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Playground

4.6
945 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Californian
Perfect For:
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Hot Spot

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About

-Playground is a chef driven, small-plates restaurant that makes use of the best available seasonal ingredients. Our menu changes daily based on availability of ingredients & the chefs’ whims. This is a sharing restaurant: dishes aren't designed as starters or main courses, & we want our guests to try as many flavors as possible. Our chefs work hard to treat ingredients with respect, find balance in their flavor combinations, & ensure that every component in a dish plays a vital role in your eating experience. For that reason, we don't make modifications to our menu. If you don't love a dish the way we've made it, just let us know & we'll happily find you something else you'll enjoy.
-Please note that we allow two hours for all reservations. If you would like more time please give us a call & we can see if we can accommodate you.
-Reservations on OpenTable are ONLY for Playground, NOT for 2.0. Please see our website to purchase tickets directly from our 2.0 calendar.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Californian, Contemporary American, Gastro Pub
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Hours of operation
Dinner: Tuesday - Wednesday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Thursday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 12:00am
Sunday Supper: Reservation Only, please call 714-560-4444
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Phone number
(714) 560-4444
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Payment options
Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Jason Quinn
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Spurgeon
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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.)
Additional
Bar Dining, Beer, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 945 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.6based on all time ratings
4.6
food
4.7
service
4.2
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined on February 3, 2017

Our server guided us through the menu and educated us about the chef and his intentions with each plate. We selected a variety of dishes, paired them with cocktails, and enjoyed every bite

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5.0Dined on January 19, 2017

I have had Playground bookmarked for a couple of years, and the innovative menu did not disappoint. Dare I say it lived up to the hype? For me, it did, so yes, I dare say it! 😆

Jared's service was awesome. He brought me a new drink when I wasn't super sold on the first one... even though I tried to tell him it was all good. He simply wanted to make sure we were thrilled with everything.

The brussel sprout caesar salad is to die for - I could eat it all day long. Uncle Lou's fried chicken is super moist and packed with flavor. Highly recommend both. My "date" loved the Eagle Rock pale ale so much that she ordered a second.

Look forward to returning and bringing more newbies with me.

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3.0Dined on December 29, 2016

Playground gets a lot of hype; while the quality of the food was great, I was not impressed with the uppity approach they have taken. The menu states that substitutions and modifications will be "politely declined." This statement is so ridiculous. This is not a prix -fixe menu or a world-famous restaurant. In any case, I would argue that asking for a steak cooked to medium-well is not a menu modification, and a reply of "no" is not exactly polite. They were kind enough to call in advance to ask about food restrictions/allergies. I told them I absolutely could not tolerate cilantro and I believe the reply was "good to know." When I mentioned that to the waiter, I was told they would not be able to remove cilantro from any dish. Hilariously, when my friend ordered the dish I inquired about with cilantro, there was literally one tiny spring on top! Is the staff really so intent on this "no modifications" thing that they could not leave off a sprig of cilantro? We all enjoyed the food but the pretension was just too thick for us to return.

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5.0Dined on December 23, 2016

Wonderful little gem! Went for a date with my husband. Can't wait to go back!

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5.0Dined on December 16, 2016

Fab food fab service fab atmosphere fab people.
The best !

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3.0Dined on December 14, 2016

I've been here a handful of times and each time, the service gets less desirable. we were so excited to have a restaurant that served such unique dishes that we could try and feel like we're on a discovery with the chef but it's becoming less appealing to me over time. our reservation was at 8:30p and they were trying very hard to make sure we leave by 9:30p. it was uncomfortable and disappointing overall. When we left around 9:45p, all the doors were locked and they just watched us trying to find a door that was open instead of letting us know which one it was. And, i tore my ACL in my knee so that was not an easy task. Don't be in this business if you don't want to be nice.

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5.0Dined on December 14, 2016

So glad we discovered Playground. Kara was awesome. She was fun to talk to and answered all our questions regarding the menu and chefs. The food was delicious and interesting.
My only concern was a glass of Chardonnay was on the 'high end'. Not so with the beer or cocktails.
Will definitely return.

