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Travel Report: Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

Rikitikitavi Where to Eat and Drink Kampot

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

August 2020. Following individual articles on Bookish Bazaar, Cafe Espresso and Hotel Old Cinema and Tertulia Restaurant here’s my bumper roundup of all the other food and drink spots we visited during our two month stay in the Cambodian city of Kampot.

The Cafe Station Kampot.

The Cafe Station.

There are countless coffee joints in Kampot. But if Sladja and I had to choose our favourite, based on the balance between taste, price and atmosphere, our top pick would go to The Cafe Station on the corner of street 724.

Inside The Cafe Station Kampot.

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

First and foremost, the people who run the place are incredibly welcoming. Usually, we’d arrive with our Macs for a morning of blogging. Thus one of the girls would try and keep the big table free for us. Not only so we had enough space, but because it was near the air con unit and they could see how much we suffered from the heat.

Cafe Station Where to Eat and Drink Kampot

The Cafe Station.

Furthermore, I feel The Cafe Station offers Kampot’s best value coffee. I’m talking $1.60 for a perfectly creamy cafe latte. What’s more, take their discount card and you get a free cup for every nine consumed.

They also do smoothies, sodas, fruit shakes and a range of daily pastries. If there aren’t any bites left, it’s no problem to grab something nearby to have with your drink.

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

The Cafe Station Where to Eat and Drink Kampot

The Cafe Station.

Above all, The Cafe Station shows how deceptively simple it can be to create a great coffee shop. Offer delicious coffee at a competitive price and show that you genuinely care about the people that come through your door! We really miss these guys.

Epic Arts Cafe Kampot.

Epic Arts Cafe, Kampot.

On those mornings when we felt really hungry, we’d visit Epic Arts Cafe, also on Street 724. Here, the focus is very much on fresh and healthy. Indeed we can vouch for a bunch of dishes, including their bagels and fresh fruit bowls with yoghurt and honey. My favourite, pictured below, was their bruschetta on toast with poached eggs.

Epic Arts Cafe Where to Eat and Drink Kampot

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

Moreover, we’d sometimes grab a slice of cake to take back to our guesthouse for later. Don’t leave it too late though, as they’re usually down to the final few wedges come mid afternoon.

Cakes and cookies Epic Arts Cafe Kampot.

Epic Arts Cafe.

Established in 2006, Epic Arts Cafe is a social enterprise that provides employment for people with disabilities. Most of the waiters who served us were deaf, not that this caused any communication problems. Just fill in the tick sheet menu (complete with sign language icons if you want to try) and the whole process goes like clockwork.

Epic Arts Cafe Kampot Cambodia.

The Epic Arts team.

Eating here supports the non profit organisation Epic Arts, as does purchasing their handicraft products in the cafe on the upper floor. They also host free sign language classes.

Al Cioccolatino.

Al Cioccolatino Cafe Where to eat and Drink Kampot

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

Whenever I felt like a western style cooked breakfast, I’d pay a visit to the Italian-owned Al Cioccolatino Cafe. Simple, cheap and tasty, this always went down well with me. The plate of warm ciabatta bread that came with it was a particularly nice touch.

Artisan chocolates Kampot.

Al Cioccolatino.

This is also the place in town for handmade chocolates. A little pricy but worth every last cent. They also do decent ice cream and pastries, not to mention simple rooms to rent on the floors above the cafe.

Nom Tom Bakery Kampot.

Nom Tom Bakery.

On those mornings where we just felt like hanging out at the guesthouse, I’d throw on some sandals and take a walk down to Nom Tom Bakery. This amazing little mobile store, run by a Belgian couple, offers outstanding takeaway pastries at exceptionally low prices.

Tom the baker is from Ghent, while Sandy from Brussels is the friendly lady who operates the store each morning. They took the business over from a Belgian friend of theirs, Patrick. He was the guy who opened Kampot’s first Belgian bakery, but suddenly passed away at the end of 2017.

Cool Spots To Eat and Drink in Kampot.

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

Rest assured whatever you order, it’ll be flawless. We particularly liked the berliners, almond croissants and the bacon and cheese bakes. You can find Nom Tom on the main river road opposite Kampot Pie and Ice Cream Palace. They’re open between 07:30-13:00 Tuesdays to Saturdays. Don’t expect much to be left if you show up around midday.

