About NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio
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.
Bldg 2 Suite 2102
San Antonio, TX 78215
Latin American, South American, Mexican
Hours of Operation:
Student Run Dinner
"Inspired By Latin Live Fire Cooking"
Tuesday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 8:30pm
Live Fire Kitchen at The Pearl Farmers Market
Saturday: 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Closed for major holidays, and when students are off campus.
Isleta / Emma Kohler
$30 and under
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa
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
Chef Instructor Sofia Sada Cervantes
Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Special Events & Promotions:
Please contact Samantha Fletcher, Samantha.Fletcher@culinary.edu
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NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio Ratings and Reviews
We had a family gathering here. The staff was very accommodating in arranging a special table outside, where we could enjoy the mild evening and great setting in the Pearl. Wesley was knowledgeable and helpful with menu selections. The shrimp and pork belly tacos were tasty. Interesting options feature fresh, seasonal foods. All staff are CIA students and work hard to please. A very nice experience.
Great food and good service. Neat place. I know it’s set to be an upscale place but they really need a tv somewhere. Had to miss the first half of the World Series game 6...
What’s really cool is supporting the students here while having a great tasting meal. For some reason I always thought this was an Asian restaurant but it’s Latin.
Wife had the sea bass which was exceptional. Perfectly cooked and well seasoned. Both of our salads were excellent (pepita harvest and tamarind) and just the right size for just before supper. My salmon tacos were average at best. Tortilla was too try (almost like it was fried). Service was sub-par. Server was not at all familiar with the menu and could not answer questions.
NAO was recommended to us when we visited San Antonio as a unique dining experience. We liked the bar seating where you can observe the kitchen activity. They welcomed questions about menu items and I had plenty. The menu items were interesting and diverse.
Excellent dinner - period! The food was perfectly prepared and seasoned authentically. Service was top notch. Keeping in mind these are students who are cooking and servings the CIA. Well poised and disciplined, but sincere and dedicated. A very enjoyable experience. We were traveling with guests and have experienced other CIA venues (Hyde Park and Greystone). This was equally enjoyable and satisfying. Well done!
the appetizers were unusual for us but so tasty. we had the rribeye steaks as our entrée and unfortunately they were not rested properly, so two of us had blood on our plate but the plate overall were very good. the white chocolate brulee and tequila ice cream were to die for and we wanted more but of course, we had already eaten a full meal. : > ) we went there for the special menu during restaurant week -- first time ever there -- but will return because it was delicious!
We enjoyed our third visit to NAO, this time during restaurant week in San Antonio. Most of us tried the beef skewers which were wonderful and the ribeye which was also excellent. And of course the creme brulee was perfectly prepared. Service was friendly and timely. We'll be back!
The last thing that you should worry about is that the chefs and servers are all students.
The first thing you should be excited about is the food. With a prix fixee menu of three or four courses that changes with the season and available ingredients, the food is incredibly fresh and innovative. Don't be afraid to ask the server about the dishes, since they are also students at the culinary institute in their final semester, they will happily share their knowledge with you.
The second thing you should be excited about is the expansive wine list and craft drinks. (Wine Wednesdays are awesome)
The third thing that you should be excited about is the fixed 17% tip that does not go to your server... It goes to create scholarships for other students to be able to attend the culinary institute.
Nao is a true gem. A tasty tasty gem.
I recommend this restaurant. It has a Latin American menu orientation. Menu is limited to two types of prix-fix selections (3 or 4 course). You have 4 options for each course. Quality and taste is very good. price is reasonable. Have a good wine list. Service is attentive. Hours are limited.
Menu here has been through more iterations than I care to count, current version being a 3 or 4 course prixe-fixe without any a la carte options. They're good value for the buck but we ended up with carryout from the 4 course. I'd pass on the empanadas, as they're the fried, not baked version of same. Waitstaff now are all CIA students, ours was quite friendly and open to discussing the current culinary scene.
Visiting a culinary institute is usually a special event. This visit was too. We enjoyed a beautiful presentation of a 3 course meal with an accompanying flight of wines. The food was delicious, although the cheesecake seemed to be more of a pudding. We will bring special company we may have visiting back to the NOA for an outstanding meal again.
We both did the 3 course- my husband chose the featured one that included ceviche, seafood cazuela and bread pudding . The cazuela was extremely flavorful- his favorite , however ceviche was tasteless and the cranberry chocolate bread pudding was dry.
I picked the garlic Parmesan yucca fries( delicious !), market fish - salmon was perfectly cooked and white chocolate creme brûlée ( it tasted like a regular creme brûlée). Our server was Amanda - very helpful and attentive. A little disappointing was the wine pairing flight - it didn't really paired well with any of the dishes.
Great ambience, menu and service. Not inexpensive, but worth the money. Even though it is run by culinary students, all aspects of the dining experience were outstanding. Graduates will definitely be prepared to begin their careers in the restaurant business.
The menu was diverse and intriguing, as well as full of flavor. The presentation was excellent. I like that the coursing of the dinner was good as we do not like to rush with fine dining. My only criticism were some delays in serving the different courses to all four of us in a timely manner. I would also work on the empanadas. The filling was tasty, but the pastry was tough. Finally, is the cost for iced tea..... Each glass was $3. With refills at $3 each it was $24 for two small glasses and refills with mostly ice. That was just shy of the cost for one 3-course wine pairing and one 4-course paring. We considered that unreasonable. This is an institution of learning, hence my desire to assist in improving what I see, as a "professional diner", to be opportunities for improvement. At least I know not to order empanadas and iced tea next time.
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