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Casa de Luz

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 40 reviews )
Contact 512-476-2535

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.

Category: Vegan, American, International, Macrobiotic, Organic

Reviews (40)

First Review by Masalaflower

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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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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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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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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  Contributions +33

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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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.

1 Response

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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.

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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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.

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

1 Response

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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.

Basic macrobiotic - Edit

While visiting friends in Austin, they brought us here to eat. The grounds are beautiful and tranquil. As they only serve the same meal to everyone, we were able to easily compare. The soup and salad were self serve while the meal was brought out to us. The vegetable soup was barely lukewarm and the salad was just greens with dressing although there was another side salad of quinoa which was quite good. The main entree had butternut squash, beans, rice, collard greens and pickled cabbage. While there was nothing bad about it, it wasn't anything special either. It was just basic and plain. We all agreed the best part was the collard greens due to the terrific miso dressing they used on it, so we had seconds of that. We also bought additional desserts of cherry apple kanten and lemon tart. They were good, but our friend got a carob pie that had an odd gelatinous like texture to it and he didn't finish it. You also have to bus your own table. While the food is healthy and fresh, we all agreed that we'd probably not be back as there are other options in town.

Pros: healthy and fresh, beautiful setting

Cons: same meal for everyone, basic and plain

1 Response

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Wayo Longoria 25 Feb 2012 - I wish there were options like Casa de Luz everywhere but, alas, there are not. To start with, Casa de Luz is not a restaurant. It is an educational community center that is closer to be a place of sacred worship than a for profit commercial establishment. The intention at Casa de Luz is to foster a healthy community and learn experientially.

The only other place I know where pesticides are strictly forbidden is at the Maharishi Community in Fairfield, Iowa. I wish there were places where all the food was non industrialized and 100% vegan. I love that our cooks do a brief meditation in honor of the food that is being cooked at the beginning of each shift. I feel odd eating at establishments where each party is a party onto itself. I love to be able to sit at any table I choose and make new friends. I love that profit does not drive the decisions at Casa de Luz.

The good news is that after 27 years, a new Casa de Luz has opened in San Diego, California by my son who is healing himself by living a Macrobiotic life style!

Amazing place, really earned this fantastic review - Edit

I was treated so wonderfully at Casa De Luz. I'm on the McDougall Diet, which is a low fat no added oil vegan diet and the cooks at Casa De Luz worked out a special bowl of rice, beans and lemon flavored steamed veggies. They were so wonderful and accommodating. My simple dish was beyond amazing. I'm craving it as I write this. Its so refreshing to have such great service. The tea was fantastic, too. I called ahead and the extremely nice hostess said, just come on in and we'll take care of you... and that they did! THANK YOU!

Pros: delicious, great community atmosphere, so kind!

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should go more often - Edit

this place is a nestled away so well and intimately behind parkside community school that it can feel a bit intimidating to those that are not in the know. it is a wonderfully warm place with yum food that pleases the tummy and body in a very complete way.

Pros: soup/salad bar, cozy atmosphere, the food

Cons: can feel pricey for lunch, portions can feel too big, sometimes

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Again, food is decent, but unreasonably pricey - Edit

And there really wasn't much of a menu. You have a soup and salad, and they bring you a standard meal which everybody else gets, for $12. I thought this was a buffet, from the way it was advertised. Not really in the mood to go here again.

Cons: Price, Portions, Limited Options

1 Response

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Wayo Longoria 25 Feb 2012 - Casa de Luz does not advertise in the same way that a family doesn't advertise in the newspaper that dinner is being served. In the same way, Casa de Luz does not have a menu. The challenge for Casa de Luz is that it is confused with being a restaurant. Not everyone is ready to appreciate the subtleties. This would be a One Peaceful World if everyone did.

BTW, the $12 includes tax, teas and no tips. It is improbable that a meal like this could be fixed at home for the same cost.

More than a meal, an experience - Edit

I eat at Casa de Luz every time I visit Austin and it is always wonderful. It is like stepping out of the city and into a meditation retreat. It is difficult for me to try other restaurants when I'm in Austin. The community seating is really cool- I have met some great people at Casa de Luz.