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

Kampot Pie and Ice Cream Palace Where to Eat and Drink Kampot

They got pie, they got ice cream.

Speaking of Kampot Pie and Ice cream Palace, this was actually the very first place I ate at in Kampot back in 2015. My travel buddy Wonderboy and I rented a place just a few doors down, hence this turned out to be our local breakfast joint.

Lemon meringue pie Kampot Pie and ice Cream Palace

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

This Khmer owned eatery does a little bit of everything, from cooked breakfasts, pastries and cherry pie, to ice cream, cookies, curries, sandwiches and chilli beef. And hell, whatever you do, don’t miss out on their delectable Lemon Meringue Pie.

Greenhouse Restaurant Kampot.

Greenhouse Restaurant.

Our most memorable Kampot lunch came way out of town on a handsome stretch of The Praek Tuek Chhu River. Greenhouse was a charming bungalow complex with a large treehouse restaurant and bar overlooking the water.

We had come to catch a boat to the amazing Nibi Spa, but loved the location so much we decided to stay for lunch before making the crossing. The manageress greeted Sladja and I on arrival, encouraging us to make ourselves comfortable on the wooden terrace.

Greenhouse.

Greenhouse Restaurant Where to Eat and Drink Kampot

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

Feeling peckish rather than ravenous, we settled on a few of their fancy starters. Namely a bowl of veggie stuffed eggplants, fried spring rolls with chilli sauce and fresh bread. All their dishes feature local ingredients, including the region’s world famous black pepper.

Cocktails at Greenhouse Restaurant Kampot

Greenhouse Restaurant.

We also grabbed a couple of cocktails to enjoy with our river views. Sadly, as I finish up this article, I hear that Greenhouse has fallen victim to the pandemic. It remains an incredible spot for a guesthouse and restaurant, hopefully, it won’t be too long before something new opens here.

The Fishmarket Where to Eat and Drink Kampot

The Fishmarket.

On the subject of riverside restaurants, I can’t leave out the historical Fish Market back in the old town. This fine Art Deco structure dates back to 1934 when it began life as the city’s main open air marketplace for fresh fish.

Like most historical buildings throughout Cambodia, it fell on hard times during Pol Pot’s dictatorship. Later, after the genocide years, it reopened as a nightclub, but soon found itself back in a state of general decay.

The Fish Market Kampot Cambodia.

Finally, in 2016, an Australian entrepreneur bought the run down building and took the time to restore it to its former glory. Painted in a warm shade of Indochina yellow, The Fish Market is now one of Kampot’s most iconic structures.

Inside, there are vaulted ceilings, tasteful wooden furniture and leather sofas. If you can, grab a veranda seat overlooking the river. Fish and assorted seafood dishes dominate the menu and the icy cold beers come with complimentary nuts.

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

Kampot Seafood and Pepper Restaurant Where to Eat and Drink Kampot

Kampot Seafood and Pepper Restaurant.

Sladja and I certainly didn’t get around to visiting every restaurant in Kampot. This was due to the fact that we kept returning to the places we liked. One usual suspect was Kampot Seafood and Pepper, a French owned restaurant in the old quarter.

Draft beer, Kampot Seafood and Pepper Restaurant.

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

Despite offering a broad range of dishes, from pizzas, burgers and steaks to noodles, sautéed squid, clams and fish soups, we never had a bad meal here. I especially liked their salty chopped Toulouse Sausage, served on mashed potato and a tangy mustard sauce. Really good!

Toulouse Sausage on Mashed Potatoes Kampot Seafood and Pepper

Kampot Seafood and Pepper Restaurant.

Another highly rated French restaurant is Food Addiction.  Run by two French guys, they focus on traditional French cuisine rather than Asian fusion, like most restaurants in the old quarter.

We swung by one evening on the recommendation of Miguel from Tertulia Restaurant and immediately liked the laid-back, boys den atmosphere with all the handprinted signs, messages and menus.

Food Addiction Where to Eat and Drink Kampot

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

We definitely underestimated the size of the dishes. First came a mountainous plate of Penne with Smoked Duck Breast. Then a similarly massive serving of Chicken and Mushrooms in Mustard Sauce with Roast Baby Potatoes and salad.

Food Addiction Kampot Cambodia.

Food Addiction.

