I SHOULD start off by pointing out that you’d be hard pressed finding a café in Phnom Penh that wasn’t kid friendly! Cambodian culture embraces children with gusto, and most establishments in the country’s capital are more than happy for you to eat and imbibe with little ones in tow. Some of the city’s cafes are exceptionally well-suited for young children, with toys, chalkboards and even play equipment at the ready. Here are some of the best:
Café Fresco (BKK)
Café Fresco’s BKK-based café (others are at the riverfront and at the Sunway Hotel) has a great little play area tucked off the café’s back room. It’s best for babies to pre-schoolers, with its safe space to play and array of toys to keep kids busy while you tuck into a freshly made panini or one of the city’s better coffees. Its air-conditioned environs and ice-cream counter offer the perfect antidotes to the Cambodian heat.
Corner Streets 51 & 306, Phnom Penh, open 6am to 9pm, tel: +855 (0)23 217 041
Best visited in the morning or late afternoon, Le Jardin is an outdoor café with a sandpit strewn with toys and a cubby house with a slide. Sit in the shade with a French-inspired brunch, or cool down with a juice. Kids can keep themselves busy for ages here, and there’s even a cute onsite shop selling unique kids clothing and accessories made in Cambodia.
16 Street 360, Phnom Penh, Open 7.30am to 10pm, closed Mondays, tel: +855 (0)11 723 399
A charming café in an airy, two-storey villa, Living Room is a lovely place to relax with a cold juice or healthy salad, either inside or on the upstairs terrace. On the lower level there’s a kids playroom complete with chalkboard and low tables, plus various books and toys. The bathroom offers a nappy change table, a rarity in Cambodia’s cafes and restaurants, and there are lots of healthy snacks on the menu for kids to refuel on.
9 Street 306, Phnom Penh, tel: +855 (0)23 072 6139
A training restaurant for disadvantaged youth run by the excellent Mith Samlanh organisation, Friends is bright, cheerful and very welcoming of children. Highchairs are available, and there are colouring-in materials to keep kids occupied while waiting for their meal. The brightly coloured interiors and wall murals are captivating for young and old, the service super-efficient and the menu full of delicious and innovative share plates and cooling shakes featuring seasonal ingredients.
215 Street 13, Phnom Penh, tel: +855 (0)12 802 072