Nov 23 2011

A beginning eating guide to Siem Reap’s Wat Bo Road

Published by at 2:36 pm under Food & drink

Not that long ago, Wat Bo Road was simply a detour that you might have quickly taken and just as quickly forgotten: a nowhere road to somewhere else. Today, it’s buzzing. It seems hardly a week goes by without a new bar, café, restaurant or hotel opening up either on Wat Bo Road or one of its many side streets. Just recently, we’ve had the excellent El Camino on Street 26, sandy Beaches on Wat Bo Road, posh-Khmer Square 24 on Street 24, and many more. It could leave you all breathless if you were trying to keep up with it, puff, puff, puff…

Not quite Oxford Circus, but really, really busy for Siem Reap!

Not quite Oxford Circus, but really, really busy for Siem Reap!

Unless you were staying in the area, it might not cross your mind to take a trip up here, but then you’d be missing out on the hottest location for lots of Siem Reap’s newest restaurant ventures. Here’s a quick guide to some of our favourite spots on Wat Bo Road — and we’re not even going down the side-streets yet, or looking at hotels.

Upstairs Café will open in earlyDecember, and is the result of a young Frenchwoman’s passion for baking cakes for her friends. She gave me some of her ginger bread to sample recently, and it was a gift of light, soft, sweet, smooth bliss. I was incredibly good, I have to say, and I actually shared some with my husband, though I may have to be careful about introducing them now as I’m not sure he wouldn’t leave me for someone who makes cakes this good. I’d show you a picture, but we gobbled the lot… sorry!

Things are not all they appear at Madame Beergarden Under Construction

Things are not all they appear at Madame Beergarden Under Construction.

As the name hints, Upstairs Café can be found upstairs, and is located over Madame Beergarden Under Construction, a fun and slightly wacky bar that does great drinks offers and serves super food in a setting that will have you quirk-spotting all night.

An older hand on the scene is Le Café at the French Cultural Centre. This is a quiet little walled garden café that serves some mean brownies and cakes from the Paul Debrule hospitality training school, as well as some French classics such as croque monsieur. While you’re there, have a browse through the library which carries books, newspapers and DVDs that can be enjoyed on site.

C'est chic, naturellement

C'est chic, naturellement.

Heading back towards Wat Damnak, you’ll find Kholene Pasta Bar, a little gem of a place that serves up pizza (two for the price of one at selected times), pasta, and some inventive and delicious Khmer and Western dishes in an attractive open-air restaurant.

No visit to Siem Reap is truly complete without a trip to Mr Grill: sizzling meats, giant shrimp, Khmer barbecue and ice-cold beer, all served up in a bustling open-air restaurant popular with locals, expats and visitors alike.

Because, really, where else would you put a horse?

Because, really, where else would you put a horse?

All of this is just the east end of Wat Bo; there is so much to discover here you’d be crazy not to check it out.

The gorgeous Wat Bo, which you really ought to go see too...

The gorgeous Wat Bo, which you really ought to go see too ...

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12 responses so far

12 Responses to “A beginning eating guide to Siem Reap’s Wat Bo Road”

  1. chaos23on 23 Nov 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Hu …what happened to “Star Rise” in the same street? Best Amok so far!

  2. Kristinaon 23 Nov 2011 at 2:51 pm

    When I was first in SR almost 10 years ago, Wat Bo Road was still unpaved. A lot has changed in the last decade, that’s for sure.
    When I was there last year, there was a fantastic Burmese restaurant called Irrawaddi (though I’ve heard it may have closed?). I also ate at Kholene last year, but it wasn’t a “pasta bar” but rather more of a high end french-khmer fusion. Sounds like it’s changed. And of course, Wat Bo Road is home to my favorite guest house, Seven Candles.

  3. Nickyon 23 Nov 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Hi there, Irriwadi closed down just over a year ago, shortly after I visited it for the first time though I believe the two events to be unrelated. Kholene introduced a pizza oven and makes some fabulous pastas as well, all home-made, which I forgot to mention.

  4. Nickyon 23 Nov 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Hi Chaos, Star Rise hasn’t risen on my radar yet. Any clues as to its location.

  5. chaos23on 24 Nov 2011 at 3:57 pm

    It´s 20m before the 7-11 on the left side when coming from the main street with the texaco oil station… have to look it up, but I´ll post you a pic if I find it.

  6. Nickyon 25 Nov 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Hmm, Chaos23, the 7-11 is gone, and is most likely now the Apsara Supermarket, I’m guessing. When were you here?

  7. chaos23on 26 Nov 2011 at 6:21 pm

    last time was 2009 … planning on it this year.

    Star Rise is next to Mom´s Guesthouse, same side. And yes the 7-11 next to that was named Apsara then already… you are right!

  8. chaos23on 26 Nov 2011 at 6:24 pm

    there that´s it! hope it still exists

  9. […] Wat Bo Road has a growing selection of reliable eateries and watering holes like Viroth’s Restaurant, and the Soria Moria Hotel which hosts weekly promotions such as its popular $1 tapas night. If you can’t find anything on the doorstep to suit your taste or mood, the bars and restaurants of Pub Street and the Old Market area are less than 15 minutes’ walk away, and the nearest of the town’s night markets is closer still. […]

  10. […] of regular tuk tuk drivers on hand. A good selection of bars and restaurants can be found on nearby Wat Bo Road, but if you do plan to walk there at night and save the tuk tuk fare, a flashlight is strongly […]

  11. […] entrances but the nearest to the puppet classes is on Samdech Tep Vong Street, near the junction of Wat Bo Road. You can pay your guide when you […]

  12. […] you don’t want to eat at the guesthouse, or fancy some local fare, the location near Wat Bo Road is perfect for a good selection of restaurants and bars. Pub Street and the Old Market area with […]

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