NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio

NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://naorestaurant.com/
  • Phone: (210) 554-6484
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm, Sunday: Closed
    Late Night: Friday & Saturday 10:00pm - 2:00am
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Carte Blanche,Diners Club,Discover,JCB,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Latin American, South American, Tapas / Small Plates
  • Executive Chef: Geronimo Lopez
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: East Grayson
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Free Parking at the Pearl Brewery
A word from NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio
NAO restaurant is dedicated to the exploration, preservation, and celebration of the authentic cuisines, cultures, and bounty of Latin America. Unique flavors, inspired by iconic ingredients and indigenous preparations, are presented in a contemporary style. Distinctive and exciting cocktails and beverages compliment the cuisine. And an extensive wine list rounds out the experience in this modern and dramatic setting.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
  • Diners' Choice WinnerHot Spot
NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio reviews from OpenTable diners
56 reviews since July 25, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food4.4
    Service4.3
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
86% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (42)special occasion (29)notable wine list (18)hot spot (16)neighborhood gem (14)romantic (13)good for groups (12)great for outdoor dining (7)vibrant bar scene (5)late-night find (5)scenic view (1)Show More
  • Nice selection of tapas style
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 11/24/2012
    Nice selection of tapas style dishes from Latin and South America. We tried a number of items on the menu, but many of them didn't really stand out to me. Service was spotty at the bar, but our server was very helpful. The disappointing part is th wine list. It's simply limited to Chile, Argentina, and two or three bottles from CA or OR. For a restaurant associated with the culinary institute, they should be ashamed. I was throughly disappointed and likely won't return as a result of this weakness.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Foodie Haven
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 11/24/2012
    I was in San Antonio on vacation. Met up with 3 friends at Nao because I am very familiar with the CIA at Hyde Park. The intertwining of flavors with every dish was outstanding. Totally recommended for foodies.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • excellent tapas-style restaurant.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 11/14/2012
    excellent tapas-style restaurant. The menu really captures the latin american flavors it is striving for
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Foodie's paradise
    Shauna
    Dined on 11/8/2012
    Food not found anywhere else. Amazing South American flavors. $9 per plate means you can try a variety and still have an affordable night out. Waiter was very knowledgable about the food, flavors, techniques.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The food was great...the manager
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/30/2012
    The food was great...the manager helped us too and was outstanding...the waitress and service was awful. She would just plop plates down and not describe them or tell us what she was serving. She never asked if we wanted a refill and never refilled our water. She rarely spoke until she dropped off the check and was nice apparently in order to get a good tip. Before that, she didnt treat us with any real welcome.... the staff really needs more training
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The CIA 's newest restaurant
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004VIP
    Dined on 10/24/2012
    The CIA 's newest restaurant hits on all cylinders. The service, ambiance and food are all outstanding. The concept of small plates works very well and Lends itself to trying bold and different favors. The presentation of the dishes is spectacular. Our wait staff were exceptionally knowledgeable and enhanced the dining experience. The flavors come come from all over Latin America and offer a true culinary experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Creative small plate dining.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 10/24/2012
    Creative small plate dining. Fun for a change but the portions weren't very big.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • For a first effort, a lovely
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 10/20/2012
    For a first effort, a lovely dining experience. The small plates were ideal to share with the entire table. We enjoyed a varied selection from all the menu categories and each new dish brought to the table was more enjoyable that the one before. We look forward to our next visit!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • This was our first time at
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 10/20/2012
    This was our first time at NAO. Our overall experience was quite pleasant; the service and food were both good. I would definitely return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Nao Still a Gem!
    diningfool
    Dined on 10/19/2012
    This was my second visit to Nao. On our previous visit, the menu was prixe-fixe, but on this visit, it was a la carte. The selections in each dish category were broad to appeal to almost any liking. Our server, Jaime, was well versed and knowledgeable on all the dishes (some required a little more description than was printed on the menu). We ordered two of the Hemmingway Daquiris which were very refreshing. Our dishes were well prepared and we especially liked the presentation. Our dinner was accompanied by an excellent Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. If there were any issues, it would be that all of our dishes arrived within minutes of each other which crowded our table with plates and forced us to rush eating them.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • If you are into course dinning,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/13/2012
    If you are into course dinning, this is a great place!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The food and service were
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 10/12/2012
    The food and service were great. We arrived a bit early and had a fantastic cocktail at the bar. With the tapa menu you have the opportunity to try all sorts of wonderful foods that make up Latin American cuisine. The menu is constantly changing and with the attentive service and attention to detail we will definitely be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent variety of
    Tcbird
    Dined on 10/12/2012
    Excellent variety of Latin American,Carribean cuisine. All dishes are $9 each and we ordered several different to split among us. All excellent!
