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  • NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio

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NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio
  • Address:
    312 Pearl Parkway
    Bldg 2 Suite 2102
    San Antonio, TX 78215
    Neighborhood:
    Downtown
  • Cuisine:
    Latin American
    Price: $30 and under

NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio Details

  • 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. Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
Diner Reviews
  • "It's always interesting to try dishes from other countries/cultures."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Well the choices were not a lot so a little disappointed! And I wasn't happy that they already added the 17% for 2 people and didn't let us know"
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "The current Venezuela dinner was several dollars higher than advertised on email, good nonetheless but without the wine pairings of the last Chilean offering. I hope the future Mexican offerings specialize in regional expertise."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "The food was incredible, everything cooked to perfection. Our server, Nadia, did an excellent job - cordial, helpful, and anticipated our needs."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Our first time at NAO and I must say that it was a great experience. Our group enjoyed the jicama tacos with mango and pineapple as an appetizer. The taquitos were absolutely wonderful- nice and light. I had the Cuban pork chop. initiallly, I was concerned about the "mojo" seasoning being over powering with garlic flavor, but that was not the case. Very good choice and would highly recommend it. The ambience was a tiny bit on the energetic side. Overall it was a great experience and would recommend NAO to those people who are looking for new flavors to explore."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "Went on a Friday evening around 7:00pm; wasn't too crowded. Service was great, food options were abundant. We ordered several different types of food to share and sample and we liked the majority of what we ordered. The presentation of food was artistic and impressive."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • " Starters: Ceviche was the best I've ever had. Fresh tastes and nice textures with no one component too strong. Venzualen chicken pot pie was an even better surprise---a dish that has unexpected flavors of sweet and sour somehow blended with comfort food. Main course: The fish was cooked just right and the relish complimented it perfectly. The sirloin looked much like steak fritte but was one of those fine cuisine moments when you taste something and cannot help but say "wow!" The puree and topping added an explosion of flavors that was peppery yet made you long for another bite, and the steak was so tender it almost melted in your mouth. The only slight disappointment was the cake dessert which seemed a bit dry."
    Dined on 6/3/2014
  • "We really enjoyed the South American flavors. The food was wonderful. The service was fantastic. They had several very unusual cocktails."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "The staff was very friendly and helpful. The food was excellent. I liked the low noise level very much."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "Had a wonderful dinner for our anniversary. Argentinian lamb shank and a delicious scallops and muscles dish. They obviously take great pride in their food and it's Great to support the Culinary Arts Institute. They gave us a couple of complimentary glasses of champagne to celebrate our night. What a fabulous experience !"
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "It was a great spot to eat. Only thing was that I was confused by food choices with their supposed country of origin. I'm Argentinian and the person I was with was Chilean so we chose those countries to see what their interpretation of those countries was. End story, not even close to what you get from those countries. My opinion, leave out the countries next to the foods. Good was still good."
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "We made a reservation to celebrate our anniversary and birthday. Upon being sat at our table the hostess welcomed us with a glass of champagne in honor of these two events. Our server was attentive, courteous, punctual, and made sure our special dietary needs were met. This restaurant has a great menu for guests who are on a gluten free diet and the food was AWESOME!!! We would definitely recommend this restaurant and plan on going again in the future."
    Dined on 5/14/2014
  • "I took my brother from out of town for his first NAO experience. We had 4 appetizer selections. I loved the guava jelly with the Mexican cheese. The jicama tacos are always awesome. He loved the kick of the linguisa. Nadia was a great source of information and explanation. It is great that she is willing to share info about the food and spices! Thanks."
    Dined on 5/14/2014
  • "Very cool atmosphere, great location and the food was great. One member of my group had to send her pork chop back because it was still pink in the middle a little bit but they got it back out very quickly and she really enjoyed it. I had the Swordfish steak and it was cooked to perfection. Melt in your mouth. Excellent margaritas and the goat cheese cheesecake was excellent. "
    Dined on 5/12/2014
  • "Allows you to move about Latin America and try dishes not otherwise available in San Antonio, a wonderful place and highly recommended, superb wine pairing also"
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "NAO delivered for the 3rd time! Exotic yet delicious selections--particularly the Chilean ribeye and risotto. Highly recommended as one of San Antonio's most interesting restaurants. Love that the menu is always different from the time before, so dining is a pleasant surprise! One can always count on superbly prepared and presented dishes."
