The Best Italian Restaurants in Siem Reap
Most Italian restaurants are located in Siem Reap’s center, near most accommodation and entertainment venues, and within short walking distances from the local sites.
But what are the best Italian meals you can experience here and why? Read this article to find out.
The first thing that pops in your mind when thinking about Italian cuisine is the Pasta. All Italian restaurants in Siem Reap cook delicious pasta, and you can try various types whether you’re a vegan or not.
The famous Pasta Carbonara is a fat-packed meal that keeps you full for the whole day. The deliciously melting layer of cheese and sour cream are a true delight, while the pieces of bacon are soft and aromatic.
But you can also try Mushroom Lasagna or Broccoli Pesto Pasta. Siem Reap chefs are well versed in the art of adding fresh, local vegetables onto Italian pasta, which only makes them taste better.
Italian pizza is a celebration of taste, and the Italian restaurants in Siem Reap are specialized in creating this popular dish in a variety of assortments, loved by children and grown-ups as well.
Unlike run-of-the-mill pizzerias and eateries, an authentic Italian pizza has a very thin crust, which is particularly crispy and tasty. Making this crunchy base is a true art that requires special ingredients, and the right mix of yeast and salt.
Italian pizza has a unique texture also because it’s made in a wood-fired oven. This type of fire makes the generous layer of cheese and tomato sauce blend together, while the fresh toppings become more succulent. Don’t forget the special spices that complement an authentic Italian pizza, like the basil leaves, oregano, and olive oil.
There are versions of Italian lasagna throughout the world, and you can surely find something that delights your taste buds in Siem Reap.
Some people claim that the only true Italian lasagna is Lasagna alla Bolognese, which uses homemade flat strips of pasta. Apart from the traditional pork, beef, onion, carrot, and celery, some Siem Reap chefs will add local vegetables and delicate spices that improve the taste of the lasagna. However, other Italian restaurants in the area will deliver a more traditional lasagna, following the original recipes to the letter.
If you crave a good Italian lasagna, but you’re a vegan, you can enjoy excellent meat-free lasagna in Siem Reap. Many Italian restaurants use vegan cheeses, almond milk, plus a mixture of tofu and cauliflower puree to recreate the texture and flavor of non-vegan lasagna.
Risotto is a famous Italian rice dish. As rice is also a popular base ingredient in Khmer, it’s no wonder that Siem Reap chefs make some of the best Italian risotto in the world.
Local Italian restaurants use fresh rice, boiled to perfection, whether you like al-dente or softer risotto. If you’re a vegan, the local Siem Reap vegetables will give the risotto a particularly aromatic tang that compensates the lack of broth or parmesan cheese.
If you’re not a vegan, expert Siem Reap chefs can prepare a variety of animal-based broths you will enjoy. The fresh fish broth has an Asian influence, but the beef-based broth is the tastiest. At the same time, adding a type of cheese to your risotto improves its texture and makes it melt in your mouth.
Italian Bread like Focaccia, Piadina, Panettone, and Ciabatta are some of the most popular types you’ll find in Italian Siem Reap restaurants.
Focaccia is a thin, flat type of bread that looks mostly like Pizza dough. It’s very aromatic and crunchy, so you can use it as a sauce dip or enjoy it in a sandwich. On the other hand, Panettone is sweet and fluffy, so it’s a good base for dessert, or it can be a sweet treat on its own.
Most of these Italian table breads can be served as an appetizer, snack, table bread or antipasto. Prepared with delicious local spices, Italian breads in Siem Reap have unique tangs.
Bistecca Fiorentina is the most famous type of Italian steak. Originally from Firenze, this T-bone steak is cut from the Chianina cow’s loin. The thick-cut and the approximate 6-minute cooking time means the Bistecca Fiorentina is cooked very rare.
If you like well-done steak, this Bistecca Fiorentina might not be for you. Although it’s said that the best such steak is eaten in Tuscany, Siem Reap restaurants prepare succulent steaks.
If you want to enjoy a traditional Bistecca Fiorentina, make sure you ask what meat the chef used. Some restaurants might not use Chianina cows, which have the best t-bones. Besides, while Italian chefs go for higher cuts, international chefs might favor lower cuts. Although these cuts are tenderer, they might not be as flavorful as the original.
Italian gelato is a million miles away than the regular ice-cream you can get from your corner street shop, which also explains why it’s 20 times as expensive.
As opposed to common ice cream, gelato uses five times less fat, which makes it more delicious considering that frozen fat is pretty vapid. Besides, less fat means gelato requires less air for churning, so it has a richer texture that melts cleanly in your mouth. That’s why Italian gelato isn’t served frozen, but at a temperature of 10-20 degrees.
Italian restaurants in Siem Reap retail a delicious, yet value-for-money gelato, made with authentic recipes and attention for detail. Some restaurants even use homemade ingredients, such as the chocolate fondant, to ensure the gelato is fresh, has a good texture instead of a frozen one, as well as a rich taste.
The result is always a fresh, appetizing, good-looking Italian gelato that allows you to savor the taste and texture of all its ingredients.