Our party of three went to Phnom Penh on Valentine's Day and it was like going there on a weekend. However, we were seated within 5-10 minutes so the wait wasn't too bad. Judging from the number of awards on their walls and the number of people there, this restaurant must be pretty popular.
Food: We ordered chicken wings, butter beef, filet beef with rice, fried rice, and a combo entree that had a beef brochette, sugar cane prawn and deep fried spring rolls. Wow! This is really good food!
Service: Pretty good, but it could be improved by expanding the restaurant and having more staff during peak periods to reduce the wait.
Ambiance: Looks like they recently renovated so it looks bright and clean. I also like their pictures of Cambodia as well as their Chinese New Year decorations.
Price: Big portions and everything we ordered were $10 or less.
Overall: Great value and tasty food. Two thumbs up!
I have been going going here since I was little - I have fond memories of fighting over the pork bone in their accompanying bowls of broth soup with my sister.
Ambiance: The decor is full of Cambodian/Vietnamese art, and has a definitely dated look. The same carpet, chairs, pink topped tables and even menus from when I was a kid. Also, the bar shelves full of liquor behind the service desk that I am sure have NEVER been even opened. If you've never lived near Chinatown, the location and entrance might seem a bit sketchy - for me though, I just shrug it off.
Service: Don't expect gushing service here. You order, and then get your food. The waitresses will be brusque, and there probably won't be smiles. Make sure you know what you want - the staff don't really know English, so having them explain the menu items to you will just be a hassle for all involved. Also, don't belly-ache about not having been 'checked up on' throughout your meal - Asian places almost NEVER do that. If you need something, flag down a server.
Value: I find it odd that their famous chicken wings are more than $12 - and are actually cheaper than their butter beef which is about $9. Anyways, some menu items are overpriced for what you get, like their curry with baguette. Most menu staples though, are quite reasonable and won't burn a hole in you pocket. The dry noodle dishes always include a bowl of broth soup, so these are the most bang for your buck items.
Food: Their menu is a hodge-podge of Cambodian, Thai, Vietnamese, French fusion and Chinese dishes. Famous items include their mixed dry noodles w/broth soup. It's egg noodles tossed with fresh herbs, soy sauce and other seasonings, fried garlic, ground and sliced pork, heart and liver, as well as exactly two prawns. Fresh and with a little of everything, you can get a big or small order. Their deep fried chicken wings are marinated in herbs, garlic and pepper, and comes crispy hot with a lime dipping sauce. Butter beef is thin slices of rare beef with loads of fresh herbs, fried garlic and a soy dressing. Very delicious! Their take on pho noodles has a very different tasting soup - its a lot lighter, with a more pronounced star anise and pepper flavor, and is a lot less savory. I don't recommend it, as it can be weak in terms of flavor. Their Vietnamese fare of spring and salad rolls, lemon grass chicken and curry isn't the best. Go with it if you aren't adventurous, but their more exotic fare is the way to go. Their pan fried frog legs, though, are disappointing. They have a variety of mixed drinks, like fruit slushes, grass jelly, lime soda and red bean ice. These aren't really worth their price, but are refreshing. I have to admit, I have never tried their desserts...
Their original owners have retired, and the quality of their food has become less consistent. Their broth soup no longer seems to be a slow simmered treat, but something made with instant broth granules. Their dry mixed noodles skimp on the ingredients, the butter beef no longer contains anchovy fillets, and the MSG seems to run high in their chicken wings. Even with these changes, I still find myself coming back. Maybe it's because I can still taste the echo of what their food used to be like, but Phnom Penh is still a restaurant staple for me.
We there on the weekend for lunch and after a 30-min wait, we were seated. That was great since the waiting area and restaurant was packed and there was nowhere to sit or stand. We were also getting a bit frustrated as two couples who entered after us were seated before us. I ordered the filet beef on rice with egg, and deep-fried chicken wings. After a short wait, our food was served but they didn't serve our table's order all at once. Since there were two of us that ordered the filet beef on rice, the other couple had to wait another few minutes for their food. I should say three of us had to wait because we had to send back a filet beef on rice since a small portion of it was undercooked. Anyway, the server didn't complain after noticing it and returned the plate to the kitchen. Well, my order turned out to be pretty tasty, maybe because I was getting hungry. When the deep fried-chicken wings were served, I had a few pieces of wings with and without the dipping sauce. It was good, but I got really thirsty after eating it. I'm not sure, but I suspect MSG. Oh yes, I should mention that a full order of their famous wings were $12. Overall, the meal was really mediocre, but I might return for some butter beef next time. As others have mentioned, service is ok as the servers are quite attentive and helpful. However, try not to use the washroom if you can avoid it. The hallway and stairs to the washroom doesn't look clean.
I heard great things about this place, and while I waited (and you will wait if you show up at a peak times) I read the newspaper clippings and reviews they had tacked up on the wall. I went with these retrogradations, picking up the butter beef and garlic fried squid, along with a bowl of noodles to share with my partner.
I was surprised at the lack of the flavour the noodles carried, which was only lessened by the broth it was coupled with. The meat in the dish was just dry and tasteless. We usually savour prawns, but the pair we got went unfinished.
The butter beef was what butter beef is, but again, rode a middle ground. The garlic was delightfully crunchy.
The fried squid was fried in a matter that created good texture, but the flavour lacked a full rounded punch and the portion was questionable. We ordered a full order and were charged for it, but I can't help but wonder if we got the half order. Either way, it was the only plate at our table that was gone.
I suppose the main letdown was the price. The apparent "value" I've heard coupled with this meal just wasn't present with most dishes passing the $15 price point.
The door staff are overwhelmed, so I forgive them for being short and simply missing taking down our name the first time. The actually table staff were very polite thought. I enjoyed being looked upon as an individual in such a busy establishment.
I love going there for the food, love their friend chicken, squid dishes although the portion can be a little bigger for the price they charge.
The noodles were delicious. The rice was decent but portion was very small.
All around their food, service, ambiance and value are solid.
On weekends be sure to make reservation otherwise expect to wait 15-30 minutes...
Weekdays it is less busy and I was able to get a table without problem.
They have some unique dishes and their chicken wings is probably one of the best in Vancouver. BUT service is mediocre, line ups are usually long. Price has gone up too much and value is no longer there. Management is getting greedy now that this restaurant is getting mainstream attention.
I had been wanting to check out Phnom Penh for some time as I’ve heard so much about their amazing squid dishes. I was finally able to get there on April 22 and was pleased to see that, for a Monday night, the place was humming. This had to be a good sign. Now I was dining by myself and I soon discovered that Phnom Penh isn’t the place for a solo diner. The prices are somewhat on the steep side and their combo selections were few (three in total) and really quite limited in variety. After reviewing the menu I decided what I wanted and waited and waited and waited before I was finally able to get my order taken. I felt like it was a battle to get my order taken.
I ordered a noodle dish and a squid dish and was able to justify the expensive by telling myself that I would get lunch for tomorrow out of the leftovers. The noodle dish arrived first, but it wasn’t the particular noodle dish that I had ordered. Here’s where it gets interesting. I noticed a waitress approaching with my correct noodle dish, but she saw the other one on my table, looked at me and hastily figured that I hadn’t noticed the mix up so just turned around and walked away with the correct noodles. Unbelievable! Instead of just owning up to the mistake, which wasn’t really even a big deal, they just thought that I wouldn’t know the difference. What a great business model for an eating establishment. Subterfuge dining!
Service is incredibly weak at Phnom Penh and this is largely due to their approach. There are a plethora of servers and you pretty much deal with someone different every time. A different person sat me at my table, took my order, dropped off tea, delivered each dish and brought the bill. A few were friendly, a few were surly and the others didn’t really seem to care too much. Hon’s does this service approach well and does it with efficiency and with a cheerful staff. The management of Phnom Penh could learn a bunch from them.
