Life went by so fast in the past few weeks. I barely have the time to sit down and reflect on lessons I learned by far, yet I made a promise to myself to blog about the top five restaurants we tried in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, Cambodia before 2015 ends, else the details might just go to oblivion. So, here it goes.

Since we came with a packaged tour itinerary, most of our meals were already prearranged and we did not have a hard time finding places to eat. There were time when we had free days though, and these were when we decided to check out the city’s best-rated restaurants (according to TripAdvisor) by ourselves. We rode tuk-tuks, asked the locals for directions, and eventually found our way through. If you’re a foodie, you may also find this list helpful. 🙂

Top 5 Restaurants We Recommend When in Cambodia

1. Haven Training Restaurant

HAVEN Training Restaurant offers just the normal kind of food and not some unique Cambodian delicacy, but what it sets it apart from others is that it works as a non-religious social enterprise and a training restaurant for vulnerable young adults from orphanages and safe shelters, as well as underprivileged young adults from very rural poor areas.

The people who serve food here are mostly young, and HAVEN supports their transition from institution to real world, giving them a chance to step out of the poverty cycle. The trainees are also provided with protected and guided shared housing, meals, medical care and a monthly training allowance. Furthermore we offer them English and computer lessons.

With regard to the food, HAVEN Training Restaurant in Siem Reap makes really good food matched with an appealing presentation. The place was packed at the peak of lunch hour. We did not come with a reservation but were lucky enough to score one small table in one corner. All the tables were spread out in a lovely garden setting, making for a memorable and romantic experience.

Fish Fillet with Green Mango · $8.00


Cordon Bleu (Chicken) · $8.00

See its menu.

Address: Chocolate Rd, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Phone:+855 78 342 404
Hours: Open today · 5:30 – 9:30 PM

2. The Sugar Palm Restaurant & Bar

The Sugar Palm has branches both in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. We visited the one in Siem Reap for dinner just before we went to the airport on our last day in Cambodia. This place was designed and purposefully built as a large wooden Khmer-house style restaurant set on the upper floor. An extended bar area at the center is where guests can have a pre-dinner cocktail or be entertained while waiting for a table.

Our tour guide warned us that prices of food in this restaurant are expensive. Indeed, the tabs are far costlier than those in local eateries, but the delicious meal we had was worth it. The Sugar Palm was awarded as the 2014 winner and received a certificate of excellence by the TripAdvisor Community. Another compelling reason why tourists must try the food here is that Restaurateur and TV Chef Gordon Ramsay himself recommends it.

The only thing I didn’t like was that cooking time took long and we were so hungry. Other than that, their rendition of Khmer dishes with a slight modern twist was great. Ambiance was very airy and homely. Wait staff was friendly and professional.

Khmer Chicken Satay · $5 

Prawn Khmer Curry · $8.50

Fried Noodles with Beef · $5.50

See its menu.

Address: Taphul Rd, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Phone:+855 63 964 838

3. Amazon Angkor Cambodia

This restaurant was near our hotel. Upon entrance, we were astounded by its massive space and large spread of food in a buffet setting. Amazon Angkor offers a wide exhibit of Cambodian and international cuisine featuring Japanese, Thai, Chinese, and others. Overall, the different tastes and flavors were enjoyable.

While dining, guests get to watch a live performance onstage. Musicians playing folk songs and Apsara dancers gave a good overview on the Cambodian tradition, culture, music, and arts. The show started at 7:30PM and ended at 8:30PM. At the end of the show, we were allowed to take pictures with the dancers. Buffet set per person including the show costs $10. For this price, the value was unbeatable.

Address: Krous Village, Svay Dangkum, Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia
Phone: +855-12 966 98

4. Samroh Srah Srang Restaurant

We stopped by at Samroh Srah Srang Restaurant (in front of the Srah Srang Lake) for lunch when we were touring the Angkor Wat Complex. The restaurant looked simple and straightforward, but the food was good and typical Khmer. We were seated in the air-conditioned dining area, so we treated the experience as a nice and welcoming break from all the walking (and temple-hopping) we’ve done for the past four hours.

Spring Rolls and Mixed Veggies with Nuts

Chicken Curry

Iced Coffee

Address: Group5, North Srahsang Village , Nokor Thom Commune | Siem Reap Angkor Cambodia, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Phone: (0) 12 77 89 42

5. Friends the Restaurant

Like HAVEN Training Restaurant, Friends the Restaurant also operates its business with a cause. This colorful training restaurant near the National Museum is not only famous in Phnom Penh, Cambodia but also across the globe.

It is run by Mith Samlanh whose vision is to build the futures of former street children and marginalized young people in Phnom Penh since 1994. Friends has a shop called attached to the restaurant that sells all sorts of handmade stuff created by the students and villagers.

We had the pleasure of eating sumptuous food and supporting their development of local people. Friends the Restaurant has a little of everything from tapas, burgers, and salads to desserts and drinks for the veggie lover, the fish and seafood lover, the adventurous, carnivores, and the sweet tooth. It’s a warm and charming place that’s quiet, much like a lovely oasis that’s very relaxing.

