There’s a whole world of food waiting to be discovered in Phnom Penh’s vast and eclectic restaurant scene, which caters to almost every taste imaginable. We guarantee you’ll never be short of options.
At most restaurants, one of the country’s favourite beers, Angkor, will be on offer. This quality lager has earned the brand numerous Gold Awards from Monde Selection, making it a source of national pride.
Another highly popular local brew is Cambodia Beer, a refreshing and easy to drink lager with a rich, fruity head and a full-bodied and creamy flavour. Regional and global brands such as Tiger and Heineken are also widely available though generally command a premium price.
The Foreign Correspondent’s Club is housed on the Riverside in a beautiful colonial building complete with wide open balconies. With a rooftop bar overlooking the Tonle Sap river too, the FCC (as its widely known) serves up classic Khmer dishes like fish amok and beef lok lak, as well as burgers, pastas and pizza all for a moderate price.
There are other main contenders along Riverside to drop by for a drink and a nibble. KWest Restaurant, on the ground floor of the Amanjaya Pancam Suites Hotel, crafts Khmer and Western food, although they are best known for their pepper-coated sirloin steak and pork chops in a creamy mustard sauce.
Riverhouse Asian Bistro is another stop for more upscale dining on Riverside, with weekly specials on Western and Asian meals, a selection of grilled, sizzling dishes and a scrumptuous choice of cakes.
And it now has a second location. Valentino‘s on the fantastic Sabay Sabay Street (St.174) is the home of the new and second Riverside Bistro. The same elegant class and comfort can be found here as in the original, with a menu to match. The venue itself is well worth a visit as it also contains a cabaret show and a nightclub.
Chinese House, though, may take the cake for the trendiest of all the Riverside spots, with Phnom Penh’s shakers and movers flocking to the meticulously decorated colonial-era Chinese mansion for some high-end plates and drinks. Talented South African Chef Ines Samaai has produced a fabulous menu with various themes matched to the various spaces on offer: the lounge area has Greek & Oriental tapas, the renovated garden has BBQ grilled dishes, and the more formal upstairs features French & Asian-inspired cuisine.
Those looking for a meal with a difference should visit Dine in the Dark (St.19), where visitors attempt to feast in a pitch black room. A fun and surprising dining experience for both vegetarians and meat eaters.
While it labels itself a “cafe and shop”, The Providore (Sothearos Blvd) serves some of the best wines in town, especially at their regular tasting events. Hard to find cheeses are available at this Australian cafe to take home, or to pair with your wine and enjoyed at one of their outdoor tables. Drop in earlier for some breakfast – Eggs Benedict can be found here – or a gourmet sandwich.
Duplex on St.278 provides a truly international menu that includes Belgian specialities like home made meatballs, vol au vent chicken stew, and Belgian fries, along with Australian steaks, Khmer rice, and seafood pasta. The cocktail menu and list of Belgian beers are both lovingly lengthy.
But let’s be honest, one of the reasons you came here was to sample the local food, right? Phka Slaa Khmer Restaurant serves traditional Cambodian cuisine in a clean and comfortable setting. The $6 set lunch menu garners rave reviews, as does the crispy pork, fish amok and whole fish with Koh Kong sauce. Keep a keen eye out for the daily specials too.
Nham Central, on the second floor of Exchange Square (St.106), also grants the chance to stuff yourself with delicious Khmer food. The spacious but cozy area can seat more than a 100 diners tucking into the likes of the $2.50 Khmer set (soup, main and dessert) or $4.50 weekly special with a drink.
Another new addition to Exchange Square is the latest outlet of global franchise Hard Rock Cafe, which now has an incredible 176 cafes, 24 hotels and 11 casinos operating in 75 countries worldwide. The menu is stacked with classic American cuisine items: if you’re as hungry as Elvis we can heartily recommend the Jumbo Combo to share for starters, the Cobb salad, the Original Legendary Burger, the Famous Fajitas, and a hot fudge brownie for dessert. Taco Tuesdays have tacos at just 99 cents each, and the Sunday Carvery between 11am and 2pm is a must for cravings of a huge Sunday roast.
The Shop (St.240) is famous for serving a wide range of breakfast items, homemade pastries, delectable sandwiches, healthy salads and more. The focus here is on freshness and quality. If you simply need to take a break The Shop serves up some of the best coffee, teas and fresh juices in town, which you can pair with one of their gourmet cakes or desserts. It’s been a favourite for tourists, expats, and locals alike for over 15 years now. The Chocolate Shop two doors down offers the same menu with air-conditioning, but the pièce de résistance is an enormous glass cabinet stuffed with locally made Beligan chocolates, truffles, and macaroons. Offering the same cozyness as the original, The Shop TK on St.337 and The Shop 102 on St.102 are also must-visits in their respective areas.
Named after the Khmer traditional wedding flower, Phka Slaa restaurant is set in a beautiful colonial villa on St. 240, corner St 19. It revisits the tastes of authentic Khmer cuisine by offering numerous provincial culinary specialties. The chef puts all his heart in reviving those childhood flavours for your enjoyment.
Hops Brewery & Craft Beer Garden on St.228 is a not to be missed, serving German classics, such as Nuremberg sausage with sauerkraut, alongside their perfectly brewed beers made with 100% natural and imported ingredients.
However, if you’re looking for a lighter breakfast, Blue Pumpkin is one of the best French bakeries in town, and has multiple locations (Riverside, St.380, St.556, and at the airport). Grab a fresh and flaky croissant, brioche, or danish with a frothy cappuccino or latte.
An international French bakery brand, currently with seven outlets spread across the capital including their Riverside location, is Eric Kayser. Check out their best-selling Baguette Monge, with its cooked cereals flavour and pointed extremities, or their Monge Tart, an iconic pastry made of layers of cream cheese and shortcrust, topped with red berries.
The opening of Alchemy GastroPub (St.123) has made the Russian Market neighbourhood that much more fashionable. Gourmet versions of tasty American treats like braised short ribs, skirt steak, and mac n’ cheese are served alongside a wide selection of cocktails and wines, craft beers and imported brews.
A little further down St.123 you’ll come across Dos Besos, dishing out authentic and delicious Mexican food and drinks. Try the enchiladas, carnitas tacos. chimichanga, and fresh churro bites, washed down with a fair few frozen margheritas.
The Exchange (St.47) has excellent sharing platters and classy dishes like pan-seared red snapper, bacon and brie burger, and twice-cooked tamarind duck.
For more burgers with all the fixings, take a stop by American restaurant Lone Pine (St.51). The gluttonous best of American comfort food can be found here, particularly some southern specialities like gumbo, Cajun Po Boy, barbecued pulled pork, biscuits and plenty of chilli. They also serve up tex-mex favs such as some fantastic fish tacos.
But wait! We almost forgot the Italians! Who really needs any encouragement to seek out a pizza or pasta? All pasta is made fresh at Il Forno (St.302), where you’ll find some mouth-watering menu items like ravioli filled with prawns and sea bass or gnocchi with porcini mushrooms. Wood-fired pizzas, panini, and meaty mains round out the menu, although Il Forno is best known for its ever-changing list of specials.
If pizza is what you are specifically craving, go directly to the source at Pizza Factory & Cafe on St.184. Their afternoon happy hour from 2:30pm to 5:30pm each day grants you an excellent buy one pizza, get one free deal, which also applies for beers or cocktails from 5:30pm until 8:30pm.
Getting back to some regional dishes, Emperors of China (St.163) has specialities from across the wide culinary expanses of China. Their lengthy menu has highlights like crispy Beijing duck, Shanghainese dumplings, and sautéed slice mutton.
Now with five locations across the city (Toul Kork, Central Market, PP Airport and Chbar Ampov), Dim Sum Emperors issues all manner of things Hong Kong and Guangdong. Their extensive dim sum list includes classic pork and shrimp dim sum, as well as barbecue pork buns.
Rokku Sushi Lounge + Bistro (Sisowath Quay) brings a novel twist to Asian fusion. Fresh nigiri, sashimi, and sushi are an excellent way to start a meal, or make for their own spread with options such as fatty tuna sashimi and the Laura Mam Rock & Roll, named after the Cambodian pop star and co-owner. Rokku’s fusion really gets going, though, on the dinner menu with spicy ahi tuna tacos and unagi linguine.
Botanico (St.29) is a wine and beer garden restaurant/bar offering a well-rounded selection of food that pairs well with our drinks. Several vegetarian offerings are included. Set within a leafy oasis of calm, it’s a great place for a quiet meal. They also have regular events.
On the Corner le Resto du Coin on Riverside offers a mix of Khmer, Thai and French – where else can you find cheese fondue, steak tartare, and pineapple fried rice on the same menu?
La Pops is an innovative ice cream maker that offers Italian Gelato and Sorbet on a stick, made with the freshest and best quality local ingredients. There are three types of Popsicle to choose from: La Sorbet, La Gelato and La Popping. Everything they make is 100% natural, meaning there is no food colouring, artificial flavouring, or preservatives used at all.
Meanwhile, Luna d’Autunno (St.29) has been specialising in Italian cuisine and wood-fired pizza since 2003 (claiming to be Phnom Penh’s original wood oven pizzeria!). The menu has been designed by their consultant chef from Australia and changes regularly depending on the seasonality of local and imported produce.
Cadillac / Manhattan (Sisowath Quay) is a two in one venue offering traditional US fare with the timber lined décor of a stylish diner, an eliptical bar being the central feature. Classics include; Texas chilli, beef stew, hotdogs (with all the extras), Southern fried chicken, shrimps, meatloaf, ribs and so on. Their promotions include their famous ‘$5 Fridays’ which offers any main at $5 with the purchase of a drink. ‘Bolognese Wednesdays’ offers.. guess-what for $3.50. It’s a great place to sit for the evening and watch the riverside action.