NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio
312 Pearl Parkway
Bldg 2 Suite 2102
San Antonio, TX 78215Neighborhood:
Latin AmericanPrice: $30 and under
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
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 photosSee all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
- Diners' Choice WinnerHot Spot
NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio - Best Restaurants in Downtown ›
NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio reviews from OpenTable diners
57 reviews since July 31, 2014
- Ambiance4.4Noise LevelModerate
fit for foodies (43)special occasion (30)notable wine list (17)romantic (15)hot spot (15)good for groups (14)neighborhood gem (12)great for outdoor dining (7)vibrant bar scene (6)late-night find (5)scenic view (1)Show More
- Great food, dodgy servicepwillieDined on 11/25/2014This was our second visit to NAO. We like the tasting menu, because it features uncommon dishes. However, as was the case in our first visit, the servive was not up to par fo for a restaurant of this quality. Understand that the servers are CIA students. Still, sitting for 15 minutes without any contact at all from staff is not acceptable. When we did finally get seved, the night went well. The food was great, but the restaurant needs to work on the overall quality of the dining experience.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- GreatjustalawschoolstudentDined on 11/22/2014Atmosphere, food, and service were all great. Will definitely go back when menu changes againSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- DisappointedVicGDined on 11/21/2014Although they advertise specialty menus from Latin America, they usually serve the same things with different sides. I was disappointed when they had Argentina because they advertised a churrasco but I was served a new york strip. When i returned for the Puerto Rican steak and onions (which is supposed to be a thin minute steak), I was served a new york strip with tomato and avocado salad. They need to do more research into providing a more auntentic dining experience when advertising special menis. I will not return.Special Features:
- OpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 11/14/2014Attentive but non-intrusive service, great ambience which faciliated dinner conversation (open, but not too noisy) and great food. Wonderful for a special occasion.I would recommend this to a friend.
- Cuban!DawnRVIPDined on 11/14/2014We were at NAO specifically for the Cuban food. Cuba is the country they are currently highlighting. Had the Chef's tasting menu as well as the pork chop. Drinks (coquito), appetizer, main course and desert - all good. We really like NAO because of the changing menu featuring different countries every couple of months. They also have an interesting drink menu.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Wonderful DinnerSusanDined on 11/8/2014Enjoyed a memorable meal here and would definitely recommend!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Puerto Rico celebrationAlamodonnaDined on 11/8/2014It is located in the Pearl so we were concerned about parking. It was so available - it was a perfect evening the wait staff was attentive, the dining room was noisy but not so intrusive. We ate the special with relish. My husband had the snapper & thought one of best he'd had. My beef was also perfect. The sauces served with each dish were supberb We plan to return.Special Features:
- DisappointedDoscampanasDined on 11/8/2014Service: One of our party of four asked if the okra could be held and/or substituted for something else, her response was, there is very little okra on the dish, really it's just a garnish, it should not bother you as it's not really a part of the dish, our thought: then why is it even on the plate. While enjoying appetizers the server actually started to remove our plates, we stated we were still eating, she seemed a bit put out and stated: your entrees will be right out, should I have them hold them, we replied no. It then was another 15 minutes before our entrees arrived. Ok, the food. The cheese and olive plate was great, fish over cooked and the "poached" pineapple could not but cut. Nothing noteworthy, not worth your time.
- Unfortunately not up to expectationSadDinerDined on 11/7/2014Having eaten at CIA in California, I was very excited to try the one in San Antonio. My experience in California was stellar but here, only pretty good. Entree selections were rather limited and slightly smaller than expected. Flavor was good to better than good. Overall, not the dining experience I was anticipating.Special Features:
- Not CIA GreystoneDavidDined on 11/6/2014We were anticipating an experience that matched our visit to Greystone in the Napa valley two years ago. Unfortunately NAO did not meet our expectations. Our waiter, an employee, was very good. However, the food was not exceptional and was served so quickly that we barely had time to savor our wine. My steak was the chef's specialty and very flavorful but was served rare. Our waiter had advised us that it would be served medium. My wife's dinner was fine. Overall, we were just a bit let down.
- REVIEWOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 11/1/2014I went with my family for dinner on saturday, having a lot of expectations since I read and heard very good reviews about this restaurant, unfortunately we were not impress, the portions were small and the price high and flavor was ok. Plus the waitress was not very friendly either, over all not the best experience :-( for sure I won't recommend it to my friends!!
