It’s possible to get a better Christmas dinner in Phnom Penh than you would at home, and without all of that uncomfortable family dinner table conversation. Here’s the Move to Cambodia round-up of the best 2016 Christmas dinners in Phnom Penh, listed from budget to extravagant. If you know of others, please leave details in the comment section.
Aussie XL does a great value Christmas Day dinner every year and 2016 is no different. They will be serving roast turkey with stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce, honey-glazed baked ham and roast pork with roast pumpkins, potatoes and steamed vegetables, and a Christmas pudding with custard. Plus, a glass of Buck’s Fizz on arrival. The price is $16.95 per person again this year (no inflation!). Reservations suggested as they will book up fast. T: 023 301 001.
Aussie XL are also offering take-away Christmas dinner packages for those who would prefer to celebrate at home. Place your order by the 23rd.
205A Street 51 (Pasteur), Phnom Penh
T: 023 301 001
Hagar is having their annual Christmas Eve and Christmas Day buffet. On the 24th and 25th they are offering a buffet dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. that costs $25 for adults and $12 for kids ages 4 to 10 (kids under 4 are free). On the 25th they are also offering lunch buffet at $20 for adults and $10 for kids ages 4 to 10 (kids under 4 are free). The Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner buffet features roast turkey, herb-crusted leg of lamb, roasted duck breast with orange sauce, grilled fish, lots of salads and veggie options, and a bunch of other delicious eats. As usual, there’s also a dessert buffet that features black forest cake, chocolate tartlettes, apple pie, Christmas cookies, and more, plus a selection of French cheeses. On Christmas Day they have a seafood BBQ station, roast turkey, grilled fish, stuffed chicken, beef stroganoff, plus a ton of sides and a dessert buffet. Blub blub blub. Reservations are required. T: 089 999 660; 012 306 375
44 Street 310, BKK1, Phnom Penh
T: 010 333 095
This year Paddy Rice is offering a two or three-course Christmas lunch and dinner on the 25th of December. Lunch runs from noon til 2:30 p.m. and dinner is at 6 til 8:30 p.m. The menu is the same classic meal that you’ve come to expect from Irish bar and restaurant Paddy Rice. You’ll be greeted with a glass of Buck’s Fizz on arrival, then a classic prawn cocktail, then on to a traditional roast turkey and ham dinner with brussels sprouts, sausage wrapped in bacon, stuffing balls, bread sauce, roast potatoes, carrots, green beans, gravy and cranberry sauce. For dessert there’s a fruit trifle. Cost is $22.50 for two courses and $25 for three courses which includes a glass of wine. If you book a table of four in advance they’ll throw in a free bottle of wine. Bookings are recommended.
The FCC is back with their annual Christmas feed, although the schedule has changed slightly since last year. For 2016 they are offering dinner on December 24th and lunch on the 25th (instead of dinner both nights). The cost is $35++ per person. We’re dragging information out of their marketing person one nugget at a time, so for now, we don’t know if the meals includes a glass of wine or sparkling wine like it did last year. However, we have been informed that their regular wine list is 15% off.
It appears that the chef they had last year who was dabbling in molecular gastronomy has been given the sack, because they’ve come back down to planet earth and are serving a traditional Christmas menu — last year they were serving things like “spherical olives” and “truffle aroma.” This year, the meal starts with a seafood bisque, followed by butter-roasted ballotine of turkey with a parcel of festive fruits, spiced granary bread sauce, cranberry smoked ham gravy, chestnut and seasonal vegetables on the side.
You might be wondering is “cranberry smoked ham gravy” smoked ham with cranberries and gravy, or just a type of elaborate gravy? I wish I could answer that for you, but without additional punctuation from the aforementioned marketing department, I can be of no help.
For dessert there’s a traditional Christmas pudding, followed by petit fours and coffee. As usual there will be live music with dancing afterwards. No word on whether there will be a free-flow drink offer; last year it was $12++ which offered good value to heavy drinkers. For reservations call 093 990 123 or email at email@example.com
363 Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh
T:023 724 014
Are you still reading this? Frankly, I don’t believe it, but if you are, Nagaworld is having Christmas dinners on the 24th and 25th. They’ve got a seven-course meal at Bistro Romano, their Italian eatery for $48++ per person from 5:30 to 11 p.m. each day.
