If you want to eat out in Phnom Penh you have plenty of options these days. The restaurant scene has boomed in recent years to include some stylish choices, interesting eateries, and budget options that are tasty and high quality.
Restaurants in Phnom Penh range from roadside stalls serving freshly cooked street food to the most sophisticated French restaurants. You will also find Phnom Penh specialist restaurants – Khmer restaurants, serving traditional local food. Khmer food is similar to Thai food and food from other Southeast Asian countries, but it does not tend to be as spicy.
There are burger bars, noodle bars, delis, cafes, and pubs. You’ll find fast food and very slow food, traditional and modern. If you are looking for western food there are many options, and Asian food is of course well covered, with offerings from India, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Korea, and more.
The biggest concentration of restaurants and bars is found along the riverfront on Sisowath Quay, but there are also lots of places to eat further south.
This is a good option for those looking for a healthy meal as the café serves a wide range of organic goodies, including organic coffees, and some lovely smoothies. There is a great set of vegan and raw dishes including gluten-free choices. The café is located on Phnom Penh’s riverfront and has an outdoor area as well as a lounge inside with plenty of lounge chairs. The lounge area is decorated with art and there is plenty of greenery. It’s a lovely spot for lunch or a brunch.
Friends – The Restaurant
This restaurant is run by the Mith Samlanh organization, who take children from the streets and train them in cooking and customer service to give them jobs and a livelihood. The restaurant offers nice food at good prices, with a range of seafood dishes, Khmer favorites, vegetarian options, and tapas. There are some good value set menus and some lovely cocktails and smoothies. It is located near the National Museum.
The 63Restaurant is a great place, whatever your budget. Here you’ll find lovely food that is affordably priced, so the restaurant attracts a mix of backpackers, locals, and expats. The restaurant serves a wide range of dishes from Khmer food to pizza and pasta. There are many drinks to sample including cocktails and wines, and the staple dishes are surprisingly well-priced. If you want a good meal at a good price, in a lovely atmosphere, this restaurant is hard to beat.
Foreign Correspondents’ Club
This is a real historic place, the location where journalists and expats met in its heyday. Nowadays it is more of a draw for tourists but it is a great place to relax, located in a French colonial villa and overlooking the river. The restaurant serves some nice western and Asian dishes including pizzas from the wood-fired oven.
Alley Cat Café
Craving Tex Mex or Mexican in Phnom Penh? You’ll find it here at this little restaurant that serves burritos, tacos, nachos, and all the other favorites. You’ll also find burgers and nice salads and a range of drinks. There are often acoustic bands playing in the café and the bar is open late.
Boat Noodle Restaurant
Situated in an old house with a mix of large and tiny rooms, this is an unusual space and it stuffed with some wonderful antiques. There is also an outside space with water features. The whole place is very relaxing. The food is Khmer and Thai, and there are some favorites on the menu including spring rolls, curry, and tom yam. The evenings are lovely as there are often live bands playing traditional Khmer music. It is an atmospheric place that is well worth a visit.
Chiang Mai Riverside
Serving Thai food with an emphasis on quality and taste, Chiang Mai Riverside is a lovely restaurant where there are also western dishes and vegetarian specials on the menu. It is one of the most popular places to eat in the city. It is located on the riverfront and open for lunch and dinner.
Freebird Bar & Grill
This is an American-style grill restaurant with a lively bar, serving American cuisine, Tex Mex, and other comfort food favorites. The bar is comfortable and you can really settle down for a nice evening with good conversation. Breakfast is served all day and expats find it a real home from home.
A family restaurant with a great line in Khmer food and some western dishes. There are some lovely street food favorites on offer and the restaurant also hosts cooking classes. It is open all day and has some good prices.
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Photo Credits: Friends Restaurant by Rob Young and Rice Noodle Soup by Alpha/ Flickr