- WillBeBackSoonDined on 10/29/2014With the intent of evaluating the program at the Institute, we were overwhelmingly surprised at the quality of the food and attention to detail.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great food! Service?JandJTXDined on 10/29/2014If you are a foodie, this place is for you. This was our second time there and every dish was outstanding. The service this time left something to be desired. Starting with our server being disappointed that we were only a table of two. She never took a drink order and we had to ask for bread. . We will definitely go back.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Worth the tripOpenTable Diner Since 2003VIPDined on 10/10/2014We ate at Nao while visiting San Antonio for a meeting. The service was great, the food choices varied and interesting. Would definitely recommend the chocolate mousse dessert with the most delicious rum sorbet.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Delicious Dinner, Interesting MenuChipDined on 10/9/2014This restaurant is located in a very exciting area of San Antonio (Pearl Brewery). Nao has a wonderful atmosphere and the goings-on in the kitchen are viewable from most of the dining room. The menu is very Latin/South American focused but with a wide choice of entrees. My 2 companions have very narrow palettes/no sense of culinary adventure and ended up finding dishes they ended up loving. I had the green ceviche, the brown sugar rubbed pork belly and the goat cheese cheesecake. All were delicious and the presentation was absolutely beautiful. The portion sizes weren't enormous, but satisfying. Expect to pay about $50 per person for 3 courses (a 3-course tasting menu is available at a slightly lower cost) + alcohol. Gratuity is automatic.Special Features:
- Sensory and savory delightsTrenchermanDined on 10/7/2014This restaurant is all about fabulous food. The sights, aromas, textures, presentations, flavors, subtle hints of flavors, tastes, lingering aftertastes, unexpected sensory pleasures are all here abundantly. NAO is a Disneyland for your senses. My waiter is a Culinary Institute student. His knowledge of food, his passion about it, and his sense of style made my dining experience more enjoyable. The restaurant is sort of Las Vegas Lounge Chic, but is comfortable and I was able to enjoy a sense of amiable companionship with my guests. We were actually able to converse. This is fortunate because we had a lot to discuss about the delights of our meals. When I come again I will ask for extra forks for when my dining mates say "Taste this!"Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Fantastic ExperienceLuckydogDined on 10/3/2014My wife and I visited the Persl District in San Antonio and were recommended NAO! Great atmosphere and amazing service! The Hostess say us at the bar/counter so we could have the full experience. It was like sitting at the Chef's Table at a high end Resturant. We saw all the Chefs preparing our food. As for the food it was AMAZING, with fresh and unusual combinations! The drinks are just as unusual and amazing! Do not pass this place up!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Good food and serviceSusanNVIPDined on 9/26/20144 of us went for dinner. We had a reservation and were seated quickly. Our server came right over, very friendly great suggestions for pre dinner drinks, she was also very knowledgeable about the menu and made good suggestions for appetizers and dinner. Very enjoyable evening. We will return.Special Features:
- Absolutely amazing! ! 5+ stars!verderaptureDined on 9/25/2014This place is truly exquisite. Phenomenal menu, well executed! It's a foodie must :) can't wait to go back!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- AmazingluvfoodDined on 9/17/2014The food was really flavorful and the plating was beautiful. The customer service was outstanding and they very accommodating. I enjoyed the overall experience and it was a great place to celebrate a Birthday or any other special occasion.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great food, poor serviceSallyDined on 9/17/2014Food was excellent and pleasing to both the palette and the eye. However the service was really, really lacking. Like, I've had more attentive service at a McDonald's. I realize they are students at Nao, but it was quite ridiculous. My friend asked for ice tea at beginning, server came back to the table like 3 times and never brought it to her. When we asked about items on the menu, he replied "yeah um, I really don't know". We asked about desserts and literally he said, "well we have one that's like frosted flakes with bananas and we have a few others but I forget what they are..." Seriously?!? Just shocked that service is so bad for an upscale restaurant. Gratuity is automatic on the bill for everyone but it goes to the school.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 8/23/2014The food was great, service excellent! The only negative was the noise level. W We were a group of 8 and had to yell a at each other to be heard. It's pretty noisy even for a smaller group to have a cconversation.Special Features:
- Excellent Food and serviceGeoffDDined on 8/22/2014Was looking for a special place to go to and found Nao. Even though it was for a romantic evening, for this it was not the best place to be as the noise level was pretty high and talking was very difficult however the food was excellent; the service was one of the best.....we would definitely be going back!!!Special Features:
- Great Dining ExperienceTAMKEITHDined on 8/21/2014Three of us had dinner at NAO - two of has the pre fix with wine pairings and one had soup and seafood entree. Delicious all! Our Server was the best and we enjoyed hearing about the culinary school. We will definitely be back.Special Features:
- NAO an unforgettable experienceVinofiedDined on 8/19/2014I love to dine out and my husband & I agree our dining experience at NAO was superb from start to finish. Realizing it's a learning experience for the students of the culinary institute everything went very smoothly. Although the tables next to us arrived, dined and left during our dinner we were never rushed or crowded and enjoyed our two+ hour dinner. We were there midweek during Restaurant week; my husband had the fixed menu and I enjoyed the Bahianan fish stew. We were very pleased with our single vineyard wine touted as the queen of Chilean wines. We will be back and thank our friend for recommending the experience.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Below expectationstxjalapenoDined on 8/5/2014Creative offerings with generally excellent sauces, but all meat/seafood items (except ahi tuna ceviche) were grossly overcooked. Graciously accepted overcooked steak and replaced with appropriate medium rare, which was exceptional in flavor. Also expected service personnel to be more generous and knowledgeable about the menu items, including tidbits on their preparation.Special Features:
- The following 298 reviews are from the NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio reviews archive.
