Our pick of Siem Reap’s premium restaurants and bars
A recent addition to Siem Reap’s dining scene, L’annexe turns out French classics with aplomb. Set outdoors, one half of the restaurant is resplendent with plants and open to the elements, while the other is only slightly more formal, featuring red and white tablecloths and tucked under a thatched roof. Standout dishes include the flammekueche,
a thin-crusted tart-cum-pizza from the Alsace region, and a rack of lamb braised for seven hours and glazed with pinot noir sauce. However, for those craving true French tradition, it would be difficult to top the wonderfully rich beef bourguignon.
Tel: +855 (0)95 839 745 Website: annexesiemreap.com
Cambodia’s undisputed celebrity chef Luu Meng has finally brought his hugely successful Malis restaurant to Siem Reap. The cavernous building is a sight in itself, its extravagant elegance setting the scene for an evening to remember. The Cambodian food here is quite traditional in its approach, but prepared with the finest ingredients and a genuine depth of knowledge – it was Meng that Gordon Ramsay learned from when shooting his TV show in Cambodia. Menu highlights include the royal mak mee, a crispy noodle dish prepared tableside, and samlor korko, a rich slow-cooked stew with pork and pumpkin.
Tel: +855 (0)16 804 888 Website: malis-restaurant.com/siemreap
Cuisine Wat Damnak
Cambodia’s only entry in the highly respected Asia’s Top 50 Restaurants list, Cuisine Wat Damnak is responsible for elevating Cambodian cuisine to a higher plane. There isn’t much that chef Johannes Riviere doesn’t know about Khmer dishes and ingredients, and his modern interpretations of local flavours make this the one true must-visit restaurant in Siem Reap. Dishes include treasures such as candied pomelo skin and Koh Kong scallops that are only in season for two months a year. With two tasting menus at relatively bargain prices for food of this quality, bookings are definitely recommended.
Tel: +855 (0)77 347 762 Website: cuisinewatdamnak.com
The word ‘café’ certainly does not do this place justice, as chef Pola Siv has actually created one of the most exciting restaurants in the country. It has taken a while for Siv to hit his stride, but he is now writing confident menus full of modern cuisine steeped in the flavours and ingredients of Cambodia. We’d recommend the tasting menu, five courses of creative, beautifully plated food that on our visit included a lip smackingly sharp snake head fish carpaccio served with a creamy poached egg tempura, as well as a smoky take on the Khmer classic of minced pork with eggplant – the best version of this dish we’ve tasted anywhere in the country.
Tel: +855 (0)12 791 371 Website: miecafe-siemreap.com
This is one spot in Temple Town where a reservation is verging on a necessity. The secret is very much out and Olive is, quite rightly, packing them in every night. A focus on high-quality ingredients cooked well shines through, and chef Dorn Doeurt, formerly of Park Hyatt, is rapidly becoming one of the country’s most celebrated. In fact, local culinary legend Johannes Riviere insists that Olive is “the best restaurant in the city right now” – high praise indeed. Be sure to try the baked snow fish, which is served in a rich, complex broth of edamame beans, artichoke heart, bacon, sweetcorn and black olives.
Tel: +855 (0)63 769 899
A traditional Khmer wooden house is the scene for some of the country’s most ingenious Cambodian food. Chef Sothea Seng honed his culinary vision in restaurants across Cambodia, along with stints at luxury hotels in Dubai and the Caribbean. This range of influences presents itself in his food, which often provides a modern take on classic dishes. This is best demonstrated by Mahob’s incarnation of beef lok lak, which eschews the normal stir-fried method in favour of a grilled cut of prime beef, served with watercress and Kampot pepper.
Tel: +855 (0)70 926 562 Website: mahobkhmer.com
Siem Reap’s quaintest bar is tucked in an alleyway just off of nightlife behemoth Pub Street but offers a far more serene experience than the all-singing, all-dancing alternatives nearby. This converted wooden home has hammocks and seating made of filled sacks from which to enjoy one of the house speciality cocktails that are built around local ingredients, from Kampot pepper to dragon fruit. For those wishing to learn even more, Asana offers a daily cocktail class that will have you shaking up masterful creations in no time.
Tel: +855 (0)92 987 801 Website: asana-cambodia.com
Linga Bar is approaching institution status in Siem Reap. This pleasant little LGBT-friendly spot rightly prides itself on its professional yet fun bar staff and unobtrusive party vibe. Owner Martin Dishman is a most convivial host and goldmine of Temple Town information, having resided in the Kingdom for 13 years. Along with the nectarous lychee martini, a definite Linga Bar highlight is the sculpture by Sopheap Pich, Cambodia’s most renowned contemporary artist, which fits snugly above the bar and was bought by Dishman more than a decade ago for a fraction of its current value.
Tel: +855 (0)12 755 311 Website: lingabar.com
Siem Reap Brewpub
A modern, al fresco space set around a central pond, Siem Reap Brewpub is a self-contained microbrewery that’s tapping into the worldwide trend for higher-quality beer options – and doing so with aplomb. With a blonde ale, golden ale, honey weiss, IPA and dark ale on offer, it can be rather difficult to choose just one. Thankfully, for patrons who want to try a variety while retaining the ability to walk in a straight line, there is the sample set, which offers four 85ml tasters, each served in a unique, and rather cute, miniature glass.
Tel: +855 (0)80 888 555 Website: siemreapbrewpub.asia