Cambodia is snuggled between Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and the Gulf of Thailand and is also known as the Kingdom of Wonder. Truth be told, having lived in the Kingdom for three years, a lot of things do make me wonder (why is the traffic like this? is this supposed to make my tastebuds happy?). On that list of wonderment is me wondering why many people skip over Cambodia in their travels. Beyond the world famous UNESCO World Heritage Angkor Wat complex, there is much more to explore and experience! My hope is that providing you with these expat-approved tips not only encourages you to travel to Cambodia, but makes your experience more enjoyable! The best trips I have gone on are when I had a friend in the country that gave me all the best recommendations. So consider us friends, and enjoy these tips !
This is entry #2 in Expat Tips: Cambodia Edition. Be sure to check out all the other entries to help prep and plan for your trip. Read below to see what tasty treats you can enjoy in Phnom Penh!
Phnom Penh may not be known as a culinary destination, but there are actually quite a few restaurants that can keep your tastebuds jumping for joy! I’ve broken down the section into alphebatized restaurants based on a type of food you may be craving. Keep in mind that when you visit Phnom Penh, there are many more options than what is listed below. These are just some of my favorites! When you do come make sure to check out what is near your hotel, because your tastebuds may find their own gem!
$ indicates restaurants that are more expensive (in relation to regular Cambodian restaurant prices)
Joma / Look online to see your closest location / http://www.joma.biz/phnom-penh-cambodia
If you are from America, this is most similar to Panera. It has sandwiches, salads, soups, and bagels. It isn’ t a culinary delight, but is good for a wholesome meal that you will enjoy. I recommend the chicken pesto sandwich with a mixed fruit shake. If you are a lover of coffee, avoid this cup of joe as it tends to be mediocre. Multiple locations around town.
$ Samba Brazilian Steakhouse / Villa No 64, Preah Sihanouk Blvd
A super delicious Brazilian buffet. Come hungry, as there are a lot of items to indulge in.
Will’s Brunch Cafe / #7 Street 306
If you want to take your tastebuds on a culinary exploration, head over to Will’s. You can sip a cup of delicious Mondulkiri coffee while eating a typical Tunisian (or French, American, etc) breakfast.
Lone Pine Cafe / House No 14, Street 282
Classic burgers and chili. I recommend the bacon onion cheese biscuits and Paula’s Husband burger.
Restore One / No 23, Street 123, Russian Market Area
Some of the best burgers in town are found at this charity/cafe by Russian market. They have a variety of flavors and spices to make each burger a unique experience. My favorite is the Rugged Cowboy with a Spicy Mexican patty.
Bassac Lane Burgers / Street 308 @ Street 29, Tonlé Bassac (this is the address for Hangar 44)
I can’t remember the actual name of this place, but it is in bassac lane. All you have to do is walk past the book bar and hangar bar, and its on the left (across from the clothing store). These are the best burgers i’ve had in the city. You can also get them as a salad or a wrap. I recommend the Mexican one if you love spicy!
Romdeng / No 74 Street 174
At this restaurant you can choose to indulge in fried tarantula, or go a simpler route with tasty and traditional Khmer foods (sans creepy crawlies). It is run by Friends, a great organization that also has a tapas restaurant later on in this list.
$ Malis / No 136 Norodom Boulevard
Close to Independence Monument, Malis is a culinary exploration through Khmer foods. It is a higher end restaurant, where you can comfortably experience the best of Cambodian cuisine in a luxury environment.
Just a note- both restaurants above are on the nicer side. You can easily find Khmer food along any street. I have ate at many random Khmer establishments and carts on the side of the road. I would also recommend going to a Khmer BBQ, they are easily found. The BBQ’s are cheap, and it’s a fun experience to choose what you want to bbq with friends. Ultimately, it is up to you how adventurous you want to be, and what you feel comfortable with.
Bonchon / Look online for closest / location http://bonchon.com.kh
With a few locations in the city, if you are craving chicken this is the place for you! The chain originally hails from Korea, which you can see reflected in the menu with options like bibimbap. My absolute favorite is a mix up of their boneless chicken breasts, drenched in soy garlic sauces and spicy sauces.
Daughters / #321 Sisowath Quay
Run by a charity, daughters has a diverse and tasty menu. I recommend the mango chicken sandwich, and the chocolate chip cookie dough egg rolls (yup, they are as good as they sound). If you are there in the fall, they also serve holiday themed beverages!
$ Fox Wine Bistro / #132 Samdech Sothearos
Looking for a romantic date spot, or a good glass of wine? Fox has got you covered. The menu is diverse, and every single item i’ve tried has been incredibly tasty.
Jars of Clay / #39B Street 155
Run entirely by women, this is the place to come if you want a hearty meal for cheap. I have a fondness in my heart for their damper loaf and chocolate frap. You can’t really go wrong with anything you order. There are two locations, but the one by Russian Market is my favorite.