- Latin SpicejdantotherescueDined on 7/26/2014Love the cartel cocktail: blanco tequila, mexcal, Serrano pepper, cucumber, simple syrup and other secret ingredients. Green juice with a kick. Shrimp and mussels were delicious, along with the jicama tacos for an appetizer.Special Features:
- GOURMANDRGLDined on 7/25/2014It is hard to decide with plate to chopos. Food is excelent and creative, and service is pretty good. The place is great. It is a bit noisy, but can get use to.
- Delicious! Truly a great find!lindalou54VIPDined on 7/19/2014Delicious! Can’t believe culinary students prepared our meal, we enjoyed the seasonal cocktail with our meal and every aspect of our dinner truly made us feel as if we were dining in a fine restaurant in Latin America. The entrees were amazing, bravo to team NAO. You have to try the Bahian Lobster and Fish Stew, it has coconut milk, dende oil, lobster knuckles, sweet plantain and yucca, it was a little piece of heaven. We arrived early to sample a few of the cocktails at the bar, highly recommend the Cartel Cocktail, the bartenders are wonderful and the cocktails are delightful. My husband & I look forward to trying the rest of the dinner entrees before the menu change. I know we frequent NAO for years to come.Special Features:
- ExcellentbrendaDined on 7/18/2014This restaurant is classroom internships for a The a Culinary Institute last year students. Menu changes flair every 6 weeks. We had South American cuisine. Excellent in every way. Highly recommend this restaurant.Special Features:
- MCL10Dined on 7/16/2014We went to NAO for my wife's birthday and it was our first time visiting the establishment. We enjoyed the ambiance of the place, had a great time tasting the variety of different foods, especially the Yucatan theme foods they had for the month. My wife enjoyed the different drink varieties and was excited that they offered her a complimentary drink for her special day!Special Features:
- expensive for a learning restauranthungryintxDined on 7/15/2014Keep in mind they are students when you go. Service is pretty funny since they aren't waiters. Ours had to check with the chef on all of our questions about the menu. My husband ordered the ribeye but got a new York. They pretty much told us we didn't know what we were talking about but made a new steak for him anyway. Brought a ribeye that time. The manager didn't come to the table until we were paying to say it was definitely the wrong cut of meat. Food was really good. There were three of us. Had the duck and pork pate and tuna tartare apps along with our main course. The bill was $150 before wine. They add 17% gratuity to every check regardless. All in all a good meal. Worth going once for a special occasion.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Excellent service and foodOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 7/15/2014Excellent food, service, ambiance. My only complaint was the pork was dry. However, it was more than balanced by the pao de queijo, cheese and preserves, my husband's steak, and exquisite desserts. The drinks were imaginative and tasty. I cannot wait to return to Nao.Special Features:
- NAO Chow09erDinerDined on 7/12/2014First visit Saturday night early seating. Very Cool interior design and comfortable leather chairs. Online reservations worked perfectly. Room temp was too warm but it was 95 outside. Young fresh faced server was friendly but obviously not well trained and was unable to explain any of the dishes or unusual ingredients much of which were foreign to us and apparently him too. We tried a variety of appetizers all good except the pâté' was still ice cold and hard out of the fridge. The various entrees were tasty. If they are going to charge like a real restaurant there is no excuse not to perform like one.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Always ImpressesKiwiWannaBeVIPDined on 7/12/2014We've been here on numerous occasions and have never been disappointed. Cutting edge Latin cuisine and drinks and outstanding service make for a very enjoyable experience. Most of the employees are culinary students getting an appreciation for the customer-facing side of the restaurant business. They have always been engaging and are willing to give you an extremely educated description of the menu.Special Features:
- Not so good...PorkBellyVIPDined on 7/11/2014This is our second time at this restaurant and we were not impressed. The food came out alternately under or over cooked. When the undercooked sausage was brought up we were told that was how it was supposed to be cooked. We passed on finishing the slightly warm sausage disaster. Overall I would recommend the restaurant for the comedic value only.
- InterestingjimnjudyVIPDined on 7/5/2014It's always interesting to try dishes from other countries/cultures.Special Features:
- OpenTable Diner Since 2010Dined on 6/28/2014Well 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 knowSpecial Features:
- Varied offeringshoustonfoodieVIPDined on 6/28/2014The 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.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- DeliciosoLamoreDined on 6/21/2014The food was incredible, everything cooked to perfection. Our server, Nadia, did an excellent job - cordial, helpful, and anticipated our needs.Special Features: