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Ratings and reviews

RATINGS
Food
Service
Value
Atmosphere

Details

PRICE RANGE
US$30 - US$50
CUISINES
Seafood, American, International, Gastropub
Special Diets
Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options
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meals, features, about
Reviews (233)
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231 results
Traveller rating
166
41
15
4
5
Traveller type
Time of year
LanguageEnglish
Traveller rating
166
41
15
4
5
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Reviewed 24 June 2022 via mobile

Came for dinner while on business. Sat down right away. Menu was explained and drinks ordered. Mostly a sharing menu. We ordered their version of a salad which was quite large and enough for 4-5 people. Fresh and very good. Mushroom bread came out very...good with thick warm bread. Asparagus tempura was next and was very good with a little kick. Finally the Hen with plantains and rice was excellent. The dessert of toffee bread pudding is a must. What Mae this a 4 star experience was our waitresses disappeared midway through the meal and we suddenly had no service the rest of the meal.More

Date of visit: June 2022
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 8 September 2020

Great place, amazing food and sweet location! A must try is the fig cake, so yummy. I used to come for the meat and now became a vegetarian.. but highly recommend this place for families and friends!

Date of visit: March 2020
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 26 February 2020

I read and hear so much great views of The Playground ,may be my expectations too high , ,I will tell it like it is ,the place is over rated , it is very creative concept , ,the restaurant is very modern and noisy ,,just...a hipster place ,menu is unique ,change every hours or day ., most dishes are a Tapas style , very small portions ,but is for sharing , for 4 people ,order not more them five dishes ,it is very different style of my likening ,their coking is based on balanced of ASIAN ingredients and sauce ,not thing spectacular ,that's why the cooks would not let you change the dishes or add or sub any your flavour items , ,very average cooking ,some dishes hit and miss ,very salty ,but still it is a unforgettable dinning experience ,professional staff , if you in Orange County ,go give it try ,reservations must ,also they closed on Monday .More

Date of visit: February 2020
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 18 February 2020

-AMAZING for vegetarians! -SPECTACULAR service! -VERY competitively-priced wine list! -Jason Quinn is without a doubt one of the greatest chefs in North America. We have come to Playground on multiple occasions. Everything - literally, everything - is top-notch. The food is consistently incredible. There are...oftentimes more vegetarian items on the menu than non-vegetarian items. Everything we have ever ordered has been excellent. The service is fantastic as well. And the dining room staff is always excellent and very well-informed. Case in point - some of the dishes we initially thought were vegetarian contained chicken stock or fish stock. The wait staff proactively reviewed the ingredient list and reported back to us without us even having to ask. That is only about the food. There is also the wine. The wine list here is absolutely incredible. It includes some very unique wines from multiple regions both in the USA and elsewhere. But it's not just the quality of wines that sets Playground apart - it is also the pricing. PLAYGROUND IS THE ONLY RESTAURANT I HAVE EVER SEEN IN WHICH THEY SOMETIMES PRICE THE WINES AT BELOW RETAIL COST. Yes, you read that correctly. Some of the wine bottles here have prices that are lower than what one would find at a grocery store. The other wine bottles also do not have the standard 300% mark-up one would find at a restaurant. I once asked the sommelier about this. His response to me was, "If we get a good deal, then you get a good deal." It is really incredible how customer-centric this place is. Playground has free corkage for 1 bottle. I make it a point to never take advantage of that. Their wine list is incredible as it is. And, as a matter of principle, I absolutely want to support an establishment that competitively prices its wines. To be candid, I am actually rather surprised that more people don't come here for the wine. The beer and spirits menus are also incredible. The vibe is also quite relaxed. Jeans and t-shirts are perfectly okay attire, which is nice. This is our all-time favorite restaurant. When we last came here, we drove 2 hours in traffic from north of Los Angeles so we could eat here. Best wishes to: -Jason Quinn, the founder and executive chef -Angela on her promotion -Steve, who recently got accepted into a graduate program -Josh, the former sommelier on accepting a new position in Laguna Beach -Jason, the new sommelier, on his new job at Playground We will most emphatically be returning to Playground at every chance we get. In case anyone is wondering - I do not work at Playground. I have never worked at Playground. Other than me being a customer, I have absolutely no relationship with anyone who works at Playground. I am writing this extensive of a review because I honestly think that this is one of the greatest restaurants I have ever visited. Playground is worthy of Michelin stars (albeit the selfish part of me hopes Playground never gets any Michelin stars because then it will become much harder for me to get dinner reservations!)More

Date of visit: February 2020
Helpful?2  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 1 January 2020 via mobile

If you want to try a variety of dishes which have flavors that explode in your mouth, visit Playground. The Grilled Pork Jowl deserves an A++. The yams, cauliflower, and okra deserve an A. The beverage, Best Bartender 2013, also deserves an A. The portion...size is similar to tapas and are meant to be shared. Next time, we will order one dish at a time. Then when it is delivered, we will order the next selection. I say this because the dishes are prepared quickly and brought to the table immediately. Our family can’t wait to return.More

Date of visit: December 2019
Helpful?2  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 22 December 2019 via mobile

Amazing food great service. This is old part of Santa Ana with bunch of other restaurant. Pork belly was amazing but the menu changes everyday.

