NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio

4.6
673 reviews
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$30 and under
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Latin American
Nao is a classroom for students in their last semester at the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio. Both Culinary and Service is provided by students earning an Associates of Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts.



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Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Latin American, South American, Mexican
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Hours of operation
Student Run Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday, starting at 5:30pm
*subject to closures based off student academic calendar*


Outdoor Kitchen at The Pearl Farmers Market
Saturday: 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

Closed for major holidays, due to students being off campus.
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Phone number
(210) 554-6484
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Payment options
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Chef Instructor Sofia Sada and Hospitality Instructor Samantha Fletcher
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Catering
no off site catering is available
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Isleta / Emma Kohler
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Parking details
Recommended parking in the Koehler parking garage. From there, go to first floor.

If you are being dropped off, please direct your driver to Hotel Emma. We are directly across from the entrance of the hotel
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Public transit
public transportation is through VIA bus routes. please visit https://tripplan.viainfo.net/#/app/tripplanning

if using a taxi or uber, have them drop you off at 136 E Grayson St, San Antonio, TX 78215. this is the address for hotel emma, which is directly across from us.
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Special events & promotions
210.405.6484
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Cocktails, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Private Dining

We love sharing food with people. Celebrate benchmark birthdays, recent retirements, or much-deserved promotions. Let our staff help you make a lasting impression on colleagues, association members, family, or friends while you share a great meal.

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What 673 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.7
service
4.6
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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RR
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful concept, entire dining experience is presented by Culinary Institute of America students. Menu is not overwhelming but has enough variety to satisfy varying palates. We are told that the menu changes frequently... hook, line and sinker - we'll be back!

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AF
1 review
Dined on August 28, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

I enjoyed dinner here with my friend. It was super cool that the culinary students were the chefs, and I love how vegan friendly this place is.

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CL
1 review
Dined on August 25, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

We went for the restaurant week menu, which we found to be overpriced compared to their regular menu. The appetizers were alright; the empanadas had too much dough and not enough of the meat filling. My steak was fantastic -tree seasoning as delicious and consistent in every bite, and it as cooled perfectly. The tres leches was incredible ... My husband amidst didn't share!

The service was great. A little forced in terms of attentiveness, but very polite and professional.

The ambiance is pleasant. Not too quiet, not too loud. And it's fun to see the kitchen while the chefs and students work!

Overall, an enjoyable experience. Would probably go back if we're in the area, though the competition in the area is stiff!

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JG
1 review
Dined on August 25, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 4

Portions were too big and the ribs were tough and not tender.

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MM
1 review
Dined on August 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

NAO has great menu options, the food is delicious, and the service is good. Our server told us they were closing. That’s too bad. :(

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OT
San Antonio
85 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Flavor of the food was good for the steak & ribs. However, the ribs were a bit too salty. Empanadas were good but a bit small. Duck flautas were really good. Tres leche cake a bit dry & chocolate cake too small.

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W
Austin
1 review
Dined on July 21, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 4

Our 4th visit to Nao was disappointing this time. Service needs to be improved- forgot an appetizer serving spoon until requested, forgot an ordered drink from the bar, duck flautas overdone, Grilled octopus was poorly prepared and rubber-like compared to the other times at Nao. Server was polite.

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L
San Antonio
12 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food never disappoints! Every dish we tasted was superb--especially the paella!

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E
Houston
9 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Our selections were beautifully presented with great flavors.

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OT
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was so delicious & the service was great. I cannot wait to go back!

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S
Austin
14 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and menu - nice service with student wait staff - bring back the MOLES! We'll be back......

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OT
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great Service and great Food!

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HR
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Nicely served fresh food; delicious, interesting and sophisticated flavors, good menu selections and very professional wait service.

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KS
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was excellent and the staff were friendly and very knowledgeable. Looking forward to a return visit soon!

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D
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Service was outstanding, wait staff very knowledgeable
Appetizer and entree was very good
The cale for desert was dry and crumbley

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S
Dallas
1 review
Dined on June 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I cannot say enough good things about Nao. The food, drinks, presentation, atmosphere, and service were all outstanding!

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OT
San Antonio
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 4

Overall we had a good time. The venue itself felt very cozy and comfortable. We were greeted as soon as we walked in and the waitstaff were very attentive when it came it making sure we always had water. But our server though he was friendly seemed very nervous. He took our order but apparently forgot to put it in so we were left waiting for our food. He also forgot one of our appetizers. The food that we did get was all amazing. I don’t think there was one person in our group who didn’t enjoy their meal. Everything-food, drinks and dessert were amazing. We would definitely return!

