Nov 02 2011
One of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive in Siem Reap, especially after you’ve done the obligatory trawl through Pub Street and its environs, is that this town isn’t exactly short of restaurants. Dozens of eateries of all kinds are clustered around the Old Market area, with many more scattered about as you head towards the edges of town. As you spend more time here, another thing you’ll notice is that standards of food preparation, presentation and service tend to be pretty good, ensuring that diners are spoiled for choice and could feasibly eat well for a month even if they never frequented the same place twice.
To that piece of good news, I would like to add another layer. Not many visitors consider dining at the restaurants of hotels that are different from the ones they’re staying at which, in a couple of cases at least, is a crying shame. Some have worked really hard to make sure their food is top-notch, a secret that really shouldn’t be kept for their guests alone.
Three in particular stand out for the quality of their food, and we’ll start with the poshest one first. The RiverGarden is a boutique hotel and the creation of a lady who has spent a considerable amount of time working in the catering industry back in Australia. The RiverGarden’s menu covers many Khmer and Western favourites, but the flavours that burst out of every dish, beautiful presentation, fabulous surroundings and the attentiveness of the staff all combine to make dining here a real treat for anyone. Plus their home-made brownies could start wars, they’re so good.
A little further down the river, you’ll find Rosy Guesthouse. This is an incredibly popular guesthouse for many who visit Siem Reap regularly and one of the top reasons for that is their excellent cooking, especially their pies which send nostalgic Brits into ecstasies. Stuffed to the gills with meat and gently spiced, with a wallop of mashed potato and rich, caramelly gravy on the side, and you’ve got a plate of comfort food at its finest.
Keeping the river close at hand, Ivy 2 is a small hostel that has developed a super reputation for the quality of its food, especially its vegetarian menu, which is huge. Festooned with greenery, the outdoor terrace feels like a real hide-away. They’ve started doing $1 tapas every Friday night from 18:00 to 22:00 as well. Time to drop your reservations, and check out where everyone else in town is staying.
113 Mondule 111, Phoum Treang
T: (063) 963 400
# 0074, Phum Slor Kram
T: (063) 965 059
Off Pokambor Avenue
T: (012) 800 860
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