Phnom Penh Restaurants
We had time in Phnom Penh Vietnam for only three meals. Luckily, with guidance from our hotel and second-day guide, we were able to make the best of them:
- Sugar Palm, where we had a delicious lunch of stir-fried prawns and calamari with basil and stir-fried frog legs with ginger sauce: both wonderful,
- Frizz, where we got a chance to try one other Cambodian favorite that we had not yet had a chance to try–Cambodian Barbecue. Although Siem Rep Barbeque restaurants offered choices such as ostrich, kangaroo and python as well as the standards, Frizz offered only beef, chicken and fish. We chose the chicken under a special offer of barbecue for two, with a bottle of wine for a mere $20. While the wine, a Chilean Chardonnay, was serviceable, the barbecue was delicious.
- Khem Saravan. Our last lunch in the city was just as good as our previous meals. Since there were three of us (one of the people on a tour joined us), we got a chance to try more dishes. Fresh spring rolls were good, but the sauce was so good that we poured the left over such over rice to prolong the enjoyment, we also enjoyed a taste of our new friend’s Koh Kong shrimp with spicy sauce. Our two entrees were even better. Stir-fried chicken with mango and cashews and Look Lac, a chicken stir fry with oyster sauce on lettuce, with onion, tomato, and a peppery lime juice sauce.
Overall, quite a record for restaurants in any city
White Mansion Hotel
But let’s talk about the hotel. We stayed in the White Mansion, one of those special boutique hotels that we so love finding.This used to be the US Embassy and is one of those elegant buildings that have been repurposed perfectly. You could almost imagine the elegant parties that must have taken place there. The room we had was huge and had ceilings of at least 20’ tall. Very comfortable bed and linens. The room was divided by a desk and closet, with the bedroom on one side and a large sitting area on the other side. While our room had a balcony, the pediment blocked most of any view that we might have had. But it didn’t look as if there was much of a view anyway.
There was a wall and courtyard separating the building from the road, making the breakfast area a quiet, peaceful area in spite of being near the road. While breakfast (included in the rate) was good, the menu for other meals did not appeal to us so we didn’t eat anything more there. The mini bar was complementary and the internet access was good.
The hotel was conveniently located for us. Since we are walkers, we were able to walk to most places that we wanted to go within 30 minutes. Plus, several wonderful restaurants were just a 10 minute or so walk up the road (Road 240). If you didn’t want to walk, a tuc-tuc was an inexpensive alternative.
The only negatives were that the hot water ran out very quickly (the rooms have a hot water switch which was on. In fairness, we didn’t ask how to fix the problem). Also, you had to go up one step to get to the bathroom, which is sometimes tricky in the middle of the night. And, while the room had a clock in it, it didn’t keep time properly. Although we asked to have it fixed, as we have discovered in other Asian cities, people may speak English but sometimes they don’t quite understand what you are telling them and, thus, don’t fix the problem. That’s OK, we had our cell phones and the room had plugs near the bed.
The staff had good intensions, although they lacked some of the polish one might find at a top level hotel. Still, it wasn’t a problem at all. After all, it wasn’t the Ritz (nor was the pricing the Ritz), even though the building felt like it should be.
The hotel also had a resident dog, which is very friendly. The dog did get a little “excited” when playing with guests and I experienced (and witnessed another guest experiencing) the dog’s playful biting being a touch too rough. No damage done to either of us, but it needs to be trained to be a little more gentle (or guests need to be warned). Still, having a dog there added a more personal touch.
I hope this doesn’t sound too negative as this is a wonderful place to stay.