Every year we battle with Nagaworld’s marketing department, who seem to spend the entire month of December avoiding my calls. Luckily, this year we spoke to someone at Bistro Romano who confirmed that they will be having an even larger menu than last year for the same price, although they have eliminated all free booze, which isn’t really in the Christmas spirit, is it?
If anyone’s ever tried to get someone to read a seven-course menu over the phone, you’ll understand why all I can tell you is “roast beef” and “roast turkey” and I’m sure I heard the word “saffron” in there somewhere. Dinner will also get you entrance to Darlin’ Darlin’, the Nagaworld nightclub that features a pretty decent Filipino cover band and a lot of good-looking, financially-minded ladies. For reservations, call 023 228 822 and ask for Bistro Romano.
Samdech Techo Hun Sen Park, Phnom Penh
T: 023 228 822
The sad truth of Christmas in Phnom Penh is that you usually have to pick between expensive and cool. The hotel dinners are fancy and expensive, but painfully uncool. The cheap places might have a bit more edge, but no free-flow booze. Tiger’s Eye has stepped in and offered a high-end Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch for Phnom Penh’s glitterati. The cost is $65 per person with an optional add-on of $25 for free-flow drinks.
The meal, which is served family style, promises to be beautiful, in true Tiger’s Eye style. The menu includes oysters, raw salmon, several salads, sous vide prawns, BBQ seabass, quail, cured and pan-roasted duck breast, pork belly, sous vide beef brisket with black pepper crust, and a Christmas cake parfait. We have no doubt that they will be full up, so make your reservation ASAP, either via their Facebook page or by phone, 017 876 382.
49 Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: 017 876 382
Raffles Hotel Le Royal
If you’re looking for something away from the hoi polloi, Raffles always has several very swish Christmas options (even if you don’t want to spend this much on a meal, it’s worth going to check out their 12-foot Christmas tree that they’ve had shipped live from the United States).
Every day until the 31st Raffles has a Christmas afternoon tea, which I think is the same as their usual afternoon tea, with the addition of Cambodian (Buddhist, presumably) children singing Christmas carols. Price is $20++ or $35++ with a glass of Champagne.
After the massive price hike last year, the prices have actually gone down for 2016. We’re hoping this is harbinger of good things to come in 2017 and not just in terms of brunch prices. The Christmas Day Brunch at Le Royal goes from noon to 3 p.m., and features a visit from Santa Claus at 1:30 p.m. The cost is $120++ with unlimited wine, beer, soft drinks, and…chilled juice. or $155++ with unlimited Mumm Champagne. Half-price for kids ages 6 to 12, and children 5 and under dine for free. This is always popular with families, so reserve early.
Raffles haven’t sent us the menu yet, but be assured it will be decadent, festive, and suitably OTT (over the top if you don’t know youth-speak). We’ve got a team on standby waiting to post details of the 2016 Raffles Christmas brunch menu once it becomes available.
The riff-raff all head to the Christmas dinners at Raffles’ Cafe Monivong, which are slightly more affordable. There’s a Christmas Eve buffet dinner on the 24th for $120++ per person, and a Christmas Day buffet dinner on the 25th for $90++ per person. These options all include all-you-can-drink wine, beer, and…water. Kids ages 6 to 12 get half-priced meals, and kids 5 and under eat for free. Dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. Dress accordingly and reservations required: T: 023 981 888.
They’re also offering “intimate festive celebrations,” ostensibly to keep you away from the unwashed masses found stuffing themselves at the $100 buffet. These intimate celebrations are available for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner and feature a five-course set menu with a glass of Champagne. We’re on the edge of our seat waiting for the menu, and we’ll let you know when we know more. $150++ on Christmas Eve and $130++ on Christmas Day. Reservations required: T: 023 981 888.
92 Rukhak Vithea Daun Penh (near Wat Phnom), Phnom Penh
T: 023 981 888
*All of the hotel prices are ++, which means they don’t include various taxes and VAT. Expect to pay an extra 10% above the listed price.