Blue Dragon is a small, cosy bar that we’re a little reluctant to write about, because we like it so much we’d really like to keep it to ourselves. The Blue Dragon feels almost like someone’s living room, with a couple of comfy sofas and chairs inside, and barstools for seven or eight. Out front, table seating gives a good view on to the Royal Palace, down the Tonle Sap and the lively Mok... Read our full review of Blue Dragon.
The narrow lanes around the leafy residential area of Tonle Bassac are home to a slew of cool bars and hot restaurants that are sleek, intimate, modern and buzzing, and the coolest of them all are to be found on Bassac... Read our full review of Bassac Lane.
Brilliant music, brilliant food, and a friendly bar where it’s easy to end up in long, happy and involved conversations with total strangers. Look for the yellow banana on the sign on Street 110, and no it’s not a metaphor despite what the neighbours get up to. That would be far too subtle for this area. It's Warhol’s banana, from the Velvet Underground days, and that's far more in tune... Read our full review of Garage.
Another rooftop option, Chow has always been smart but was given a fresh new look towards the end of 2015, so is now even smarter yet. Taking advantage of the perspective, there’s seating overlooking the Tonle Sap as well as a tiny splash pool that customers are free to use while enjoying their cocktails. The sunset views are gorgeous, and made all the more so by the happy hour from 17:00 until... Read our full review of Chow.
The original Phnom Penh drag bar since 2008, Blue Chilli is still a firm favourite with expats and Khmers. They bill themselves as the longest-running gay bar in Cambodia, which is not nearly true. That award goes to the Linga Bar in Siem Reap, which celebrated its 11th birthday in 2015 — a full four years older, though they might not admit it in public. Blue Chilli is packed every Friday and... Read our full review of Blue Chilli Bar & Cafe.
One of the most popular nightclubs in town, Pontoon keeps the music pumping until 05:00 with a mix of local and international DJs, and some big names occasionally make an appearance. The drinks are cheap and effective, and they’re open seven nights a week hosting regular special events, including Wednesday night’s Shameless, one of the city’s most fun cabaret, drag and urban dance shows. We... Read our full review of Pontoon .
Top of the league as far as concept goes, Score Bar has more framed shirts than you can poke a hockey stick at, a very big screen indeed (5.8m by 4.5m) and wait staff in umpire shirts. We’d have to give them an occasional yellow card for service — on busy nights, queuing at the bar and waiting to buy beer requires more than a little planning, and patience as the energetic team try to contend... Read our full review of Score - Sports Bar and Grill.
One of the joys of visiting Cambodia is the surprising array of architectural styles. Once you’ve explored the well-maintained delights of Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace and National Museum, we recommend popping over to The Mansion to experience the bohemian ambiance of a more au naturel building over a glass of something... Read our full review of Mansion Heritage Bar.
The iconic Elephant Bar at Raffles Hotel Le Royal is known for its bygone-era sense of sophistication, although a recent refurbishment has brought the bar up to the modern age while retaining its classical dimensions and retro... Read our full review of Elephant Bar at Raffles Hotel Le Royal.
A sweet little hideaway, Salsa Cabana is one of those perfect spots for heading to after a boozy session, for yet more booze and plenty of delicious food to wash it down with. The street side bar is small and thus highly sociable, while the prices are within reach of almost any budget. The food is not up to the same standards as Taqueria, but then again, if you order from the menu pasted above... Read our full review of Salsa Cabana.
Sharky’s Bar celebrated their 20th birthday in September 2015, and claims to be the longest running rock n’ roll bar in Indochina. Who are we to argue? They’re on a mission to be The place to go for live music in Phnom Penh (and eradicate their long-standing reputation as a seedy sex worker bar). They’ve been pretty successful and Sharky’s now has gigs on every weekend. The vibe is... Read our full review of Sharky Bar .
A beguilingly shady reputation keeps the doors swinging at Heart of Darkness, which is enduringly popular with sex workers, backpackers, the men who want to score either of those, and Phnom Penh’s heavily-guarded elite brats. Heart of Darkness boasts two floors of nightclubbing and head-splitting remixes of Top 40 tunes, but it’s nowhere near as seedy as it used to be, and was almost quite... Read our full review of Heart of Darkness.
