Where to eat in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh has a cosmopolitan culinary scene as shown by its plethora of fantastic restaurants.

Hungry? Check our our reviews of Phnom Penh’s best restaurants.

Labaab restaurant Phnom Penh

Beautifully plated Khmer food at La’Baab.

Cambodian restaurants

Cuisine Wat Damnak Phnom Penh

In Siem Reap, Cuisine Wat Damnak is the only restaurant in Cambodia to have ever made it in the ‘Asia’s 50 best restaurants’ list, so it was one of the few bright spots of the pandemic that they decided to open in Phnom Penh as well. Lucky for Phnom Penh, as it quickly become one of, if not the best, restaurant in the city. Cuisine Wat Damnak’s philosophy is that terroir defines authentic Cambodian flavors  that fish from the Tonle Sap and herbs foraged in the provinces will always produce a superior dish. They use local ingredients to create traditional Cambodian flavors, combined and prepared in creative and non-traditional ways. While the Siem Reap restaurant is only open for dinner and only offers a tasting menu, Phnom Penh is open for lunch with an à la carte menu and an eight-course tasting menu for dinner. Full review here.


54 Langeach Sros

Definitely one of Phnom Penh’s culinary bright spots, 54 Langeach Sros is a local Khmer-style barbeque and beer garden that serves a mean plate of ribs — tangy with a hint of sweetness and slightly spicy. Don’t bother ordering just one plate. The ribs can take a half-hour to arrive, but they’re always worth it. Goat with black ants, “fried fish on the fire lake” (a complicated dish that involves a whole deep-fried fish cooked at the table in a pool of coconut curry), and crab with young green pepper are all excellent and remarkably affordable. Many nights there’s often a live cover band. It’s worth a visit to get the full Cambodian experience.

Open daily, 4 p.m. to midnight
15A St 178,  Daun Penh and 10 Street 370, BKK1, Phnom Penh

 La’Baab Restaurant

Located above Pharmacie de la Gare near Vattanac Tower, after climbing a few flights of stairs, guests find themselves in a wooden interior evocative of mid-1800s Battambang. The menu, however, seems more influenced by the food of the Lower Mekong, where Cambodia’s east meets Vietnam’s south: lots of fish soups and curries, crunchy vegetables, and tart and fermented flavors. La’Baab’s fish amok is perfectly balanced, the curry’s palm sugar sweetness offset by the slight bitterness of the noni leaves, a defining ingredient that is regularly omitted in the Kingdom’s more tourist-oriented restaurants. Another standout is the mam, a dish more popular in Cambodian homes than restaurants. Milder than prahok, here braised mam was served with fatty pork belly, adding an extra rich layer to the sweet, fermented fish.


Sovanna II Restaurant

Sovanna II used to be the second restaurant in the Sovanna empire, but now it stands alone, as Sovanna I has been closed. Sovanna II is the newer, more upscale restaurant of the two, and the menu has something to offer just about everyone. Even though Sovanna II doesn’t have the dirty-beer-garden feel of the original, the food is still very good. The grilled beef and pork, tender, smoky and slightly sweet, are the standouts, but the sngor chrouk trey, fish soup with a lemongrass broth, lime juice, and fresh herbs, is not to be missed. Their menu has photographs and English translations, making this a good first Khmer BBQ experience for out-of-town visitors.

Open daily, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
7 St 21
Tel: +855 (0)12 840 055

Chinese restaurants

Chinese dumplings and hand-pulled noodles

On Street 136 between Monivong and Central Market there are a row of unassuming Chinese restaurants, all serving hand-pulled noodles and homemade dumplings. If you’re craving Chinese food or need a carb infusion, this is the street to head to. Our favorite of the bunch is Herk Fung, but it doesn’t matter which one you choose — they’re all pretty good. Read our full review of the Chinese restaurants on Street 136.

Emperors of China

Another upscale Cantonese restaurant, Emperors of China has a full menu of reasonably priced dim sum. The dim sum menu is so good, in fact, that I’ve tried very little else on their menu, although I have heard it is good. My favorites are the “carrot cake,” actually small radish cakes with X.O. sauce, prawn shui maitopped with tiny orange flying fish roe, and har gow, steamed shrimp dumplings with a chewy rice wrapper. Although it’s a lovely restaurant, the service at Emperors at China can be mediocre, because allegedly they only hire leggy models with no waitressing experience, which can make for a frustrating, if good looking, experience.


Dim Sum Emperors

A spin-off restaurant of Emperors of China and now with locations all over Phnom Penh, Dim Sum Emperors is a more casual restaurant that serves primarily dim sum. The menu features 19 types of dim sum as well as inexpensive rice and noodle bowls. My favorite dim sum here are the crab meat and coriander dumplings and xiao long bao, also known as soup dumplings, and steamed pork ribs with black bean sauce. The service at Dim Sum Emperors is infuriating, just like at their sister restaurant.


