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  • nara

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  • Address:
    2800 Kirby Rd
    Suite B-100
    Houston, TX 77098
    Upper Kirby / Shepherd Corridor
  • Cuisine:
    Price: $31 to $50

nara Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.narahouston.com
  • Email: narahouston@gmail.com
  • Phone: (281) 249-5944
  • Hours of Operation: Monday - Saturday 11AM - 11PM.

    Reservations are accepted. We welcome walk-ins as well.

    Monday - Friday from 5 - 7PM, we have Social Hour in our bar/patio area. Small plates and Bao Buns from $5 - $7 and half off all Nara Martinis and Nara Cocktails, plus a few more specials from the bar.
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Korean, Japanese
  • Executive Chef: Don Chang
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Smoking Area, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Catering: Off-site catering is available

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Kipling
  • Parking: Valet
A word from nara
Chef Donald Chang’s restaurant is the first modern Korean-inspired kitchen in Houston, offering an authentic Korean dining experience mixed with Japanese cuisine true to the two countries’ entwined histories and Chang’s 23 years of experience in Japanese restaurants. An exhibition kitchen, 10 - 13 person chef’s table, private dining space, patio lounge seating and full sushi and bao bun bar highlight this vibrant, sleek dining space on West Ave at River Oaks.
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
  • Diners' Choice WinnerHot Spot
Diner Reviews
  • "A unique experience with interesting and flavorful dishes. Lots of small plates so you can try many things on the menu. The martinis are great also. We will definitely go back."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "It's unusual to find an exciting and different twist on food, but Nara has found that niche. Modern Korean food served exquisitely - the flap buns, pancakes and sushi rolls all offer a different experience with some amazing flavors. The wine list is pretty good as well. This is a restaurant that truly deserves a five star rating."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "If you like Korean food, this is the place to go. Also, Japanese is good too.. My favorite was the escolar with topping. The staff was knowledgeable and made good recommendations. My only issue with this place, is that they have too many menu items, which makes it hard to choose. I will be back to try some of the pizzas and rice bowls. They also have an interesting selection of wine. I tried one of the Korean 'sakes' -- it is strong."
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "Their seafood in general is super fresh. You don't smell or taste any fishy flavor in their raw fish. I also tried the raw beef sushi and it was definitely a top notch grade A beef. I will definitely go back to get some sushi. The Korean menu was just OK. As Korean, I won't order anything else but hot rock beef. All other stuff is something you can cook really easily at home."
    Dined on 3/31/2014
  • "West Ave has definitely stepped the game up. There are several options for dining in the complex which I think is perfect. Houston has needed this change and I am loving it. Nara has food options which are fit for foodies and the ones who are conservative and don't like to try new things. They have items which are Korean and Japanese. You can not leave without trying the salmon truffle roll, bulgogi pot pie and the black peppercorn tuna nigri. The Bao options are good but I would rather spend the money on an entree and try something new. Overall Ratings: Food: 4/5 Service: 4/5 Ambiance: 5/5 Wine List: 4/5 Would I come back here? Yes Would I tell others about this place? Yes"
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "After reading some other reviews wasn't sure what to expect, but the entire experience went far beyond my expectations. Our waiter gave us great recommendations and everything we ate was perfectly executed. Nothing was overcooked, and you could tell every single ingredient was fresh.The flap buns are excellent, and the entire staff was ranting and raving about the black bean noodle dish so we ordered it. It was the best part of our meal and definitely a life changer. We left STUFFED."
    Dined on 4/7/2014
  • "The restaurant experience in whole was great! The menu was a Korean / Japanese fusion and had quite a few choices in both. I really enjoyed the fact that they had fresh fish that were flown in and that they were able to tell you when it arrived. We tried some sushi rolls, fresh fish, and some Korean buns. Every item we ate had a really unique and flavorful taste! We got the chance to meet Chef Donald and he is great to talk to!"
    Dined on 3/27/2014
  • "We started with the Japanese Hamachi with Jalapeno Ponzu - I never thought of parmesan cheese with sashimi. We enjoyed the unique favoring. The Nara Salad was large and a meal by itself. Specialty rolls were....Excellent! I recommend the Salmon Truffle Roll, the Wasabi Mousse Roll and the Crunchy Yellowtail roll (had them twice). The Shoi roll was good, but we were full. Hot Stone Bowl Bibimba was delicious but overpriced for the size, especially upgrading to the Prime Rib. If you like spicey, try the Korean Shin Ramen. It was very spicey. The Braised Pork Bao was good. The bread was light and just right on the sweetness. The pork was a little fatty - but I guess pork belly is suppose to be. Overall the food was delicious and well prepared."
    Dined on 3/31/2014
