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Reservations for 4 were for 6:30. Did not get seated until 7:00. We were asked if we could be seated a large table or wait another 15 minutes. The large table turned out to be a huge round table that was unacceptable for the 4 of us. There were a number of 4 person tables vacant. We asked to be seated at one on them and our request was complied with.
The octopus/flat bread appetizer was very good. The main entrees (rib eye steak and chicken) were average. The desert was fabulous.
Service, once the seating issue was settled, was good. Very nice ambiance.
Overall, a wonderful dinner experience for Valentine's Day. Fortunately, we were not restricted to the prix fixe menu because one of the delights of this restaurant is the try the many tasty treats from the appetizer and small plate menu and then share an entree. We really enjoyed the heart of palm salad, Manchego and guava spread, and the duck mole. Plus, the chocolate shaman dessert was divine. The only negative is the service...we received an appetizer meant for another table, the waiter couldn't open a bottle of wine, and the inconsistent attention to detail. A wonderful night and highly recommended!
We was celebrating anniversary so I choose this place based on previous recommendations and the experience was excellent. Service was very friendly and very quick. Food was outstanding and we enjoy the experience to see how they cook at the kitchen. The Chef is a very nice person who cares about every detail at Nao.
Nao is one place to go first time and repeat!!!
A friend recommended NAO when she heard we'd be in San Antonio. We loved the look of the space and the concept of a "lab" restaurant. The conversation starter cards were a nice touch. Our food was great, and our server did well, even though she was feeling new to the role. Our dessert was unusual and very tasty. My husband tried a cordial that was delicious, so that was a fruitful experiment.
First of all, NAO is not cheap, not somewhere you would eat on a daily basis and not a hamburger joint. It is department of the Culinary Institute of America located at the Pearl complex. The chefs and bartenders, plus some of the table staff - are students. They are taught well. A very nice atmosphere, not loud (but we went very early for dinner) and the menu was food from Argentina , which was meat-oriented....beef, chicken, pork. We had the tasting menu ($42) and started with an appetizer, then an excellent salad, then a great grilled steak and a desert..which was extremely good! The server was a professional and very good, the food was not fast coming out but was timely, presented well and excellent. We had Old-Fashions to start (great job!) and a bottle of decent Malbec. Then, appetizers, the 3 course tasting menu and coffee. The bill was $100 per person ...without alcohol, probably $60 (but why? it was good !) Would we go again, sure!, in about another month or so.
The service was pretty bad, the hostess seemed lost, our waiter seemed uninterested and was not attentive at all, we had to ask several times for the same items, some never arrived. He also forgot to put in one of our appetizers. He never asked how our food tasted, but our food was "ok". My steak was way undercooked (i had to get med well for health reasons) so i had to send it back, and no one came back to ask if my steak was cooked correctly the second time. We have dined at numerous restaurants with a lot better food for either the same price or cheaper. For the price range, i expect excellent food and service. Once he finally brought the check and ran our card, we discovered that there was a 17% gratuity already included. Then I realized why the service was so poor..the waitstaff is guaranteed a 17% gratuity so why try??I have been a server before, so I was planning on just tipping 20% (if they are good I usually tip over 20%). This was our first time at the restaurant and we went to celebrate my husband's birthday, but it was a disappointment more than a celebration. We will not be recommending this place to anyone we know, and we will definitely not come back.
The overall experience was great! The food was quite good, we went for Culinaria week and had the fixed menu. Up until we had the check come. we were with 2 other couples, and made it clear at the beginning of ordering, to split the check based on what each couple ordered (some of us ordered additional appetizers and we didn't someone else paying for our food). Unfortunately, our server split the entire table check in thirds. We waited at least 30 minutes, through 3 printed checks, to get it straightened out, and in the end it was still wrong, but we paid and left regardless. I guess the key is to keep in mind that this is a learning restaurant, for people going into the restaurant service industry, and to be patient and understanding. I would go back, but certainly make it abundantly clear how we want the bill split.
My husband and I had dinner at Nao on a Thursday during Culinaria Restaurant Week. They offered a three-course dinner for $35 per person. The inside of the restaurant is very pretty and you can watch the chefs working. We made a reservation and were seated and served very promptly. My food was all delicious including the black bean soup, the fish stew and the papaya panna cotta. I especially liked the Rubi Fizz cocktail. My husband had the wine pairing and received 3 full glasses of wine for $20. He enjoyed his meal of salad, steak and the papaya dessert. The people working in the restaurant are all students at the CIA. So we enjoyed talking to our server about the school and her plans after graduation. Our only problem came at the end of our meal when we had to wait a really long time for our credit card to be taken and processed because our server was busy with a nearby table where the director of the school was entertaining his guests.
