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“Wonderful Birthday”
Review of Nana's Restaurant

Nana's Restaurant
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Ranked #4 of 797 Restaurants in Durham
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $20 - $80
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Business meetings
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: James St.
Reviewed October 29, 2013

We had a wonderful dinner at Nana's for my wife's birthday. The pate appetizer was outstanding as were the snapper and lamb shank entrees. Place was packed on a Wednesday night. The owner/chef Scott was out and about as usual making sure everyone's meal met expectations. Definitely one of the best restaurants in Durham for a special occasion hands down.

Thank Tom B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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407 - 411 of 551 reviews

Reviewed October 18, 2013

My husband and I ate here for his birthday after he had seen the restaurant featured in a local magazine. We had salad and entree each with one dessert. I can't say anything bad about it, just that it really was not worth the money we spent. Did not have any alcohol, so, can not speak to that.

I would rather drop $45 in one of the downtown eateries.

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Thank ncwhiskers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2013

Having read positive reviews, we decided to visit Nana's during recent trip to Durham. Unfortunately, it was a very average evening. From entering to leaving there was nothing special. It seemed to take forever for the waiter and pre-dinner drink to arrive. The arugula salad was pleasant. The chicken was small and bland with the pork being much over-cooked. Skipped dessert.

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1  Thank RVChhi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2013

We had never been to Nana's and decided to try it for our wedding anniversary, passing up all the great restaurants downtown. I made the reservation on Open Table and they knew it was our anniversary, so we were surprised to find ourselves seated at the dreaded table next to the kitchen door. It was early in the evening and the room we were in was more than half empty, but they refused to reseat us. Our waiter came over, didn't introduce himself, and proceeded to loudly and in the most patronizing way (hand on hip) tell us he was going to "sell us" on the table. He said the room would be full in a few minutes (it never was) and we'd be glad we were back here in the corner because it would be so loud everywhere else. He told us he would give us a list of the "good" tables at the end of our meal so next time we came we could request one of the "good" tables. The rest of the meal was almost a Saturday Night Live cartoon of superciliousness. This might have passed for fine dining in Durham a few years ago when we were a gastronomic backwater, but these days our town is a hotbed of fabulous food and good service. Nana's management needs to get out and see what that looks like.
We decided to take a tapas approach to our meal and ordered most of the appetizers on the menu, all of which looked and sounded promising. Our waiter did a good job of helping us plan the progression of dishes. While we were waiting, several men with different jobs seemed to be officiously rushing around (why? the dining room was less than half full) doing their assigned task. One kept water in the glasses. Another came around with a basket of two bread choices: the wheat focaccia was bland and the baguette was too hard to chew. Another seemed to be assigned to the pepper grinder and salt shaker, neither of which were on the table and both of which were needed because the food was very bland. While we were trying to eat the bread, our waiter came back and made another scene, telling us someone had just cancelled and would we like to move to the table next to us, but he'd have to break it down into a two-top instead of a four-top. We declined. The rest of the meal was a disappointing array of dishes. The chicken pate was extremely bland and the toast points were dark brown and hard. The three condiments that came with it couldn't jazz it up enough to make it zing in any way. Have these folks never heard of garlic? Or salt? The "salmon bellies" were ground up and piled on tiny hard things that were described as potato pancakes (bland, hard, no discernable onions). The gnocchi seemed to be swimming in a soup of hamburger and onions. When I asked, the waiter told me it was duck. Really? And again, this dish could have been salvaged for me with some garlic and herbs. Very bland. Nothing we were served during this part of the meal is anything I could recommend to a friend.
In fact the only thing that salvaged this meal was the dessert and espresso. The waiter brought us a complimentary panna cotta with a candle, which was a nice touch, and the panna cotta was the best we've ever had. Creamy, smooth and delicious. They had both caf and decaf espresso which complimented the panna cotta perfectly.
At the end of the meal, the waiter gave us the promised keys to the kingdom of Nana's -- the best tables to request next time we're in. The dining room still had empty tables as we left. Sorry to say, there won't be a next time. I really hope Nana's gets the word on what good dining looks like in Durham these days, or they may find themselves with more and more empty tables on a Friday night.

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2  Thank Redwood67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2013

We had heard some good things about Nana’s in Durham. My wife and I decided to pay it a visit. The occasion was our 42nd anniversary. The experience was astonishing.
It started with the bread. We both chose a slice of baguette… It was a mistake. It was too chewy and not crusty enough… I do not know where Nana’s gets its bread. But the Weaver Street Market or the Chicken Bridge Bakery make wonderful bread and remarkable baguettes this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
We ordered a bottle of Sancerre to go with our meal: Tuscan tomato soup for me, pork confit and ricotta ravioli for my wife; to be followed by black bass for me and grouper for my wife…
Our appetizer arrived after about 20 minute, but no Sancerre. We asked for it. A waiter brought the bottle. Now Sancerre is a complicated wine. It can be wonderful or plain mediocre. It is moody. It requires a delicate touch. Well, something happened to this bottle on the supply chain from wherever it was stored to our table. The wine was at room temperature. I asked for an ice bucket. I was told that the wine generally is kept at the bar but perhaps there might be an ice bucket available… Finally, we got an ice bucket. The wine would take until the end of our meal to be at an acceptable temperature… If it had been a red wine, it would also have been too warm. This prompts me to wonder how their very expensive “reserve wines” are stored…
In any case, I tasted my Tuscan tomato soup. The least I can say it that there was nothing Tuscan about it. It had the saltiness of Neapolitan and Sicilian cuisine and the subtlety of a sledgehammer… What happened to the wonderfully subtle cuisine of Tuscany? My wife’s pork confit ravioli had the finesse of a spicy pork sausage…
We were off to a very good start… Mediocre bread, incompetent wine service, overwhelmingly spiced-up power appetizers.
The entrees were slightly better. My Bass was good. I liked the braised bok choy and peas in a chanterelle sauce. My wife’s grouper was overcooked. However, they were swimming in a non-descript broth (?), juice (?), sauce (?). We have yet to figure out what it was…
We decided to have dessert and dessert wine. It was our anniversary after all… I hesitated between Monbazillac and Sauternes for the wine. We both had the crème brulée. I asked the waitress if the Sauternes was at a cool temperature… She said that she could put it on ice… I gave up!
So we had the Sauternes and the crème brulée, a combination that we both enjoy. The dessert and dessert wine was the best part of our evening. Of course, a crème brulée is the standard “war horse” of desserts in any restaurant… But it was excellent.
Overall, service that is simultaneously stiff and intrusive, bread that is reminiscent of the American version of French bread 40 years ago, wine service that does not seem to respect wine, mediocre appetizers at best, edible entrees, excellent dessert, and a very expensive evening.
We will not go back.

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4  Thank NAM7904
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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