Java / No 56 Sihanouk Boulevard
An expat favorite, this is an arts cafe with consistently good food. There are two locations, but the one by Independence Monument is my favorite. You can take a good book, sit upstairs on the balcony (if the weather is nice) and stare out at the passing motos.
Friends Tapas / House No 215 Street 13
Close to the riverside, this joint never disappoints. They have a lot of fusion options. I recommend the corn fritter- my tastebuds are jumping just thinking about it!
FCC / No 363 Sisowath Quay
Foreign Correspondents Club has a variety of good food, and you can gaze out over the river while tasting it.
$ Dining in the Dark / #126 Street 19
If you have never dined in the dark before, give it a chance! You are submerged into complete darkness and fed a three course meal that tantalizes the taste buds. The restaurant benefits those who are vision impaired, and also leads to a fun night of trying to guess what is on your plate!
Eclipse Sky Bar / Phnom Penh Tower, 23rd Floor, Monivong Boulevard
Take in Phnom Penh from a birds eye view at Eclipse. The food is decent, but what makes it spectacular is the view (which is particularly breathtaking at sunset)!
Artillery / Street 240 1/2, Phnom Penh
Down a alleyway, this place is hard to find, but worth it when you do! The food is tasty, and they have plenty of options.
Backyard Cafe / House 11B, Street 246
This is my favorite place to come when I am showing my body that I actually care for it. The power bowls here are amazing, as well ad everything else on this menu. You can also pick up natural cashew butter here, as well as other goodies!
Phnom Penh India / 335 Sisowath Quay
Massive naan, delicious chicken tikka rolls, and buttery butter chicken. What more could a girl ask for?
Paddy Rice / Sisowath Quay Corner, 213/217
Along the riverside, this place has a killer bangers and mash!
Brooklyn / No 20, Street 123
For when you are craving Italian food made by New Yorkers. This is a favorite of expats for their delicious pizza, chicken wings, and pastas.
Il Fornio/ No.11, Street 302
Once upon a time they only had a location in Siem Reap, and it made my heart sing when they brought it to Phnom Penh. The one in Phnom Penh is nearby Independence Monument, and will serve you some of the best pizzas, tiramisu, and burgers that the city has to offer!
Luigis (Piccola Italia Da Luigi) / Street 308
I go back and forth on whether I like the pizza more at Luigis and Il Fornio, and I haven’t been able to make up my mind. If you find yourself near Bassac Lane then stop into Luigis for some authentic, delicious Italian pizza.
Pepper Lunch / Aeon Mall, #132, Samdech Sothearos
If you happen to find yourself at Aeon mall, stop by Pepper Lunch to “sizzle it your way” by choosing from a variety of meats and flavors that you cook yourself!
J8 / #36A, Street 313, Toul Kork
Located in Toul Kork (the north part of the city), this place always delivers good food. The bulgogi served here is my favorite!
Silla / #34, Street 337, Toul Kork
Also in toul kork, this restaurant makes you feel like you have traveled to Korea. It’s huge walls encompass a vast amount of seating, as well as a fountain. You can hear k-pop hits churned out over the speakers as you enjoy kimchi jiggae. The flavors taste similar to J8, but everything costs about $1 more because of how nice the establishment is.
Toto Ramen / Look online for closest location / https://www.facebook.com/Toto-Cambodia-230888607012986/?rf=251710178306647
With various locations around the city, hit up Toto if you want some bibimbap but aren’t sure where to get it. Not as authentic as the first two on this list, but still delicious! They also have some good ice cream if you feel the need to wash it down with something sweet.
Mexicano / #29, Street 288
Craving a taco that tastes like it came straight from Tijuana? Hit up Mexicano. Just be aware there is limited seating, so call ahead if you can, or go on a weeknight.
Taqueria Corona / 14E, Pasteur (St. 51)
Perfect if you are craving tex-mex. The nachos and mission burritos are delicious! The passionfruit margaritas aren’t too bad either.
Chinese Noodle / #551 Monivong Blvd.
The fact that it is hard to get a seat in this place is a testament to how good the food is. You can get a whole meal for less than $5 and feel completely satisfied. My favorites are the fried dumplings and noodles with chicken. The noodles are super thick, and you can see them being made right in front of you!
Sesame Noodle Bar / #9, Street 460
By Russian Market, this is the place to go if you are craving delicious cold noodles. They have a variety of flavors that don’t disappoint.
$ Rokku / #507, Sisowath Quay
Founded by an American-Cambodian pop star, Rokku is in a fun location (right by Independence Monument) and has floors based on whatever mood you are feeling. Want to sing karaoke? Eat on floor 2. Want to listen to a smooth cover band and sit outside? Head to the top floor. The menu is good, and the “choose what you want” experience is a bonus!
Chiang Mai / #227, Sisowath Quay
On the riverside, this place has got you covered if you are craving pad thai and traditional Thai curries.
So now that i’ve finished writing this, I am feeling really hungry. Anybody else? There are just so many good places on this list! I hope this list helps you in your quest to eat your way through Phnom Penh! 🙂