Excellence in Santa AnaOne of the only foodie restaurants in OC. Cool vibe, GREAT food.5/15/2013 12:00:00 AMMy new favorite restaurant!My husband and I woke up thinking about how great the food was here. Or server Patrick made great suggestions and was spot on with service. I cannot wait to go back!5/14/2013 12:00:00 AMYou should goWe were so surprised how fabulous it was the service, the waitstaff and the presentation of the food. Do not miss the cauliflower nachos, we ended up ordering a second serving. Our beautiful Maple Glazed pork chop easily fed the three of us. The staff was friendly, knowledgable and helpful. The staff have been trained to work in concert with each other.5/14/2013 12:00:00 AMEvery bite was delicious!We enjoyed great service from Brandon with check-ins from Ryan. Appreciated the beer knowledge and recommendations. Food was awesome. We had asparagus, aji sashimi, and ribeye tartare. All were delicious. Pricing was reasonable. A vibrant and interesting place. We are from out of town but hope to visit again on our next So. Cal. Trip!5/11/2013 12:00:00 AMTrust them & go with an open mindFun & different experience. Located in the heart of Santa Ana which is interesting and colorful in itself.
No condiments or modifications allowed. They are more than willing to go over every dish and you feel like they've been waiting for you all day to serve you this great meal. We had cauliflower nachos, ribs & wagyu beef, all wonderful but remember they create their dishes for balance and flavor, not your cardiologist's orders. The food is meant to be savored. We wanted to taste more but were stuffed, which is why you should take lots of people. The fig pudding with toffee sauce, WOW.
One thing to keep in mind: the meat dishes do not have a lot of veggies, just enough to balance the flavor. Order veggie dishes/salad separately.5/11/2013 12:00:00 AMGood but HeavyPlayground was pretty good. I'd say the whole vibe of it was my favorite part. The food was good but heavy, so be ready when you get there!5/8/2013 12:00:00 AMOutstanding!This was my fourth visit, and each time it has been incredible. The food is always different, always fun, and always tasty. The items I have liked the least have merely been good, but everything is usually more at a level of amazing.5/5/2013 12:00:00 AMAlways amazingGreat food, great knowledge from the servers. Never disappointed.5/4/2013 12:00:00 AMThe BestThe food and the service just can't be beat at The Playground. It is always a special occasion when we eat there, even if it is just Tuesday night!5/1/2013 12:00:00 AMMemorable dining experiencePresentation is the thing at the Playground and every server was attentive and pleasant. The Maple glazed pork chop was outstanding and over 4 inches thick and enough to feed a table of 6. The Trade winds beer which was on draft was excellent also. Will definitely be coming back.5/1/2013 12:00:00 AMAs always the food was excellent.As always the food was excellent. Favorites included the short ribs, Tri-tip, fried chicken, yummy garlic pasta, and the sticky toffee dessert. Dungenous crab was average and the steamed buns were better than the pastrami on the inside. Missed having Jason describe his favorites but he was busy with an IO next door.4/24/2013 12:00:00 AMPlayground is phenomenalThe food at Playground is absolutely incredible! And too compliment the great food is the service that comes with it. Will be back to Playground many times to keep trying their changing menu.4/19/2013 12:00:00 AMVery Good FoodFor Santa Ana this place is a home run it should be on Newport Beach not in the slums of sholin... lol4/19/2013 12:00:00 AMexcellent food, hip, noisy,excellent food, hip, noisy, vibrant.......no substitutions on the menu, so choose carefully.......lots of fun!!!4/13/2013 12:00:00 AMGreat waiter, friendly, attentiveGreat waiter, friendly, attentive and had great suggestions. Food was the best I've had there so far....4th time!! Great evening with girlfriends for a birthday dinner.4/12/2013 12:00:00 AMThe food was fantastic. TheThe food was fantastic. The service extremely help and fun. Gave a good explanation for all of our questions. The beer choices were phenomenal. Enjoyed the whole experience. Can wait to go back.4/12/2013 12:00:00 AMThe Playground is fabulous!The Playground is fabulous! Food is creative and delicious. We love coming here. However, we did notice that the prices went up and the portions went down recently. Hopefully they will keep the "no corkage fee" policy; otherwise it may be harder to justify driving from South Orange County.4/12/2013 12:00:00 