Cambodia sees more than a million tourists on a yearly basis. The large influx of visitors is probably one of the reasons for the wide variety of restaurants in the country, which offer something different to fit the taste and budget of just about anyone.
1. Sunrise New Hope
Images of the Sunrise New Hope Restaurant are currently unavailable.
The story of Sunrise New Hope began in 2007, when Soth Kemsour, a former Buddhist monk, purchased a parcel of land in Mondul Bai, one of the poorest areas in Siem Reap, where its residents included former sex workers, widows, former soldiers, the elderly, and displaced individuals. Owing to their poverty, they had no opportunities to receive formal education, and therefore had limited employment opportunities. New Hope, which was its name during that period, was founded to provide training to those interested in restaurant and hospitality services. Once fully trained, graduates, then and until now, are then deployed to the various hotels, resorts, and restaurants within Siem Reap.
You won’t feel as though the workers are just trainees, however, given their professionalism, as well as the good food served there. All proceeds go directly to fund the education program of Sunrise New Hope.
Sunrise New Hope
Address: Mondul 3 Village, Siorkam Commune, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Website: New Hope
2. Lonely Tree Café
The Lonely Tree Café is another social enterprise in Cambodia. Founded by the Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang, the café’s profits will be used to fund the various outreach services of the organization, including support for persons with a disability (PWDs), the preservation of Cambodian cultural heritage, and education programs. Furthermore, the café provides employment to PWDs and the underprivileged.
Styling itself as a tapas bar, the café’s menu is actually a combination of Khmer, Spanish, Western, and Mediterranean dishes. Aside from food and drinks, the café also sells local handicrafts, which were also crafted by PWDs.
Lonely Tree Café
Address: No. 56, St. 2.5 Battambang, Cambodia
Website: Lonely Tree Café
3. Friends the Restaurant
Friends the Restaurant is the result of the collaboration between international non-government organization Friends International and Cambodian local organization Mith Samlanh, which has built a reputation for coming to the aid of street children and the marginalized sectors within the country.
Through Friends the Restaurant, students, made of street children and marginalized youths, are provided training in preparing Asian and Western food, as well as in hospitality services. You would be hard-pressed to determine that the restaurant’s attendees are trainees, as they provide good customer care that you can expect from full-fledged restaurant staff. After graduation, the restaurant either helps them find employment, or provides them a leg up so they can start their own business.
Friends the Restaurant offers tapas as its specialty. It also serves other types of food, as well as cocktails and smoothies. The restaurant gets full pretty quickly, so it would be a good idea to book ahead. All profits are used to support the other outreach programs of Mith Samlanh.
Friends the Restaurant
Address: #215 Street 13, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Website: Friends the Restaurant
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Romdeng is another product of the collaboration between Mith Samlanh and Friends International. The restaurant provides a fine dining experience to customers, with delicious Cambodian cuisine. Those who want to try out the country’s exotic food can even try fried tarantula at this restaurant.
Located in a colonial home with its own garden and pool, the restaurant is decorated with local crafts and furniture. The food, as well as the paintings and cloths that serve as the décor of Romdeng, are made by former street children, much like Friends the Restaurant.
Address: #74 St 174, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
As with the earlier mentioned restaurants, Malis has a social cause: it seeks to help preserve Cambodian culture by way of its cuisine. Many of the traditional recipes of the country disappeared during the Khmer Rouge era in the 1970s. Malis seeks to renew the interest in Cambodian cuisine by reviving these near-forgotten dishes, offered in a restaurant that has a sophisticated setting that still manages to evoke the country’s rich culture and traditions. Diners can enjoy a view of the Siem Reap River as they enjoy their meal. Apsara dance performances are even held here.
Address: Pokambor Avenue, Siem Reap Riverside, Siem Reap, Cambodia
6. ARTillery Café
Our love affair with ARTillery cafe in Phnom Penh is going strong. This is their raw pizza. Almond and flax base,...Posted by The Fit Traveller on Thursday, 21 May 2015
ARTillery Café, which has branches in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, serves plant-based dishes for those who follow vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and raw diets. They can even customize dishes based on their customers’ requests. Aside from meals, the café also offers detox programs and wholefood products.
Phnom Penh Address: Street 240 ½ Laneway, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Siem Reap Address: Wat Bo Road, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Website: ARTillery Café
7. Backyard Café
Yummy looking eats from Backyard. Awesome @aureliejacques #backyardcafe #vegan #plantbased #coconut #superfood #phnompenh #cambodia #cafe #healthy #lifestyle #fitness #cleaneatsPosted by Backyard Cafe on Tuesday, 18 October 2016
Like ARTillery Café, Backyard Café serves healthy food for those who want to follow a clean, green diet while in Cambodia. It uses locally sourced organic ingredients in its dishes. Diners can choose from different food items, which include selections for those who follow vegan, vegetarian, sugar-free, gluten-free, and raw diets. It also offers cleansing programs for those who overindulged during meal times.
A portion of the profits of Backyard Café helps support the education of the staff, or their children.
Address: 11B Street 246, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Website: Backyard Café
8. Monkey Republic
Monkey Republic is best known for providing beachside accommodations to those visiting Sihanoukville, but it also has its in-house restaurant that offers Cambodian, Asian, and Western dishes at a low price. The restaurant has a laid-back vibe, perfect for those who just want to chill out as they spend their time at the beach.
Address: Serendipity Beach Road, Sihanoukville, Cambodia
Website: Monkey Republic
9. Grand River Restaurant
Grand River is located right beside the Mekong River, thereby providing guests with an overlooking view of it as they sit down and enjoy their meal. Despite its fine dining vibe, it offers Cambodian and international dishes at an affordable price. Arguably the highlight of a visit to Grand River would be to enjoy one or more of the many drinks it offers. It has a wide variety of beers, wine, and cocktails. It also has a Happy Hour, which runs from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm every day.
Grand River Restaurant
Address: Street 178 (Preah Ang Makhak Vann) in Phsar Kandal 1 Commune, Daun Penh District, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
10. Red Piano Restaurant
The Red Piano Restaurant came to fame when it became the hangout place of Angelina Jolie while she was in Cambodia to shoot the “Tomb Raider” film. However, it is more than just a one-time celebrity haunt. Its menu is varied, offering Cambodian, Asian, American, and European dishes to diners at reasonable prices.
Its location is also great. Found along Pub Street, it puts you right at the center of Cambodia’s night life. It offers seating indoors, along the balcony, or even by the sidewalk. Make sure to try out the Tomb Raider cocktail before leaving!
Red Piano Restaurant
Address: 341 Street 08, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Website: Red Piano Restaurant
If you want to try out a place frequented by locals, drop by Sovanna, known for serving good barbecue. The bestsellers include bei sait chrouk (pork and rice), which is the breakfast meal of choice of Cambodians, grilled beef and pork, and sngor chrouk trey, or fish soup with lemongrass broth. Brave diners can also try exotic food such as ant larvae and roasted bees. Make sure to come early, because Sovanna is packed every night.
Address: Street 21, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Cambodia: A feast for the eyes and the stomach
Cambodia is one of the most visited countries in the world because of the many sights it offers. However, seeing this is only half the adventure you can get while in the country. Be sure to try out the country’s cuisine to complete your Cambodian experience.
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