    Dined on 5/9/2014
  • "Had a great meal with great suggestions and explanations from the student chef / waiter. We chose the Chile 3 course meal with wine pairings. "
    Dined on 5/3/2014
  • "Second visit to NAO, and it fell way short of our first. Service was not up to par with our first visit. A restaurant training the future leaders in food culture needs to bring its "A" game. We looked forward to the small puffs of bread that are served just prior to the appetizer course, but they were greasy on the outside and wholly undercooked doughy mush on the inside. The mahi ceviche appetizer should have probably been sent back. The overly fishy smell also carried over into an entrée also featuring mahi. Even though it was cooked properly, the lack of basic seasoning on the pork chop entrée was a huge disappointment. Any time I have to ask the server for salt is a huge red flag! We didn't even want to stay for dessert."
    Dined on 5/2/2014
  • "Always wanted to go an experience the different menus! It was a wonderful experience and delicious flavors. The short ribs were excellent but should have been warmer; they were not hot out of the grill. Nevertheless, they were delicious! Will go again, again, and again. My compliments to the excellent Chefs."
    Dined on 4/19/2014
  • "We have been there before, and this time did not disappoint, either. It's a bit noisy for my liking, but the food and service were great!"
    Dined on 4/19/2014
  • "It is always delightful to be surprised by an elegant and inventive menu. I know when I dine at Nao I can count on discovering something new. I love the prix fixe menus and wine pairings. The staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and obviously takes pride in their work. The decor is tasteful, but the ambience is comfortable and unpretentious. Nao is now my favorite restaurant in San Antonio. Don't change a thing!"
    Dined on 4/18/2014
  • "We had a wonderful server! She was new, and just as excited about the delicious Chilean foods! Each plate was inventive and just plain yummy! Our drinks and wine were perfectly coordinated with our meal as well! Cannot wait to go back!!"
    Dined on 4/15/2014
  • "Great team of hard working professionals. Can not wait to come back to San Antonio."
    Dined on 4/9/2014
  • "Food was expensive and poorly prepared and presented. The steak was good - hard to ruin a piece of meat. The salad greens thrown on top of the steak made no sense. Oxtail soup looked and tasted like dishwater, with only two miniscule pieces of meat in the broth. Server was inattentive and appeared to be bored. Beer was good."
    Dined on 4/7/2014
  • "Top Culinary school sends one forth on a Latin American dining adventure. Menu changes, always fresh, food well prepared this is a dlightful evening. Students and staff combine for an outstanding dining experience."
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "Disappointing, was hoping for decent service and good food as this is an arm of the Culinary Institute. Tried the tasting menu, the first course was delivered stone-cold (was supposed to be hot...), the second course, a sirloin steak, was gristly and full of fat but the toppings were tasty. The dessert and the paired wines were good; however, the wines were delivered well after the food for the second and third course. My partner's food was okay, his rib-eye was cooked correctly and the accompanying side dishes were good. The place is beautiful, and parking was a snap; but, it's sad that the best items to comment on are the decor and parking and the food and service comes in a distance third...."
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "Everything we ordered was perfect. Great steaks, appetizers and cocktails."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "This is an unusual experience in that most of the staff including the wait and cooking are CIA students. The kitchen is open to view and the cooking is entertainment. Food is real foodie fare and one of the best restaurant experiences we have had. Compares favorably with the CIA Napa Valley. Fantastic service and quality food make for a special culinary experience. Five star in our view."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "Staff was very accomodating, in error i booked the wrong date for dinner and the hostest found a way to make it happen. The restaurant was good but nothing spectacular...I have been to better CIA."