It was excellent, though we failed miserably at finishing either dish. Note that Food Addiction doesn’t open until 18:00 and that the kitchen stays open until around 02:30, making it Kampot’s premier spot for late, late eats.

Whenever I was missing the tastes of home, I’d get in touch with the affable Gordon from Rusty Keyhole 2. His meat pies, fish and chips and Sunday Roast dinners always hit the spot. Gordon and his team also do local dishes like fried rice, noodles and spring rolls.

Rusty Keyhole 2.

Rusty Keyhole II Bar and Restaurant Kampot

Rusty Keyhole 2.

I was amazed to discover that Gordon is from the Scottish town of Haddington. I lived there myself for a couple of years in the early noughties, we even have a shared acquaintance! Definitely one of those “it’s a small world” moments.

If you dine in-house, chances are you can catch some live sport on one of Rusty’s big screens. Alternatively, they also deliver, with Gordon often making the trip himself.

Rusty Keyhole II Where to Eat and Drink Kampot

Where to Eat and Drink, Siem Reap.

For veggie lovers and vegans, Kampot’s main show is Simple Things on the Old Market Street. We speculatively ate here one evening and were really impressed with their grilled vegetables and Pasta Al Pomodoro. Sladja was also surprised to discover that our waitress was Serbian!

Simple Things.

Simple Things Where to Eat and Drink Kampot

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

On subsequent visits, we found ourselves addicted to the Mediterranean Breakfast, a magnificent plate of warm pitta bread, hummus, eggplant caviar, feta, olives, tomato salad, cucumber, onion and boiled eggs.

Mediterranean Breakfast Simple Things Kampot

Simple Things.

It’s also worth pointing out that from all the places we ordered take out from, nobody was as fast as Simple Things. Usually, they viewed our Facebook messages within minutes and had the order delivered to our doorstep well within the hour. For those into yoga, they have a studio onsite on the upper floor.

Simple Things Kampot Cambodia.

The team at Simple Things.

Pizza lovers have a huge selection of places to choose from in Kampot. In our book, one of the very best is Max’s Bar and Kitchen on the riverside near the old market. Run by Italian man called… yes… Max… the place specialises in authentic Italian pizzas cooked up in a wood-fired oven.

Max is from Verona in the northeast of Italy, as are his partners Matteo (bartender and cashier) and Alberto (the cook). Oh, and we have to mention the lovely waitress Camilla from Genova.

Max's Italian Restaurant Kampot.

Max’s Italian Restaurant.

Whenever we dropped by, the restaurant was pumping and it was often hard to get a seat. Nevertheless, Camilla usually managed to squeeze us in somewhere outside. Priced between $4.50 and $9 per pizza, Max’s prices are reasonable and indeed Sladja and I usually twisted our own arms into ordering a second pizza after finishing off the first.

Max’s Italian Restaurant.

Inside Max's Restaurant Kampot.

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

In addition to pizzas, Max’s does a fine range of pastas and steaks, with many of the ingredients imported directly from Italy. We tried the excellent gnocchi and salmon ravioli, which are admittedly heavier on the wallet.

You can also treat yourself to a number of fine wines, such as Sicilian Shiraz and Chianti from Tuscany. Failing that, there’s always an ice cold mug of Angkor beer for just a dollar.

Tuna and onion pizza Max's Restaurant Kampot

Max’s Italian Restaurant.

Staying with Kampot’s Italian food scene, we were so glad to fit in Marina Restaurant before leaving. Somehow this place kept escaping us because of the mismatch of their opening hours and our work schedules. Happily, we got to see what all the fuss was about when we arrived for dinner one night on our final week.

Marina Restaurant Where to Eat and Drink Kampot

Marina Restaurant.

Giovanna and Mauro, a middle-aged couple from Venice, created Marina in 2014 after falling in love with Cambodia during their travels. Generally, dining out here is pricier than at Max’s, but we could definitely see where our extra dollars went.

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

Aglio e Olio and Spaghetti bolognese Marina Restaurant Kampot

Aglio e Olio (left) and Beef Bigoli in Bolognese sauce.

In fact, the pasta at Marina is so renowned we decided to keep our orders simple and let the quality speak for itself.  The Aglio e Olio, (garlic and oil) topped with parmesan cheese, was wonderful. As was the home made Beef Bigoli in bolognese sauce.

Cheap pizzas slices to go Kampot Cambodia

Cheap and cheerful pizza slices.

