If you're in Phnom Penh, I suggest you go eat here. It's not only nicely decorated, and nice food, but it's also a great initiative.
Children from the street can go to school, and can learn in the restaurant how to cook and how to serve, so they can get a decent
job when they are older.
Some of the staff were waiting by the door and greeted us as we arrived. The place was pristine and glowed with warm yellow light. Numerous artworks decorated its walls.
Favorite Dish: Apple Lime Freeze, Spring Rolls...
The Friends Restaurant is part of Mith Samlanh, an organization that helps street children. I found out about it from my Lonely Planet guidebook under "Dining with a Cause." It is close to the National Museum and Fancy Guesthouse, where I was staying for a couple of days. Unfortunately, I arrived on Saturday night and left on Monday morning, and did not get to try it since Friends is closed on Sunday.
Friends restaurant opened in 2001 as part of a training initiative of the Cambodian non-government organization Mith Samlanh/Friends.
This program trains former street kids in the skills of hospitality.
The students with support from their teachers are actively involved in all areas of the restaurants operation, including designing the menu and creating new dishes.
Friends Restaurant is most famous for its Asian and Western tapas ($1 each) and snacks as well as its atmosphere and excellent prices.
Its fun atmosphere, great food and fantastic prices have made this restaurant very popular among expatriates and tourists visiting Phnom Penh.
Our favorite dish here is the Khmer Chicken Curry and they make the best icy cold milkshakes I have ever had!
All the staff are former street kids who have been gaining first-hand experience in the hospitality business, serving customers, taking orders, cooking and learning about hygiene in the workplace.
Since opening, The Restaurant has succeeded in becoming wholly self-sufficient and all profits are reinvested into the Training Centre activities.
Friends also sell a book called "The Best of Friends, The Restaurant " which has recipes of food you will find on their menu. All proceeds from the book go back to the Mith.Samlanh Friends organization.
It's a great book and well worth it, we have cooked up many of the recipes and they are delicious.
The stories, recipes, drawings and photos are fantastic, its well worth the price of US$29 and the kids have done all the write-ups and drawings.
We were very fortunate on our last visit to Friends to be taken on a private tour of all their facilities.
What an eye opener it was.
Hundreds of beautiful children swamped us. They were so excited we had come to see their class rooms. We watched young boys practicing their technical skills on old TV sets, girls learning how to cut hair, students having English lessons.
There’s not enough space on this site to go into detail what our experience there was like. It was fantastic but also so very sad.
It was also very special to see our names on the huge wall at Friends restaurant in recognition of a donation we made to help with the purchase of the land that the organization is on.
So Friends is a wonderful restaurant with good food and a great story behind it.
Phone: 012 802 072
Address: House 215 Street 13, Phnom Penh
Directions: Near the National Museum
Eating at Friends restaurant has two huge thumbs up! First, it has amazing food. It's a tapas style restaurant and everything I have had so far are amazing! Second, the money you spend there goes towards training that helps Cambodia children learn a trade for a better life. I highly recommend this place. Also, next door Friends has a shop that is filled with a lot of recycable crafts that are pretty amazing! And, when you are standing in front of the restaurant, facing across the street, take a right then your first left. This street has many silk shops and other shops that are very fun to shop around at.
Favorite Dish: The meatballs are amazing! I'm not sure the whole name but you'll see it on the menu. Also, the sweet potato fries, cashew chicken, and grilled vegetables. They also have an apple/lime freezy that is amazing! Who would have thought that combo would result in such a heavenly flavored ice drink. And the banana/strawberry spring rolls are good too!
Friends is a non-profit restaurant run by former street kids and it is definitely well worth the visit. The food is absolutely awesome, the staff are great and the atmosphere friendly. Make sure you look out for the cookbook (I bought my copy from the Mith Samlanh shop in the Russian Market) so you can cook these tasty dishes back home.
Favorite Dish: Mandarin & Mango Daiquiri, Khmer Chicken Curry, Mushroom & Leek Spring Rolls with Lemon Mayonaise. We had a group of 13 people and everyone raved about the food.
All proceeds go towards the education and job training of street children. They are trained at the restaurant, great service. Mainly Tapas on the menu, but main meal options available We opted for 4 tapas dishes with rice. Food is delicious and I would go back. We sat outside surrounded by plants. This is a very popular place so expect to share your table (not a problem with us). They have a generator in the event of one of the daily powercuts. Reasonably priced.
Favorite Dish: Meatballs with sauce (like spare rib sauce) Sorry forgotten the name, but it was really good.
Friends is a really unique restaurant. I got this from a website:
"The Friends Restaurant is a thriving tapas bar which provides meals at lunch time and evening to hungry tourists to Cambodia. The meals are cooked and served by street kids (over 16 years old) under supervision of an Austrian Chef. The atmosphere at the restaurant is warm, friendly (as befits the name) and exciting. The staff grow in self esteem through the work and move on to open employment - a future very different from the one envisaged at street level.Goutte d'Eau has developed a water purification factory in Poipet with finance and support made available by DOH International and the European Commission. The street kids of Poipet are trained in the technology of water purification and the water is sold to the local population. The factory was the brainchild of a young Khmer American who escaped from and survived the Pol Pot regime. A brilliant invention, the water purification factory brings much needed clean water at a very low price to local people, introduces this technology to western Cambodia and provides employment, hope and prospects to street children in the area. "
Favorite Dish: Everything we had was scrumptious!
Open for lunch & dinner. Part of a program for street children and their families & community in Cambodia, very meaningful meal.
Its a non-profit making restaurant.
Favorite Dish: Fish soup with some peanuts at the bottom, green in color, but i forgot the name
Curry Chicken with Bagette