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • I loved this place! Their
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/12/2012
    I loved this place! Their ceviche was amazing and sharing 6 small plates between my husband and myself was more than enough. I highly recommend trying the sampler under their ceviche menu....you get a taste of all their ceviches...delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Best San Antonio dining option!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/10/2012
    Great meal! Menu broken into numerous small-portion offerrings. Each was quite affordable. Happy with vegitarian selections. Great menu diversity without being too wierd. Every course was delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Explore Latin America!
    GoodEater
    Dined on 10/9/2012
    Innovative yet approachable menu filled with a mix of dishes you won't find in ANY other US restaurant -- executed with perfection and artistically plated. At $9/plate you can tour the menu at will, and the "smart portioning" makes it possible to explore deeply. It's a bit loud due to hard surfaces, but that may add to the adventure for some. A MUST for those who love great flavors -- a find for groups that include vegetarians and carnivores. Cocktails are special too and the wine list is very affordable. Servers know the menu and are willing to offer suggestions. (Not "everything's great" comments.) NAO is perfect for business dinners and time with friends. Don't miss it if you're a visitor; make it regular stop if you're a local.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Outstanding new place, items
    houstonfoodieVIP
    Dined on 10/6/2012
    Outstanding new place, items come irregularly some time one just ordered before one ordered 15 minutes ago. But truly eclectic, exciting, and an unbelievable addition to the San Antonio dining scene.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great for Foodies!
    DTLA4P
    Dined on 10/6/2012
    Food was fantastic. Portions are small, but the we were well aware before we ordered. Enough to share each plate between two people. All menu items were the same price. Nice concept. Desserts were huge and fantastic! Once the service got started, it was outstanding. But, from the time we were seated, it took about 10 minutes before the waiter was ready to start service. We would come back more often, but it took three weeks to get the reservation on Open Table and we don't usually think that far in advance.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Terrific experience
    Twistedtat2
    Dined on 9/19/2012
    Wonderful restaurant. The staff is very friendly, food was amazing, and the price was very reasonable. We will definitely be back again soon. I live the way the menu is setup. It allows you to try a lot if different items without the worry of having a bunch of wasted food and money.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • They had a Prix Fixie menu
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/18/2012
    They had a Prix Fixie menu the day I went. Had a three course meal for a steal. Everything was absolutely delicious. Management was very attentive. I will definitely be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Highly recommend
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/12/2012
    Everything was amazing and Nao is a unique addition to Pearl Brewery. Great service, excellent food
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We ate early so it may get
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 9/11/2012
    We ate early so it may get noisier later. Dinner was great, service was attentive, and they worked hard to get us to our lecture at Pearl Stable on time. But, it's really a place to go for a leisurely dinner when you have nothing else planned after.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great food and service. If
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/5/2012
    Great food and service. If you like to try new foods & you like your meal to be an event this is the place to go.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Enjoyed the whole experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/1/2012
    Enjoyed the whole experience very much...your development of new ways to combine flavors is exciting. We three enjoyed each dish very much. The attention and service was excellent.
    Special Features:
    late-night find, neighborhood gem, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Get to Nao Now!
    diningfool
    Dined on 8/31/2012
    I've been to almost every restaurant in town and I wasn't sure what to expect from Nao. To say I was impressed is an understatement! The restaurant's decor was bright and inviting. Our server was very friendly and engaging. She was able to explain all the dishes available in detail (without having to read notes!)and made several suggestions. My guest and I each ordered different dishes so we could sample each other's. Not one was less than excellent. We were especially impressed with the presentation and the unique dishes used to serve the food. We had a smooth Argentinian Malbec to accompany the meal from the wine list. The meal was topped off by an equally impressive dessert. This restaurant is a gem and I definitely plan on coming back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • What a great dining experience,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 8/31/2012
    What a great dining experience, very affordable. The atmosphere was inviting and the service was great. The plates were beautiful and the everything that we ate was delicious, unbelievable flavors. I look forward to dining at NAO again very soon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Great food and filling portions.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/30/2012
    Great food and filling portions. Fun way to try lots of different menu items.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Cant say enough good things.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012VIP
    Dined on 8/30/2012
    Cant say enough good things. Early in its second week and service lags but 4 pro chefs in from across Latin America served up creative delicious latin fusion at a price that cant be beat.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • San Antonio has arrived
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 8/9/2012
    small, Intimate with South American ambiance. Corner bar that delights in creating South and Central American favorites. We went when they had their soft opening with a limited but GREAT food. Please save room for their dessert menu. You will not be disappointed. You nerd to have an open mind and love food. Every chef in their open kitchen could stand on their own in a restaurant. We had at least 6 here. This restaurant is on our "We will come back list."
