Southeast Asian cities are sought by western foreigners primarily for their beaches, weather, and an array of exotic foods and cheap restaurants. Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, is not an exemption. Tourists aren’t surprised that eating and drinking in Phnom Penh is quite a treat. There are so many restaurants to choose from, serving all kinds of international dishes. Most of the major restaurants are situated around the Royal Palace, which is an important landmark along the river. Below are the most popular places to eat and drink.
Simply named The Shop, this café and bakery is well known for its breakfast, specifically the banana and honey crumpet with latte, which to many tourists and expats is the best way to start a day. The Shop is located just behind the Royal Palace and is open from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Another well-loved café is Café Fresco, a little sidewalk café along the famous Sisowath Quay near the National Museum. It opens early since many people come for breakfast, specifically for coffee, sandwich, smoothies. (Sisowath Quay is a 3-km boulevard that is a popular hang-out for tourists and expats.)
The Java Café and Gallery, on other hand, offers something extra. As customers eat white chocolate walnut cookies and drink tea, they are treated to an exhibit of gorgeous artworks. It is located along Sihanouk Boulevard. By the way, this café’s cookies are said to be among the best in Southeast Asia.
Speaking of café, coffee and cookies, two more breakfast shops to visit are Metro Café in Sisowath Quay and T&C, which has four stores scattered around the city. T&C serves authentic Vietnamese Trung Nguyen coffee worth US$0.70 to US$1.00. Metro Café, on the other hand is known for its Asian coffee and lunch.
Tourists, especially western tourists, would definitely like to taste the local Khmer cuisine. Malis is the place to go. Located on Norodom Street, Malis is considered the best Cambodian restaurant in all of Phnom Penh for its delicious foods and famous chef, Luu Meng. The traditional Cambodian desserts are to die for.
For tourists who prefer a wide choice of international dishes, they might want to try K West near the river; Sa, serving French food and located at the Royal Palace Explanade; 102, another French restaurant and considered by many to be the best restaurant in Phnom Penh; and Riverhouse, serving Mediterranean food and located along Sisowath Quay. Riverside also serves an array of the best wine choices in Phnom Penh.
A restaurant with a humanitarian twist is Friends. Located near the National Museum, Friends is run by a humanitarian foundation that teaches homeless children how to operate this restaurant. The foods are reasonably priced.
Tourists who are low on cash would discover that eating and drinking in Phnom Penh need not be expensive. There are tons of back-alley restaurants such as Mamak’s Corner (with quality dishes below US$2), Seven-Seven (serving Indian and Filipino food), Moderate (Chinese restaurant serving exotic reptiles and mammals) and plenty more food stores along Monivong Street and across the Pailin Hotel.