Finding something tasty to sink your teeth into in Siem Reap is never a problem as restaurants here offer cuisine from all over the world. Lovers of traditional Khmer food will be spoilt for choice here as most eateries offer at least a few of the most popular Khmer dishes, such as creamy fish curry, known as amok trey lou, noodle dishes and caw – a slightly sweet stew consisting of braised pork or chicken and egg, which is flavoured with caramelized palm sugar.
Some of the most upmarket Khmer restaurants offer free traditional dance performances to attract customers and most of these restaurants can be found in the Old Market area, scattered between to bars on Pub Street and along the surrounding roads.
In addition to local cuisine, diners will also find an excellent selection of other fare including Thai, Indian, Italian, German, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and French. These range from cheap and cheerful eateries aimed at attracting backpackers to gourmet establishments serving imported produce. Most of these restaurants can be found on Bar Street and display their menus outside on stands, allowing diners to browse the selection available before deciding where to eat.
In recent years a number of Siem Reap restaurants have also sprung up offering fusion cuisine, where traditional Khmer dishes are infused with French, Japanese or American flavours. These places are an excellent option for adventurous diners who want to try something new.
Recommended Siem Reap restaurants
Baca Villa: is a good place to try traditional Khmer cuisine with delicious dishes such as amok, banhchaev and spring rolls served in a picturesque garden in the Ta Phul Village area of Siem Reap. The restaurant also offers a selection of wine, beer and international cuisine, with happy hour lasting from 17:00-20:00.
Molly Malones: many Siem Reap restaurants also double as bars and this is a good example. Offering hearty pub favourites and international dishes such as Irish lamb stew, Guinness pie, baked potatoes and burgers, this pub is decorated in the Irish style, serving ales and spirits from the emerald isle and offering a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Viva: is another good option which serves a wide range of traditional Mexican dishes as well as an excellent range of cocktails and the largest selection of tequilas in the whole of Siem Reap. Popular with expats, major sporting events and movies are show on the restaurant’s big screen TV.
La Residence d’Angkor: tapas, innovative Asian cuisine and other delicacies are prepared here by one of the most acclaimed chefs in the whole continent, while delicious French and Khmer dishes are offered as well as an extensive wine list.
Butterflies Garden Restaurant: is located on the east side of the river and hosts regular traditional dance performances during the high season (usually October-March). Diners can eat their fill of Asian and international cuisine in a romantic garden setting next to a koi pond.
L’Escale Restaurant des Arts et des Sens: those who want to treat themselves to something truly special will find a number of gourmet restaurants in Siem Reap and this is widely regarded as one of the best.
Most of the leading hotels in Siem Reap also contain gourmet restaurants, which are excellent places to dine in style. Exquisitely decorated, diners can be sure that they will be served nothing but the very best that the area has to offer.
While Western food in Siem Reap tends to be much pricier than local cuisine, even the most lavish meal will be a lot cheaper than the equivalent in a Western country, making Siem Reap the perfect place to indulge.