Feel Good was so good they had to make it twice, so now we have Feel Good II, a small and simple, unassuming cafe on leafy hideaway Street 29, where you’ll find the best coffee in town — and there are people who will get very emotional about that if you disagree with them — honest, straightforward food, and radically fabulous... Read our full review of Feel Good Cafe II Coffee Roasters.
Fresh, organic, locally sourced, healthy and incredibly tasty food: it’s here! ARTillery has built a menu around delivering the best food that they can find, adapted to suit different dietary needs, such as vegetarian, vegan, paleo, gluten-free or raw, and has somehow managed to wrap it up in a range of delicious dishes that are guaranteed to have you coming back for... Read our full review of ARTillery Cafe.
Showing plenty of foresight, Java Cafe and Gallery has been open since 2000, well ahead of the curve which has seen a new coffee shop open almost every week in Phnom Penh recently. Java is centrally located just two minutes’ walk from the Independence Monument, with views over Sihanouk Boulevard park. We love the mid-price tasty beverages and food, the competent service and the different... Read our full review of Java Cafe and Gallery.
A lively coffee shop with great service, top-notch coffee and good food. It’s not just the cheery calls of “Suasadei!” when you walk in the doors that make you feel at home at Brown Roastery. The soft light, comfortable, contemporary furnishings and excellent service all play their part... Read our full review of Brown Roastery.
Almost genetically engineered to appeal to families and Phnom Penh’s worthy NGO crowd, The Shop is a safe byword for fresh, healthy, delicious and incredibly good value food in a stylishly informal setting. One of the most reliably quality restaurants in Phnom Penh, they’ve been turning out beautifully prepared wraps, soups, quiches, salads and freshly baked bread and patisseries on Street... Read our full review of The Shop.
Tucked away on one of the streets running off the Russian Market is Tini Cafe and Bar: tiny by name, and of course, tiny by nature. The little two-storey, all-white outfit nestled in a short stretch of old wooden houses that have somehow been spared the busy neighbourhood wrecking ball, is a cafe by day and wine bar by... Read our full review of Tini Cafe and Bar.
If you’re feeling peckish in the vicinity of the Russian Market, Alma Cafe is worth hunting out. A Khmer house might not be the obvious location for yummy, good value Mexican food, but the colourful poncho shows you’re in the right... Read our full review of Alma Cafe.
Phsar Toul Toum Poung (aka Russian Market) in Phnom Penh is a sweaty heaving church of consumerism where the most devout can spend hours walking in circles and haggling for bargains. But even dedicated shoppers need time off for good behaviour, which is where the Sisters All Day Bakery Shop comes into its own. Despite the name, this little cafe is not run by nuns, but it is located down a side... Read our full review of Sisters All Day Breakfast Shop.
Hummus House serves up delicious and authentic Lebanese food, and we kind of feel that nothing more needs to be added once that’s your starting point. With a huge menu featuring every single one of your favourites, from hot and cold, meat and vegetarian mezze — averaging $4 a plate or $8 for an excellent value mixed plate — to grilled meats, wraps, salads, and more. On the riverside just to... Read our full review of Hummus House.
Healthy food in a smart setting, served the way you want it, and air-con. Quite frankly, why would you go anywhere else? The first time we walked into Vego Salad Bar we immediately walked back outside to make sure that we were still in Cambodia. The last time we went, it was undergoing a full-on renovation, so we can’t speak for the new look yet, but this is where you go if you’re hankering... Read our full review of Vego Salad Bar.
Now that La Cantina is (so sadly) gone, Taqueria Corona is free to take up the crown for best Mexican food in town. Generous portions of all of your favourites are served up in a comfortable air con room by carefully attentive staff. The recommendations for here were entirely unanimous, not one single person suggested trying anywhere else, and when we went it was easy to see why. They cover all... Read our full review of Taqueria Corona.
K’nyay serves delicious vegetarian and vegan Khmer dishes in a beautifully-preserved 1930s-built villa. In addition to having diverse and creative menu items like jackfruit curry and an excellent banana curry with cumin, coriander and turmeric, the menu also includes Khmer classics like amok and char kreung which are prepared with higher-quality ingredients and a fastidiousness that is not seen... Read our full review of K’nyay.
