As Colorado's third largest and most diverse city, Aurora has long been a celebrated destination for those seeking a vibrant, culturally rich lifestyle. Nowhere is the city's wealth of unforgettable experiences more prevalent than in Aurora's richly textured, utterly delicious dining scene. From multi-course fine dining to neighborhood hole-in-the-wall gems and everything else in between, Aurora's excellent and wonderfully eclectic food scene features something for every palate and preference.
But much like other foodie destinations such as New York and San Francisco, a few clear favorites emerge amongst the city’s outstanding options. Below, you’ll find seven go-to Aurora restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, ensuring a memorable dining experience that will keep you coming back for more.
We begin our culinary journey across Aurora with what is arguably one of the city's absolute best dining experiences — Annette, Scratch to Table. Tucked away in Aurora's Stanley Marketplace in Northwest Aurora, Annette is a bastion of modern American fare with a rustic twist. Helmed by 2022 James Beard Foundation award-winning chef Caroline Glover, Annette blends the chef's two passions — farming and cooking — to create culinary masterpieces.
To say she succeeded is an understatement. Annette's offers guests a genuinely curated experience, with simple, fresh ingredients highlighting dinner menu favorites such as the pork tonnato and the grilled beef tongue and marrow toast. The restaurant's accolades also extend to the experience itself, where diners are welcomed into a truly intimate space that includes a patio and a yurt.
It's easy to miss Athenian Restaurant as you drive by this modest, family-owned establishment along E Iliff Avenue, but you won't soon forget this haven of authentic Greek cuisine once you've had the privilege of partaking in its offerings of weekend breakfast and brunch or indulgent lunch or dinner menus.
The food further affirms Athenian as the best international dining in Aurora, with classic offerings such as a flavorful Greek Salad, spot-on spanakopita, and a perfectly prepared lamb and pork chop platter. And yes, the gyro, whether ordered as a sandwich or plate, might be the best in Colorado. The charming, eclectic interior and Dinner for Two menu make Athenian a perfect date night destination.
Small, intimate, and deeply dedicated to personalized service, Bettola Bistro is everything you'd expect from a family-owned, Italian-centered eatery. Tucked into a nondescript shopping center on Iliff Avenue, the dining room is only large enough to accommodate a handful of tables, a few booths, and seven or so chairs at the quaint bar.
More akin to sharing a meal with close friends in someone's kitchen nook, the setting only enhances the plates of exceptional Gnocchi Verde, Lamb Ragu, and the variety of hand-made pizzas that emerge from the kitchen. If you and a loved one are looking for an elegant night out, the high flavor of Bettola Bistro has few equals.
Helga’s Haus & Bier Garden
Keeping with the European theme, Helga's Haus & Bier Garden, located just off Exposition Avenue, is Aurora's answer to the classic Bavarian Biergarten. With an authentic setting that mirrors the original, few international-influenced eateries in Aurora or Denver have done it better than Helga's.
From the on-point decor to the hall-like architectural details where a classic four-top restaurant can instantly transform into a communal cavern of conjoined tables and benches to the rich flavors of traditional German cuisine, including schnitzel, bratwurst, and Sauerbraten, Helga's is the kind of place that brings the Old World charm right to Colorado. The mother-daughter enterprise also features a deli market and gift shop featuring all things German, including authentic gravy sauce mixes, European chocolates and candy, and German music, magazines, and seasonal items.
Monsoon Cuisine of India
American palates often underappreciate Indian cuisine. If you find yourself dining on authentic Indian cuisine, you often make a mental note to return soon. At Monsoon Cuisine of India, located in Aurora's Southlands district, no mental note is necessary.
This sleek, modern eatery, which faithfully interprets authentic recipes with socially conscious practices and a hyper-attentive staff, will instantly move to the top of your dining rotation as you resolve to come back the next week and the week after that. Seriously, it's that good. From its mesquite charcoal fire-baked tamarind wings and baked-to-order naan flatbread to traditional tandoori, curry, and masala specialties, Monsoon Cuisine of India is your new favorite culinary destination for quality food, impeccable service, and outstanding ambiance.
Ted's Montana Grill
With two Aurora eateries, the first in far north Aurora's Gateway Park, less than 20 minutes from Denver International Airport, and a second Southlands location, Ted's Montana Grill is the rare national corporate chain that feels as if it were locally owned and operated. The restaurant, styled as if it were a Western saloon, taps into classic Wild West nostalgia while embracing responsible sustainability, including locally sourced produce and food waste prevention.
Perhaps most impressive is Ted's Montana Grill, reintroducing bison as a staple of American fine dining. The protein-rich meat is an ideal choice for those who want to eat healthy without giving up meat to do so. In addition to the bison-centric menu, there are plenty of other favorites to sample, including a selection of 15 distinct burgers and an extensive gluten-free menu.
Pearl of Siam
Widely considered the best place in the region to get authentic, family-made Thai food, Pearl of Siam regularly shows up at the top when it comes to Aurora’s best restaurants. A primary reason for the success of Pearl of Siam is the lineage of its owners — two sisters from Bangkok who grew up watching their parents satisfy restaurant patrons in Thailand and brought that same culinary spirit with them to Aurora.
The quality and flavor of each dish, whether one dines for lunch or dinner, is among the best and most consistent of Aurora's elevated dining experiences. Any of Pearl of Siam's rice or noodle dishes will be deeply satisfying, and the pineapple fried rice is worth trying once, as it will likely become your go-to order for every visit after. In keeping with a natural family atmosphere, the restaurant is among the most relaxed and laid back in the area— a genuine Pearl in Aurora’s extraordinary dining scene.