Location: Phnom Penh (Riverside)
Cuisine: European Continental
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Seating: Indoor & Outdoor
The Metro is one of my favorite restaurants in Phnom Penh. The decor is clean and modern with seating both inside and outside. It is recommended to make a reservation if you wish to sit inside as it can get quite busy during dinner hours. The staff is welcoming, friendly and able to communicate in English very well. But more importantly they are knowledgeable about the menu and can help patrons with daily specials and are able to handle special substitutions. The menu is extensive ranging from their breakfast/brunch menu which is served all day to some of the best steaks in town.
The aforementioned breakfast/brunch menu is served all day and is a highlight on the Metro's menu. It includes many dishes that cannot be found anywhere else in the city and are prepared expertly for the Western palliate. One such dish and my personal favorite is the chicken and waffles, an American comfort food classic that is prepared by the Metro with a modern twist. The waffles are fluffy and soft on the inside while remaining crispy on the outside. They use boneless chicken strips that are fried to a crunchy golden brown and placed on top of the waffles for a beautiful presentation. The waffle is sweet but not so much that the decadent syrup poured on top is not too overwhelming and completes what is a dish of balanced flavors.
My favorite item from the dinner menu has to be the honey soy chicken. A bone-in half chicken is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce and ginger that gives the dish it's distinctively Asian flavors. But the chicken is also glazed with a sweet honey glaze that adds a dimension of flavor to the dish that perfectly compliments the saltiness of the soy marinade. This is one of the most decadent dishes you will ever enjoy and one no one ever regrets ordering.
Great steaks our difficult to find in Phnom Penh but the Metro delivers both in flavor and value with their half tenderloin with onion and mushrooms. It truly lives up to its name as it is one of the most tender cuts in town. It is grilled to perfection and the chefs expertly cook their steaks to correct temperature every time.. It is available in a full size portion along with other great steak offerings such as their surf and turf.
The Metro also offers a bar seating area with an extensive offering of liquor, wine and craft beers. It only adds to the wonderful decor of the restaurant that makes it such a premier dining experience. This is one of my favorite restaurants in the city, I cannot recommend it should be high on the list of any foodie visiting Phnom Penh.
Location: Phnom Penh (BKK1)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Seating: Indoor (Private Rooms)
Continuing on the Korean theme, I now review one of the premier Korean restaurants in Phnom Penh. Sik Gaek presents a unique dining experience in that each party is seated in their own private room. This makes for a much more enjoyable experience with friends and loved ones as meals and conversations can be enjoyed in privacy. Each room comes with a doorbell type buzzer that rings the staff whenever you require service. The staff is very welcoming, fast and knowledgeable of an extensive menu that covers the standards of Korean fare. The highlight of the menu is of course the BBQ as each table comes with it's own grill top for customers to enjoy the authentic Korean restaurant experience of cooking their own meat. The kitchen can also grill the meat for you outside and bring it in once finished if you do not desire to cook your own food. All of the classic meat dishes are included in the menu, but my personal favorite is the BBQ pork ribs. While the standard may be the beef ribs, the same marinade is used for the pork version and is a much better value at $12 per serving as opposed to $24.
The menu includes a wide array of Korean cuisine including the traditional favorite "bi-bim-bap" or mixed rice. This is a rice bowl dish that comes with an medley of sliced vegetables, minced beef and is mixed together with a sauce of Korean chili paste and sesame oil all topped with a fried egg. If you order the hot stone pot version, it will still be cooking in the bowl when brought out and the waitress will mix it for you table side as the beef is still cooking.
Another personal favorite of mine is the "go-dung-uh-gui" which is a giant grilled mackerel served with soy sauce and wasabi. The meat on this fish is firm yet flaky and very delicious. Order just one and it is enough to share with 2-3 people and presents one of the better value dishes in the restaurant.
The menu includes many other traditional Korean fare such as soups, stews and noodle dishes to satisfy any palette. On a cold day (is there such a thing in Cambodia?) customers can enjoy "soon-tofu" which is a rich and spicy stew highlighted by silken tofu but also includes a myriad of seafood to create a flavorful soup. On a hot day you can enjoy one of my favorites "naeng-myun" which is a cold dish with buckwheat noodles presented with a medley of vegetables and meats in a chilled beef broth.
And don't forget the best part of any Korean restaurant, the "banchan" or free side dishes. Sik Gaek perhaps has the largest array of side dishes in town and eat all you like because they'll bring out more before and during the meal
Sik Gaek is a premier dining experience and one should expect to pay a bit more than a restaurant such as the previously reviewed Jaru. There are many great value dishes on the menu, but when ordering items such as the grilled beef dishes one can expect to pay a premium price. But it is all well worth it as this is an establishment that my friends and I return to many times over. Sik Gaek is a classic Korean restaurant with a modern twist and should be on the radar of any foodie in Phnom Penh.
Cambodian Food Scene
Cambodia is surprisingly filled with many great restaurants, from inexpensive to those closer to Western prices. These are just a collection of my favorite places to eat throughout the country.