This one kept coming up again and again among friends’ recommendations for the best pizza in town, despite the fact that it’s hidden out of the way and not nearly as snazzy as other addresses in town. The Italian House is tucked down Street 312 on the right side as the road heads towards Sothearos. Not the easiest to find, and not the most salubrious of destinations either but, quite frankly,... Read our full review of The Italian House.
The archetypal hideaway, buried down a little residential street behind buzzing Bassac Lane, The Lost Room is a romantic little spot with all of the appearance of a Spanish hole in the wall. The menu too reflects a Spanish approach to life, with tapas plates leading you up to the bigger offerings, all of which boast some big flavours. There is nothing shy and retiring... Read our full review of The Lost Room.
Che Culo! (“what luck!” in case you were wondering, though Google Translate swears it means “that ass!”) is a very cool little Spanish bar and “eatery”, and though we usually abhor that latter term, it does kind of work for a place that’s so neatly divided between drinking and dining, while doing enormous justice to both. Actually, Che Culo! is so neat, we kind of wish we could... Read our full review of Che Culo!.
The newest bambino on the block, Il Forno is a smart, contemporary Italian restaurant with a traditional menu and big, gorgeous flavours. Opening in the heart of BKK1 in mid-2015, the Phnom Penh version of the mega-popular Siem Reap restaurant is a very different bowl of pasta from its more rustic and homely... Read our full review of Il Forno.
A real Breton crepe is one of life’s simple but very real pleasures: thin and crispy on top, soft and slightly thicker at the bottom, wrapped around a rich sweet or savoury filling of your choice. Given France’s long influence in Cambodia, it’s kind of surprising that there hasn’t been a creperie in Phnom Penh long before this one opened its doors in 2014. But La Creperie goes a long... Read our full review of La Creperie.
One of the most stylish addresses in town, Chinese House combines old world Eastern romanticism with a thoroughly contemporary approach to art, music, cocktails and food. In the quiet north of the city, a beautifully preserved Chinese merchant’s house yields two distinct settings: downstairs, the tapas and cocktail bar is an exercise in cool sophistication, while the upstairs restaurant... Read our full review of Chinese House.
Another place with a simple, unadorned approach to life, Chez Gaston is down one of the back streets behind the riverside, which doesn't come across as the most promising start, but we recommend the journey. Jean-Pierre Gaston himself will most likely be there to welcome you, and stands always ready for a chat or to help out with your choice. He only lists the things he loves, so he knows of what... Read our full review of Chez Gaston.
Unabashed cheeses, forthright saucisses, rich and rugged pates and terrines, luxurious cakes, earthy breads, buttery patissierie and those delicious if, in fairness slightly over the top, macarons the French do so well — if these are the things that make your knees go weak, then prepare to crumble at Khema, a francophile’s refuge par... Read our full review of Khema.
The creation of a body builder and professional trainer, Backyard Cafe combines super-healthy food, and a scientific approach to nutrition with some fantastic flavours and portions that would satisfy even the heartiest of appetites. On Street 246, which is starting to develop its own vibe, the smart, relaxed, open-spaced restaurant with an almost Mediterranean feel, creates everything from... Read our full review of Backyard Cafe.
Quite simply, Pop Cafe serves the best pasta in Phnom Penh, if not Cambodia, and you’ll be hard-pushed to find a soul in the capital in full possession of their wits who would disagree with you. Around a decade ago, Pop Cafe Da Giorgio was the first Italian restaurant to open in Phnom Penh. For those who don’t know about it — Giorgio is a technophobe, so the restaurant doesn’t even have a... Read our full review of Pop Cafe.
The Vegetarian is doing brisk business in part due to its central location on Street 19, option of garden courtyard or interior dining, and incredibly obvious name. And the food’s good, and ridiculously good value for money with many dishes hovering around the $1.50/$2 mark. The dishes are simple and light — if you’re hungry a main might not be quite enough but the starters are some of... Read our full review of The Vegetarian.
An immensely popular pizzeria on trendy Street 308, Piccolo Italia offers up pizza, and some prime people-watching turf. We’re kind of including this one more for the curiosity value, and because we have to concede that occasionally we might be wrong about some things. Or, quite a few things. Piccolo Italia was recommended to us time and time again, but we have to say that we found the location... Read our full review of Piccolo Italia Da Luigi Pizzeria.
