Eat in Eden

Jamie Rogers
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News

How about a side of R&R with your BLT or IPA? No TV, please.

If "rest" is key to your restaurant selection, a relaxing atmosphere is your first of order of business. Think more bliss, fewer loud birthday sing-alongs.

Try these calm locations for a dining experience to soothe stomach and soul.

Lush greens

Paradise in Spenard may inspire other images in some minds, but there's a piece of Eden inside Organic Oasis. And it's wearing a lot of leaves.

Trays of tall wheat grass greet customers inside the entryway. Strips of green neon run the length of the counter wall, illuminating the bar seating perfect for one or more. Large clusters of plants scattered around casual wood tables give the inside air a boost of freshness. You'll almost feel guilty eating a bowl of fresh greens surrounded by so many fresh greens.

One table in particular exudes the essence of easy eating. Hang a hard left as you enter the seating area for a table situated next to a small water pond. Plants and rocks mingle as a copper fish circulates a bubbling stream. You'll be mesmerized by its meditative pulse -- if you aren't already hooked on the soft harmonies of a solo guitarist serenading you from the spot's stage some evenings.

Peaceful plates: Any menu item that comes with Oasis' standard salad will calm your insides with an eccletic mix of lettuces and sunflower seeds. Among the house dressings, the Yam Vinaigrette and Tarragon Spirulina are potent toppers. An Alaskan Halibut Wrap ($13.95) will leave you stuffed and sleepy, and the Garlic Shrimp and Angel Hair Pasta ( $14.95) is great for abating your hunger -- unless you're planning on planting a good-night kiss later.

Meatball paradise

I agree with the simple-but-true statement of a friend: You can't go wrong with Italian food. Add mirrors and flickering logs, and watch your stress levels drop like a meatball to the floor.

Roll right past the bar and waiting area into the cave-like dining room of Sorrento's in Midtown. A cozy fireplace divides the area's tables adorned with deep-red tablecloths. High-backed forest-green booths ring the rim of the room as wall-length mirrors open the space and reflect the romantic lighting.

Peaceful plates: The Spaghetti with Meatballs ($17.50) and the Lasagna Al Italiana ($15.45) come loaded with the restaurant's delicious marinara sauce. The large portions set you up for comfort food leftovers. For pizza lovers, a recent large pie ($16.95) featured liberally and properly spaced pepperoni. Nirvana!

Enlightened goodness

Namaste on the other hand doesn't make a big deal about being chill. It just is.

Maybe it's its smallish space on Tudor Road near Lake Otis Boulevard. Or the warm shade of gold the walls are painted. Or the prayer flags and twinkling holiday lights hanging near the front door.

Whatever it is exactly owner Tsering Lama also immediately puts you at ease with her polite service and family attitude. She exemplifies the meaning of the restaurant's name, an enlightened greeting of respect.

Peaceful plates: Ground yourself by starting with the earthy Tomato Shorba soup ($3.95) then transition to the Chicken Makhani entree ($11.99). With its buttery tomato sauce goodness, you'll wonder where the rest of it went.

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