Reviews written by Brian K.
Registered on Jun 7 04
Casa de Luz can make some very good food, but I've been several times when it's been rather bland and boring. It just depends, but I have friends who go more frequently than I do who tell me I must have gone on the off-nights. It's vegan, organic, and macrobiotic, though, so even if it's bland, you're still doing your body a world of good. It's all-you-can-eat, so when the food is good, you'll probably want to go back for seconds.
Parking is tight, so you may have to park on the street.
Casa de Luz isn't just a restaurant, but a center for integral studies, so the actual restaurant may not be readily apparent when you approach the front of their property. Just follow the little brick path until you get to the end - that's the restaurant.
When you get inside, pay the cashier on your right, and that will get you a token to give to the cooks on your left. While they're dishing up your entree, you can get a plate and grab some salad, vegetables, or anything else they have out for you to pick and choose. There's also plenty of water and tea, and by the time you're done getting all that, your plate should be ready.
Cosmic Cafe originally started in Dallas, but opened up a location in Austin in the old West Lynn Cafe building. After doing a lot of beautiful remodeling to the interior (wonderful murals, paintings, etc.), they offer a unique and relaxing environment with lots of delicious Indian foods. I highly recommend the dahl as well as the vegan cakes (though not all their cakes are vegan, so be mindful). The food is always good, and they occasionally have live music.
A nice casual dining experience. The restaurant is separated into an "inside" eating area and the "garden" (an enclosed area with many plants and plenty of heating and air conditioning). The garden offers a relaxing atmosphere, though the brick floor is a bit uneven, so the tables and chairs are usually a bit wobbly. One of their most popular items is the "bueno burger" (vegan) -- even staunch meat eaters love this one. Other great items are the "tofu lasagna," "BBQ tofu," and their "garden stir fry" (all vegan). You get free chips and salsa before your meal, but sometimes there's a bit too much cilantro in the salsa, and it stays with you for the rest of the day and night. Items on the menu are clearly marked with a "v" for vegan or a "*" which means an item can be made vegan upon request (and most items can be made vegan). They serve Saturday and Sunday brunch with great vegan pancakes. They have a few good vegan items for dessert, too. All their food is reasonably priced.
Excellent vegetarian/vegan Mexican food! They offer a reasonably priced buffet, where you get 1 salad (spinach, carrot-raisin, potato, etc.), 1 main dish (enchiladas, tofu pipan, etc.), and 2 sides (refried beans, gorditas, etc.). Their desserts are also quite good, but cost extra.
BEWARE that some desserts are mistakenly labeled vegan, but actually contain honey. They do a good job of listing the ingredients of desserts, though, so usually it's not a problem. When ordering from their buffet or main menu, also be sure to ask what is vegan and contains no honey. Other than that, the food is excellent and very filling.
A very good vegetarian restaurant in west-central Austin. It opened in the beginning of 2005 in the Tarrytown shopping center. When they first opened up, they were only vegetarian, then switched to completely vegan, then switched back to just vegetarian. Beware that several of their dishes contain whey, so be sure to ask what's completely vegan and what's not.
I highly recommend the yam and yucca fries - quite an unusual delight! Their chocolate cake and sorbets are also quite good.
The interior projects an upscale atmosphere, and I've heard a few customers ask the hostess if they were under dressed, but don't let the upscale appearance intimidate you. You'll see most folks in jeans or shorts.
The price is a little high, but you can eat there relatively cheaply if you choose the right things. Despite the prices and their reluctance to stay vegan, it's still a good restaurant.