We tried Phnom Penh House at the recommendation of some friends. They had seen the restaurant featured on the PBS show, "Check Please Bay Area." This small, family owned Cambodian restaurant is a treat. Owned and operated by one large family, the service is warm and hospitable and cohesive. The night we dined there we noticed Grandma at the big table, seated next to two of the grandchildren, who were busy doing homework and eating noodles while their parents cooked and managed the restaurant. This establishment has a relaxed, warm feeling to it that makes it feel like you are dining in someone's home kitchen. You are!
The service was friendly and efficient. The food came out in fits and starts, but I suppose that is because it is a small kitchen and they have such a large menu. Really, you could eat here twenty times and barely make a dent in the menu. Prices are VERY good. We began our meal with a very fresh and tasty shredded vegetable salad, filled with mint and basil and chills. It was refreshing and a perfect beginning to the meal. For our mains, we ordered a delicious chicken and green bean dish, which was tender and cooked to perfection. The Lemongrass Beef was also quite good. Finally, we ordered a curried tofu and veg dish. This we also enjoyed, but it did not have the freshness of the two other mains. We finished the meal with an order of the Banana Fritters, which are just about the best Banana Fritters we have ever eaten. Delish!
I would not hesitate to go to this restaurant again. I'd like to try some of their fried specialties. We are not big fried food people, but I hear this is a MUST at this restaurant. Also, I would love to try some of the other dishes that intrigued us. If you are in downtown Oakland and eager for some ethnic food, I highly recommend you give this place a try.
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