It's exciting to see the culinary students learning how to work the front of the restaurant. The menu changes monthly helping keep things fresh. Good ambiance.
We've eaten at the CIA in NY and CA, so we were very excited to try their third site. While more laid back, the food was just as fabulous in taste and presentation. They are presently closed for lunch because of construction in the area, or we would have returned the next day! The focus is on foods of Latin America. Friends who had been to San Antonio before had not mentioned this restaurant so now they are going to get a recommendation - without reservation - from us!
My time at NAO at CIA was a memorable experience. I visited because my younger sister just got into CIA in New York and I was in the San Antonio area and wanted to visit a CIA restaurant. The student workers and staff were very friendly and helpful. They gave me advice to give to my sister on the program, which I am grateful for.
The food is AMAZING! It's very high class and there is such detail and the taste is splendid. I'd recommend this to anybody.
NAO never disappoints. Whether I take people there myself or just send folks there, I always get the same rave reviews from them. My last visit we hit every appetizer (some twice) and then finished with the banana dessert. This is definitely both a special occasion destination as well as just any time when you want it to be special.
Our visit to Nao was for a work function, My VP intrusted me to find a great place to have our holiday dinner at. I personally have never been to this place before but I've had read really good reviews and the food menu online looked amazing. So I booked my reservation and crossed my fingers... but I'm so glad we came here. Nao did not disappoint! and even after the fact some of our food came out cold or they didn't have derserts ready. (It was the first day of a new chef class) Our waiter was on point and they offered to comp those meals, and desipte all of that. Our food was divine! Nao was a great hit with my coworkers and my VP was also very pleased. Thank you Nao for making our dining experience wonderful.
This was our second visit to NAO. We like the tasting menu, because it features uncommon dishes. However, as was the case in our first visit, the servive was not up to par fo for a restaurant of this quality. Understand that the servers are CIA students. Still, sitting for 15 minutes without any contact at all from staff is not acceptable. When we did finally get seved, the night went well. The food was great, but the restaurant needs to work on the overall quality of the dining experience.
Atmosphere, food, and service were all great. Will definitely go back when menu changes again
Although they advertise specialty menus from Latin America, they usually serve the same things with different sides. I was disappointed when they had Argentina because they advertised a churrasco but I was served a new york strip. When i returned for the Puerto Rican steak and onions (which is supposed to be a thin minute steak), I was served a new york strip with tomato and avocado salad. They need to do more research into providing a more auntentic dining experience when advertising special menis. I will not return.
Attentive but non-intrusive service, great ambience which faciliated dinner conversation (open, but not too noisy) and great food. Wonderful for a special occasion.
We were at NAO specifically for the Cuban food. Cuba is the country they are currently highlighting. Had the Chef's tasting menu as well as the pork chop. Drinks (coquito), appetizer, main course and desert - all good. We really like NAO because of the changing menu featuring different countries every couple of months. They also have an interesting drink menu.
Enjoyed a memorable meal here and would definitely recommend!
It is located in the Pearl so we were concerned about parking. It was so available - it was a perfect evening the wait staff was attentive, the dining room was noisy but not so intrusive. We ate the special with relish. My husband had the snapper & thought one of best he'd had. My beef was also perfect. The sauces served with each dish were supberb
We plan to return.
Service: One of our party of four asked if the okra could be held and/or substituted for something else, her response was, there is very little okra on the dish, really it's just a garnish, it should not bother you as it's not really a part of the dish, our thought: then why is it even on the plate. While enjoying appetizers the server actually started to remove our plates, we stated we were still eating, she seemed a bit put out and stated: your entrees will be right out, should I have them hold them, we replied no. It then was another 15 minutes before our entrees arrived. Ok, the food. The cheese and olive plate was great, fish over cooked and the "poached" pineapple could not but cut. Nothing noteworthy, not worth your time.
Having eaten at CIA in California, I was very excited to try the one in San Antonio. My experience in California was stellar but here, only pretty good. Entree selections were rather limited and slightly smaller than expected. Flavor was good to better than good. Overall, not the dining experience I was anticipating.
We were anticipating an experience that matched our visit to Greystone in the Napa valley two years ago. Unfortunately NAO did not meet our expectations. Our waiter, an employee, was very good. However, the food was not exceptional and was served so quickly that we barely had time to savor our wine. My steak was the chef's specialty and very flavorful but was served rare. Our waiter had advised us that it would be served medium. My wife's dinner was fine. Overall, we were just a bit let down.
I went with my family for dinner on saturday, having a lot of expectations since I read and heard very good reviews about this restaurant, unfortunately we were not impress, the portions were small and the price high and flavor was ok.