    Dined on 4/2/2014
  • "We went to NAO for the Argentina tasting menu. (I had been in Argentina earlier in March and wanted my wife to share the experience as best as possible.) She had empanadas for an appetizer and I had crispy sweetbreads, a chickpea "sopa", and an Argentine sauseage. All were very good. The empnadas were very authentic in flavor though in some ways a bit more up-scale and ultimately not quite as good as the ones we had in Patagonia. These were accompanied by a sparkling Malbec which was quite nice and interesting. A good paring. For the main course we had sirloins with chimichurri and a conventional Malbec. The chimichurri was very good and hte entire course was quite satisfying. Dessert was cookies, creme, and a late harvest Malbec. VGood!"
    Dined on 3/27/2014
  • "We were here late on a weeknight, so we practically had the place to ourselves. We appreciated that we didn't feel rushed in spite of being the last party there. Our meal was a collection of appetizers, and all of them were creative and well executed. The little cheese bread balls were the hit of the night, I hate to admit. The cocktails were properly prepared and our server was very pleasant and knowledgeable. I love supporting culinary school restaurants, and this one is now one of my favorites."
    Dined on 3/25/2014
  • "This was a great place for a first date. The food was excellent and the environment was tranquil and beautiful."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "We thought they had remarkably good cocktails and the food was excellent. The restaurant ambience was bright, colorful and elegant. Really enjoyed it (party of six)."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "As a retired restauranteur (successful), I consider my experience quite nice. We were a four top. We ordered items from all courses. Presentation and taste was very nice. Experience tells me bringing staff from the 'back of the house' to the front (as servers) can be very challenging. With our visit the table presence was very comfortable. If in the area again I certainly would return to Nao."
    Dined on 3/19/2014
  • "NAO can be extremely fine -- and also seriously disappointing. There' s plenty of talent in the kitchen, but follow-though -- and ingredients -- are sometimes amazingly poor. Our twosome ordered the newly introduced Argentinian Menu, featuring Bife Chorizo, grilled sirloin with chimichurri sauce and vegetable garnish. We were served the toughest steak we have ever encountered in San Antonio. It was enormous, and dreadful. There is no excuse for this. We have both enjoyed excellent Bife Chorizo in Argentinian restaurants, and sirloin steaks in San Antonio. The NAO specimen was without the slightest marbling, and gave evidence of having been friozen. The flesh was pale pink, not rosy -- and barely edible. Yech."
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "Begin with the Marinated Olives & Cheese appetizer, shareable as nibbles while deciding on drinks. Orange-Cumin Pork T Bone was cooked perfectly and the mashed yucca and plantain was smooth and creamy. Beef Short Rib was tasty but requested without the peppers and that didn't happen. Two ordered the Smoke Roasted Ribeye Steak, well done, and it was prepared to order. Shared desserts - Ginger Mango Cobbler w/homemade vanilla bean ice cream and passion fruit coulis and the Chocolate Encounter (chocolate meringue & chocolate mousse and rum sorbet). Both incredible. The best part of the meal by far. Service was sketchy as the server didn't seem to know the menu items clearly and had to go to the kitchen and ask several questions."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "Love visiting culinary school restaurants across country and this did not disappoint. Good drinks, food and service. Menu was not as large as some we have visited but the value of the food was excellent!"
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "Our first visit to NAO was incredible, so we had to go back again and take a friend. Everything we have had thus far has been delicious. Our taste buds were watering before our steak and pork were set before us because we could smell it as the waitress approached. Presentation is artistry. Taste is incredible. We went on a Friday night and the restaurant was packed. We then went on a Monday night and hardly anyone was there. Great service, great food!"
    Dined on 3/10/2014
  • "We wanted to try NAO since it is affiliated with the Culinary Institute and the food is focused on Latin American cuisine. We loved it - very inventive combinations that were delicious. We started with the jicama tacos - refreshing, light and flavorful, and the cod fritters - very lightly fried, full of flavor. Our mains were just as delicious - cumin crusted pork chop and the Argentinian steak. The service was attentive, but a little clumsy, i.e., split water, fork flew off the plate and hit my arm. Nothing serious - would recommend if you like unique food combinations. They offer a fixed price menu focused on a specific country - seems like a great value, although we did not choose this option."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "It was our first time there and we had a wonderful time."
    Dined on 2/28/2014