Best Restaurants in Golden, CO: A Foodie’s Guide

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Restaurants in Golden Colorado - Short Rib and Gnocchi at Table Mountain Inn.
Short Rib and Gnocchi at Table Mountain Inn. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Golden, Colorado, a culinary treasure, isn’t waiting to be discovered. It has arrived! This charming town, known for its rich history and breathtaking landscapes, boasts many fine dining experiences. From farm-to-table eateries to upscale restaurants offering panoramic mountain views, you will find unforgettable meals to complement the scenic beauty of this Rocky Mountain destination.

When I was in Golden, I tried cuisines that I can’t get at home, including Nepalese and Lebanese dishes. I enjoyed every one of them. The restaurants had authentic décor that made my meals an experience for all senses.

Washington Ave, the main street in downtown Golden has some of the best restaurants. Staying at Table Mountain Inn was the highlight of my fall visit to Golden, Colorado. With picture-perfect sunny skies, vibrant ruby red and golden yellow leaves on the trees, and mountain views to write home about, the dining opportunities only made the experience more memorable.

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Meet the Chef: Table Mountain Grill & Cantina

When I sat down with Chef Michael Erickson to discuss his career and work at Table Mountain Grill and Cantina, I learned much about the region and traveler expectations for Southwest cuisine.

Born and raised in South Georgia, Chef Michael studied Culinary Management at the Art Institute in Atlanta and earned a four-year degree. After earning his degree, he selected Italy for his study-abroad program, where he met the woman who became his wife. Three months of European cooking helped develop his passion for Italian cuisine, influencing his dishes today.

Restaurants in Golden Colorado - Author and Executive Chef Michael Erickson.
Author and Executive Chef Michael Erickson. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Because travelers in Colorado expect Southwestern-style dishes, the appetizer menu features exciting items like Pork Belly and Plates, Snake Bites (roasted jalapenos, lime cream cheese, bacon, and Red Pepper Ranch dressing), and Elote Empanadas. Regional recipes feature trout and fajitas; many dishes can be made gluten-free or vegetarian/vegan.

During my conversation with the Chef, I discovered that his preferred dish to prepare is the Short Rib, which is on the regular menu. Consequently, I decided to have it for my dinner. Surprisingly, the glaze had a striking flavor of maple syrup, even though it wasn’t in the recipe. The meat was so tender I could easily cut it with my fork. It was accompanied by Italian gnocchi and green peas. The flavors and textures of all the ingredients complemented each other perfectly.

Restaurants in Golden Colorado - Woody’s Wood-Fired Pizza.
Woody’s Wood-Fired Pizza. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Woody’s Wood Fired Pizza

After an entire morning exploring downtown Golden and historic buildings, my lunch break took place at Woody’s Wood-Fired Pizza alongside a long line of patrons. Woody’s is a famous watering hole with plenty of space inside to seat 150 patrons.

Of course, I ordered a pizza I custom-crafted from a selection of 45 toppings. The 10″ individual pizza was more than enough for two meals. Don’t you love leftover pizza?

If you love dill pickles and Bloody Marys, you will be delighted with the Dill-liscious. The house-made dill-infused vodka came in a big ol’ mug with a towering snack of celery, pepper jack, salami, pickles, peppers, lemon, lime, and olives. It was a meal in itself.

Restaurants in Golden Colorado - Interior Ali Baba Grill.
Interior Ali Baba Grill. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Ali Baba Grill

Seeing the outside of Ali Baba Grill, you’d never know the treasures awaiting inside. Once through the front door, you are transported to a bejeweled and highly decorative Middle Eastern dining room. On return visits, you’ll want to say, “Open sesame.” It is located in a strip mall on the north side of Golden on Rubey Drive.

Restaurants in Golden Colorado - King Combo at Ali Baba Grill.
King Combo at Ali Baba Grill. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

I was with a colleague at Ali Baba Grill, so we ordered the King Combo to share to try several signature dishes. The Mediterranean combo included hummus, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, fattoush salad, rice, falafel, grape leaves, lamb, chicken, and koobideh kabobs.

The large, sweet Baklawa with tiny ground nuts for dessert was delicious.

Restaurants in Golden Colorado - Golden Mill Food Hall.
Golden Mill Food Hall. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Golden Mill Food Hall

The Golden Mill started as a flour mill in 1864. The mill workers transported and sold flour to bakeries in nearby mining towns like Black Hawk, Central City, Georgetown, and Idaho Springs. In 1954, it changed and became a feed store for farm animals.

In 2018, The Golden Mill Feed Store was put up for sale. A group of locals from Golden decided to save this well-known historic folk landmark and have since supported the community in education, food insecurity, and the environment.

Golden Mill is unique because it has self-pour tap walls offering many beverage choices, including craft beers, wine, ciders, sake, and house-made cocktails. So, if you ever want to know what being a bartender is like, this is your chance. I enjoyed it so much that I kept going back for more! Plus, the first ounce is free.