The squid dish was great by the way and was some of the best I’ve ever had. It’s really too bad that the front of house service blows it for the talented cooks in the kitchen.
My parents used to take us kids to Phnom Penh since my dad knew the owner. They used to have a second restaurant on Broadway near Oak but that one never did well.
Many years later, I've rediscovered a love for this restaurant. Excellent and authentic Cambodian/Vietnamese food... One of the best in town.
Spicy, garlicky, sweet, sour, salty... take your pick. Very authentic and flavourful. Green papaya salad, Chiu Chow fried rice, Hu tieu noodles, deep fried chicken wings or squid are all favourites. My wife and I try to bring friends each time we go so we can get a variety of dishes.
Better than what you'd expect from a restaurant of this price point.
Can't beat it and it shows with the lineups at the door. Over the years, this place has gotten busier and busier.
See service review above.
This is a Vietnamese/Cambodian restaurant. Their menu is a bit exhaustive. It takes a lot of time to read through and while some dishes are great, others are not and you wonder why it is even on the menu.
The chicken wings are a must order. They are 5/5 awesome. I had clams (which were good but a little bit pricey), pork chop on rice (quite expensive compared to some other Vietnamese places) and another dish I completely don't remember. I wouldn't suggest the pork chop dish. I think I chose the wrong thing to order. I would definitely come back to this place though, to try out some other dishes. You have to flag the waitresses down, but when they do come, they are attentive. Decor is old school and the menus are a bit sticky. Looks like a typical Vietnamese restaurant.
It's a shame - you really did order the wrong things. PP is one of those places where you always get the same stuff because they do it so well you get cravings at least once a month. If you care to venture back, you should try these key items:
1) Deep friend anything - start with the chicken wings.
2) Beef and egg over rice
3) Wet or dry cambodian noodles. If you're adventurous, make sure they don't skimp on the liver for you.
4) Butter beef
Sure, you'll find all the mainstays of Vietnamese cooking here, like spring rolls and lemon grass chicken. But you could go to Pho Hoa for those things. What you come here for are the special menu items, like the fried chicken wings in lemon-pepper sauce. And the butter beef (rare-medium rare slices in a soy-vinegar sauce, toasted garlic, cilantro and some dabs of butter). You will get hooked.
I love the food. The chicken wings are delicious. The butter beef is my new love. Lychee moo shakes are to die for! One of my favourite dishes is #35, the beef and egg over rice. There's plenty of beef, and is so saucy. I always have leftovers to take home because the portion is so big. Some constructive criticism I could offer is to have entree dishes to arrive all at once, rather than 5 minutes after the other. By the time my dish arrived, everybody else at the table had finished theirs! The food keeps us coming back.
I just love eating the food here! Nothing more I can add that hasn't been said about the food. My favorites include the garlic shrimp and the fried chicken wings. Absolutely can't miss these dishes if you go. They totally made me melt.
I've been here a couple of times over the years. It's always busy and the lineup at the door is normal. The manager is busy but efficient with inviting customers in when there is a table. I am not fond of the noise or the decor. It was not that clean and I noticed small bits of food on the carpeted floor. Apparently they must vacuum after the end of each day. The place is brightly lit. Tables are aligned in rows and it's just compact and tight in the place to fit as many people in as possible.
The servers are rather unenthusiastic and not very friendly or helpful. They seemed to be overworked and didn't show much extra pizazz. The last time I went there the food came out after about 20 minutes or so. It does get busy so the kitchen staff are rather pushed to the limits. I can understand that.
If it wasn't for the amazing food I would not visit this place. I do recommend this restaurant, but just for the food. Don't expect a wonderful comfortable dining experience... it's all about the food in this place.
Everytime I come here, whether I'm seated right away or whether I have to wait in line for a table, I always see the same two dishes being brought to tables or sitting at tables to be consumed: chicken wings and filet beef on rice.