Perhaps aware that much of their menu prices out the more budget-minded traveller, Marina also does cheap, tasty pizza slices that are perfect to grab on the go. That’s $1 for a Margherita and $1.50 for spicy salami or sausage.

Simon's Indian Restaurant Where to Eat and Drink Kampot

Simon’s Indian Restaurant.

As great a time as we’d had discovering Kampot’s restaurant scene, I probably wouldn’t have forgiven the city if there hadn’t been an Indian restaurant. Thankfully, there’s Simon’s in the old quarter, which meant Kampot and I could remain friends.

Championing dishes from both the north and south of India, Simon’s offers a wide variety of dishes. Simon himself, who hails from Kerala in the south, is the owner and chef.

Simon's Indian food Kampot Cambodia.

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

We dined here on three or four occasions. After trying a few staples like Lamb Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken, I felt enough confidence in the place to try something a bit different. Pictured above, we loved the Garlic Chicken Kebab and Vegetable Butter Masala.

Dosa Simon's Indian Restaurant Kampot.

Simon’s Indian Restaurant.

They also do outstanding veggie dosas! If you’ve never tried one of these, get yourself down to Simon’s and treat yourself to what is basically an Indian style crepe. Simultaneously fluffy and crispy, this one was stuffed with lentils and mixed curried vegetables. Delicious!

Rikitikitavi.

Rikitikitavi Where to Eat and Drink Kampot

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

In the unlikely event that I were to ever hold some kind of Oscar style Kampot food and drink awards, I think it’d be fun to have a Best Restaurant Name category. Just so that I could waltz onto the stage and say “The Kampotscar goes to…. Rikitikitavi!”

Rikitikitavi Restaurant Kampot.

Rikitikitavi.

Named after the charming Rudyard Kipling story Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, this British-Dutch owned guest-house is one of the city’s swankiest and priciest hotels.

Located right on the river front, we were big fans of its wooden, treehouse restaurant. We really liked their pancakes and Khmer veggie fried rice, topped with a perfectly cooked fried egg. Squeeze a bit of lime on top, soak it in soy sauce and Bob’s your uncle.

Rikitikitavi Where to Eat and Drink Kampot

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

We tried most things on Rikitikitavi’s menu, but for me their standout dish is the Chicken Ryder. This sizeable crumbed chicken breast comes packed with ham, cashew nuts, Kampot pepper and Emmental cheese. They serve it with fries, salad and a creamy mushroom sauce. And all for just $7.25. Bargain.

Last, but certainly not least, I bring you the place that so many people told us was Kampot’s Best Restaurant. A bold claim, I thought, so off we went one night to have a look. Twenty Three Bistro sits snugly in the Old Quarter, an eatery that offers a mix of carefully selected European dishes with contemporary twists.

Twenty Three Bistro in Kampot.

Twenty Three Bistro.

Having taken a seat, the waitress brought the giant menu right to our table so we could make our choices. Although we didn’t catch a glimpse of him that night, we’d heard that Twenty Three’s South African chef, Owen, is famed across Cambodia. And when our first dish arrived, we could see why!

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

Confit Chicken leg Twenty Three Bistro

Twenty Three Bistro.

This is their delectable Confit Chicken Leg, served in a bean and pancetta stew with spinach and gremolata (a green sauce made of chopped parsley, lemon and garlic).

Craft beer Twenty Three Bistro Kampot

Where to Eat and Drink, Kampot.

While we waited for our next dishes, we ordered a couple of their craft beers. After weeks of drinking $1 Angkor drafts, these ice cold babies felt quite luxurious. I had a Coconut Cream Ale, Sladja a Smiling Evil Pale Ale. Easily the most expensive beers during our seven months in Cambodia.

Twice Baked Cheddar Souffle and Sauteed basil Gnocchi Twenty Three Bistro Kampot

Twenty Three Bistro.

Next up, was an unbelievably tasty Twice Baked Cheddar Souffle, served with wholegrain bread. We also enjoyed the Sautéed Basil Gnocchi, artfully decorated with shiitake mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, parmesan and spinach.

A visit to Twenty Three is clearly a huge treat to oneself, and yet their prices are actually quite reasonable. Indeed I read one review that wondered how they’re able to offer such high quality food at these kinds of prices. Whatever their secret is, long may it live.