While other Italians are noted for the quality of their pizza or their pasta, Limoncello seems to be the all-rounder and is another firm recommendation by those in the know, including one of the premier chefs in Phnom Penh. The restaurant is tucked away up in the north of the city, right beside One Stop Hostel and the Pillar Hotel. The setting is not the most enticing, a long, fairly sombre and... Read our full review of Limoncello.
What with the Tintin tableaux, posters of Duvel beer, and even a shot of the tax-dodging Gerard Depardieu (in Phnom Penh), there's no mistaking this joint's national stripes. Long-running La Palate is as Belgian as can be. Though we note they don't admit responsibility for half-Belgian Johnny Hallyday, leaving the French to take the blame for that. And who could fault them? The French stole their... Read our full review of La Patate.
For those in Phnom Penh looking for a little taste of home, Mike’s Burger House serves up some of Phnom Penh’s most-loved burgers that are noteworthy for being both toothsome and... Read our full review of Mike's Burger House.
Halfway along the riverside with great views on to the promenade and river in front, Paddy Rice Irish Sports Bar is actually more of a pub than a bar. With a nice open space and long wooden bar with odd bits of Irish bar paraphenalia, the emphasis is more on the sports element than the Irish, which is no bad thing really. They have 24-hour opening for key sporting fixtures, so you need never miss... Read our full review of Paddy Rice.
The streets behind Phnom Penh‘s riverside are a microcosm of the city — there’s karaoke, street food, hostess bars, fast food joints, hairdressers, hotels and tailors. In all the excitement, it might be easy to overlook The Empire, a small bar, restaurant and cinema squeezed into a regular sized shopfront two blocks from the main promenade. Which may explain why there’s a rather large... Read our full review of The Empire Movie House.
Boasting one of the best views of sunset and the Phnom Penh skyline, Mekong View Tower does exactly what it says on the neon sign. It takes some effort to get there across the bridge at the northern end of town, but those who make the journey are rewarded with two rivers and the beauty of the city from a... Read our full review of Mekong View Tower.
One of the longest-running French restaurants in town, La Marmite owes much of its ongoing success to an unadorned approach to setting, service and cooking. If anyone tells you French food is pretentious, send them here and you won't need to say another word. At La Marmite, you'll find all the traditional dishes such as French onion soup ($4.75), which is highly recommended, hearty... Read our full review of La Marmite.
If you’re interested in eating for a cause, Romdeng is part of the NGO Smith Samlanh, which trains and employs former street children. And even if you're interested in a good cause -- the food here is fab! Romdeng is a beautiful venue in an old villa that specialises in traditional Khmer dishes from the provinces and gives you a chance to try some of the more adventurous Khmer dishes like... Read our full review of Romdeng.
If you want try real, unadulterated Cambodian food, but are a little nervous about going street side, then this is an excellent option. They’ve been here for years, and the open-fronted restaurant looks a lot classier today than it used to. The menu is huge, and the busy kitchens turn out all of the soups, noodles, stir fries and more than you can imagine. However, they are especially noted for... Read our full review of Sovanna.
A Phnom Penh stalwart, Sugar Palm has been serving up spring rolls, satays, curries, soups, noodles and arguably the best fish amok in town for ten years now. For a long time, they were a comfortable staple on Street 240, but they moved to a new premises on Street 178 in mid-2015, and in its simple elegance the new setting perfectly matches the food. The menu is short, and a little pricier than... Read our full review of The Sugar Palm.
Visitors to Phnom Penh are sometimes surprised at the cost of food, but it’s perfectly possible to eat for $5 — or 20,000 riel — a day if you know where to look. The first trick to cheap meals is to put aside thoughts of familiar nosh and get experimental. A Western breakfast can set you back $5 all by itself, but the Khmer equivalent is much kinder on the pocket. Think of pork and rice as... Read our full review of Eating for less than $5 a day in Phnom Penh.
A short ramble from the riverside on Street 172 in Phnom Penh, Laughing Fatman is an old backpacker favourite in an upcoming tourist hotspot. Formerly Oh My Buddha at Lakeside, moving close to Wat Ounalom required a name change that wouldn’t upset the monks. Seems they have no problem with self-deprecation,... Read our full review of Laughing Fatman.