Is is very unusual and kind of intimidating if you don't know what you are doing the first time. It is run like a community cafeteria, so read Matthews post above so you won't be surprised by the proceedings.

There is no printed menu- you eat what they have prepared for the day. Today I had (pasted from their website):

July 6, 2010 11:30-2:00 pm
Organic, Vegan, Gluten Free

Posole soup w/fresh condiments
Garden SALAD with Casa Dressing
Brown rice w/ mushroom, tamari gravy
Red Beans
Summer Squash, beets & garlic
Blanched GREENS with a pecan Sauce
Green sauerkraut

Made with Love by
Nora, Blanca, Melvin, Uciel, Mr. Lee, Zack & Ben

It was fantastic, as it was every other time I have been there. I highly recommend this place. You will leave feeling full and refreshed. I love visiting Austin, and eating here is a big part of the reason.

Pros: Ultimate Vegan Food, Community seating and enviroment, Beautiful gardens & relaxing enviroment

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Wonderful Dining Experience! - Edit

I love this place! 100% Vegan, Macrobiotic .. you get tea with your meal, cost is $12 during normal meals .. I believe it was $14 for the Brunch on Sunday .. but well worth the price! The food is so delicious and so good for you. At brunch I love their buckwheat pancakes with fruit compote! This was my first experience with Sun-cheese (sunflower cheese) it was so delicious, it was put on top of some black beans. I love that you help yourself to soup and salad and they bring out you a plate of whatever is on the menu that day and you can go back and get more of whatever you want until you are full. Desserts are excellent. Beautiful surroundings, so peaceful. The atmosphere is relaxed and the people who come there have such beautiful spirits. The owner is wonderful! They offer cooking classes ... it is worth every penny!

Pros: Outdoor seating, Zen Surrounding, Friendly Staff

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my fav - Edit

i've only been once but I still think about it. gorgeous environment and you wouldn't even KNOW there was a restaurant back there. amazing collard greens and this awesome sesame seed and sea salt mixture. I had never had greens b4 and I still think about them :)

Pros: all you can eat, great flavors, gorgeous environment

Cons: $12, specific menu

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Still My Favorite - Edit

Everything here is amazing. Not for people who are afraid of eating something foreign, it's all vegan/macrobiotic, so what's to worry? I like the seating style personally, meeting new people makes me feel like I'm back in Europe. Salad was probably my favorite every time I've been. Until reading this I had no idea it was all you can eat.

Pros: amazing food, restricted diet adventures, neat seating

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Reviewer Avatar

A great experience. - Edit

Man, is it refreshing to go to an all vegan restaurant. It's like being normal again. No need to ask what is in things, no need to get excited about a dish only to find out it has some obscure and unnecessary ingredient that comes from butterfat. Just being able to eat whatever you damn-well please. This was exactly like that... sorta. Hmm. I loved this restaurant, and would consider it in my top 5 restaurants of all time. I loved the buffet(ish) style, but I could see how some people wouldn't really enjoy it. I really wish I could have stayed in Austin longer to give it another go.

This is how the setup worked:
-You get a token for $12
-You serve yourself salad, soup, and a choice of water or tea (tea was excellent)
-You sit down, enjoy your soup and salad
-Someone brings you a plate of assorted food in exchange for your token (this day it was bean and corn empanadas with a coconut sauce, steamed collards with a delectable dressing, red onion and cilantro garnish for the empanadas, and seasoned black beans. Everything was incredible.)
-When you finish your plate, you take it inside, and exchange it for another, specifying what you would like more of. (this process can be repeated until you are good and full)
-After this there are deserts like tarts and pies, but they cost extra :(

Although I really liked this as an orientation to the place, I could see this eating style getting a little old. I understand that on weekdays they have more of a traditional sit-down-service style.

One of the best things about this place is the setting. It is in a building that seems to be at the back of a monastery type arrangement (we even saw quite a few monks while there). You walk through an incredible, serene, zen garden. The larger building located in front of the restaurant houses yoga classes, massage therapy, and a daycare (I believe). The atmosphere is equally as incredible as the food

All in all Casa de Luz was an incredible experience, and I will definitely return when I'm back in town.

