Oct 17 2011

Sushi in Phnom Penh: Part two

Published by at 4:47 pm under Japanese


Hold onto your socks, the hunt for the best sushi in Phnom Penh continues. Last week I reviewed Origami and Fusion Sushi, and today I’ll cover more ground with a couple of places that are a little more affordable.

Le Quay Cafe

With four types of rolls and seven types of nigiri, Le Quay Cafe isn’t going to win any awards for selection, but what they do have is tasty and reasonably priced.

Nigiri, please!

They’re owned by the same people that run Fusion Sushi, so my review of their fish is pretty much the same. That said, they’re a little bit less expensive, with nigiri priced at $1.50 each and rolls between $4.50 and $6. Their sushi and sashimi sets are also good value at $6.50 and $12, respectively.

The real standout at Le Quay Cafe is not the sushi, but the cocktail specials. From 17:00 until 20:00 they have a happy hour special — half off all cocktails which are already quite reasonably priced between $3 and $5. So while it may not be the place you go for a full Japanese dinner, it’s a nice place to stop and have a drink and a few pieces of sushi to soak up the booze.

Corner of St 110 and Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh
T: (012) 673 783

Rahu

Newcomer to the sushi scene and sister restaurant to Metro, Rahu has taken the NGO population by storm and you’ll find the place filled every night with locals and expats trying to pretend they are in Miami in the 90s. (One recent review referred to their “determinedly elegant setting”).

The one thing all sushi restaurants in Phnom Penh have in common is terrible lighting.

I’ve got a number of gripes about Rahu: their overly attentive yet negligent service, freezing cold interior and perhaps the worst of all — the fish is sometimes half-frozen when it arrives on your plate. On occasion, I’ve had orders take 45 minutes to arrive in an empty restaurant because the staff were trying to figure out how to defrost the mackerel.

That said, the sushi is actually pretty good and remarkably cheap for Phnom Penh. Rolls cost around $5 and even more mind-blowing is the fact that all sushi is 50% off after 23:00 (they’re open until 02:00). Many of the sushi choices are not traditionally Japanese — they have a Korean pork and kimchi roll and a Khmer fusion option that is made of beef with fire ants, but they do also have more standard sushi choices like hamachi with scallion or the aforementioned mackerel.

10 Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 215 179

Suzume

Suzume is a traditional sushi restaurant, with no less than 17 types of nigiri and a plethora of rolls and sushi sets. Although not as chic as the other places I’ve reviewed, Suzume has an air of authenticity that is only bolstered by the groups of Japanese expats who choose to dine here.

They say that life abroad is filled with tough choices: this is one of them.

Unlike at Rahu and Le Quay/Fusion, where the fish is just barely defrosted, the fish at Suzume is an appropriate room temperature and generally quite fresh, although I’ll admit to having been disappointed with their scallop sashimi. And as disappointed as I was with the not quite-fresh-enough scallops, I was still impressed that they bothered to serve a thing like scallop sashimi — we are in Cambodia, after all. And this is Suzume’s main draw, their wide selection. Rolls cost between $1.50 and $8 and sushi sets range from $9 to $18 for an eleven-piece set.

In addition to the many types of sushi they offer, their extensive menu also has many cooked options including ramen, udon, teriyaki and bento boxes as well as a variety of yummy appetizers.

14Eo Street 51, Phnom Penh
T: (012) 800 367

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