Restaurant Phsar Kabko is almost opposite the market it’s named for on Street 9, just off Sihanouk Boulevard east of Independence Monument. In the best tradition of canteen food, it serves up generous portions in unpretentious surroundings to satisfied... Read our full review of Restaurant Phsar Kabko.
The name is pretty descriptive, and accurate, but doesn’t come close to conveying just how good this place is. Mama Wong’s Dumpling Noodle House sits near the end of the row of lively bars and restaurants that make up trendy Bassac Lane, and from this vantage point serves up a richly flavoured, beautifully prepared array of dumplings, cooked any way you like them, soups, noodles and small... Read our full review of Mama Wong's Dumpling Noodle House.
A little bit away from the crowds, but more than worth the minor excursion, Fortune Pho has built up a solid reputation over many years for reliably serving up the same delicious pho, day after day, year after... Read our full review of Fortune Pho.
Tucked away in a mall, this unassuming little spot with a reputation for addictive mock meats is one you’d never stumble upon. It’s inside City Mall on Monireth Boulevard, on the first floor. If you take the lift (elevator) up, turn right when you come out of it, and follow the aisle as it hooks around to the left and then go through the double doors as though you’re heading for the car... Read our full review of Fate Blessing Buddha.
The surroundings might not be salubrious, but Chinese Noodle Restaurant dishes up delicious hand-pulled noodles and housemade dumplings, and prices are about as cheap as you’ll find anywhere in... Read our full review of Chinese Noodle Restaurant.
Tucked into a difficult-to-spot shophouse on Street 178 in Phnom Penh within spitting distance of Phnom Penh’s National Museum, Warung Bali only has nine tables. So before we go any further, you have to promise not to go there when we want dinner.... Read our full review of Warung Bali.
Two minutes from Phnom Penh‘s riverside, just around the corner from perennial tourist favourite the FCC, you’ll find the small but perfectly formed Lucky Pho. If you’ve crossed from Vietnam and have a hankering for soup, you won’t be disappointed here. The price may be higher than on a Hanoi street, but then again, so are the chairs. With only six big black tables inside and two more on... Read our full review of Lucky Pho.
One of the most mysterious street food stands you’ll find in Phnom Penh (well, maybe aside from the crickets) are the dessert stands — covered in rows of bowls of what appear to be mushy vegetables, you’d never know you’d happened upon a Cambodian ambrosial secret hidden in plain... Read our full review of Coconut milk desserts.
Nom banh chok is a quintessential Khmer dish, loved by locals and tourists alike. The dish, which is similar to Thai kanom jeen, consists of rice noodles topped with a green fish gravy and heaps of fresh green beans, bean sprouts, banana flower, cucumbers and other greens. The noodles are laboriously made in the provinces and delivered to the local markets early each morning. (The excellent Asian... Read our full review of Nom banh chok.
Now that Angelina Jolie has revealed that her Cambodian-born son is a huge fan of eating crickets, you may be considering trying the popular snack as well. If little Maddox Jolie-Pitt likes them, who wouldn’t? This is a kid with good taste — between the faux-hawk and having his own Battambang-based NGO since the tender age of two, Maddox is one to watch. So will crickets be the next big... Read our full review of Crickets.
Breakfast-time in Phnom Penh starts around six in the morning, but the street food stands don’t start really hopping until seven. Most of them serve until they run out at around nine. One of the most popular breakfasts — in addition to Khmer noodles — is bai sach chrouk, or pork with rice. This is my favourite Cambodian breakfast, and possibly my favourite Khmer dish period. It’s simple,... Read our full review of Bai sach chrouk.
One of the most popular breakfasts you’ll find in Cambodia is kuy teav (another, of course, is my much-loved bai sach... Read our full review of Kuy teav.
Coconut water is one of the easiest and safest street foods for visitors to try in Phnom Penh. As long as the coconut is not damaged, the liquid inside young coconuts is sterile and safe for sensitive... Read our full review of Coconut water.
On Norodom Boulevard, amid the colonial throwback government offices, beauty clinics and banks, sits an old and dilapidated mansion. By day, it’s just another example of the crumbling, elegant history that Phnom Penh still has to offer. But in the evening its courtyard comes alive with plastic stools and metal tables crammed full of young Cambodians in search of cheap and delicious food. If... Read our full review of Norodom street food restaurant.