Burmese Chicken Curry with Crispy Noodles, Smoked Chili, and Pickled Mustard Greens · $5.75

Khaiphaen’s Grilled Beef Salad with Szechuan Peppers and Crispy Frangipani Flowers · $6.50

Mixed Berry and Green Apple Crumble with Coconut Ice Cream · $4.50

See its menu.

Address: #215 Street 13, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phone:+855 12 802 072

About 

An IT person by profession; Foodie by nature; Wushu athlete by training; Dancer by heart; Writer by passion; Hasn't met a piece of cake she didn't like 🙂

32 Responses

  1. Maerose JS

    This article makes me hungry to the bones! I’d definitely give the restos in your list, especially the one on Chocolate Rd. (really? :P) a try if I happen to visit Cambodia. Nordic food has very little to offer compared with the delectable dishes we have there in Asia. Which of the 5 is on top of your list?

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Friends is on top of my list. The menu is diverse and there’s far more interesting options to try. It’s an establishment that’s made and works for a cause. Eating in the restaurant is like supporting and helping those people. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Mia Foo

    very informative post! the sugar palm looks like a really nice place! are these local cuisines? i never knew what are the authentic local dishes of cambodia. it comes off to me as a fusion of thailand and vietnam food?

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yeah, those were local Cambodian food we had in The Sugar Palm. I have never tried their cuisine before coming to the country and I had no idea about it since we don’t have Cambodian restaurants here in Manila (or none that I know of). They taste fine. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Fred

    This is a very informative post. I am not too adventurous with food during trips. When we went to Siem Reap, there were less restaurant choices so we went with what the guide suggested.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Trying out food of another country is always something that I anticipate whenever we go travel. It’s like a personal mission, and I’m glad that my boyfriend is also the same. We love getting to different places and discovering interesting flavors that will make the trip more memorable. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Cheryl F.

    I have no plan yet of going to Cambodia but these are great recommendations. Although I don’t usually sit down in a restaurant when on travel because I only eat what’s easily available, getting tips like this are very helpful.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Restaurants for me are also tourist attractions. We really research about the best rated ones online and check them out to see if they’re overrated or underrated. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Sunshine Kelly

    Thanks for the information, I am going to Cambodia again next year. The humble and local food at Samroh Srah Srang Restaurant are very attractive to me. Maybe I will visit it.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      There’s not a lot of remarkable restaurants inside the Angkor Wat Complex and this is probably the reason why Samroh Srah Srang Restaurant has many tables and chairs set up in the spacious dining area. Order their bestselling items. 🙂 Enjoy!

      Reply
  6. Elizabeth O.

    Wow! The restaurants all look lovely, I love the second one with the open air dining area. The food looks so good too, a lot of colors and I bet it’s packed with flavor as well. Thanks for this list! I enjoyed reading!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      You’re welcome. 🙂 The Sugar Palm’s food items may be more expensive than most of the restaurants in the area, but they’re worth the price to pay. Get these must-try items on your table.

      Reply
  7. Aileen Adalid

    This is a great and comprehensive post! I haven’t been to Cambodia yet but I’m definitely taking note of these restaurants. Besides, one of the things that I love to do when in a new country is to do an extensive food trip!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yes, me too. 🙂 Eating delicious food during travels is one of my life’s greatest pleasures. We keep an eye on cheap eats that are recommended by locals as well.

      Reply
  8. Dina

    The food looks amazing in Cambodia. I’ve never been but it’s definitley on my bucket list of places to go. I’d love to try any of that. The chicken cordon bleu looks amazing.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      The best thing about traveling in Cambodia aside from visiting the Angkor temples is to be adventurous and explore the city’s restaurants without a guide. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Melissa

    Ah, these all look like great restaurants and experiences. I love what the Haven Training Restaurant is doing! And I need to dine at the Sugar Palm!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      The Pub Street hosts an excellent variety of rustic-style restaurants hidden in tiny squares. Explore the side streets and score bargains from brand outlets, too. 🙂

      Reply
  10. Kerri

    What a great selection of food in Cambodia. I love how the restaurant Haven helps get others out of poverty. As a training center, I am sure it has helped many feel safe and learn job training too.

    Reply
  11. Erica

    I really wanted to try Friends but sadly that didn’t happen the last time I was there. I really wasn’t fond of Cambodian food but this post got me craving anyway!

    Reply
  12. Franc Ramon

    Funny. I don’t even remember the restaurants I had eaten in Siem Reap though I remember watching cultural shows and having beer and pizza at market square.

    Reply
  13. Krystal

    I have always wanted to go so this guide is very helpful. I am not usually one to try food that is unique (to me in America!), but everything here looks really good and filling. I would like to try anything seafood from Cambodia but also some of the special local dishes.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      In terms of culinary, Cambodian food is not very far from the tastes of Vietnam and Thailand. I recommend fish amok, Khmer red curry, and Nom banh chok (Khmer noodles). 🙂

      Reply
  14. Yona Williams

    I think the concept of the Haven Training Restaurant is so cool…I bet that would be really nice to have for the youths here. The Curry Chicken at the Samroh Srah Srang Restaurant looks really appetizing. I love the pictures that you take of the food – I can really get a sense of the dishes.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thanks, Yona. 🙂 I would love to try some more dishes from Haven Training Restaurant. Those typical Khmer food from Samroh Srah Srang Restuarant deserve a second round of sampling as well.

      Reply

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