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Party Size
For 2
Date
Fri, 4/20
Time
11:30 PM

NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio

4.4
637 reviews
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$30 and under
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Latin American
Perfect For:
  • Creative Cuisine
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Good for a Date
****Student Run Dinner
CURRENTLY CLOSED FOR STUDENT BREAK
Service to resume Thursday May 10, 530pm *****

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
CURRENTLY CLOSED FOR STUDENT BREAK
Service to resume Thursday May 10, 530pm ****

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
Please contact Instructor Samantha Fletcher, Samantha.Fletcher@culinary.edu
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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.

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What 637 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.3
service
4.2
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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4.0Dined on November 1, 2017

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.

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3.0Dined on October 19, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on October 14, 2017

Excellent evening and night out with family. Great location and will head back again in near future

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4.0Dined on October 13, 2017

Another great meal at Nao. Very interesting flavors and lots of vegetarian options. Staff is very informed about the menu and flavors. Great service

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4.0Dined on October 10, 2017

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.

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3.0Dined on October 6, 2017

The service was excellent. The food was just okay. The attempt to mix pickled veggies with main course to create a certain flavor fell short.

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5.0Dined on October 4, 2017

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!

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5.0Dined on September 29, 2017

Wow, delicious food! Everything is done on some sort of fire, so the restaurant has a smoky scent though not actually smoky. Tried salmon and conchinita pibil. Highly recommended both!

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5.0Dined on September 28, 2017

Third time there, still amazing food, every staff member is awesome. Anytime I travel to San Antonio I check to see if I can fit this place into my schedule.

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4.0Dined on September 27, 2017

I ordered 7 dishes. All we're good except the half order of charred octopus. The wine list is great, with the Mexican Cab and the Fleur des Graves being the highlights. If they added at least one sherry to the list it would be perfect.

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3.0Dined on September 1, 2017

Four of us ate dinner and shared 4 different apps and main courses. Quality and taste inconsistent. Some portions a bit small. Chicken was the best item. Empanadas also good.

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5.0Dined on August 30, 2017

Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful !! Absolutly a perfect evening. the service was impeccable, as was the food. Thank you to everyone there that made my son's birthday so special. If you haven't been, make sure to dine at this gem of a reasturant.

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5.0Dined on August 25, 2017

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!

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4.0Dined on August 24, 2017

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!

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5.0Dined on August 24, 2017

Fanflippintastic food @resto week menu, and the vibe is SO cool - open kitchen reminiscent of Gordon Ramsay's F Word. Service: on-point.

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5.0Dined on July 20, 2017

Great meal, courteous, efficient service. Thanks for a wonderful meal.

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4.0Dined on July 19, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on July 19, 2017

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.

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1.0Dined on July 14, 2017

Very underwhelming, restaurant is empty, food is below average, would not recommend

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5.0Dined on July 11, 2017

Superb service by Alexa and superb cuisine by the student chefs.

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5.0Dined on July 11, 2017

We'll go back soon!!! Outstanding food and extremely friendly service!

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5.0Dined on July 6, 2017

Enjoyed the dinner. Service was a bit forced early on, but relaxed throughout the meal. Still very good especially for the pretty low price.

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3.0Dined on June 29, 2017

I fully understand the concept of this restaurant and was excited to experience it. Unfortunately, it did not live up to its reputation.

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5.0Dined on June 28, 2017

We loved it. All the chefs and servers are students and they do a phenomenal job! You only have a choice of 3 or 4 course meal so come hungry. We couldn't finish everything but it was all very good. And it was fun to support their learning and careers.

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4.0Dined on June 24, 2017

Service was great and the food good as usual. I had the mango cheesecake for dessert and it was perfectly done.

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2.0Dined on June 23, 2017

The food was delicious and the atmosphere is perfect. The service was lacking considering the price.

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3.0Dined on June 22, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on June 21, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on June 15, 2017

Food was exceptional! Service was great. Chef came out and interacted with patrons. It was a lovely personal touch from all.

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4.0Dined on June 14, 2017

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.

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3.0Dined on June 10, 2017

Surprised to find you had to order Prix fix because 4 weeks ago you had the option to order either way. Service o.k., students have a lot to learn about customer service! Long​ periods with no food or attention,!

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5.0Dined on June 9, 2017

Loved the active classroom setting. Great service and food. Great wine options. Will be back!

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5.0Dined on June 9, 2017

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.

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4.0Dined on June 3, 2017

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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5.0Dined on June 3, 2017

NAO always provides interesting menu options. One of my favorite places!

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4.0Dined on June 2, 2017

The ribeye steak was of lower quality and extremely "tough". Not the chef's fault or servers fault. Presentation of all was great.

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5.0Dined on May 26, 2017

We enjoyed eating at NAO at the Pearl. We sat at the counter to the cook stations and could see all of our food being prepped. Very organized operation, an instructor was present, students that waited on us were willing to answer questions, the overall experience was fabulous. Food presentation was very colorful, fresh preparations, adequate portions, good recommendations from wait staff and menu had accurate descriptions. Would highly recommend and would like to return if I am in San Antonio again.

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5.0Dined on May 18, 2017

They food was fantastic. We all enjoyed it.

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4.0Dined on May 13, 2017

This was our second visit but a first for our daughter and her husband. We were disappointed on a beautiful spring evening they were not seating anyone on their patio. Said they didn't have staff. We arrived 20 minutes early and ending up waiting over 25 minutes before being seated. Our server was a CIA student which was nice. She answered all of our questions and was very attentive. We will definitely return!

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5.0Dined on May 13, 2017

The entire staff was so friendly, especially Lawrence. The food was fantastic and the ambiance was perfect. Thank you!

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