Casa de Luz

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 43 reviews )
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512-476-2535
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1701 Toomey Rd, Austin, Texas, USA, 78704

A non-profit experiential educational community center and restaurant. Provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner using seasonal ingredients and serves complimentary organic kukicha tea. Communal table seating. Located near hike and bike trails on the Colorado River and includes an oasis of gardens, a Montessori school, rental rooms, and onsite massage therapist. Open Mon-Sun 7:00am-8:30pm.

Categories: Vegan, American, International, Macrobiotic, Organic

43 Reviews

First Review by Masalaflower

excelente lugar - Edit

un lugar muy tranquilo, la comida muy rica y ligera, el personal muy amable y todos hablan español

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What a Wonderful Meal - Edit

I love the atmosphere and concept. First time at a restaurant like this. Delicious meal and my Omni boyfriend enjoyed the food and environment also.

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Skip It - Edit

I'd give this place one star if I could, but Happy Cow doesn't allow it.

The approach to the cafeteria is pretty, but that's really the only good thing about Casa de Luz.

Food is unimaginative macrobiotic slop. Flavors are dull and the textures are awful. If you go in aware of macrobiotic food's arbitrary restrictions and aversion to seasoning, you might think it's okay, but if you've ever been to a halfway decent vegan restaurant and are expecting something worthy of the inexplicable accolades this cultish cafeteria somehow collects, you're going to be very disappointed.

I think the place coasts mostly on hippie nostalgia; I'm pretty sure eating here in the early 2000s turned me off veganism enough to delay my own choice to go animal-product-free by several years. The contrast between the barely passable food and the conviction of its defenders made me think bland piles of beans and greens were as good as vegan food gets. It's not even filling. More than once I've encountered disappointed post-meal Casa de Luz customers at the downtown Whole Foods looking for something to fill up the corners. Casa de Luz allows seconds, but why do that to yourself?

Non-vegans: please don't judge veganism by this place. It's a time capsule of the worst '90s stereotypes about vegan food. Vegan cuisine has come a long way since mushy beans and soggy kale were mainstays.

Pros: Lovely grounds

Cons: bland, uninteresting food, cultish vibe, cafeteria-type setting

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Casa De Luz...healthy, delicious vegan food - Edit

Casa de Luz is a zen complex with an education center. Walk through the entrance and head straight to the large building in the back, that's the restaurant. The restaurant has a large open kitchen where you can see the food being prepared! I suggest going for breakfast, because they open early at 7 am and you can get super full on healthy food and have a great start to your day. Things to know about the casa: there is no menu, everything is vegan, there's one price, and it is serve yourself (although it's technically not an all-you-can eat buffet). This is what's served for breakfast: porridge with granola, cinnamon, and raisins, soup of the day, beans, sautéed vegetables, dark greens and handmade tortillas. Don't forget a cup or two of the wonderful hot tea that comes with the meal. Once you've made your plate, you'll sit down at large wooden communal tables inside or snag a single table outside if you want a private dining experience.

Pros: Inexpensive, Healthy, Convenient hours

Cons: Parking

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Relaxing atmosphere, good food - Edit

Everything is vegan. you get a fixed menu (dessert is extra). Average price but really like the setting, & enjoyed the food. Don't accidentally pass up the counter where you pay like I did

Pros: All vegan, no thinking about what to have (except

Cons: The procedure was a bit confusing

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favorite place in Austin - Edit

I am also whole foods plant based (like the reviewer below), and Casa is one of the few places to eat out that I don't have to substitute or fret that someone used butter or whatever. Their food is always delicious. The ambiance, whether indoor or outdoor, is delightful. I've volunteered in the kitchen before and the chefs are awesome folks. I would give this place six stars if I could!

Pros: tasty, reasonable prices, good ambiance

Cons: parking can be iffy at times

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My favorite restaurant - Edit

I follow a WFPB diet and this is my favorite place to eat. The people have always been kind and the food has always been healthful and tasty. On top of that the prices are incredibly low given the quality.

