was amazing!!! The ramen, amazing!!! Halibut, pretty damn good. We ordered some cocktails, that sounded interesting and intriguing...but...were borderline horrible. But that won't keep us from going back. We'll just order wine or beer.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sophisticated And Fun!
    Spritely
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Not only was the quality and taste of each entree item top-notch, the service was superb, starting from Keith calling to confirm my reservation to Chef Jason coming out because we requested to take a selfie (or groupie?) with his guilty pleasure salad. The bill isn't cheap, but you'll easily find it is totally worth it. Also must try the Porron!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Fantastic!!!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    Went here to celebrate a couple of birthdays and I must say it was quite a culinary experience. The staff is very friendly and attentive. The food was fun, adventurous, and DELICIOUS! Will definitely return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Playground hits the spot again...
    TimothyVIP
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    I have been to Playground DTSA a number of times. This particular visit was one of my favorites. We ordered Mazeman Ramen, Beet Carpaccio, Erik's Nightmare and Imperial A4 Wagyu. The Ramen was delicious (not too salty), the Carpaccio was phenomenal, Erik's nightmare is a hatch chile bbq burger, and, of course, the Wagyu (too rich = too fatty).
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • What's the fuss?
    fussydinerVIP
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Too many shortcomings -- despite very friendly staff -- to warrant another visit: Extremely uncomfortable wooden chairs (think Starbucks minus comfy sofas) with most indoor seating at bar-stool level (facing the street a la Starbucks); annoyingly obtuse daily menu that requires in-depth explanations; heavy-handedness in many dishes -- too many peanuts and too many big chunks of raw onion in Thai lettuce wraps, too much vinegar in tomato "poke." Final insult: signature medium rare (your only "option") burgers that arrived absolutely RAW on inside.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Outstanding Food!
    Luvyummyeats
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    Every dish ordered was unique and tasted incredible.. Service is wonderful..
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great place!
    jpbxerox
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    Really enjoyed the creativity, service and overall experience. The food creativity was a perfect 5, the execution was certainly a 5, but the food taste lacked a little bit. Not that I was disappointed, but I really wish the flavors matched everything else. If it did, I would have certainly given 5 stars all the way across! Great job!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • CrackerJack
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    I Love this restaurant it has a great vibe. Make reservations ahead of time or you won't get in. I have never been dissappointed with the food or the service. It is reasonably priced and great to share with groups.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • MJSuci
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    Excellent food, great staff, very friendly and collegial. A favorite of our!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Solid Food, Solid Service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Food is heavenly. Flavors are one-of-a-kind and absolutely delicious. Service is impeccable. Unpretentious, friendly staff that are game for making your dinner a wonderful experience. Love this place. Top restaurant in OC.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Incomparable
    LonboVIP
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    The food here surprises the taste buds with interesting flavors and textures. Lots of chefs nowadays try to cook with different ingredients that sound interesting on the menu but don't actually "come together" like the food that Jason Quinn creates. Consistently impresses me. Ask the server for their recommendation. They are very well versed on the food and the craft beer!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Luv2dine
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    Incredible combination of flavors in every dish from salads to deserts
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, late-night find, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • good food/service,but loud ambience
    fundamental
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    Everything about this place is top notch with style. Real hip n all with real employees that can be who they want to be. That shows a lot about management allowing their own to be their own boss which translates to empowering employees to be contributors. This was the first thing I've noticed which made it easier to wait for the dishes, which are exceptional. The only qualms I had with the place is the loud atmosphere. The seating arrangements of this place is more social. So if you don't ask they will place you in between a mixed table with several other parties. This with the combinationof loud music and loud affluent big mouths, will require you to scream out your conversation to the guest and others that are sitting right across from u.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome surpise
    Jendre
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    The food here is wonderful. The wait staff was knowledgeable and excited to make sure everything was great. A place dedicated to fresh food and great flavors. We loved the fried chicken, and the if you dont like it we comp it policy. There was also an element of humor in the menu, attention to detail and dedication to playfulness. Quite an unusual location for such a place. Can't wait to go back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • vegan friendly appreciated
    metta54
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    Two of our group of six are on a restricted diet. I don't know how many, if any, vegan dishes are normally on the menu but the chef called a few days ahead to clarify our restrictions and the menu had wonderful selections for all of us. Thank you so much! Food and service were stellar.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Magical Foodventure
    BreaCraig
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    The four of us ate "Tapas Style" and we each ordered something different on the menu and all shared. We even asked or waiter to also choose a "Wild Card" item that we have not ordered. We all enjoyed and the food was even better - Love that the food comes as it is prepared and ready to be served as fresh as possible.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Vanguard dining experience
    PostModernDiner
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    The menu offerings are totally unusual and delicious. This is a very technical and modern dining experience. They take great care with every possible detail, from the selection of the ingredients to the presentation of each dish. The cocktails were as good or better than any I've had at mixology places and the wines by the glass offerings were really well curated. Dining there is a real treat and should not be missed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Linen Tablecloth not necessary!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    This is the best meal you will ever eat with a paper napkin. It was absolutely spectacular. Everything we ordered was incredible. Among the best meals I have ever had and without question, the best one that didn't come with a buttoned up waiter and formalities typically associated with a fine dining restaurant. This is absolutely fine dining quality food in a casual and comfortable environment.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • excellent
    tjcady
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Service was excellent, food was incredible and everyone was very knowledgeable and friendly.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • As Always the Food was Outstanding
    Tpayne
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Uncle Lous Fried Chicken, Pork Chop, Steamed Buns, Sticky Toffee pudding, all standards for every visit. The Fried Avocados and Mushrooms played a very active supporting role. Expectations exceeded.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, late-night find, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Amazing food
    donna
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    Everything we had was great! The desserts were creative and delicious. Wow!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Explosion of flavors
    AlohaJill
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful experience
    FoodieNomo
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We are going again.
    SheilaKay
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    Great food and service. My only wish it that they used cloth napkins and tablecloths.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • phenomenal food at the playground!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Second Time Was Just as Good!
    EllenVIP
    Dined on 7/10/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • AH.MAZING.ING food!
    nennny
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Favorite place
    frequentfoodie
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.