Chinese Noodle Restaurant

Expat favorite Chinese Noodle Restaurant is known for their cheap, hand-pulled noodles and homemade dumplings. This is one of those places that is often referred to as a “little-known secret” but is actually very widely known and you’ll always see at least a few English teachers enjoying their delicious fare at ridiculously low prices — a bowl of noodles can be had for less than $2. One of their specialties is Shanghai-style nian gao, also known as Chinese New Year’s cake, which consists of slices of chewy rice cakes, stir-fried with wilted lettuce and shiitake mushrooms in an addictive savory sauce.

Open daily, 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
545Eo Monivong Blvd at Street 93, BKK2, Phnom Penh
Tel: +855(0)12 937 805

Feel Good coffee at The Factory, Phnom Penh.


Feel Good

Known for roasting the best coffee in the Kingdom, Feel Good is now located at The Factory Phnom Penh which has air-conditioning and wifi, making it a good place to get hopped up on caffeine and get some work done.


The Fox Tale

Siem Reap’s Little Red Fox on Street 246 is known for having some of the best coffee in the Kingdom, and their little brother, The Fox Tale, in Phnom Penh, is no different. This Australian-owned cafe (and we know how particular Australians are about their coffee) serves up a mean espresso. Go for the caffeine boost and the well-chosen music, stay for the chat if you’re lucky enough to catch the owner Adam when he’s in.


For more places to drink coffee in Phnom Penh, see our guide to the best coffee in Phnom Penh.

view from Rosewood Phnom Penh

The view from Cuts at Rosewood in Phnom Penh is worth a a visit.

European restaurants

Cuts, Rosewood

The Rosewood is the fanciest hotel in Phnom Penh and the tallest, or at least it’s at the top of the city’s tallest building. Even if you can’t afford to stay there, the magnificent views from the top are within reach. Cuts restaurant, the elegant steakhouse on the 38th floor, has a lunch menu of mostly $50+ steaks and $6 sodas. But there’s also a burger menu, including beef, chicken, vegan, or fish options, that costs only $14 and includes one of the aforementioned $6 sodas. This seems like a ridiculously good deal, and I almost hesitate to write about it in case the hotel’s upper echelons happen upon this and double the price. Although the chicken burger I tried was dry and not very good, the view alone — which is stunning and a little bit shocking — was worth the price.


Irina Restaurant

Long-running Irina Restaurant has always deserved more attention than it has gotten. The extensive Irina menu features both classic Russian and Ukrainian dishes, but the surprising culinary diversity of the region is seen as well, with specialties from the former Soviet states, including Georgia and Uzbekistan. Vegetarians will be happy to hear that the menu also offers an extensive array of vegetarian dishes. Dishes are all reasonably priced, and they also sell frozen homemade dumplings by the kilo as well as their homemade sour cream and cottage cheese for takeaway. It’s worth visiting the restaurant to see the collection of Russian and Soviet tchochkes and memorabilia. Read our full review of Irina Russian Restaurant.

Open daily, 12 to 9:30 p.m.
15C Street 450, Tuol Tom Pong, Phnom Penh
Tel: +855(0)12 833 524


phnom penh restaurants backyard cafe

Backyard Cafe offers live, raw, vegan, and gluten-free fare (although not necessarily all at once).

Backyard Cafe

Backyard Cafe  now has three locations serving live, raw, vegan, gluten-free, and healthy foods (not necessarily all at once, though). Even if this is not usually the sort of fare you find appealing, you’ll be surprised at how delicious and filling the cafe’s food is, despite the healthiness factor. The menu is filled with salads, quinoa, sandwiches, and lasagna made without pasta (it’s surprisingly good). After lunch, try a raw dessert made with cashew and nut “cheese” or one of the smoothies or juices. Backyard Cafe can also provide multi-day raw food and juice cleanses, including delivery to your home or work. They’re still on Street 246, but also have a BKK1 and Tuol Tom Pong location.



Enso on Street 240 has a range of international influences on their menu — shakshuka and watermelon salad with pomegranates and rose water pointing to the Middle East, avocado “smash” on sourdough evidencing an Australian influence, pancakes for the Americans, and leek pie with smoked salmon and eggs benedict with leg ham to round things (and bellies) out in continental fashion. They also offer a slew of nice juices and smoothies served in mason jars.


 The Salmon House

Salmon House is an amazing find for salmon lovers on a budget. The restaurant is run by a salmon importer who wanted to showcase the versatility and deliciousness of salmon. They have a $2.50 lunch menu that includes several types of salmon served with rice, and access to the all-you-can eat salad bar. There’s a more elaborate two-course $5.90 lunch option that changes daily. The ala carte menu is more expensive but still good value. The preparation is clearly aimed at a Cambodian audience, and some Westerners may be offended by decisions like pairing smoked salmon with a honey mustard sauce, but whatever they are doing seems to be working, because every day the place is packed.

