NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio

4.5
665 reviews
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$30 and under
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Latin American
Top Tags:
  • Creative Cuisine
  • Good for Birthdays
  • Neighborhood Gem
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
Tues-Saturday starting at 5:30pm

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
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Gift Card
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.

View Private Dining Details
What 665 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.6
service
4.4
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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E
Houston
5.0Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Our selections were beautifully presented with great flavors.

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OT
5.0Dined 6 days ago
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
5.0Dined 6 days ago
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
5.0Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great Service and great Food!

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HR
4.0Dined 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
5.0Dined 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
4.0Dined 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
5.0Dined 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
3.0Dined 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
4.0Dined 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
5.0Dined 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
4.0Dined 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
1.0Dined 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
5.0Dined 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
5.0Dined 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
5.0Dined 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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OT
San Antonio
5.0Dined on June 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My favorite restaurant at the Pearl!

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IT
5.0Dined 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
5.0Dined 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
5.0Dined 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
5.0Dined 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
5.0Dined 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
4.0Dined 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
5.0Dined 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
5.0Dined on May 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent!

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DB
5.0Dined 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
5.0Dined on May 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service. Truly impressed!

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AT
5.0Dined 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
5.0Dined 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
4.0Dined 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
4.0Dined 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
5.0Dined 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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FM
Charleston
4.0Dined on March 23, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Great food and presentation. It's fun to eat at the CIA as the food is being made and served by students who are training for a career in the culinary arts. I'd recommend it to anyone.

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OT
Birmingham
5.0Dined on March 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We sat at the table with the lazy Susan and made great use of it for sharing tastes of every dish. The pork tenderloin with the spinach risotto was delicious and rich. Our waiter was extremely attentive and guided my gluten free friend to those items on the menu that she could enjoy.

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PS
5.0Dined on March 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food and service, all while supporting students. Our group had a great time.

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CA
Austin
4.0Dined on March 16, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

For a lunch we both had Basque-style Bouillabaisse that was exquisite: fresh, varied seafood, prepared separately than put into a lobster base buttery sauce....excellent. Our waiter answered all our questions, and genuinely interested in our having a delightful experience. The only drawback was the venue's air-conditioning, (very blowy by the window tables,). Also several student wait staff were very slouchy, leaning full body along the serving bar....a first impression when you come in if the room isn't full. It felt looked like a bar instead of a fine restaurant. These (NOT the food) are my reason for 4 stars out of 5.

Worth making a reservation for a unique taste treat in San Antonio; appealing wine list also.

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LB
Oklahoma City
5.0Dined on March 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Samantha and staff were amazing!! They made sure my family and I had a stellar, stress free experience the night before my wedding. My mother is from a small town, and was blown away by the hospitality and great food made by the chef and the students. They even made sure to accommodate my daughter's food allergy, and brought out a wonderful congratulatory dessert to celebrate the occasion. It made the wedding weekend one to remember. I've been to many top notch restaurants here in San Antonio, and this literally 'takes the cake!' Hard working staff, students and chef, AMAZING food in a five star setting. We'll definitely be back!

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BK
5.0Dined on March 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

absolutely fantastic. great staff, incredibly creative meals. Loved it

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s
Kansas City
5.0Dined on March 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food in a classy, upscale, industrial modern setting. Very tasteful and reasonably priced. Great flavor combinations and spicing.

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KM
5.0Dined on February 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Lovely meal at the culinary school restaurant. Very tasty, would definitely recommend!

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