The only cons are that the location can be a challenge to get to and there is no choice of meal. However, I still give it 5 stars because I have loved every meal and it is worth the trouble to get to

Pros: healthy, tasty, vegan food, at a good price , pleasant atmosphere, kind peope

Cons: no menu , Austin traffic make it difficult to get to at time

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Healthy food but not very tasty - Edit

Just in terms of finding this place, it is a bit off the street - you have to walk through school grounds to find the restaurant, which is at the back.

I wasn't hungry when we went there so I just ordered a dessert - it was a fruit jelly bowl, which was really nice and refreshing in the heat.

My partner ordered the set lunch, which comes with soup and salad, as well as plate full of a variety of things - beans, veggies etc. He was looking forward to this healthy food after eating a lot of the more junkie (though delicious!) vegan food in Austin. While it was nutritious whole foods, he didn't enjoy it much, as he found the food a bit cold and not very flavoursome. He also ordered a chocolate cheese cake for dessert, which was also quite flavourless.

Pros: Healthy, All vegan, Reasonably priced

Cons: Flavourless, Food wasn't hot

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Great vegan choice - Edit

Casa de Luz is set up unusually - you getg a large bowl of soup and a plate of salad (self served) with your meal. The staff brings out the entree to you. They were very attentive. The food was well done - the soup was hearty kabocha squash, the salad was good. The entree was soft tacos, with sides of rice and beans, greens and pickled beets. Desserts in a case are extra, but worth trying. I had the pecan pie and flan - both very good. It was an appetizing and filling meal. The communal seating is not that different from a usual restaurant, especially when the place is not crowded. Parking is not an issue, there is plenty of metered parking nearby. This is a great and friendly place to go.

Pros: all vegan, great dessert selection

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love it here - Edit

Love this place! It's so good, everything. I even bring my non-veg husband here and he likes it.

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Great Healthy Option - Edit

Like most people posting I really like this place. They have a set meal every day that is always pretty healthy. The community seating may be off putting to some but I don't think it is a big deal. It is on the pricy side but you get what you paid for. It is a high quality, great tasting healthy meal.

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BEST IN AUSTIN - Edit

The one place in Austin where you can go where you're guaranteed that the food is organic and you're not eating any GMO food. Absolutely delicious, beautiful restaurant, would like to eat there every day. Prices are very reasonable, and it's a very big gift for Austin.

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Great Macro in Austin - Edit

This wonderful place changes their menu everyday, but is delightful every time.
It is highly self serve, so don't forget the soup, the salad and they will usually bring your main dish to you.
I usually skip on the desserts, but they have a lot to choose from too.

Pros: Macro, community

Cons: parking

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Outstanding Vegan Macrobiotic Wonderland - Edit

I was visiting Austin on a business trip, found Casa de Luz on this website, and decided to give it a try. I was impressed and will be back the next time I visit Austin. I might even skip the oatmeal at the hotel and visit for breakfast.

The night I visited (2/11/2013), the soup was a Miso vegetable with ginger. The ginger was just a subtle background note, and the was great. The salad was mixed greens with sunflower hemp cucumber dressing. The main course included red beans that were cooked to perfection, a pilaf with basmati rice, onions, celery, carrots, and almonds, steamed sweet potato, blanched greens with a tahini-basil sauce, and a small pile of pickled cucumber, etc. Everything was prepared perfectly.

If you're interested in healthy eating and cooking, then you cannot find a meal that's healthier than this. Outstanding!

They also sell some of the harder-to-find ingredients for macrobiotic cooking and a selection of related books.