Date of visit: December 2019
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Reviewed 21 November 2019

This is a dining experience! I love this place.. great service. Can't miss the fried chicken.. I love that every time we dine here the menu is always different and delicious. Beautiful wine and cocktail list. Cant wait to try the 2.0 around the corner...of the main door.More

Date of visit: January 2019
Helpful?2  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 21 October 2019 via mobile

A great place to experience food and beverage especially in smaller groups. We had a very large group in a room with 3 other very large groups and the noise was difficult to talk through; we elevated the noise by trying to speak over it....Food was served in courses for our group of 16. We did not know how many courses there would be so some ate more than they needed to on earliest servings. Lost count but think we were served 10 different foods. Service a little slow when we needed drinks including wine. Servers were working very hard to cover all the business. Food was great tasting. Very selection very good and wine availability good but limited.More

Date of visit: October 2019
Helpful?2  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 10 October 2019 via mobile

This establishment is very cozy and friendly. The food is very good. The only problem I found the acoustic was not good. My family was trying to have a conversation and the noise was really bad. Please manage the noise.

Date of visit: July 2019
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 4 September 2019

All I can say is wow, wow, oh did I say wow? This unexpected restaurant in an area under current gentrification, is a true gem in O.C. Upscale, but casual, drinks, food and nice ambiance. The menu here changes weekly, as the ownership encourages their...chef's to push their creative visions, they want you to try and get out of your comfort zone, hence if you don't like a dish, they will happyly take it back with your feedback, and get you something else, how's that for ballsy? Everything we had was awesome, from the bread, to the main course, drinks, and desert, nothing fell short. I won't bother mentioning dishes, as by the time you go they will be changed, but don't let that detract you. Pricey, but worth the money.More

Date of visit: August 2019
Helpful?2  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 25 May 2019 via mobile

Ok if you follow me you know that 5’s are hard to come by from me. No this place is not a Michelin restaurant or ran by some culinary genius. However I would go back over and over again. In fact I would urge them...to open lots more locations. Absolutely delicious. It’s elevated street food great portions and did I mention delicious??!!!! YummmmMore

Date of visit: May 2019
Helpful?40  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 23 May 2019

We visited this restaurant with a couple of friends and had a nice evening. There is a very knowledgeable sommelier present, and he helped us choose 2 bottles of wine. The first was amazing; the second was quite average. The dishes are very creative; again,...some are amazing and some are quite average. At our table (we didn't try everything), the amazing dishes were the Fried Smashed Fingerling Potatoes and A Lot of Work Went Into This. We had four or more others that were okay, just not fantastic. This is not a place for paleo or keto people. Overall, we like the restaurant philosophy that no dishes can be adjusted for allergies, special requests, etc., as it did mean that dishes were brought out quickly and hot, but if that's the case, the menu would do well, in our opinion, to try to cater to a little more variety of tastes or dietary needs.More

Date of visit: May 2019
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 20 May 2019 via mobile

Fun spot in downtown Santa Ana - ever changing menu and drink options make me want to go back again -if you’re a foodie give it a try you’ll not be disappointed

Date of visit: May 2019
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 14 May 2019

We had reservations for 6 including 4 kids ranging in age from 5 to 9. My son has food allergies to nuts and seafood. They also don't eat a ton of "fancy" foods. I have to admit I didn't look at the menu in advance...- trusted my friend who made the reservation. When we arrived, we were greeted by a friendly hostess that took down our dietary restrictions and then handed us over to someone to walk us to our table. The waitress was friendly but immediately informed us that there would be no substitutions or alterations made to the menu items because they "want you to really experience the food". When you look at the menu and ask them to specify which items have nuts and seafood, that leaves about 25% of the menu left. 25% of which the kids are unable to eat. While everything looked and sounded amazing, we had to walk out of the restaurant because we couldn't justify paying $20 for a shared plate of food that the kids wouldn't be able to safely eat due to allergies and pickiness. Bottom line - this is the place to go with your favorite friends or partner without the mini humans who are picky eaters and withou the humans who have food allergies.More

Date of visit: May 2019
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 19 April 2019 via mobile

Last night at Playground 2.0 was one incredibly exciting food and wine pairing adventure! Master Chef Jason Quinn is a creative genius. Such fresh, beautiful, some exotic, carefully selected vegetables, expressed as vegetables, nothing hidden, prepared with more of the freshest, most delightful ingredients that...make me feel with each bite, like I’m in heaven - no kidding! Each of the 12-14 dishes had such a variety of taste, texture, heat, salt, acid, sweet, spice, umami, crunch, and smoothness. A totally heavenly experience from beginning to end!More

Date of visit: April 2019
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Questions & Answers
Ask a question
marileesch
9 June 2017|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from Robert Q | Property representative |
You are welcome to bring your own wine. There is no corkage for the first bottle. A $15 corkage fee is charged for subsequent bottles.
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HelenG197
7 January 2017|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from Robert Q | Property representative |
We're happy to send you a gift card, so in that sense you may ask for one by email. We will need your credit card information and we don't recommend that you ever put all of the necessary information in an email, so a... More
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DETENTION, FORMERLY KNOWN AS PLAYGROUND, Santa Ana - Restaurant Reviews, Photos & Phone Number - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Detention, formerly known as Playground

Detention, formerly known as Playground is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travellers:
  • Food: 4.5
  • Service: 4.5
  • Value: 4.5
  • Atmosphere: 4