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20 Comments

  • polkaladysjourneys

    OMG I am already thinking about this Toulouse meal, it was certainly delicious 🙂

    March 7, 2021 - 10:03 am Reply
    • Leighton

      It was my first time eating this dish. I guess it’s readily available in France, but cool that I had my first taste of it in the south of Cambodia. Thanks for reading!

      March 7, 2021 - 10:22 am Reply
  • Little Miss Traveller

    There looks to be a really good choice of restaurants and cafes in Kampot. I like the look of many of them and those almond croissants are one my favourite snacks. Hope your weekend is going well. It’s cold here but reasonably bright.

    March 7, 2021 - 1:37 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Marion, same here. Crisp but clear skies and spells of sunshine. Spring is coming!

      March 7, 2021 - 1:57 pm Reply
  • Memo

    Ah, the places you’ll go and the things you’ll see. This obviously is the least enjoyable part of your job. I’m impressed by your discipline to take the pictures before starting the meals. Love the side story about running into the fellow from your old home. It seems fitting for this post.

    March 7, 2021 - 2:41 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Memo, if you could only pick one dish which one would you go for? I’ll be in touch very soon by email!

      March 7, 2021 - 2:52 pm Reply
      • Memo

        How could I pick just one? I’d go with the Mediterranean Breakfast for morning and and the Chicken Ryder for my last meal of the day. Oh, and I’d have to try that Smiling Evil Pale Ale. How could I pass up a name like that?

        March 7, 2021 - 3:01 pm
  • 100 Country Trek

    When we were there we didn’t have a breakfast like that.but I have to say we had fabulous food 😋

    March 7, 2021 - 6:54 pm Reply
  • rkrontheroad

    I would go out of my way to find the Epic Arts cafe. I love the name and the food looks wonderful, and how special that it is a nonprofit supporting the deaf staff. And I am always a sucker for good Italian food – how it has infused the world!

    March 7, 2021 - 7:54 pm Reply
  • Rebecca

    Wow! It amazes me that you can find such an international flair in Cambodia! Kampot certainly has a lot to offer in terms of all sorts of cuisines, from French to Indian to Mediterranean. I’d be keen on a creamy latte at the Cafe Station, as well as grab a pastry at Kampot Pie and Ice cream Palace and indulge at Food Addiction for dinner. There appears to be no shortage of good eateries in town, and I hope to go to explore them all!

    March 7, 2021 - 9:50 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I truly hope these places can weather the storm. At the last moment, just before publishing, I had to edit the Greenhouse section, because I found out they’d closed. And another place had to be removed from the article altogether. Thanks for your enthusiastic responses, Kampot has been a great blogging journey. Last installment out on Tuesday.

      March 7, 2021 - 10:11 pm Reply
  • InsideMySlingBag

    That’s a lot of good food and lovely ambiance Leighton!

    March 9, 2021 - 3:14 am Reply
    • Leighton

      No wonder I put on a few kilos. Thanks for reading!

      March 9, 2021 - 8:12 am Reply
      • InsideMySlingBag

        I wouldn’t know, there are no pictures of you on this post! 🙂

        March 9, 2021 - 9:24 am
      • Leighton

        Ha that’s true, thought I’d let the food do the talking 😉

        March 9, 2021 - 9:28 am
      • InsideMySlingBag

        It did do a lot of it Leighton! 🙂

        March 9, 2021 - 11:33 am
  • Chalk and Cheese Travels

    Looks like some great spots there. Greenhouse stood out to me there.
    Thanks for the usual great post 👍

    March 10, 2021 - 10:41 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading mate!

      March 11, 2021 - 8:40 am Reply
  • maristravels

    How lucky I was to have eaten before reading this piece on food. Wow! I almost felt like starting in to eat another meal but reminded myself that if I have to cook it, it won’t resemble anything you’ve shown above! But, I haven’t had a beer like the ones you show, ice-cold, frost-glistening on the glass, just crying out for a hot evening. No hot evening here yet, so I’ll just have to turn the heating up, chill the glass a bit more and bury a bottle in ice until it resembles something like yours. Cheers! And if I’m taking to drink I’ll blame you.

    March 28, 2021 - 9:02 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Ha ha glad this hit the spot, so to speak. I’m also desperately looking forward to the proper weather for enjoying an icy cold beer. Just a few more months hopefully.

      March 28, 2021 - 9:05 pm Reply

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