Oh yeah, my omnivore friends liked it a lot too.

Pros: Atmosphere, vegan, taste

Cons: none

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Great Place - Edit

The atmosphere of this place is so peaceful and relaxed. There is a garden path leading to the restaurant. The staff is friendly and helpful. When the girl found out it was our first time there, she gladly explained how the buffet/set menu worked. The food was very good, especially the cauliflower/zucchini soup. The buffet is all you can eat, but I was full after my first round.

Pros: great food, great relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff

Cons: i live too far away

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Feeling the Yin and Yang - Edit

Casa has a beautiful atmosphere with such a wonderful community of people, its hard to not want to come back. But for being a macrobiotic (or macrophsycotic for some)resaurant a lot of important things go overlooked... For example the tamari that they put in EVERYTHING contains iodized table salt instead of sea salt. When they management found out, they did't mention it to the customers... Granted, you dont want to look bad when make a mistake like that, but when people are coming to Casa to eat because they have cancer or some other serious concern, you shouldn't fool them in to unhealth. Their have been other various accounts of slip ups that they have decided to ride out, sugar in the bottle drinks, dairy in the chutney, gluten when it says "gluten free" on the menu. Claiming to be completely organic when only about 50% of the food really is... Its really sad to see the standards drop lower and lower for this beautiful place. In the future I wish to see more of the community working with the management to listen and share ideas for upholding the macrobiotic title, which really is the only thing that keeps them in buisness. The food is wonderful the lead cooks are spectacular at bringing flavors together. I love all of the community, most of which visit on a daily basis. All of the employees rock and I'm glad I got to know Casa de Luz, its definately part of my heart.

Pros: amazing food, community atmosphere, all you can eat

Cons: macrobiotic slip-ups, poor community/management relationship, organic standards

1 Response

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Wayo Longoria 25 Feb 2012 - Yes, walking on the ridge of the mountain is a slippery slope. When aiming at perfection, it is easy to miss the mark.

Yet, this commentary is simply not so. We aim at perfection with the knowledge that perfection is impossible. EVERYTHING that we do at Casa de Luz is aimed to provide healing for people with catastrophic illnesses. We welcome criticism. We are constantly looking to do it better. We don't claim to know what best is. There is a 27 year tradition of refinement at Casa de Luz and we still have a ways to go.

Always Fabulous! - Edit

Every time I go to Casa de Luz, I am so pleased. It's friendly community atmosphere is a great way to meet interesting new people and the food is always fantastic :)

Pros: Great tasting food, healthy, great social experience

Cons: A little hidden from the road

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I always forget about Casa - Edit

Good, healthy macrobiotic. 12 dollars is a bit expensive but it's all you can eat, which is normal for any other buffet. Go on Thursday Guatemalen Nights!

Pros: Healthy, Flavorful, Innovative

Cons: Sometimes Bland

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Great Food, Great Atmosphere - Edit

I found this place after eating at a couple of other veggie restaurants, which did not impress me at all. This was by far the best and healthiest vegan fare in Austin. The food was nutritious, flavorful, and looked great too. The atmosphere was very calm and I loved the open kitchen. I even purchased their cookbook!

Pros: excellent food, healthy cuisine, great atmosphere

Cons: not in downtown, closes too early

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A Hideaway Worth Finding - Edit

Set back from the street, and nestled in verdant magical trees and plants, this veg haven has a "retreat center" vibe to it. Always a welcome relief from this tech-heavy world, and a guaranteed way to catch up on homestyle veg food, if you've been on the road. It's ALL YOU CAN EAT, for $12 ($14 Sunday buffet), so arrive very hungry. They have an excellent intense pizza night once a month. But their "indian" cuisine needs some major spice tutoring... understandable, being a macrobiotic, brown rice kinda place. Be prepared to snag your own private table for 2, or else you will likely share a larger table, schooldays style.

Pros: Superb ambience & service, Plentiful condiments, Very colorful meals

Cons: Bathrooms are adjacent, Spicing can be bland

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