Botanico Gastrobar

Shady spot for a lazy lunch

What we say: 4 stars

Tucked away in Phnom Penh’s Tonle Bassac area, five minutes’ walk from the Independence Monument, Botanico Gastro Bar is a hidden jungle refuge in the city. In a city lacking in parks, it’s a cool shady spot for a long and lazy brunch or a relaxed dinner after a day of hitting the markets. There’s an extensive coffee menu, intimate seating, a fish pond and 2,000 different plants (apparently, we didn’t count them).

Take a seat in the jungle.

Take a seat in the jungle.

From the street, Botanico is difficult to spot — just a small gate with a few plants and a discreet sign to let you know you’re in the right place. The path leads to a garden bursting with tropical plants, obscuring tucked-away comfy sofas designed for lounging. Each alcove is provided with fans and repellant to keep you cool and bug-free while perusing the menu. Staff are quick to provide you with iced water on arrival, and the service is politely relaxed.

The food is a mix of Asian fusion, burgers, salads, tapas and inventive breakfast choices, with a whole sheet dedicated to coffee that should satisfy any caffeine connoisseur. It’s also favoured by those in the know for early evening happy hour cocktails. Prices are at the higher end for Phnom Penh cafe dining, somewhat explained by the quality of the ingredients, so this isn’t the place for a cheap bite. The relaxed vibe does mean that you don’t feel forced to rush off after eating, so you can get your money’s worth unwinding in the garden.

Tarzan outfit optional.

Tarzan outfit optional.

The staff are kid-friendly and the elevated fish pond and resident butterflies will help to keep little ones occupied while you sink into the sofa. Botanico is equally popular with couples and groups of friends enjoying tapas behind the privacy of those big ferns.

Around the same area, Vego on Street 294 serves up reasonably priced salads and freshly cooked Asian cuisine in welcome air-con and Java Cafe‘s balcony is another time-stealer, where hours can pass over coffee and scrumptious monthly specials.

Contact details
9b Street 29, Tonle Bassac
T: (017) 873 101
http://www.facebook.com/gastrobarbotanico
Open: Open Tue to Sun, 8:00-21:30
About the author
Abigail has been stoned by villagers in India, become an honorary Kenyan tribeswoman, sweet talked border guards and had close encounters with black mambas. Her motto is: “Live to tell the tale.”

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