AMSix Contented DinersThe six of us had a fun experience. Fabulous glazed pork chop--Angela, our excellent server said it weighed three pounds--was shared by all of us after sharing quite a few items on the Starter menu. We even shared one toffee pudding. We brought our own wine and appreciated the no-corkage fee policy.4/9/2013 12:00:00 AMVery unique dining experienceVery unique dining experience . Food is always changing and prepared brilliantly. Nice outdoor patio available. Very hip and current.4/7/2013 12:00:00 AMWe stopped by after work andWe stopped by after work and we pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere and fun nature of the whole business. They took comfort in the food, knowing that they could let the food speak for itself. We had even caught a glimpse of the chef(ess) dancing along with the waitresses.4/6/2013 12:00:00 AMBest pork chop ever; it'sBest pork chop ever; it's meal enough for two. Offset by one scallop for 22 dollars. Great place to have fun, be part if the fun and the staff made sure to lighten the mood for all. Great music. Well deserving if its name.4/6/2013 12:00:00 AMThis restaurant is literallyThis restaurant is literally one of the great ones we have in OC. The people, vibe and chef. All just perfect for my taste level and so laid back. My new fav spot in the county. And I rarely go to any place above Irvine, as I live in SoOC and this place is def worth every gallon of gas I drive for it.4/4/2013 12:00:00 AMWe really enjoyed some ofWe really enjoyed some of the dishes - loved that there were some vegan options too.
The service was great and the toffee pudding dessert was fantastic. I do think that the chefs need to to lighten up on the salt- and I am a salt lover, but it was still too much.4/4/2013 12:00:00 AMMy boyfriend and I went hereMy boyfriend and I went here to try something new. He's in culinary school and is quite adventurous when it comes to trying new foods. You have to keep an open mind here at this place and be courageous. Everything we tried was spectacular. We loved everything! What's great about this place is the chefs really enjoy what they do and it shows in the quality and taste of the amazing food. If you have some extra cash to spend for a food endulgence, we highly recommend The Playground! We'd definitely go back again!4/4/2013 12:00:00 AMGreat Service/Food AdventureChris was one of the best servers that I have had in a very long time. He was fabulous at making recommendations, offering is opinion, super friendly, attentive but gave us our space, jsut a wonderful server. The food was interesting and intriguing, but I don't feel as though we would "have to go back" anytime soon, but it was a truly fun experience and a genuine food adventure. We didn't know what several of the items on the menu even were...I mean who know what "ramps" are? But again, Chris was wonderful at explaining it without talking to us like children nad it was fun to explore the menu.4/3/2013 12:00:00 AMOne of the most inventiveOne of the most inventive resaurants in OC. Focused on the best ingredients available at the time. The Chef and staff are obviously very passionate and proud about the food they are serving and it shows. The location is a bit off putting but well worth it!4/3/2013 12:00:00 AMit delivers on it's promiseseverything was perfect. the server spent time explaining the restaurant's philosophy, menu, and answered questions about certain ingredients. the food came to the table as each item was prepared. the chef came to the table and brought us a complementary item, then stopped back later to ask about the food. everyone had a good time, and continued to talk about the food the next day.3/29/2013 12:00:00 AMJust Great Food!This place continues to impress with every visit we make. The "off the menu" burgers are outstanding, along with every other dish we order! Our only complaint is the number of items they are out of by 9 pm. Give a little more support to the team placing the orders for basic food stuffs so they have enough to get through the evening.3/29/2013 12:00:00 AMWe ate at the Playground forWe ate at the Playground for Sunday brunch. The menu offered an interesting mix of unusually prepared traditional brunch offerings. Everything that we ordered was memorable. I was especially intrigued by the kale Caesar and the "Leftover" pancakes. Evidently the pastry chef uses whatever is leftover from the night before as ingredients in the pancakes. We were served black pepper pancakes with a black berry conserve. The occasional pop of black pepper was an unexpected contrast to the sweet