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Very good but SLOOWWWWW!
    TexasSourdoughVIP
    Dined on 7/18/2012
    This was our second trip to NAO and the results were mixed compared to our first trip. My wife thought the food was better,I thought it was slightly inferior. The biggest problem was it was very slow (2 hours for three courses) despite the fact it was almost empty. This may portend problems on weekends! As before the quality of ingredients was excellent. The jicama tacos were very refreshing.The octopus appetizer was very good, and the duck confit was excellent. Dinner partners gave their dishes similar praise.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Beautiful restaurant with
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/11/2012
    Beautiful restaurant with superior service. I liked the set price for a selection of a cold item and warm item, plus an entree. but it was difficult to know what we were eating as we were not familiar with the ingredients. Waiter was very helpful in helping us understand choice selection. Maybe we just don't quite understand latin cuisine and it will have to grow on us as we become more familiar with their vegetables and recipes. We were there for the soft opening.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Highly recommend!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/10/2012
    Great date night. Amazing food. Each dish was just the rt amount of food so that you are well satisfied but not uncomfortably stuffed when you leave. Adventurous food, fun to know there are still interesting combinations out there. Very calm relaxing environment. Never felt rushed and always felt appreciated and pampered. Staff was very knowledgable about the food and drinks. The chefs go out of their way to be friendly if you have the opportunity to sit at the bar and observe. Had a great first visit and took friends back the next week.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Such amazing food - interesting,
    GoodEater
    Dined on 7/7/2012
    Such amazing food - interesting, well-paced and well prepared. Only service drawback: a long wait for bar drinks. Get bartenders and lose the special "mixologist." Very loud when crowded; worth it for the food. Fix the noise, fix the bar and this is SA's #1 dining spot. Interested to see how it pan-Latino's out when the "regular" menu appears after the opening in August.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Enjoy the dinner very much,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/7/2012
    Enjoy the dinner very much, food, service was excellent. Our waiter, Jaime was very knowledeable about the dishes that were offered. Everybody was very friendly,attentive and helpful. Front door needs to have the name posted. We were not sure of the location. Overall a very pleasant experience. We would definitely return.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The Peruvian dinner with Pedro
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/7/2012
    The Peruvian dinner with Pedro Schiafferino was an outstanding meal and an outstanding value, considering the relative cost of travelling to Lima for a comparable dining experience. Each course was perfectly executed and the service was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great new setting in the Pearl
    JoeSA
    Dined on 7/5/2012
    Great new setting in the Pearl Brewery complex. Nice decor but marginal food. First courses are very spicy - almost indelible. Risotto was overlooked - almost a soup in texture. Skip the steak -poor cut of meat and quite chewy. Admittedly, it's still in per-open phase but they will have to do much better to survive.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A Fabulous Night at Nao
    Regular1
    Dined on 7/4/2012
    What a wonderful and unique experience in San Antonio. I have not had food that tasty in a very long time, and sadly, it wasn't in San Antonio when I had it last. The unique menu, along with the freshness and artful preparation of the food made a lasting impression on me. I will be back. The tasting menu is such a great concept though it was hard to decide with so many great choices. The Chefs and wait staff were very friendly and attentive. I sat at the bar and was able to chat with the Chef and it was fun to watch them prepare the foods as well. The Latin cuisine, beautiful decor, and Latin music soundtrack made the evening very special. And a walk along the San Antonio river afterwards was the perfect end to the evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Had a tasting menu during
    Dalo
    Dined on 7/3/2012
    Had a tasting menu during soft opening that was very good
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food was great.
    Charlene
    Dined on 6/29/2012
    Food was great but service a little slow evidently because of the CIA Student waiters. Still a fun experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • It was obvious they pride
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 6/29/2012
    It was obvious they pride themselves on great service, quality of food, and ambiance. They did a great job and it made for a wonderful date night with my wife.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate