Siem Reap is a bustling city with a huge selection of good restaurants, bars and cafe’s to choose from – and if you’re staying for only a week or so, you may be overwhelmed with choices and not know where to go.

I recently spent over 3 weeks here and I only saw a speck of the hospitality industry here. My overall experience was that it was a fantastic city for coffee, beer, wine food and socialising…and amazing prices too! I plan on spending a lot more time here and so will be writing on places individually and updating my blog on more findings as I try and cover more of this fantastic city.

In the meantime I figured I’d write a brief blog on some of the best places I visited while staying here, while covering a few other options in each category (Bar, Cafe, Restaurant). Like I said, there’s a HEAP more on option out there and being only a 3 week tourist in the town, I can only write on what I saw on my visit, and the places that appealed to me. So if you’re in town for the first time and not sure where to go, here’s my list of some of the best Restaurants, Bars and Cafe’s in Siem Reap….so far 🙂

Pub Street

I figured I’d give this place (Pub Street) a section on it’s own, as I’m only going to cover it in general. Main reason being is there’s SO much to choose from here and it’s packed into such a small area, that it’s worth taking a visit yourself, walk around, and find out what appeals to you most. It’s an easy area to cover all in one night – you can walk the whole area in about 15 minutes (without stopping).

With an area in the centre of town called “Pub Street”, there’s no shortage of bars, pubs and nightlife entertainment. This area alone has over 50 places (too many to count) to grab a beer, cocktail or any other beverage of the day or evening. There’s always a happy hour running somewhere as well so it’s not difficult to have a night out on a budget.

First time walking up to this area was pretty impressive – other than places like Bangkok I’d never seen so much night life crammed into one spot. You can pretty much arrive here, and everything you need for a whole night out including, food, dirnk, live music, massages…and whatever else you’re interested in is here.

It was impossible to visit all the places here in a few weeks, and it’s also very touristy, which isn’t a bad thing, but it can get a bit much spending too much time in here. I came here about 10 times on my visit, and what I found was that, wherever I went, the quality, prices and service was all pretty exeptional, so you don’t have to worry too much about choosing the wrong place. As long as the menu has food on it that you like and the ambiance looks OK, I think you’ll pretty much be alright. The prices do vary a little – but it was all relative, in that, you get what you pay for…so I guess what I’m trying to say is I think you’d find it hard to find a place where you feel you did’t get value for money.

So a few places I will mention here which I did visit and I’d recommend visiting also were:

  • BAR – Beatnik Bar – This was a really cool “pub” type bar that’s great to chill and have a couple of drinks. They have a great happy hour with beers for only 50 cents, Prosseco (which was my favourite) for $3, and other cocktails and mixed drinks for great prices as well. It’s really relaxed here, and it sits on a corner so you see all the walking crowds of the pub street area and can just watch the world go by. If that bores you, they have a couple of TV’s showing sports. While I was there they had the football (soccer) and Australian Open Tennis on, so I was glued to the tennis for a good hour or so every visit here.
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  • RESTAURANT – Cambodian BBQ Restaurant – This is one of many restaurants offering a BBQ/Grill with a selection of meats you may not have tried before. I visited this palce as it was something new and different. They had a VERY wide selection of meats including Crocodile and Shark, and you you can choose à la carte style eating, or a set menu. We chose a set menu which was around $12 and included all the popular meats including Chicken, Port, Beef etc. as well as the more different meats like Crocodile and Shark. From memory these guys have a good happy hour too with beers being around 75 cents for a glass of the local draft beer (Angkor).
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  • RESTAURANT – Hot Stone Cafe – Although not the best steak in town, they do have Australian Rib Eye for around $10. Like I said, it won’t be the best Rib Eye in town, but it was damn good, and considering most other Steak restaurants are charging around $20 for the same thing – it was definitely money well spent, the steak also came with a side of fries. The main difference with this place over the other steak restaurants is that your meat comes out on a hot stone and you can cook it yourself the way you like it. It’s not just steak on the menu either, there’s seafood and other meats to choose from as well as already cooked meals if you don’t want to cook it yourself on the hot store. The ambiance and location of this place is nice as well – I called the area “little Italy” as the narrow streets that run along side it look VERY european/italian and it’s not as busy as the rest of the Pub Street area. Although this place isn’t in the actual “pub street” area, it’s right next to it and still along side all the other bars and restaurants that are in the area.
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  • RESTAURANT / BAR / LIVE MUSIC – Triangle Rooftop Restaurant and Bar – Although not the best rooftop bar, it’s easy to find and has a good selection of cheap drinks (including cider and wine) and food. They often have a live band playing as well, which although wasn’t the best music (singing out of tune etc.), it wasn’t bad. They were a western band and sung familiar western tunes, so a thumbs up there. There’s plenty of other rooftop bars in town so I’d recommend going around and trying some of the others as well. If you wanted something a little more up beat and “cluby”, you could go to X-Bar over the road but doesn’t really get going until late (but there is a half pipe on the roof and pool tables).
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Anyway, that’s enough for the Pub Street – Like I said, there is a heap to choose from here and depending what you like in terms of food, drinks, music and ambiance, your preference is probably different to mine, so take a walk through it and see it all for yourself!

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Pub Street is only a small area of Siem Reap, there’s still so much on offer around the rest of the town, and here a few more places I recommend visiting.

BARS AND PUBS

So outside of pub street, there’s a whole other world of bars and pubs to visit, all with their own unique vibe and selection of drinks and pub food. My favourite and most frequented place was The Local.

The Local

I stumbled across this place by accident as I was going for a morning walk. The place looked really cozy and chill with a great a great selection of home brewed craft beers on tap. Now I love my craft beer, so this place might not be for you, but they do have whisky, draft beer and a few other drinks on offer if you don’t like your craft beer.  Although it was a bit early for a beer, I marked this spot down and came bake later in the afternoon (12:01) 🙂 for some beer tasting.

This place was more than just the beer – although their beer was truely unique, their was a really good vibe I got when walking into this place and there were a lot of local expats who came in and out of the place always willing to chat. There was a lot of good local information I got about Siem Reap just from visiting this place alone and speaking to the numerous expats who were living here (many who had also setup business or working here).

There is a range of about 10 craft beers to choose from. About half of them are locally brewed (on site), and the other half are from other craft breweries around Cambodia. After speaking with the Brewer and the Owner of this place, the plan is to grow this range and eventually have a lot more local brews on tap.

I think I tried almost all the local brews here and they were all quite unique and quality. For example, there was a Blueberry Sour, a Dark IPA, a Ginger Beer, and a few other ales, sours, blondes (I can’t remember them all). The selection also changed once or twice over the 3 weeks I was there as when one brew finished, they replaced it with a new one. The craft beers are $3 a glass, and the draft beer $1 a glass.

Like I said, the vibe of this place is great – and there’s a good commuity going on here of local expats who are always willing to chat and help you out with local information should you need it. Another thing I noticed was that most of the expats coming through here all had a project or business they were running or building so the conversations were a little more productive than what I was used to.

There’s food here as well if you’re hungry, although I can’t remember or list the dishes on their menu, just that I saw a few people ordering some Thai type food like a fried rice.

All in all, this is a great place to spend the afternoon or evening and the guys have done a great job making this place feel like home.

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So there’s my favourite – but here’s a short description of other places you might be interested in and around town.

Siem Reap Brew Pub

Like The Local, these guys specialise in craft beer. I dropped in here twice for their beers – one time to try their full glass of IPA and an Ale, the second time was to try all their beers by ordering two paddles (wooden blocks with 4-5 small glasses to try more than one beer). It was $3 for a glass of beer here, and $3 for their paddles as well – so pretty well priced. The main difference with this place was that it was a little more classy, and didn’t have the cozy vibe and/or community that the Local had. Also the beers here I wouldn’t call “unique” and it seemed like a pretty “fixed” menu – unlike the Local where their beers were very unique in flavour, and were changed often so you could try something different. They do have a large food menu however and they also have a rather large restaurant and outdoor area to eat in as well. So for a fancy, more quiet night out on the craft beers, this might be the place for you.

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The Harbour

Now this is a cool place and VERY popular with the expats. This place is like a large wooden hut that sits on a second floor and is very popular of the evening for their live music and well priced drinks. My memory isn’t solid on this place as I had quite a few drinks at another bar before arriving and was a little wobbly, although if it wasn’t for the other bar, I wouldn’t have found this place, as I was dragged along on the back of motorbike from some people at the other bar (one of which got up and sang a song himself) – So if you’re a singer or got a good voice, I’m sure the guys here won’t mind you joining the band to play lead singer for a song or two. The place was full of local expats and travellers, and very social ie. people always willing to chat and share a drink with you. The food here looks pretty good to.

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Elite Disco Club

Here’s a plce for the people that love the late night clubs and dance/techno music. The place doesn’t really get going until about 10:30-11pm. The atmosphere is much like you’d find in the big clubs in Bangkok – Dark, lazer lights, smokey (you can smoke in the venue – so it can get a little smokey) and a formal kind of dress code. Although there is really no dress code, most of the people are pretty well dressed in here so you might feel a little out of place if you rock up in a singlet and shorts – just a heads up.

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Draft Bar/Pub

I’ve included this one on my list because it’s another place that’s good for a drink and where a lot of local expats pass though. The features of this place is that it has a pool table, and stays open 24 hours – yep, 24 hours. So if you’ve had a big night at one of the clubs around town and feeling like you want to carry on – you can pop in here at any hour and can be sure it’ll be open.

The bar is more like you’d find in Thailand – open air type bar, pool table, YouTube music playing (so you can choose your own music) etc. etc.

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CAFE’S

I can’t really say which cafe is best here, as there are so many great cafe’s in this town, and all of them have something different about them that makes them special, like the location, the vibe, the price, the quality and range of food and drinks. So for this category I’ve chosen my best/favourite cafe as the one I visited the most while in siem Reap.

Brown Coffee

The main reasons I visited this place more than the other were because:

  • Opens at 6:30am
  • The coffee was great, and a reasonable price for the quality – around $2.25
  • They had a large space with PLENTY of seating, including inside and out
  • They had two locations, one at the top end of town (The Roastery Branch), and the other along the riverside (Treeline Branch) – so there was always one within walking distance
  • They had a huge selection of food and drinks
  • They quality of food was AMAZING – and a great breakfast menu – some of the best breakfasts I’ve had outside of Melbourne and Bangkok

This place really has it all, and I think you can please almost anyone here. There’s a large selection of drinks, including smoothies, coffee, fesh juices and more. There’s also a large selection of food, including numerous breakfast dishes (Different types of Eggs on toast including Eggs benedict, Toasted Sandwiches and more) and then other lunch-evening dishes like Pastas, Grilled Salmon, Toasted Baguettes…a really wide range!

I tried the Eggs benedict, Grilled Salmon, Mini Eggs Benedict, Chicken Wings, Blueberry Smoothie, and the coffee…a LOT of coffee. I was never let down by these guys, the quality was truely 5 star!

The prices were really good too, around $3.50-$4.50 for a full meal like an Eggs Benedict, Pasta or Loaded Sandwhich – which is MUCH cheaper than I would normally find (and especially Bangkok or Melbourne). You can take a look at their menu online here 

One thing to notice with their online menu above – this is different to what they offer at their Roastery (Pasteur) Branch. The food menu at the Roastery branch was actually my favourite and a lot more selection of dishes I like to eat than the TreeLine branch.

Some of the other cafe’s I’d like to mention briefly that are worth a visit are:

The Temple Coffee and Bakery

The coffee here isn’t the greatest, it’s served in a large mug and I think still only has 1 shot of coffee, so it was too milky for me. The menu is huge though, and the location and ambiance is really nice a relaxing. The selection of food is more on the Cambodian side, and although they have a few western type meals on the menu, they seemed to have a Cambodian/Thai twist to them. The place has 3 levels – the second level being like a inside balcony that runs along the sides of the building, and then the top floor being a rooftop area which becomes more lively at night when it turns into a rooftop bar and live music area.

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Missing Socks Laundry and Cafe

This please serves up a wicked coffee, one of my favourite actually. Pretty cool concept this place too, as they’ve got washing machines and dryers out the front, so the idea is that you can bring your washing to do yourself and have a coffee or feed while you wait. The price for coffee here is around $2.50, and they have some interesting food options to choose from including waffles with Chicken, waffle hamburgers, waffle this and that…they seem to love their waffles. I wasn’t game enough to try them as I wouldn’t normally mix waffles with anything NOT sweet, but a lot of people were ordering them and they seemed quite happy with it – so they must be good.

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Bang Bang

Wow, wow, WOW! The BEST sourdough bread I’ve had outside of Melbourne – and even then…I can’t actually remember any cafe there that had bread as fresh as these guys.

This place is more a bakery/cafe and has a lot of fresh pastries, donuts, cakes etc. as well as VERY fresh bread! They also have a good selection of other meals to sit down and eat there, including fresh made sandwiches. The sandwiches aren’t toasted, and probably for good reason, the bread is sooo tasty, fresh and delicious that toasting it might just ruin it. You may be able to ask them to toast it if you prefer…but I wouldn’t know…because I didn’t ask.

I ordered a ham sandwich in sourdough bread. The bread had a perfectly crunchy crust, chewy soft center (the kind that would stretch as you bit into it and pulled it away from your mouth) and the ham and other ingredients were really fresh. It was a HUGE sandwich as well – I only ate half of it and then asked for a paper bag to take the other half home to eat later.

The coffee is really goood here too by the way!

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Fame Cafe

Fame is one of the cheapest places to grab a QUALITY coffee. At $1.25 for a cappuccino (and like I said “Quality” cappuccino), it’s hard to find somewhere else that’s cheaper. They actually have two cafe’s in town, but the one I preferred actually sits next door to Bang Bang (above). The coffee bar & Barista actually sit outside in a little wooden hut where all the magic happens, but they have  large indoor area for people to sit and drink their tea or coffee. There’s quite a bit of seating actually and the place is airconditioned with good Wifi.

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Restaurants

Considering I’ve already included two restaurants already, I’m going to write only about one here, and then briefly about some other cools spots. This favourite of mine (Pour Cafe and Kitchen) I think is a MUST visit while in Siem Reap. It was by far the most unique experience (restaurant wise) in Siem Reap and I tried some dishes here I didn’t see on any other menu’s around Siem Reap. What I loved about this place was the Ambiance and the unique food menu.

Pour Cafe and Kitchen

This is such a relaxing and spacious place with a great selection of colours and lighting. There’s attention to detail in the making of this place with the selection of furniture, lighting and even the bathrooms with mesh veils used for the entrance weighed down with lead weights, interesting basins and taps…you need to see it for yourself!

The food menu has items you’re probably not familiar with, and so you will just have to try them to find out. I really couldn’t find much on the menu that was familiar to me (other than French Fries and Australian Wine), so we just opted for one of their speacialty platters where you get a whole heap of different items to choose from. I would really recommend going for one of these platters, as it’s great to watch how they prepare and present your food. They prepare your table with huge leaves (your plate basically) and then come out and position the different dishes along the leaf and sprinkle.spread the sauce over it to form a work of art.

The price wasn’t the cheapest, but certainly value for for money. Considering the whole experience, the ambiance, the quality of food and service – I think it was money very well spent and you’ll certainly leave here feeling you got more than you paid for.

I tried everything on our platter, and there wasn’t one thing I didn’t enjoy – the platter size was VERY generous and too much for two people to eat.

I have to say the service was a little slow on our visit here, as half way through our meal a group of around 20 people rocked up and the attention seemed to go to them, so ordering my second glass of wine and getting the bill took a little while.

All in all – a must visit and I recommend to go of an evening around 7pm. I stayed at a hotel not too far from here and did notice that the big groups (as this place seems to appeal to large groups because of the large platters of share food) came around 8pm….so getting here at 7pm might help you avoid that.

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Some more Restaurants

Here’s a list of some of my favourite places to eat (and I’m mixing it up based on cuisine, price, ambiance etc.)
  • Hot Stone Cafe
    Great cafe / restaurant with some quality steak on the menu (Australian Rib Eye). The meat is served out on a hot stone for you to cook it how you like it. Yes, some might say “why go to a restaurant where you have to cook your own food” – well I used to think the same, but it was a good experience and quality meats, and we only paid around $8 for our Steak (beats paying $20 for someone to cook it for you).
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  • Street Food Along the River
    Along the river just outside of the pub street city area, there’s a bunch of stalls serving up fresh seafood, thai meals, drinks/smoothies/shakes at super cheap prices. It’s street food basically, but the advantage of this area is they have a terrace/balcony/deck that sits out over the rivers edge where you can sit and take in a really nice view. There’s facebook page for this area – but here the location on a map.
    Google Map/Location
  • The HideOut Barista and Lounge
    I had my best thai meal here for the whole time I was in Siem Reap. I’m not saying it’s the best – but they’re damn good! We had two simple thai dishes – a Phad Krapow, and a Phad Thai, but it was presented beautfiully and the taste was true Thai! Good little location too!
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  • The Palm Cafe
    Here’s a cheap place to eat! I thought I’d include this place as we ate here 3-4 times when just looking for a normal place to eat without all the frills. This is a great place with a good selection of food, including western dishes. The prices are quite cheap, and so it’s perfect if you’re just looking to fill yourself up with a tasty dish and not after all the bells and whistles you get from your more pricey restaurants.
    Trip Advisor

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