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