I've always wanted to try other items on the menu and have sadly wished that I went back for my same two dishes - chicken and filet beef on rice. Why change a good thing? It's that good. You can't find chicken wings like this made anywhere else, so I guess they've got the monopoly on their deep fried chicken wings. I could eat a whole plate to myself if I wasn't too worried about what all that salt, oil and garlic would do to me that evening.
Maybe one time, I should throw in some veggies into the mix - make it a bit more of a balanced meal. I hear the pea tips are pretty good here. Next time!
I'd DEFINITELY take my mom here. She'd love it.
I originally saw the review for the Phnom Penh on this website.
After my first visit to this restaurant, i keep returning for the great chicken wings with the lemon sauce.
The deep fried chicken wings are terrific. They are crispy with a great original taste.
oh my god those chicken wings are to die for ( by the way you can order a half order- give you more room to try everything else). Honestly I haven't had anything bad off thier menu. Their dishes are full of flavour, good portion size, well priced.
I guess I was expecting to be wowed but ended up being mildly satisfied with no major complaints. The interior relatively clean, service was solid and the food was decent. As the dishes came one by one I dutifully made my way through them, all the while quietly looking forward to the chicken wings with such expectation I could hardly contain myself. Finally the wings were the last to arrive and they were supposed to make the rest of the lunch worth while. Well, they were good. The price makes them especially a good value. They are quite tasty but they have a strange sweetness to them like they added sugar to the coating or something. I’ve had better, namely my moms. I guess she’ll have to teach me how to make them. They have a relatively large menu so I’m willing to go back again to try other dishes but I probably won’t go out of my way anytime soon.
For the $100 I spent at Kiss Ya Mama, I could have come here, ate like a king, and have money left over for a movie for two and a bubble tea. Where do I start? How about...get the chicken wings!! Everyone in the restaurant orders it so you might as well too. I finally got a chance to try the butter beef, talk about exotic!! If you can stomach eating raw meat, try this dish, it's very unique. There's so many good dishes here - spring rolls, lemongrass chicken, filet beef on rice, list goes on and on. And the sauces at this place, just amazing (hoisin with hot chili oil, fish sauce, pepper sauce for chicken wings).
To all the restaurants that I have given a poor review, I suggest you come here, eat the food, and learn how to run your establishment like this all time Vancouver favorite!!
I LOVE THE PENH!!!
I have been coming back to this place for a number of times already. We are a party of 5 to 7 and usually at the door between 5 to 530pm. WORD of ADVISE: Each time the staff greeted us at the door, the staff always ask: 1. Staff: Do you have reservations? We always respond...we phoned but was told you do not accept reservation. I mean what is the point of asking if no reservations are accepted. 2. Staff: You have to be finish by 1 hour..okey? Just take the table and forget the rest. It's a bluff so that they can rush you out the door so that they can take more customers. We normally stay between 1 to 1.5 hours on weekends or weekdays (depending how fast the food are serve) and we always took our time to eat. The staff did not ask us to leave. This is where I do not appreciate asking customers to rush. You go there to enjoy the food.
Otherwise, the food are always consistent. The food are not cheap but not expensive either.
I go here and have been going for years (I used to frequent their Broadway location before it closed) whenever I can because it simply is awesome :). The egg noodle or the mixed noodles (number 4 and 6) on the menu are to die for (don't forget to ask for the soup on the side, which sometimes comes with a bone covered with the softest and tastiest meat ever :). The chicken wings are fantastic and the fresh lemon ice and soda and the ice coffees are amazing. The prices are cheap $6-7.50 for the noodles and the service is FAST and competent. The only drawback is that this place is usually so smoking busy that you might find yourself waiting a bit for a table. Sometimes they just ask you to share a round table with others and you should! You will get in faster and really it is not that bothersome. We were a tad hesitant but decided to do it and it really didn't make much of a difference and we had a chat with some really nice people during our meal. :). Can't recommend this place enough. So good, you should go!! :D