Nais Lunch & Dinner - A new location for an old favorite!

by Chef Trent Wauson
(Samaipata, Bolivia)



When Chef Trent and his Zen Master go to dine, sometimes they need more bang for their buck. For those who don’t speak Texan, that means the best quality at a relatively low price and that, my friends, is what Nais Lunch & Dinner restaurant is all about.

This beautiful and elegantly decorated café has consolidated their operations into a new location just off the Plazuela Blacutt and closed their difficult-to-find site on Alemana. It seems like a smart move.

We have been feasting at Nais since the day of their opening three years ago and love the service, bright cheerful atmosphere and yes, we love the food. The selection of steaks with three different sauces as well as the chorizo which is a hefty grilled beef cut with no sauce but oh so succulent, as well as their choices of Chilean influenced seafood plates, round out an international menu that is sure to please.

But that’s not all they have! There is a stroganoff that is well-prepared that comes with your choice of beef, chicken or shrimp and there is super chicken cordon bleu and a chicken Alfredo with noodles.

Dishes are inexpensive, but do not include sides. The sides are varied and cheap, about 15 Bolivianos each. One can choose from three different salads, rice, fried potatoes, Alfredo noodles, shrimp, etc. So we always build our plates with what we want and for the price we want! This is great because the Zen Master and I can sample each other’s orders and get a blast of many flavors. Fun stuff when combined with a glass of Chilean wine or a fruit juice which comes with free refills!

Tasty desserts and an abundant selection of different coffees for espresso and there you have it, a superb banquet fit for a king or even better, fit for a chef!

A normal bill for two of us comes to about 120 to 150 Bolivianos making this one of the most economical places in Santa Cruz.

Note: I have taken many of our waitresses to eat in this restaurant throughout the last three years in order to demonstrate how I would like them to attend guests in our La Luna Verde restaurant. However, the service has become a little lax lately with some new waiters. The ones that have been around for a while still greet us with a kiss or a handshake at the door and jump to our every desire.

Hint: We just discovered yesterday their upstairs dining room that can be entered from the stairs at the rear. It has an outdoor balcony and is just gorgeous!

Other menu hints:

1. Stay away from the ribs unless you like fatty oven-baked pork. The taste is good with any of the three sauces, but your doctor will be all over you about your cholesterol level!

2. The shrimp all come with shell on. I have spoken with the owners about it several times down through the years to no avail. It seems that this is the Chilean custom and those die hard here in South America. The Zen Master orders hers peeled and many times they arrive with shell intact anyway!

Fridays in Paradise with Chef Trent Wauson
Published 12 April 2014

Chef Trent Wauson owns the La Luna Verde Resto Bar and La Posada del Sol boutique hotel in Samaipata, Bolivia. He contributes his favorite Bolivian recipes, restaurant reviews and food commentary on www.BoliviaBella.com. Visit Chef Trent's Food Page on BoliviaBella.com for more.

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Apr 29, 2014
They had their chance
by: Anonymous

The last time we went to Nais was when we gave them a second chance because they are local to our neighborhood. My wife was not feeling good and did not want to eat. The waiter insisted we would pay a drink charge for her to be there, which really just amounted to a 40Bs cover charge. The manager quipped that is how they run their restaurant.

That is just plain bad business and even worse customer service. Our party of six happily walked out.

Apr 12, 2014
Definitely a matter of opinion
by: Chef Trent

Thank you for your comments.
NAIS is filled daily, and they are open every day, with the faithful who, like us, look for variety and quality for the price.
I and many of my friends find Santa Brasa just horrible and their service atrocious. The beef is tough and ordinary and despite its nice decor the food is definitely run-of-the-mill meat and a poile of starch.
But that will be a future review. I prefer to spotlight the positive which includes the good, dependable restaurants in Bolivia like NAIS that offer something besides burgers, beef and beer.
As for the prices, we consistantly spend more in other restaurants and sometimes the quality is lacking for the higher price.

Apr 12, 2014
Naïs
by: Steve Baker

Funny, we find Naïs' prices right in line with the best restaurants in town, not less expensive by the time you get out the door. We don't go back there anymore because the food just seemed too ordinary for the money, but to each his own. Just down the street a few blocks, Santa Brasa offers much more for very little, if any, additional bolivianos, IMHO. Naïs did have a great idea in including "Lunch and Dinner" in their name so you know that, unlike many of Santa Cruz's best restaurants, they are open for lunch--just like Santa Brasa! :-)

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