Let me preface this review by saying that Oasis Cafe has been one of my go-to restaurants for a few years now. Whether I’m out with friends or family or on a date, I keep Oasis Cafe on my list of potential eateries. What lured me in this week was Chef Billy Sotelo’s weekly “resolution-dining” special, which is meant to help diners keep their healthy resolutions for 2013. On the menu for the week was a soup/salad followed by paëlla and carrot cake. Yeah, you read that right: My two absolute favorite foods being served together in a $25 three-course meal with an emphasis on being healthy. I wouldn’t miss that for the world!

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Great atmosphere at Oasis Cafe.

Oasis Cafe has a really serene ambience. Both the indoor and outdoor seating areas are well decorated and lit. Even at peak hours, the restaurant has a calm feel about it which I have appreciated on every one of my visits here. The service and ambience at Oasis Cafe are outstanding.

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Diners at Oasis Cafe are given fresh ciabatta while they mull over the menu.

Oasis Cafe offers breakfast, lunch, dessert, and dinner menus. The food is cafe-style American with an emphasis on local, healthy, artisanal ingredients being put together in dishes that are pleasing both to the eye and the palate. I do have a slight qualm towards the lunch menu which left me looking for more diverse dishes than sandwiches and salads. A few extra small plates or entrées would be nice. That said, the dinner menu is where Oasis Cafe really shines. Beyond the soups, salads, and sandwiches are several fish, meat/chicken, and noodle & grain dishes. One of my favorites is the slow herb roasted chicken served with fregola pasta. Oasis Cafe also has a wide range of teas and wines, as well as coffee, beer, and some liquors.

On the night of the resolution-dining special, I started with a tomato and fennel soup. While I’m not a big soup guy, the freezing temperatures gave me a change of heart and I was not disappointed. This hot bisque presented a really nice pairing of tomato’s characteristic sweet and sour taste with fennel’s sweetness and hints of anise.

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Tomato-fennel soup from Oasis Cafe.

The second course was what I’d been looking forward to. I grew up eating and making paëlla frequently and I regard it as my all-time favorite dish. This one certainly did not disappoint. Besides the usual clams and mussels were shrimp and salmon chorizo. The rice had a very nice consistency and was mixed with a hickory-flavored tomato sauce that was delectable. This dish was very balanced and came together amazingly. Paëlla takes a lot of time and preparation so I am always happy to find a restaurant capable of giving me my fix of this Valencian specialty.

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Oasis Cafe’s seafood paella special.

Last but not least came the carrot cake. The cake itself was loaded with nuts and grated carrots and had a slight caramelized crust. The cream cheese frosting had a nice taste to it and was not slathered on absentmindedly: It was there to accompany the cake, not overpower it. My only critiques was that this cake was a bit dry and could have used some raisins in it. The slice of cake was just the right size and was drizzled with a caramelized orange sauce that added a nice touch. I would certainly order this again if it became a full-time menu item.

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Oasis Cafe’s carrot cake special.

As I said before, I have eaten at Oasis Cafe several times and have always had really nice experiences. On this particular occasion, my expectations were huge and I was not disappointed! Chef Sotelo set out to make healthy, fresh meals that left diners satisfied and nourished but not heavy and he definitely delivered.

Oasis Cafe is located on 151 South and 500 East and is open every day of the week for various meals. For more information, you can go to OasisCafeSLC.com, follow Oasis Cafe on Twitter at @OasisCafeSLC, or like them on Facebook.
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