  • "I set up a lunch for one of my foodie groups at Nara. Colton, our server, was fantastic, attentive but not overly so, made good recommendations and kept the food coming. We ordered many tapas size items from the menu and loved them all. I think our favorites were the seafood pancake and the Shoi Roll. The 1/2 price lunch special worked beautifully for us. I think the full price lunch menu may be a bit high for trying lots of items. Their lunch entrees look to be reasonably priced but we did not try those. Beautiful restaurant, lovely food, great service."
    Dined on 3/31/2014
  • "The menu has a number of compelling items, but our waiter knew little to nothing about them. Our main dishes were disappointing. Mine lacked flavor. My husband ordered the hot rock pork belly, which splattered him with grease. Our sushi items were superb, however, especially the salmon roll with truffle oil. The dessert menu is practically nonexistent."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "Glad to find Soju!!! I was expecting more Korean food, but the available was good!!!"
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "I was really looking forward to dinning here, but have heard not so good reviews. Thought I would give it a try anyway. The food wasn't bad, but just nothing special for that price range. Our server was really professional and friendly and we all loved the space, especially that tree! We don't really care about how much the dishes are, as long as it's good, we would go back. So please improve the taste of the menu."
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "Saturday night reservation for 7 and we started at the bar. Once we made it to our table, we all ordered several appetizers including the kimchi trio along with a few bao dishes and the jellyfish. The appetizers were all delicious but very tiny in portion size. Our entrees began to arrive but the staff had difficulty between our table and another. We were brought their entrees and vice versa multiple times. This went on even after we had competed our meal. The whole fish does not truly feed 4 to 6 but all the kobe dishes were the amazing. I had both the hot rock as well as the tartar. The entrees were extremely tiny so, don't expect to get a big bang for your buck. I will be back after a few months to see if there is any improvement. Maybe."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "Went to Nara with 3 couples and we all absolutely loved our dinner and night at Nara. The food was outstanding and the service was attentive and fun. Our only complaint was that the dessert menu was underwhelming, otherwise we cannot wait to go back. Great addition to Houston!"
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "nara was wonderful. Food and atmosphere is amazing. Menu was unique where it should be and standard where it should be. I could have easily ordered everything on the menu twice. ... except, be prepared to spend a bit of money; $100 a head assuming two drinks. For the portion and price per dish, high vs. peers with less of an atmospheric dining experience.... ... except, the dining experience was ruined by the rush. We felt like we were at a short order diner the way they brought food out at a frantic pace and crowded our table with plates before we finished a course, cleaning while we were talking. They even brought the bill without asking and before coffee. We ordered coffee anyway! Eat here, for sure!"
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "I had a fantastic experience dining at Nara. The food was impeccable, I loved the Korean Japanese fusion, and the ambience and decor was tasteful. The service was top rated with waitstaff who were extremely knowledgeable and had great recommendations. I would definitely recommend this restaurant to everyone and it has become one of my top 5 favourite restaurants in Houston."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "We really enjoyed Nara, I had been once before with friends but it was my husband's first time here. We did have to wait about 20 minutes past our reservation time because our table was not ready but we enjoyed sitting in the bar and watching what everyone else was ordering go by. The wait staff was very helpful and attentive and the hostess couldn't have been nicer. Definitely going back to try some flap buns, they have been sold out of the buns both times I've been so they must be good!"
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "This was our first time at Nara and we were not disapointed. This is not a traditional Korean BBQ restaurant so if you are looking for a traditional Koren tabletop BBQ experiece this isnt it. If you are looking for creative and innovative Korean BBQ this is your place. Very good food quality and choices with a great concept for sharing with your significant other. The service was very good from our waitress who was very objective and honest with her responses which helped greatly. It gets a little loud but no different than when it was Katsuya before it was Nara. Highly recommended."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "While some of the food was tasty, it was not satisfying to have one bite of a dish a (unless the dish was not so tasty). Also we were always waiting for the next dish to come out. Overall, not a satisfying experience."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "Great dining experience. Food and service was outstanding. One minor complaint... We were a party of 6 and they seated us in a booth which was much to cramped for 6 adults."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "I made reservations at Nara for four girlfriends and I at my girlfriends request . I was impressed with Nara, from the lighting, decorations, ambiance, waitstaff, food and wine choices, and friendliness."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "After our second time there, Nara has quickly climbed up as one of our favorite restaurants in Houston. The food is phenomenal, the quality is amazing, the flavors divine, and the service is incredible!! We had the same waitress (Chris) twice, and not only did she remember us, but where we sat, what we ate and drank, as well as my long and complicated list of food allergies! It takes a lot for me to say this, as I've eaten all over the world, but this place is perfect!"