Pros: Friendly atmosphere, Healthy cuisine

Cons: Bus your own dishes (OK by me...), BBQ-loving friends may not enjoy

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Warm, homey, healthy food! - Edit

A great discovery in Austin. Very healthy, clean, tasty food prepared for you fresh in front of your eyes. The blend of spices and flavors were unique and very appealing to the taste buds. The portions were large and you leave feeling satiated, but in a clean, not stuffed way. The soup on our night was sweet potato, which I'm not usually a fan of, but this was very good. The hummus had a mashed potato feel and taste to it, again, in a good way..VERY good! The greens were prepared perfectly. No dish was over salty or over spiced, which is so common these days--kudos to Casa de Luz for not doing that! You could actually taste the delicious food. The 2 cold herb teas were equally delicious and satisfying. I would highly recommend eating here and enjoying the outside deck during a nice warm evening. Oh, and setting is very lovely, inspired by Japanese architecture, with areas for children to play, adults to meditate, or just lie in the hammock...this place has it all!

Pros: Food variety, Friendly staff, Nice, peaceful atmosphere surrounds you

Cons: Silverware was wet, Dessert should be included

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Vegan

  Contributions +16

Fabulous - Edit

The welcoming staff and other-worldly atmosphere are just two highlights of this fabulous restaurant. Being vegan is normally SO hard in restaurants, that to have all the choice taken away and a wonderful soup, salad and entree decided for me was great. The food is super nice and super healthy. I discovered Casa de Luz this lunchtime, and it was so good I went back for dinner. 12 dollars for all 3 courses including their tea is good value in my opinion. Treat yourself... Give it a go :)

Pros: Food, Wonderful staff, Healthy

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A must - Edit

I know there are many junk food vegans and I can be one at times but this place is amazing. I have had two amazing experiences here and would love many more. Always friendly with amazing food and a great vibe almost like y ou are at a friends house for a pot luck.

Pros: Quality of food, Healthy, Macrobiotic

Cons: Parking

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Vegan

  Contributions +51

Just ok - Edit

Went to Casa de Luz for brunch once. I keep hearing how fantastic it is, but it wasn't when I went. The food was just "ok". Will probably give it another shot in the future.

Pros: conscious fare, nice, friendly staff

Cons: food was "meh", street parking if you can find a spot

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Amazing food! - Edit

Relaxing environment, extremely healthy and tasty food (always!)...honestly my favorite restaurant in Austin. The food will make you buzz :)

Pros: Macrobiotic, Delicious, Awesome environment

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Excellent - Edit

I love this place and because it's a little far and tucked away, I feel as if it's this special place. The atmosphere and the way it works is definitely unique, including how it's communal and largely self-serve, and I love being surprised every time I come with what they have to offer that day. No matter what they have, I always love it as it's not overly seasoned, delicious, and fresh. The only thing is that it's a bit far and because of the prices, I wouldn't go regularly, but other than that, on those special outings or just for a treat, I would definitely go.

Pros: fresh, healthy, delicious

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This place is awesome - Edit

The food is fresh. The menu is decided daily as they have to find out what is available locally daily. I love that. Everyone is friendly. It has a very "Austin" feel to it. It is tucked away. I like that it feels like a secret. I think you get so much for your money. It is all local, fresh, and amazing. Nothing normal here. Unusual dishes. It is always a treat. So many new things to try. I feel you get a lot for you money. You get a soup, salad and tea - all self serve and then you get a main dish. A plate full of food. All this fresh food and you don't have anyone to tip. I wish we lived closer so we could eat here all the time.

Pros: Fresh, local, no tipping

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I am in love! - Edit

My husband and I had a buffet style brunch here. I fell in love with this cafeteria style restaurant. I have a lot of food allergies so it is perfect for me. I can see the whole food and identify it easily. I wish they would expand and open a restaurant in every city in the USA!!!!!!!! I live in Dallas and it is hard to find a macrobiotic place to eat.

Pros: whole foods, organic foods, allergy friendly

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Delicious and healthy - Edit

The food here makes me feel so amazing afterwards. Some of the side dishes can be bland though.

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Wayo Longoria 23 Feb 2012 - Yes, you've got the idea! Here's the good news . . . If you stay with this way of nourishing yourself, your taste buds will reset. What was initially bland will become delicious at so many levels. Eating unprocessed, organic food falls squarely in the 'delayed gratification' category.