Open daily, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Street 266 behind Pencil, Phnom Penh
Tel: +855(0)12 961 662; 061 221 113

Mr. Mab

Want to try Cambodian street food, but worried about sanitation or unsure how to ask about ingredients? Mr. Mab on Street 123 in Tuol Tom Pong aims to make Khmer street food more accessible to expats and travelers. Mr. Mab’s menu is an ode to street food around the world. In addition to highlighting classic Khmer street foods, it offers European and Asian street favorites. The drink menu includes a wide selection of beers, cocktails, and rum and whiskey flights. This is Mr. Mab’s second location, the original being a crab market.


Indian restaurants

Taste Budz

This oddly named Keralan restaurant serves up lively, chili-infused southern Indian food — curries and thalis, with quite a bit of seafood — plus beer, lassis, and south Indian and Malaysian-style teas to boot. Try the Kadala curry, made with black chickpeas and studded with black mustard seed and curry leaf, and sop it up with well-made Keralan-style roti, a flaky fried bread. Or come in for breakfast and treat yourself to a terrific dosa — a crisp, crepe-like pancake made from a lightly fermented rice and lentil batter with your choice of filling, a masala mixture of fragrant potatoes, onions, and spices and rich ghee, or a couple of fried eggs.

Open daily, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
13E Street 282, BKK1, Phnom Penh
Tel: +855(0)17 913 812

phnom penh pizza piccola

Arriving when they open is the best way to get a seat at Piccola. They are packed most nights!

Italian restaurants

Piccola Italia Da Luigi

Piccola Italia is a popular pizzeria among Phnom Penh expats. The small restaurant in Tonle Bassac is always packed, because they serve the most authentic Italian pizza in Phnom Penh.  Their pizzas are crispy, and thin-crust with bulbous air pockets around the rim, that holds its shape when lifted. If you’re a pizza aficionado, you’ll want to try Piccola.

36 Street 308, Tonle Bassac, Phnom Penh
Tel: +855(0)17 323 273

Brooklyn Pizza and Bistro

Brooklyn Pizza and Bistro serves thick-crust American-style pizzas. They’re large and substantial, drenched in cheesy, meaty goodness. A pizza here can easily make for a meal for three or four. You’ll also find burgers, cheesecakes, and a variety of beers including German and Belgian beers, and local craft beers.


Japanese restaurants


Kanji Japanese Restaurant on Sothearos Cambodian celebrity chef Luu Meng’s latest venture. As with his other restaurants (Malis, Topaz, and Yi-Sang), the culinary delights at Topaz don’t come cheap. The restaurant is definitely on the upscale side, perfect for impressing a business associate or romantic partner.

Kanji’s menu is quite extensive, covering the gamut from sashimi to soup and teriyaki to teppanyaki. It’s expensive by Cambodian standards, but not ridiculous when compared to similar establishments elsewhere in the world.


Delicious carnitas and al pastor tacos at Itacate, Phnom Penh.

Mexican restaurants


This excellent Mexican restaurant on Street 302 in BKK1, and now with a second location at Eden Garden, features a Mexican-designed menu, and it certainly shows in the delicious, authentic fare. The carnitas tacos are perfect — served on corn tortillas with onions, cilantro, and grilled pineapple, and the al pastor tacos are also fantastic. Check their Facebook page for various promotions, from Taco Tuesday to Tequila Thursday, to Family Sunday Funday — there’s sure to be one that appeals.



Now at two locations, one at Street 135 in Tuol Tom Pong and the other on the Riverside, Mexicano is responsible for taking Phnom Penh Mexican food to the next level. Headed by Mario Galan Ibarra, a chef who originally hails from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the restaurant serves refreshingly authentic Mexican fare.  The tacos are served on home-made corn tortillas with simple toppings, just the way it’s supposed to be. The carnitas is sensational: slow-cooked fatty pork, finished by crisping the edges so it has the traditional soft yet slightly crunchy texture. The al pastor is just as good pork marinated with dried chili, spices, achiote, and pineapple juice. Read our full review of Mexicano.


Middle Eastern restaurants

IRF Restaurant

IRF Restaurant, also called ‘Taste of the Middle East’ is a small, family-run restaurant that serves up home-style Iraqi cuisine. With the matriarch of the family in the kitchen and her teenage sons acting as waiters, it’s easy to feel like you’re getting a real Iraqi home-cooked meal! Middle Eastern favorites including falafel, shawarma, and kebabs, but also lesser-known Iraqi specialties. Maqluba is rice and eggplant casserole with lamb or chicken baked and served upside-down. Kofta are meatballs, here served in two variations, one in a thick yogurt sauce, another cooked with tomatoes. Both are delicious, and like everything at I.R.F., are relatively inexpensive — most dishes are priced between $3 and $7. Flatbread and dips, including baba ghanoush and hummus are a nice addition to the meal. Finish it off with a delicate middle eastern dessert, dripping with honey and chopped pistachio nuts.


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