When I say local, I don't mean oriented towards Khmer (although the clientele isn't entirely western), but the sort of place you'd go to every week if you lived close by.
I always visit the Empire when I'm in Phnom Penh (about every 3 months on average). Why? Because very few places are oriented towards a "normal" westerner - ie not a backpacker on a 5 dollar a day budget or luxury traveller, this place is a mix of expats (from Phnom Penh or further afield) and independent travellers. Food and drinks aren't expensive (unless you're the sort of cheap charlie who haggles the last 100 riel with a motodop who earns a couple of dollars a day), but more important is that they sell nice stuff - a decent glass of wine, belgian beers, a great steak. (OK, not as good as Armand's, which is amazing - but 5 times the price!). The spicy beef salad IS spicy. The curry is great. And the cocktails are pretty good. I like.
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