There is great hummus in Denver if you know where to look

Editor’s note: This is part of our series, Hidden Gems, in which we take a look at those restaurants you should know about but may not. They are either tucked away in strip malls or otherwise off the beaten path. Try them out, and if you like what you eat, pass the word.  

I’m just going to call it: Denver is in the midst of The Age of Great Hummus. We are living in a golden era when tahini flows like water and chickpeas are mashed with joyful abandon. When dips take center stage, and we wax poetic over things like aquafaba and sumac dustings. When we are offered toppings for our hummus, chilies for our hummus, even lobster for our hummus.

Certainly, beige is the new black.

While the fine dining Safta and man-on-a-hummus-mission Hummus Capara might be leading the charge, there are several low-key players in The Age of Great Hummus, and a fantastic one is Golden Falafel at Yale Avenue and Monaco Parkway.

Golden Falafel is a bare-bones, strip mall Mediterranean restaurant owned by Zakaria and Halima Chamseddine. They moved here from Morocco and have been working in area restaurants for years before opening their own in November 2021. Halima’s recipes —  for the hummus, and other top-notch dishes like chicken kofta kabobs and beef shawarma — come from her northwestern Moroccan family, spruced up with her own twists.

But first, the hummus. Golden Falafel’s is swirled and smooth, with a light pool of olive oil that is way too artfully placed for a restaurant next door to an Irish step dance studio. Its corners are sprinkled with paprika and cumin, and sprigs of parsley glide over its smooth surface. Dip a wedge of thin pita into it and you will taste the cheerful brightness of a summer day, the hearty earthiness of Mother Nature herself. And when you get to the end of your hummus, you will be scraping that pita — or maybe your fingers — along the bottom of the plate with a determination that you should probably reserve for other areas of your life.

Wonderful as the hummus is, my favorite dish at Golden Falafel is the simply named House Spinach. The cream-to-spinach ratio is very high on this one, but as it’s cut with the acidity of kalamata olives and the warmth of cumin, garlic and onion, it’s incredibly balanced and incredibly addictive.

The beef shawarma is Zakaria’s favorite and, like everything else here, it’s delicious. The rotisserie-broiled, shaved meat is tangy and just slightly sweet, with caramelized lemon and orange mingled with ginger and garlic. For a vegetarian menu sampling, the combo brings you two balls of airy falafel, a rice-and-diced-tomato-stuffed grape leaf, pomegranate molasses-topped baba ghanouj, fattoush salad with pita chip “croutons,” zesty tabbouleh, saffron rice and more of that hummus.

Most plates are $15-$20 and probably serve two considering they come with a side of hummus, rice, tahini sauce, pita bread and a house salad. Sandwiches are just $7-$8.50.

If you are a hummus aficionado, have only had the refrigerated grocery store tubs or have never had the pleasure of dipping into pureed garbanzo beans and tahini, Golden Falafel is the spot for you; for all of you. The Age of Great Hummus is of the people and for the people, and it’s happening right now in Denver.

Golden Falafel: 6460 E. Yale Ave., Denver, 303-756-0505;

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