    Dined on 2/26/2014
  • "Avoid this uninspired restaurant. Several dishes were simply horrible; the other unremarkable. Not a single one I would try again."
    Dined on 2/20/2014
  • "My boyfriend and I have always enjoyed the vibe here! Great food, great drinks, and awesome sushi bar staff! Sit there. You won't regret it! :)"
    Dined on 2/21/2014
  • "This place has not much to offer in the good and service perspective. How can service be great when you have a chefs and staff sitting with the guest and trying to cash in phone numbers? Guys, where are your manners? Let be a bit professional here, you can hit the bars later and catch up with your guest then. Food was okay, although a bit overpriced. The martinis were great! The restaurant is more of a "be seen here" type of place with not much to offer."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "With an interesting yet approachable menu, a terrific hostess who found a table for us despite being an hour late to our reservation, and a waitress who really knew the menu and had fun with it, Nara saved Valentine's Day!"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "the food was great, service was good! chef Chang was very friendly and greet his customer."
    Dined on 1/10/2014
  • "For the money, I was expecting to be very impressed. I was not. The restaurant is extremely loud, to the point where it is an annoyance. The food is fine: not bad, but not great. The one dish that saved the meal was the 'Shin Ramen', make sure to get a bowl."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "Great time at Nara. The Korean-fusion menu is an excellent and much needed addition to the Houston restaurant scene. The Bulgogi buns and the Bibinbap are truly amazing The fish on the sushi side of the menu is very high quality, but it's the Korean side of the menu that really makes this spot a gem."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Went to Nara for a late Valentine's Day Dinner with the boyfriend and it was a very pleasurable experience. We were seated immediately and taken care of. Cody, our main server, was knowledgable about the menu and really patient with us. The staff there seems to really work well together because whenever one person is busy another comes to help with the tables. The food was great and we got personal recommendations from the Executive Chef, Don. He's a great guy because you can tell he's busy and he still helped is out. Most definitely worth the trip!"
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "Everything is so fresh and yummy- my favorite thing on the menu is the salmon truffle roll"
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "The food was very average. More then half the menu is raw fish preparations. I thought this was a Korean restaurant, not Japanese? The sushi and nigiri were very average but priced like Uchi. The drinks on the cocktail menu are a joke at 15$."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "My friend and I came here for a Sat girls night, and it was absolutely perfect for what we were looking for. To start, we ordered sauteed edamame, pork belly steamed buns, bibimbap, and had the chef recommend another dish. Out came a full fried red snapper fish that was cooked to perfection, and we ate every edible part, including the tail, cheek, and one eyeball as well. We told the waiter 3x to not take the dishes because we were still picking at every possible meat. Even the drinks were delicious (and strong!). The restaurant has a wonderful trendy atmosphere that is great for dates or groups - good location to head to other surrounding bars as well. This place is definitely amazing Korean fusion with a wonderful night atmosphere."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "This restaurant is a perfect fit for its neighborhood which is home to Pondicheri, Saint Germaine. Service was obviously a huge priority with clear training as to what the waiter was busmen were supposed to say. We had the sweet potato noodles and open-faced dumplings, both were miraculously great! The sweet potato noodles were definitely a great non-meat option and may even have been vegan, we didn't check. Then I had the seafood shin ramen - I would actually fight someone for that broth if I had to, it was so spicy and perfect with a touch of saffron if I am not mistaken. My husband had the prime rib bibimbop which was also absolute perfection. Go try this place and make sure it hangs around! We will certainly be back soon!"
    Dined on 2/12/2014
  • "Outstanding addition to West Ave, which is quickly becoming our go to place. Spme minor issues (like the hot stone getting cool way to quickly), but overall outstanding."
    Dined on 2/12/2014
  • "Chef Don came and visit us which created a personable and impressive feeling. Our service waitress,Veronica, was entertaining and energetic. She rocks! For us newbie, it gave a great first impression and I definitely would visit again and recommend it to others. (Random side note: Chef Don likes dollar, but make sure to ask for change ;P)"
    Dined on 2/11/2014
  • "loved the korean food and our server, Cody, was a gem!"
    Dined on 2/7/2014
  • "We came thinking we would try the Korean side of the menu, but ended up only having sushi rolls and sashimi. The fish was super fresh and the rolls were superb. We especially liked the green tea smoked salmon sashimi, but the shrooms and tuna roll was a close second."
    Dined on 2/5/2014
  • "Always friendly service from the great staff at Nara. Fresh sushi and great Korean."
    Dined on 2/4/2014
  • "I had very high expectations and Nara exceeded them by far. Great service, unique menu, incredible food!"
    Dined on 1/30/2014