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5.0Dined on December 14, 2016

Just celebrated my birthday here with my family. It was the first time any of us had been there and we absolutely loved everything we tried!

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5.0Dined on December 13, 2016

Very nice place ! Special and weekly changing Menu ! Very friendly !

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5.0Dined on December 10, 2016

Playground food was delicious and the people who waited on us were awesome.
We loved the recommendations of the staff, and the ambiance of this special place.

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5.0Dined on December 7, 2016

Incredible food with a vast array of styles. Worth every penny.

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2.0Dined on December 7, 2016

Didn't eat. Way to loud for my taste so we had one cocktail and left to find a quieter place. Hard to get a drink, very busy place.

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3.0Dined on December 7, 2016

This place is for those who really appreciate food.

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5.0Dined on December 6, 2016

Had a blast, food and cocktails were fantastic. Loved it!

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5.0Dined on December 6, 2016

very good service. They called in advance to verify my reservation through open table and asked for any food allegy. We enjoyed every dish we ordered. definitely will go bavk another time as they change menu every week!

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5.0Dined on December 3, 2016

Awesome experience. The food was great, everything prepared perfectly. Cocktails were delicious. Service was attentive and helpful. The bartender even came over to get our input on one of the cocktails. Can't wait to go back.

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3.0Dined on December 3, 2016

They have a small plate format. Some of the dishes were very good, but most were just ok. The restaurant is far to pricey for the dishes it serves.

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4.0Dined on December 3, 2016

Definitely want to come back! Our server, Jared, was a good listener and helpful in suggesting what to order according to our tastes. He was upfront about what to expect and contributed to our good experience. The food was really tasty and there was no need to send anything back because it was that good. I've already started telling all my friends to go. It's pricey, but I can see why. Worth the money!

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5.0Dined on December 2, 2016

Our waitress was full of energy and very helpful with suggesting unique dishes

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5.0Dined on December 1, 2016

I am a huge fan of this restaurant and chef. Friday night I brought my girlfriend and her Aunt to playground, I introduced my !)girlfriend to playground and she as well is enamored with this gem . My girlfriendson Aunt is an amazing woman with a giant resume including studying under Wolfgang Puck for many years as a chef, that being said I was a little hesitant to bring to my favorite spot thinking she would pick it apart..........just the contrary, she loved it ! She raved about the texturesame and the flavors the right sized portions and the cocktails .Just wanted to say thanks to the entire staff for making me look like hero .Huge fan and I will continue to visit this amazing eatery as much as possible

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2.0Dined on November 29, 2016

The first thing the hipster waiter did was tell us how unsnobby they were. But we were turned off by the whole vibe which from the menu names to the writing on the chalk board screams pretentious. Lighten up Francis.

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2.0Dined on November 29, 2016

just too odd. ANd I like different and creative -- but the meals simply weren't good brought out on teeny tiny plates - which wasn't a comfortable situation for eating. The warm brussel sprout /jalapeno salad was interesting and good, but so over gooped with rich sauce it wasn't edible for more than a few minutes. I am sure these chefs are amazing -- but you have to make things people want to eat.

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5.0Dined on November 25, 2016

Food was outstanding, server was outstanding. Overall outstanding experience as always!

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5.0Dined on November 25, 2016

We had an awesome time! Jared waited on us and he did an outstanding job, thank you! Can't wait to come back!

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3.0Dined on November 23, 2016

We started off with some great craft cocktails. I loved all the starters and vegetarian dishes, but wasn't wowed by the main courses. The best 2 dishes were the burrata cheese with miniature Japanese green peaches and the Brussels sprouts - the flavors were delicious. I don't usually order fried chicken but a friend recommended it - I wouldn't order it again, the vinegar finish is not my thing. Many of the dishes have a little bit of heat. I would go back to try their burger which is supposed to be amazing. The sticky toffee pudding was a very tasty finish.

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5.0Dined on November 16, 2016

All dishes were spectacular! Our waitress was so helpful and helped us with the menu.

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5.0Dined on November 16, 2016

If you're just looking for really really really good American food in a nice casual environment, you found it.

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5.0Dined on November 15, 2016

Over the past few years I have had several people recommend that I check out the Playground in Downtown Santa Ana, so suffice it to say, it was properly hyped up!

Finally, an opportunity presented itself and I was able to go; let me tell you right now, you won't be disappointed. Everything we ordered was incredible and the menu rotates frequently based on the available ingredients. The service was exemplary, the food was delicious, drink selection was ample and enjoyable, and the desserts were just fantastic.

I know this sounds like a raving review but after all this time, I'm just glad that it wasn't just hype. The Playground is a worthwhile spot and I will absolutely be back.

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3.0Dined on November 8, 2016

It is all hype. Overrated. Overpriced. Nothing really spectacular with the price they ask about. Will not go back again.

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5.0Dined on November 5, 2016

I always have a great time at the Playground. The servers know their menu and help to make suggestions. We had the brussel sprouts...always a favorite. Tar tar flatbread, pork chop, hearts of palm ceviche, mushroom something...and grand finale Mission sticky fig dessert. I love that they don't have corkage fee as we can bring some unique wines from home to enjoy. You have to ask for spoons to serve your dish...they should just put them on the tables for you to use.

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5.0Dined on November 5, 2016

Our group decided to let our server chose our shared dishes for us, and every dish that came out was yummier than the next. It was a night to remember and we can't wait to be back. The service, food, wine, and ambiance was outstanding.

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5.0Dined on November 3, 2016

The food was amazingly delicious!

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4.0Dined on October 29, 2016

Adventurous place to eat. Food is different. Place for Foodies. Cauliflower nachos- VERY salty ( they were willing to take off bill). Wagu steak very rare and you cannot ask for food to be altered or cooked differently. Porkbelly buns, beet salad and berry desert were awesome. Will come back to try different things. Concrete floor makes people's voices and laughter very loud.

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5.0Dined on October 29, 2016

What a great place. This was our first visit. We were a party of 4 with a reservation through Open Table. We happened to be there while they had their 5 year anniversary menu. We are tapas style. We had the beets, cauliflower, fries, and yes, the fried chicken. The most interesting and very tasty fried chicken I have ever had. Our service was excellent. Great explanations of the food and beverage menus. We will definitely return to this restaurant. Glad it is only 4 Mike's from our home. Easy to Uber or Lyft to. I hope this review helps you make your decision. You can't go wrong by trying Playground!

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5.0Dined on October 29, 2016

My wife and I met another couple here and had a great evening. Terrific employees, delicious food, fun venue.

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5.0Dined on October 27, 2016

Love the food. It was very tasty and offered vegetarian options.

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5.0Dined on October 26, 2016

I love love love this restaurant. I have only good things to say. The food is amazing, all the servers are so kind and on point, the drinks are soooo creative, and the menu stays current and constantly changing. This is one of my top 3 restaurants in all of Orange County. You will not be disappointed if you go.

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5.0Dined on October 26, 2016

Loved your Best of All Times menu. Also, care that went into crafting dishes and menu descriptions. Fun restaurant with flavor combinations that are creative and bold in flavor. Would definitely recommend this to a friend.

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3.0Dined on October 21, 2016

We arrived at 4:50pmchecked in with a 5:15 reservation waited to be seated never called went up to the podium at 5:17am then seated at 5:20. Got a notification from open table that we ditched playground but did get it fixed. We did like the menu only that the feeling we got was that we should be previldged to eat at the playground.i do understand the menu but at $5 an oz I for your steak I would prefer to have it cooked to what we would have wanted. The steak was more then Rare we where told it would be prepared Med rare. My wife couldn't even enjoy the steak. For the price of an appetizer and one side dish with no drink. I'd rather eat at Ruth Chris or mortons. Which prepare it the way you want it just a little pretentious for us. Good experience but will not eat there again or 2.0.

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5.0Dined on October 20, 2016

Brought our foodie friends here, they were a little taken abAck by the menu and not know what all the ingredients were. However everyone loved every bite! It was delicious and the service was outstanding as always.

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