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SA
Austin
16 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Appetizers were very good. Dessert was delicious! Choice of drinks (flight of three bubblies) was nice. Main dish could use improvement. Ordered a steak. It was not very tender and was a bit oversalted. Disappointing.

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The service was great and the food was just delicious! My family and I went for a celebration dinner and each ordered something different from the menu. I had the roast chicken and it was seasoned and cooked to juicy perfection. My grandson had such a tender ribeye. Mom enjoyed her duck flautas and the grilled octopus appetizer, cooked just right. When my desert arrived (a heavenly cheesecake), the chef even wrote Congats on my place in caramel! Thank you for a lovely dining experience.

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SL
Houston
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

This is my fourth visit to the NAO. There was a minor hick-up with one of the dishes we ordered. It was dealt with promptly and we had our fill of great recipes. A foodie dream place. The creativity does not disappoint. Our service this particular evening was impeccable. I'll be back again soon.

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OT
San Antonio
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 3

We went to NAO several years ago right when it opened and LOVED it. It was a fabulous experience with beautiful, creative food. We were sad to not have the same experience this time. Everything was mediocre and menu not near as innovative as it had been in the past. We hoped for more coming from the CIA and their students. Hopefully changes can be made to bring back the original spark.

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LN
1 review
Dined on June 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, courteous and friendly service all in a teaching environment. Will definitely return!

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g
San Antonio
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Not too expensive BUT ALSO SUPER GOOD!! If you get the chance you must go

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TB
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

ALWAYS a delightful dining experience! Love to sit at the counter and visit with the student chefs-to-be.

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MC
San Antonio
1 review
Dined on June 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My favorite restaurant at the Pearl!

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IT
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was wonderful and our waiter was exceptional. I highly recommend this place.

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

We went with some friends , the food was delicious and the service was really good. They run out of brisket empanadas I hope they can extend their schedule on Friday nights

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OT
Palm Springs
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service was great, very relaxed atmosphere. Food was amazing. This is a must if you are in San Antonio.

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ST
San Antonio
6 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Had a good time at NAO. limited children's entree's which was kind of disappointing. the duck tapatios were DEVINE! The kids ate some Mac & Cheese and my husband had the shrimp tacos. Smaller servings compared to other restaurants, but was filling enough. they are only open for a limited time, stop by and check them out!

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OT
Dallas
1 review
Dined on June 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We spent our 2nd anniversary in San Antonio and felt this would be a great spot to try something unique and support the students of the CIA. It did not disappoint! We enjoyed the octopus tastados (could have had 3 rounds of these!) the service is fantastic and fun. Sit at the bar if you go, you’ll get to interact with the studying chefs and maybe even snag some extra goodies 😁

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FH
Amarillo
1 review
Dined on May 19, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Amazing staff. Great service and love the shrimp elote, empanada, duck flouta, steak. Desserts were all awesome. Made the birthday celebration memorable

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MN
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Rock shrimp appetizer was to die for. Guacacmole' spice needs to be backed off. So much serrano ruins the fruit experience. Overall, great place.

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CD
Austin
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent!

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DB
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was a great experience! Staff and food were exceptional. Will do it again!

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OT
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on May 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service. Truly impressed!

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AT
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

It was an outstanding service. I personally drove 4 hours to go to the restaurant after it was recommended to me from a coworker of mine. It was a wonderful experience, one of a kind for sure. The menu was superb even though it was familiar to me since I come from a Latin region where food like it is served. Highly, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend .

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S
1 review
Dined on April 11, 2018
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 5

My only suggestion would be to ask patron how they prefer their burger cooked. Chori burger was delicious but a raw spot in the middle. Replacement burger was over cooked. I didn’t mind because the students are so friendly and eager to please. Both my friend’s and my dinner were comped so we donated money to CIA. I will continue to dine with Nao and brings friends with me. One of my favorite spots in SA.

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OT
Denver
29 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Delicious meals, my wife had the Chicken Skewers and said the marinade was very good. We will look forward to going back.

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OT
1 review
Dined on April 3, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Our waitress was nice and courteous. We are deaf so she was patient with us. However she forgot my request to grill the shrimp instead of sautéed. She didn’t offer to fix this.

She took my margarita when I was not done with it. Still have some left to drink. She didn’t bother to ask me if I’m done with my drink.

I think the price was way too much since portion of each meal was not full portion. Overall it’s overpriced.

Need to teach the students are how to serve deaf customers.

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

It was my boyfriends birthday, the atmosphere was excellent , the service was good. Amazing food and presentation !, would definitely go back

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