Plus the waitress was not very friendly either, over all not the best experience :-( for sure I won't recommend it to my friends!!
With the intent of evaluating the program at the Institute, we were overwhelmingly surprised at the quality of the food and attention to detail.
If you are a foodie, this place is for you. This was our second time there and every dish was outstanding. The service this time left something to be desired. Starting with our server being disappointed that we were only a table of two. She never took a drink order and we had to ask for bread. . We will definitely go back.
My experience at NAO was okay. For the price relative to the quality of the food and drinks, I think the place is most def overrated. If you're a foodie and you have been around, this place won't impress.
We ate at Nao while visiting San Antonio for a meeting. The service was great, the food choices varied and interesting. Would definitely recommend the chocolate mousse dessert with the most delicious rum sorbet.
This restaurant is located in a very exciting area of San Antonio (Pearl Brewery). Nao has a wonderful atmosphere and the goings-on in the kitchen are viewable from most of the dining room. The menu is very Latin/South American focused but with a wide choice of entrees. My 2 companions have very narrow palettes/no sense of culinary adventure and ended up finding dishes they ended up loving. I had the green ceviche, the brown sugar rubbed pork belly and the goat cheese cheesecake. All were delicious and the presentation was absolutely beautiful. The portion sizes weren't enormous, but satisfying. Expect to pay about $50 per person for 3 courses (a 3-course tasting menu is available at a slightly lower cost) + alcohol. Gratuity is automatic.
This restaurant is all about fabulous food. The sights, aromas, textures, presentations, flavors, subtle hints of flavors, tastes, lingering aftertastes, unexpected sensory pleasures are all here abundantly. NAO is a Disneyland for your senses. My waiter is a Culinary Institute student. His knowledge of food, his passion about it, and his sense of style made my dining experience more enjoyable. The restaurant is sort of Las Vegas Lounge Chic, but is comfortable and I was able to enjoy a sense of amiable companionship with my guests. We were actually able to converse. This is fortunate because we had a lot to discuss about the delights of our meals. When I come again I will ask for extra forks for when my dining mates say "Taste this!"
My wife and I visited the Persl District in San Antonio and were recommended NAO! Great atmosphere and amazing service! The Hostess say us at the bar/counter so we could have the full experience. It was like sitting at the Chef's Table at a high end Resturant. We saw all the Chefs preparing our food. As for the food it was AMAZING, with fresh and unusual combinations! The drinks are just as unusual and amazing! Do not pass this place up!
4 of us went for dinner. We had a reservation and were seated quickly. Our server came right over, very friendly great suggestions for pre dinner drinks, she was also very knowledgeable about the menu and made good suggestions for appetizers and dinner. Very enjoyable evening. We will return.
This place is truly exquisite. Phenomenal menu, well executed! It's a foodie must :) can't wait to go back!
The food was really flavorful and the plating was beautiful. The customer service was outstanding and they very accommodating. I enjoyed the overall experience and it was a great place to celebrate a Birthday or any other special occasion.
Food was excellent and pleasing to both the palette and the eye. However the service was really, really lacking. Like, I've had more attentive service at a McDonald's. I realize they are students at Nao, but it was quite ridiculous. My friend asked for ice tea at beginning, server came back to the table like 3 times and never brought it to her. When we asked about items on the menu, he replied "yeah um, I really don't know". We asked about desserts and literally he said, "well we have one that's like frosted flakes with bananas and we have a few others but I forget what they are..." Seriously?!? Just shocked that service is so bad for an upscale restaurant. Gratuity is automatic on the bill for everyone but it goes to the school.
The food was great, service excellent! The only negative was the noise level. W We were a group of 8 and had to yell a at each other to be heard. It's pretty noisy even for a smaller group to have a cconversation.
Was looking for a special place to go to and found Nao. Even though it was for a romantic evening, for this it was not the best place to be as the noise level was pretty high and talking was very difficult however the food was excellent; the service was one of the best.....we would definitely be going back!!!
Three of us had dinner at NAO - two of has the pre fix with wine pairings and one had soup and seafood entree. Delicious all!
Our Server was the best and we enjoyed hearing about the culinary school. We will definitely be back.
I love to dine out and my husband & I agree our dining experience at NAO was superb from start to finish. Realizing it's a learning experience for the students of the culinary institute everything went very smoothly. Although the tables next to us arrived, dined and left during our dinner we were never rushed or crowded and enjoyed our two+ hour dinner.
We were there midweek during Restaurant week; my husband had the fixed menu and I enjoyed the Bahianan fish stew. We were very pleased with our single vineyard wine touted as the queen of Chilean wines.
We will be back and thank our friend for recommending the experience.
Just dinner out great food and cocktails great value just a little loud limited parking