Photo: Wat Lanka, Phnom Penh.

Photo of FriendsFriends

Great spot, great cause

215 Street 13, Phnom Penh
T: (012) 802 072


Friends is probably one of the longest-running and most famed social enterprise training restaurants in Southeast Asia.

Photo of Friends

And with good reason.

The small, fun and bright space near the National Museum serves up a range of delicious Asian and Western tapas with a light emphasis on local ingredients, plus refreshing smoothies and cocktails -- who knew Kampot green peppercorns would go so well with a strawberry smoothie ($4.50)? Recommended! Other interesting choices are the pineapple and chilli margarita ($4.75) and the Chinese iced red tea with lime ($2.25).

On the food front, expect a range of vegetarian and meat dishes, such as zucchini and cheddar fritters with Thai sriracha mayo ($4.25), Khmer stir-fried squid with spicy basil and tamarind sauce ($4.75), palm sugar and cinnamon braised duck leg with cranberry orange relish ($8) and Khmer-style Scotch egg ($4). The latter is for adventurers: a crumbed fertilised baby duck egg with pork, black pepper, lime and garlic dip.

The staff are former street children who are being trained so they can find work in the hospitality industry -- you might think you'd need extra patience to dine here, but in our experience staff have always been exemplary and you absolutely wouldn't know they are beginners. Prices are ever so slightly upmarket but still very reasonable compared to what you'd pay in the West, and it's for an excellent cause.

Disclaimer: We volunteered to edit a few of their cookbooks in the mid 2000s -- check them out!

Our rating:


215 Street 13, Phnom Penh
Daily 11:00-22:30
T: (012) 802 072

Location map for Friends