berries. The whole experience was very enjoyable.3/24/2013 12:00:00 AMSerial diningAn enthusiastic staff makes this über trendy place work. The food is great – think new-age tapas. These small plates come from the kitchen when they are ready and meant to be shared. The quality and innovation are outstanding with a new menu every night and you pay accordingly. Our dinner for 2 was $75 without drinks. We left happy, but not full.3/21/2013 12:00:00 AMWhat a find! Can be trickyWhat a find! Can be tricky to get the OC crowd to venture to Santa Ana but once they do they're hooked. The Playground experience was great from the moment we walked in - the staff was helpful and knowledgeable and the food did not disappoint. Great mix of hipsters, young professionals and beyond...We dined with my 60 yr old dad and my 16 yr old daughter and they were equally happy with their dining experience.3/21/2013 12:00:00 AMI would describe the feelI would describe the feel of Playground as "casually elegant". It is small and cozy. I wouldn't consider it kid-friendly...more of a young adult foodie gathering place. The selection of beers and wine is extensive, with a lot of local microbreweries in the mix. We had a group of 6 so we ordered many dishes and shared. Favs: Flowering Kale Caesar Salad, Dave's Huitlacoche, and the Maple Glazed Pork Chop. If you get dessert, you MUST try the Fig Sticky Toffee Pudding...to die for! We ended up ordering a second one! Our server was very informative and friendly and the service overall was great3/20/2013 12:00:00 AMThis was our third visit,This was our third visit, and it's always a pleasure! It's our favorite place to go when the in-laws take the kids and we get a nice out. There's always something different to try (and narrowing down the options is tough!) and the worst food we've had here has been merely "good". Most of the time the food skews towards the incredible end of the spectrum.3/16/2013 12:00:00 AMvery hip, very foodie. everythingvery hip, very foodie. everything we had was excellent. we had the loaded pork bun, fish and chips (the sauce was amazing), veal cheek (so tender), and tri tip. we finished off with the bourbon budino with caramel and creme fraiche (highly recommended!). would definitely come again.3/16/2013 12:00:00 AMThe food is amazing and theThe food is amazing and the chef takes care to check the quality of every dish. If the dish is not perfect, the chef will comp the meal.3/15/2013 12:00:00 AMPlayground is my fave spot!I've been to Playground several times and each time does not disappoint! Gourmet dining in a very casual environment. It's the place to go when you really want to enjoy some finer selections, but not feel like you have to "dress up" just to enjoy it. Great selection of beers/ales all $5 each and a really nice range of wines. The best thing about this place is no corkage fee so you can bring your preferences and get top notch wine service. The menu changes daily and always intrigues the palette. I would eat here everyday if I could!3/15/2013 12:00:00 AMWe loved our experience there.We loved our experience there. It is great for foodies. Creative menu, fresh and new everyday. The flavors were awesome. We were celebrating a birthday and loved sharing and talking about the different courses. It's not for a quiet dinner, but lively and a totally different approach to dining.
I want to go back again and take my foodie friends. Karen R,Newport Beach3/14/2013 12:00:00 AMExceptional! Trust the chef,Exceptional! Trust the chef, follow the rules and indulge yourself. Worth every penny.3/13/2013 12:00:00 AMI took a hot date here andI took a hot date here and had the veal cheek, live scallops, kampachi, and chicken confit. All were excellent, but the veal cheek was the best. I also had a few solid pale ales. My second time here and still have a very high opinion of this place. Would recommend. All in all, a great night.3/13/2013 12:00:00 AMWhat a very cool place toWhat a very cool place to have dinner. The variety was astonishing and the flavor phenomenal. There is truly something for everyone. The finale of toffee pudding just about out me over the edge though. That was awesome!3/12/2013 12:00:00 AMMy second time at the Playground.My second time at the Playground. We went for Sunday Supper two weeks ago. Going to try and make a habit of going at least once a month..would go more frequently if we lived closer. Hands down the best restaurant in Orange County and refreshingly out of the box. Every birthday and special occasion will be spent dining there. Kudos to Jason and his staff.3/12/2013 12:00:00 AM