For me personally, it takes a few bites for my senses to pick up on the subtle deliciousness of the plants. By the end of the meal, I am feeling nourished and loved.

I have learned to beware if the first bite is delicious. That initial flavor kick comes from the kind of richness that will give you poor health i.e. oil, salt and processed.  


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Vegan Cult - Edit

This place was a bit weird. I liked it but it was weird. It's sort of like a vegan cult. They people are very nice and they have the same principles as me. You pay when you walk in. There is a menu by the register. Then you serve yourself salad and soup. Eventually someone brings you the main course.
The food is very delicious and healthy. I felt very good after eating there.
The price is right too and there are lots of desserts to pick from but they cost extra.

Pros: healthy, vegan

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Delicious healthy food - Edit

This is a gem! Delicious healthy food - we enjoyed it!

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Disappointed..... - Edit

Although not a true vegan by any stretch, I love the idea of healthy eating...especially when visiting Austin. I had read all the glowing reviews of CDL and decided to ck it out. Not a TOTAL disappointment but.... almost. Already knowing the "pay first" drill, that was not a shock. Not being able to find a place to sit, kinda was. Since it was 103 outside, the idea was not too appealing. But I plunked down the way overpriced $14/pp Sunday Bufett total and decided to stay positive...or try. There is little or no service expectation here so don't think you will be catered to. First, the only drinking vessels were coffee mugs...seems they were out of glasses.....oh and apparenly one cant get ice here.? Odd. Nothing like lukewarm tea in a glass. I guess im just not an extreme vegan or health nut. Dont even think of looking for sugar. :) The food was decent and consisted of salad, greens, and rice, soup. I wanted to get a glass of water later...oops...no glasses ....again. I know people love this place, but I can't say that I'll return. Just not for me. At $14 a head for some warm tea, greens, pinto beans and to sit in the heat....I think I got burned out :(

Pros: Nice Garden Entrance

Cons: Expensive, Service , No Parking

1 Response
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Wayo Longoria 22 Feb 2013 - Going to Casa de Luz needs explaining to those new to Macrobiotics (The Great Life). Notice that Casa de Luz does not advertise nor does it have a large sign enticing people to eat there. It is also tucked away from principle streets and then it is in a somewhat hidden place near the back of the campus. This works because what is happening is not obvious.
Casa de Luz is a non profit organization that has a mission to educate. Eating simple un-industrialized, 100% organic and plant based food is an acquired taste. Once acquired, people celebrate their freedom from illness and regale in the deliciousness of their reset taste buds. It takes time and dedication to change to this way.
I am amazed and in wonder that Casa de Luz continues strong after more than 20 years and what is taught is coming of age thanks to authors like Michael Pollan ("The Omnivore's dilemma"), Colin Campbell ("The China Study") and documentaries like "Forks over Knives."
We, at Casa de Luz, understand that not everyone is ready for what we do, but, when people are ready, we hope to be there for them for another 20 years.
As for the price, Casa de Luz breaks even financially, which means that we are selling the food at cost. Our focus is to give people an experiential education into a simple healing way of getting nutrition and community.
Casa de Luz is more similar to a church than a restaurant. In fact, the people that work at Casa de Luz are asked to not refer to Casa as a restaurant. This is very important because, if Casa is compared to a restaurant, the real value is easily lost.
A good way to experience Casa de Luz is to volunteer in the kitchen and learn how simple it is to cook this way.  


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Delicious - a guaranteed spot hitter - Edit

The food is incredible. Amazing that food that healthy can taste that good. I definitely recommend going during the all-you-can-eat buffet. I'm not as fond of the pay per plate-full style of service,(which is the only reason I don't give it a perfect score) though it's understandable from a business standpoint. The outside seating and gardens are very nice. also dog friendly.

Pros: Delicious, Healthy, Buffet

Cons: Pay per plate

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eatyourveggies 29 Apr 2011 - Actually you can get as much as you like even on the non-buffet days. You just go up and ask them for what you want and they will give you more.  


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