Pub Street can be overwhelming and crowded and once you’ve taken a turn around there, it’s nice to go somewhere else to eat. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some good restaurants in that area, and we occasionally stop by, but since living here, we’ve found a whole other world of eats beyond Pub Street.
But first a little background, my BF and I are both Americans and have lived abroad since 2007 and 2009 respectively. We’ve lived in culinary paradises (China and Thailand) and we don’t have any food allergies, but we both try to eat a healthy diet, and are willing to try new foods. However, none of the restaurants I’m recommending are particularly adventurous (at least I don’t think so).
As far as pricing goes, most of what I’m sharing here does not go beyond $20 for two people. This includes drinks which are expensive for some weird reason.
I’ve decided to organize this post by area. It seemed like the easiest way to navigate through all the places I want to share. So, let’s get started because you are in for a real treat, the food of Siem Reap is especially great for a town this small.
// Common Grounds serves up American and Asian foods and is one of several restaurants that provide training and opportunities for the poor. It’s a nonprofit, but I know what you really will enjoy is the blast of A/C. Many expats and travellers camp out with their laptops and it can get a little crowded, but the staff are courteous and the WC is clean with plenty of soap!
What to get: the Black Bean Veggie Burger and Chai Latte. The Chicken Salad and Pumpkin Soup are nice, too.
// Vibe is to the left of Common Grounds and is relatively new to Siem Reap, but it’s already popular. It’s 100% vegan and so everything is super healthy. The décor is minimalist, but inviting, and the food is beautifully presented. It’s a little on the pricey side ($5 a dish), but if you’re traveling from the West, you’re laughing over what I’ve just said.
What to get: I’m still trying things! Hello vegan donuts! The Ritual Bowl is quite hearty. I’d recommend the bowls.
// Atmosphere – I can already hear my friends groaning over recommending this place because they don’t want you to know about it! But I fear the secret is out whether I mentioned it or not. First, Mo the owner makes you feel like you’ve stepped into his home. Secondly, you are in for delicious Middle Eastern food. Lastly, you’ll love the prices.
What to get: anything, get it all, get desert.
Behind the Angkor Trade Center, which is where Pizza Company and Swensens is, there are a row of restaurants on Olive Street. Here are the two you should check out. As you can see, it’s very close to Pub Street.
// New Leaf Eatery is another nonprofit that serves up Khmer and Western food. They have used books lining the walls and it’s a nice open atmosphere. Sometimes it gets crowded, but I like their food.
What to get: Spicy Grilled Beef Salad, Big Vegan Fry Up, their spring rolls.
// Great Punjabi Celebration is located on the same street as New Leaf, just after the fancy hotel. It’s very clean and the staff are attentive and warm. We eat so much whenever we go. Prepare to be stuffed.
What to get: We had the Butter Chicken and it was to die for. We definitely went into that blissful state while eating it. They make everything to order so expect at least a 20 minute wait. But it’s worth it.
// Malis looks far on the map from Angkor Trade Center, but it’s really not. It’s less than a 5 minute walk.
It’s one of those super expensive restaurants that I would probably only be able to afford to eat at once, but here’s the thing, they have this option called a “free flow breakfast”. It starts are 6.30 and ends at 10.30, but I wouldn’t cut it too close to that, I’d arrive at 10 at the latest.
Here’s your chance to eat a Khmer breakfast and eat a lot of it for about $8. You are allowed a choice of three dishes maximum (I could only manage two) and they arrive one after the other. Juice and coffee and a croissant/pastry is included also in this gut-loading affair.
What to get: the free flow breakfast
// Temple Coffee and Bakery is across the bridge from the Prea Prom Rath temple and is a great place to hang out and beat the heat. The restaurant has couch-like seats, A/C, sometimes even plays decent music and has an extensive Khmer/Western menu – plated beautifully.
What to get: the salmon spaghetti, hot plate noodles and a fun drink.
These places are further afield from Pub Street, but you might be staying in the area or out exploring.
// Veg “G” Table Cafe is on Wat Bo Road with a little standup sign on the sidewalk somewhere between road 20 and the Open Market minishop. It’s a little expensive like Vibe, but the portions are massive. This one’s on ‘my top meals I’ve ever had’ list. Seriously.
What to get: White Bean Lime & Chilli Fritters and Roasted Vegetable Wrap. You can’t go wrong here. I’ve heard good things about the Veggie Burger, too.
//Little Kroma has two locations: one on 20th Street and Wat Bo Road and in the Wat Damnak area. I’ve eaten at both. They are low-key spots with good prices for local food.
What to get: we usually get the Mango lassi, or a stir-fried dish. I like the pumpkin and tofu.
// Vitking House is one of those gems because: a) it’s affordable, Khmers like to eat there, b) it’s mainly vegetarian (Are there meat dishes there?), and c) the gardens and floor seating makes for a chillax setting.
It’s opposite Angkor High School on Makara/High School Road. They have been known to screw up orders or forget about you when they have a bus-load of monks eating there. Yup, that happened. But I’d say consistently they are a good place.
What to get: I love the Garlic Noodles. He likes the Pumpkin Shake. The BBQ Mushrooms are out-of-this-world.
//The Glass House is at the Park Hyatt on Sivatha (See-vuuu-tah) Road opposite KFC. I go here when I want to splurge or ‘splash out’ as the Brits like to say. I’ve been known to buy baked goods here along with my meal so that pushes me out of the $20 range. Japanese tourists like to come here, so there you go, sophisticated.
That being said, it’s never crowded. The A/C is lovely and the setting is quiet.
What to get: Their salads are tasty, especially the salmon one. Love the bread, too.
This is by no means a finished list. I feel like there are so many restaurants here that I have yet to try. I’ve heard good things about Genevieve’s on Sok San Road (and obviously based on this post, I’m rarely in the Sok San area).
There is also a new restaurant opening in the Kandall Village neighborhood – a Mexican joint that I’ll be keen on checking out once they open their doors.
Mammashop Italian Restaurant is also in the Kandall area but, the funny thing is I’ve never been inside the restaurant. I’ve only ordered takeaway from work.
If you’re looking for a nice evening restaurant, I’ve been to Spoons a couple of times. They serve upscale Khmer food while training underprivilaged Cambodians. It’s lovely, but the lighting is poor for food photography, so no photos, sorry! Located in the Wat Damnak area.
For dessert, you might want to check out Blossom Cafe. They are on the way to Kandall Village if you walk down Central Market Street. They’re a non-profit, training Cambodian women in making cakes. It’s a fun place to take photos and eat some cupcakes!
Brown Coffee has branches in Phnom Penh, but opened in Siem Reap in October 2016. Now, don’t laugh, but I haven’t had the coffee yet, just the food and smoothies because I try not to drink more than one or two cups a day.
Brown’s is located on Taphul Road or Road 6 not far from Lucky Mall. If you are at Lucky Mall, facing Road 6, just keep walking until you get to the intersection. Take a left and it’s a short distance from there. Maybe a 10 minute walk?
The cafe is large with plenty of food, baked treats and locals enjoying the space. Which reminds me…Starbucks is coming to Siem Reap…I know, right?
And I still have to visit the Siem Reap Food Co-op! I think I’m the last expat to go!
What have I missed? (Besides that restaurant that I go to every week and which shall not be named!) I enjoy trying new places. Happy eats!