The talesofasia guide to travel in Siem Reap and Angkor
Updated May 19, 2011
Reap index page
EATING AND DRINKING
Siem Reap offers a wide range of eating and drinking options with new businesses at all price ranges opening almost daily it seems. The Old Market area is, depending on your perspective, either an exciting and vibrant place offering a vast selection of eating and drinking options that is not to be missed, or a tourist ghetto offering a vast selection of generally non-authentic eating and drinking options that should be avoided at all costs. More likely your reality will lie somewhere in between, closer to which side is entirely up to you. Personally, I would neither over nor under-emphasize the area. Go at least once and draw your own conclusions and don't feel ashamed of your opinion no matter which side of the spectrum it should fall.
The growth of the area started on what is now almost officially (there's a sign up now) known as "Pub Street"; or "Bar Street,"; depending on your choice of terminology, but food and drink options have since spread to a number of surrounding streets as well.
"Pub Street" itself would at this point, probably be more accurately known as "Food Street". With two exceptions, The Angkor What? Bar and Temple Club, as the emphasis here is now almost entirely on food opposed to drinking. That said, in the alleys and streets running both parallel and perpendicular to "Pub/Bar/Food Street" you can not only find more restaurants but many bars as well. Drinking until the wee hours of the morning remains a very viable activity here. The alleyway to the north of "Pub Street" has recently seen several new bars open, while the alleyway to the south has been filled up with restaurants.
There are also a number of restaurants along Sivatha Blvd (the main north - south road a block or so west of the market) offering a variety of Western and Asian cuisines. And more recently a string of garden style restaurants have appeared on Wat Bo Road, east of the river.
The listings here are only a sampling of what is out there and the best course of action is simply to wander the neighborhood and try out a few places, whether they are listed here or not. The temptation is to allow the Old Market/Pub Street magnet suck you into this tourist ghetto, and while definitely a worthy endeavor for consuming alcohol, you might consider that by and large, the best food options are *not* found here, but rather spread around town in less congested areas where there is less price competition that can result in an inferior product. This is not to say that there isn't good food in this area, but that there are some excellent opportunities found elsewhere - in particular farther up Sivatha and over on Wat Bo Road, and a few places like Abacus and The Touich that aren't near anything but themselves.
Descriptions and Recommendations
Bars & Restaurants:
Abacus - A local favorite just north of Highway 6.
Angkor Palm - Good Khmer food in the "Pub Street" area.
The Angkor What? Bar - The original "Pub Street" bar. Made famous for being an intimate hole-in-the-wall, it's now a bit larger, darker, and louder. Chat at the bar, dance on the floor, chill in the corner.
Banana Leaf - Cozy little bar at the north end of "Pub Street".
Barrio - Food and drink on Sivatha Street. Popular with the French set.
Blue Pumpkin - Restaurant/bakery. Good snacks. Next to Kokoon just around the corner from the northern end of "Pub Street". Smaller outlets everywhere.
Cafe Central - Off the Old Market. Western food. Good selection of drinks, smoothies, and of course coffee.
Chivit Thai - Wat Bo Village area. Thai cuisine. Taste and presentation is adapted for western tastes, but the quality of the food is generally good.
Curry Walla - Small but decent Indian restaurant with two locations, one on upper Sivatha, one nearer the Old Market.
The Laundry Bar - Located one block south of the north end of "Pub Street". Chilled late-night joint, often open until sunrise. Happy hour to 9 pm. Snack menu.
Linga Bar - Siem Reap's original gay-friendly bar and restaurant. In an alley half a block south of "Pub Street". Perfectly respectable establishment. Tapas menu. Chilled atmosphere.
Miss Wong's - Quiet shophouse bar in the alley north of "Pub Street". A place for talking not for dancing.
Molly Malone's - Tastefully decorated pub establishes itself as Siem Reap's first authentic Irish Pub (it's Irish-owned), featuring live music, good food, and plenty of drink. Recently expanded its reach and is now also a steakhouse. Mid-range rooms. Psah Chas area.
Picasso - In the alley south and west of "Pub Street". Small, intimate, popular with expats. A great place for conversation.
Sports Bar - Small shophouse bar in the alley south and west of "Pub Street".
Tell Restaurant - Located on Sivatha Street within walking distance of "Pub Street". Excellent western and Asian food at prices much lower than you'd expect from looking at the place. The little sister to the more upscale Phnom Penh restaurant.
Temple Club / Temple Balcony - "Pub Street". Temple Club downstairs, Temple Balcony upstairs. Free nightly Apsara show from 7:30 to 9:30. Asian and western food. Large balcony with great views of "Pub Street".
Le Tigre de Papier - "Pub Street". Cafe. More laid back alternative to their neighbor, The Angkor What? Bar. Open 24 hours. Good pizzas.
The Touich - Out in the middle of nowhere, getting fabulous reviews. Intimate place putting out some fine local cuisine.
Two Dragons - Guesthouse in the Wat Bo area with a small comfortable restaurant serving Thai and Khmer dishes. Very clean. Open kitchen and food prep area. Entrees start at $3.00, ice cold beer. Fresh fruit shakes and homemade ice cream.
Viroth's - Wat Bo Area. Quality dining. Khmer cuisine. Good reviews. Not cheap backpacker fare.
X Bar - Rooftop bar beyond the southern end of Pub Street. Open late. Very late.
The Warehouse - Bar/restaurant on the eastern corner of the Old Market. Grungy but not seedy. Alternative but not pretentious. Popular with the younger expats - English teachers, NGO crowd.
Zone One - A Khmer night club. You'll probably not want to spend much time inside the disco, except maybe to see how the local teenagers party, but the outside beer garden is a very relaxing, comfortable place for a few drinks.
Siem Reap index page
Eating and drinking
Descriptions and recommendations
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