903 Main Street 
West Springfield, MA

Sunday 10:00AM - 9:00PM
Tu - Th 11:00AM - 9:00PM
Fri 2:00PM - 1:00AM 
Sat 11:00AM - 1:00AM


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Try Something Different at Oasis Restaurant
By Mei Mei Thai

Smoking shishas.

My friends and I were smoking sweet apple- and strawberry-flavored tobacco by inhaling deeply through a hookah pipe. Perfectly legal. A couple of us felt light-headed, but it was only a temporary buzz. We lounged there on the floor at the back of the Oasis Restaurant and Café in West Springfield, Massachusetts, laughing at the inexperienced shisha-smokers, while they watched the pros release smoke rings from their mouths. But, this was just after we had a filling meal.

When we entered Oasis, a new Indian, Pakistani and Middle Eastern restaurant that recently opened this year, the waitress directed us to a dimly lit room. I saw a long, red sheer curtain dividing us from where we had smoked, and out of curiosity, I took a peek. It was a red room that had several colorful prism-shaped lamps and rugs. It looked like a comfortable place to relax. 

I heard Arabic music playing in the background as we took our seats. Ceiling fans hung above us, and candles were lit on every table. The restaurant still needed more decor and a set theme, but since it’s a new place, they can work on that as they continue their business. 
The menu featured a variety of rich dishes to choose, ranging from appetizers and homemade breads to goat and chicken, as well as sweet desserts and beverages like mango juice and lassi drinks. Such meals were chicken biryani, chicken samosa, goat korma, and several vegetable specials.

Unsure of what to order, I asked my friends for suggestions.

“I ordered a shish kabab,” Neha Madhok said. “Kind of like grilled chicken on a stick with some Indian spices blended [in it].”

I got the same thing, but one shish kabob wasn’t enough. So I ordered chicken karahi, garlic naan, and plain basmati rice.

After the waitress took everyone’s orders, the cooks went to the kitchen, while we sipped on our lassi drinks, waiting for our food. They tasted creamy and bittery-sweet, and were made of plain yogurt, milk, and water. A typical Indian beverage for only $2.00.
Then, it was time to eat. The food came in half an hour or so, not too long of a wait. The scent of chicken mixed with onions, tomatoes, and green peppers filled my nose as the waitress placed it in front of me. My mouth watered with hunger. Soft and chewy – it reminded me of chicken curry. I scraped off bits and pieces of chicken from the bones with a fork, scooped it up with garlic naan (baked Indian bread), and eagerly devoured it. Very satisfying.

A dessert we all tried and liked was the kheer, a rice pudding treat for $2.99.

“I liked the rice pudding,” Olga Rosado said. “It tasted like rice and milk, and that’s like a Dominican dessert we have called arroz con leche. The kheer had almonds, pistachios, and cardamom, it was good.”

Everyone agreed that the food was delicious, but others had different opinions about the overall mood of the café.

“The food was good,” Laura* said. “But to make it a complete experience they need to create the right atmosphere and come up with a theme. The walls were cold and bare.”
On the other hand, Rosado liked the feel of the restaurant. 

“I thought it had a nice atmosphere,” she said. “Especially, in the back room, because it felt cozy.” 

Madhok agreed.

“I loved the decor of it,” she said. “It makes one feel very warm and at home [because] it was traditionally set up with the rugs, lamps, drums, and pillows.”

Indeed, the red room felt soothing. Even romantic, if you wanted to bring a date. But its function had a “special” social event – the shisha. And, Oasis offers those on Fridays and Saturdays, which are also college nights. I must say, I had a good time trying the shisha. Probably, because I had felt completely relaxed.

With fairly priced meals, most under $8.00, Oasis is a place you should try. It’s different, and it’ll give you a chance to broaden your horizons, like their mission statement:

“Our aim is to create the first traditional South Asian and Middle Eastern Restaurant chain across America. By doing this, we hope to spread cultural diversity and awareness of all faiths…”

Although Oasis just started out, I enjoyed my Indian, Pakistani and Middle Eastern culinary experience. The food was delicious, but the desserts tasted even better. The only major downside of my entire meal was the chicken karahi. There were only a few pieces of chicken, and that was disappointing because I love to eat. A lot. 

It’s not a restaurant that I would go to every day, but it’s a place to dine when I want a something different. And, when I want to smoke and be in my own little world for only a small fee. Don’t get it twisted! I don’t smoke regularly. In fact, I don’t smoke at all! But for those who would like to try it, Oasis is the place to stop by on Main Street. Give it a go, you may like it.

For hours of operation, contact info, and the menu, visit:


This website was created by the students of Journalism 375 at the University of Massachusetts 2005