Golden Mill Food Hall has the only rooftop bar in Golden. It offers an unobstructed view of Clear Creek and a perfect view of Castle Rock. The ground floor has lots of outdoor seating, and there is year-round seating with fire pits everywhere. I enjoyed my Japanese sushi meal on the rooftop, overlooking the Coors Brewery billboard.

Sherpa House Restaurant and Culture Center

Learn about Sherpa culture and cuisine at Sherpa House Restaurant and Culture Center in downtown Golden. The grounds exude calm and a desire for contemplation. A large prayer wheel is under the pergola on the front lawn. Spinning the prayer wheel clockwise coincides with the sun moving across the sky, accumulating wisdom and merit (good karma) and purifying negativities (bad karma).

Restaurants in Golden Colorado - Sherpa House Restaurant and Culture Center.
Sherpa House Restaurant and Culture Center. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

The word “sherpa” means people from the east. These people settled in the Solu-Khumbu region of Nepal, the southern gateway to Mt. Everest. They were primarily yak herders, traders, and farmers. In the early part of the 20th century, sherpas became integral to international Himalayan climbing as guides and partners because of their skill, expertise, honesty, and dedication on Everest expeditions.

Eager to try Nepalese cuisine, I ordered traditional momos and a delicious Sherpa Stew with Yak. The stew, which included vegetables, pinto beans, spices, and vegetable broth, was served with garlic naan bread.

Restaurants in Golden Colorado - Sherpa Stew with Yak and Garlic Naan.
Sherpa Stew with Yak and Garlic Naan. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

More Great Restaurants in Golden, Colorado

I didn’t get to try the following restaurants, but they are on my list to try when I return.

Bridgewater Grill

Located inside the Golden Hotel, Bridgewater Grill offers a bird’s-eye-view of Clear Creek and Clear Creek Trail on their first come, first served patio.

Salmon Avocado Toast or Nutella on a Belgian Waffle are my choices for a breakfast brunch. Mouthwatering appetizers include grilled naan and house-made hummus. I might try the Bacon Wrapped CO Bison Meatloaf or the Colorado Filet for dinner. And, of course, I can’t pass up the Crème Brulee for dessert.

Restaurants in Golden Colorado - Abejas with Smoker Outside.
Abejas with Smoker Outside. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price


Creative New American cuisine is served at Abejas in downtown Golden. The clever branding of the owners’ first names—Brandon and Barry–the B’s—helps convey the meaning behind the bee. The industrious bee symbolizes agriculture, nature, and the fresh provisional menu threaded together at Abejas.

Abejas serves dinner Wednesday through Saturday evenings and is open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Their spring menu includes salads, tinned fish, and Oxtail Ragu small plates, with pasta, ono, duck, and bison for entrees.

The brunch menu includes a cinnamon streusel coffee cake with berries, a fruit plate, and local green salad shareables. The brunch entrees are tempting with buttermilk waffles, carnitas, vegetable skillet, and more.

Cocktails, beer, and wine are on all menus.

Bob’s Atomic Burgers

Popular for a post-Coors Brewery Tour, Bob’s Atomic Burgers offers some of the best burgers in the West. You can dine in with outdoor seating or enjoy takeout with curbside service from fun-loving, long-time employees.

Restaurants in Golden Colorado - Atomic Cowboy.
Atomic Cowboy. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Atomic Cowboy

Not to be confused with Bob’s Atomic Burgers, the Atomic Cowboy is the home of Denver Biscuit Co., Fat Sully’s NY Pizza, and Frozen Gold.

The Denver Biscuit Co. makes everything in-house, including the biscuits, gravy, jam, pickles, and local honey butter. They serve large portions that are guaranteed to be messy.

When I return, I might try the K-Mack—a Korean fried buttermilk chicken sandwich with toasted sesame seeds, sesame mayo, pickled daikon, shredded cabbage, and green onions—or the Shrimp and Grits with pork belly in a buttermilk biscuit bowl.

The Lights Out Burger was voted Denver’s Best Burger. It’s a double smash burger with aged American cheese, house-made pickles, diced onion, and burger sauce on a garlic butter-toasted brioche bun. For a vegetarian meal, you can also order an IMPOSSIBLE pattie.

Build your own giant slices of NY-style pizza at Fat Sully’s NY Pizza inside Atomic Cowboy, or create your own cones and milkshakes at Frozen Gold. Soft-serve ice cream in cones or pints-to-go will satisfy your sweet tooth.

Restaurants in Golden Colorado - Bella Colibri
Bella Colibri. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Bella Colibri

Specializing in Southern Italian cuisine, the upscale environment at Bella Colibri complements a fine dining experience. The menu includes seafood, homemade pastas, Colorado lamb, and steaks with artful presentation.

Because life is uncertain, I would start with a dolce–perhaps the Lava Cake or Rosemary and citrus Cream Brûlée. Only after that would I start with Arancini antipasto and Di Mele insalata. For the Primi course, I would order the Mushroom Risotto and the Pork Shank for the Secondi course. For Contorno, I would order the Broccolini. The meal would be accompanied by a Montepulciano red wine and finished with an Amalfi Coast Limoncello.

Restaurants in Golden Colorado - Indulge Bistro & Wine Bar.
Indulge Bistro & Wine Bar. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Indulge Bistro & Wine Bar

Owned and operated by Peter and Delinda Fatianow, Indulge Bistro & Wine Bar brought their upscale dining experience to Golden in 2008.

The menus include shareables, soups and salads, flatbreads, handhelds and burgers, desserts, and drinks. Classic brunch items include French toast, BLT Avocado toast, club sandwiches, omelets, and a veggie bowl.

Indulge offers specialty cocktails, like my favorite, The Empress. Made with Empress Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and topped with sparkling wine, it is a perfect start to an elegant meal.

The extensive wine list includes sparkling wine from Spain, Italy, and France and reds, whites, and rosés from California, Argentina, Oregon, Italy, and New Zealand. Eight wine flights, a nice selection of dessert wines, non-alcoholic beverages, beer, and coffees are also available.

Restaurants in Golden Colorado - Old Capitol Grill & Smokehouse with Adolph Coors Statue.
Old Capitol Grill & Smokehouse with Adolph Coors Statue. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Old Capitol Grill & Smokehouse

In 1862, Golden became the capital of the Colorado Territory, and the building that now houses the Old Capitol Grill & Smokehouse was its first capital. William A. H. Loveland constructed the building in 1863 and was a key player in the formation and growth of Golden. In the last 160+ years, this building has been a general store, saloon, hotel, and restaurant. Patrons are welcome to explore the place.

Classic American fare, such as steaks, burgers, and smoked meats, is on the menu. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and features a happy hour between 3 and 5 pm.

Restaurants in Golden Colorado - Thai Gold Restaurant.
Thai Gold Restaurant. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Thai Gold Restaurant

 The Thai Gold Restaurant is in a Victorian home built in 1907, just a few steps from Washington Avenue in downtown Golden.

Open for lunch and dinner, Thai Gold Restaurant offers lunch specials that include my favorite, Pad Thai. The lunch and dinner menus present ten different appetizers to choose from, along with soups, salads, and curries. There are 28 options for entrees, rice, and noodles.

Choose your spicy! Thai Gold Restaurant can do 0 to 10 chilies of spice using a “chili” system to indicate how spicy a dish will be. They adjust according to your preference and recommend starting low and moving up. Spice trays are available after your dish arrives to fine-tune the spice temperature.

Bonfire Burritos

Bonfire Burritos offers southwestern cuisine from scratch. They are open seven days a week from 7 am to 3 pm.

Starting in a tiny little trailer, they grew to a 28′ food truck and then moved into their current digs at 23rd and Ford.

Bonfire Burritos is proud to make all its menu items in-house and smoke Pork and Carne Asada.

Buffalo Rose

The Buffalo Rose is the backdrop for a full-sized buffalo statue on the corner of Washington Avenue and 12th St. It’s the perfect selfie spot.

Golden’s largest building started as a hotel in 1859 and was a meeting site for Colorado’s Territorial Legislature. Civil War generals Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan stayed here, and a gangland shootout took place here in 1868. Many updates and reconstructions have made this block in downtown Golden what it is today–an event venue, saloon, restaurant, barbershop, and a sky bar with a retractable glass roof.


Vegetarian-friendly, vegan, and gluten-free options make the old-fashioned sandwich shop, D’deli, appealing to a wide range of diners. Offering 120 fresh, locally available ingredients for salads, sandwiches made with freshly baked bread, and wraps. They even serve corned buffalo and smoked elk.

El Callejon

El Callejon specializes in Latin food infused with the colors and textures of Latin America. They offer Mexican tamales, Colombian tamales, tacos, and pupusas, all of which Are gluten-free.

The quesadillas and burritos are served with pico de gallo, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, red salsa, and chipotle salsa.

Golden Diner

The Golden Diner is open for breakfast and lunch in historic downtown Golden. It’s a great place to catch up on local gossip while enjoying one of their classic dishes.

Famous for Golden’s Best Homemade Pork Green Chili, The Golden Diner will smother the Mountain Man Breakfast Burrito, The Dude, Huevo Rancheros, or Sally’s Omelet in the popular sauce.

Miner’s Saloon

Reminiscent of Golden’s mining days in the 1800s, Miner’s Saloon has an Old West ambiance, a full bar, 24 taps in the taproom, and more than 50 brews in bottles and cans.

A good food menu features small plates, shared platters, soups, salads, paninis, and desserts.

The Charcuterie & Cheese Board appeals because it offers dry-cured meats and several of my favorite cheeses, such as triple cream brie and Buratta.

Restaurants in Golden Colorado - Xicamiti La Taqueria Bistro.
Xicamiti La Taqueria Bistro. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Xicamiti La Taquería Bistro

The highly rated Xicamiti La Taquería Bistro is a Mexican restaurant offering authentic Mexican craft beer, Latin cuisine, vegetarian-friendly, and gluten-free options.

Julie Diebolt Price is an award-winning professional photographer, educator, author, and travel writer. She writes about two things – photography and travel (along with a little food and beverage). Julie educates and mentors aspiring photographers. As a journalist who loves to travel, she creates memorable experiences and shares them with words and pictures.
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