Golden Lamb

Review by: Michael Stern

A vintage hotel in the old Quaker town of Lebanon, the Golden Lamb is a unique place to stay (eighteen rooms), and a nice place to have a square meal for lunch or dinner. It is a popular destination on a well-trod antiques-hunters’ route, and during the summer you will compete with tourists for a table. But there are a handful of items on the menu that are worth the inconvenience.

Sauerkraut balls  — a south Ohio favorite — have been a specialty of the house for decades, and they are wonderful. An appetizer is a huge portion: Ten spheres, each the size of a golf ball, deep-fried until dark crusty brown, surround a cup of cocktail sauce for dipping. The sauce is irrelevant, but the balls are delicious, their insides a creamy consistency reminiscent of potato filling, but with a nice pickly tang. One friend describes them like crab balls without the crab.

Entrees include Amish free-range chicken, prime rib, and braised lamb shank, and at lunch there are good hamburgers as well as lamb burgers. Desserts include banana bread pudding, lemon curd cheesecake, and fresh-fruit sorbets, but the mandatory one is Shaker sugar pie. It is a simple pastry, and rather homely – a thin layer of molasses-flavored custard that is sweet, faintly spicy, and impossible to stop eating.

What To Eat

sauerkraut balls

Shaker sugar pie

chocolate stack pie


Golden Lamb Recipes


What do you think of Golden Lamb?

5 Responses to “Golden Lamb”

Suzanne Green

January 12th, 2024

Love, love this wonderful Inn ! Always the BEST in service & menu ! The history makes it so very warm & inviting! I can’t wait to go again for a long weekend!


Ken white

May 26th, 2021

Had a wonderful Thanksgiving there 3 years ago with family then went outside for parade


Mary Jane McGough

October 23rd, 2011

Having been to the Golden Lamb many years ago for very special occasions I was looking forward to a fabulous dining experience, as usual. Unfortunately, it is not the same place at all. Newly renovated, it remains charming but the room temperature was as cold as the food that had to be sent back to be reheated.

The waitress seemed inexperienced and overworked and although, surprisingly, it was not packed as I expected for a Sunday afternoon, she seemed to be running all over the place instead of taking care of select customers. The quality of the food was OK but not for the price charged, at $20.00 per dinner. I had the same kind of dinner just this week at Bob Evans for $6.00 and it was just as good.

I ordered coffee and received it hot but in waiting for the Sweet & Low (as there was none on the table) the coffee turned cold. The waitress heated up my husband’s coffee, then left, and we had to yell at her to get the Sweet & Low, which she brought, but she did not heat up my coffee, which was still cold.

I would say my entire experience today left me cold and it is unlikely that I will return again and pay $60.00 for a cold dinner with less than stellar service. What a shame. This used to be “THE” place to dine.


Kirt Moser

January 11th, 2010

After high expectations comes great disappointment. Took my wife and son to Golden Lamb for dinner for the first time. Knew it was pricey, but understood that the service and food were worth it. WRONG!

It took the waitress 20 minutes after giving us the menus to come back and take our orders. Throughout the meal, we hardly even saw our waitress. I don’t like a hovering waiter, but this was ridiculous. My son ordered the prime rib medium rare; I ordered the shrimp and scallop fettuccine and my wife ordered chicken Oscar.

After waiting at least 45 minutes for our food, the waitress promptly disappeared again after dropping off our dishes, not to be seen again until we were nearly done eating. Prime rib arrived medium at best and close to medium-well (not even a hint of pink in the center), though we ordered it medium rare (at 5:30pm!). Neither jus nor horseradish was delivered (contrary to what was clearly spelled out on the menu). My son was stuck either eating it as delivered, or physically getting up to locate our wayward waitress and risk twiddling our thumbs for another inordinate period to get a replacement cut. Since we wanted to dine together, he graciously ate the overcooked meat.

$25 dollars for a 10-ounce cut of overcooked prime rib was hard to swallow. For that price you can get a 16-ounce cut of quality prime rib that is properly cooked at the Outback. The fettuccine was quite good and was the only highlight of the entire dining experience, but the chicken Oscar had no flavor: the chef had underused the lemon in the sauce (if there was any lemon at all; we couldn’t taste it), leaving the sauce bland, and the crab was tasteless and soggy and was most surely canned crab meat, and the asparagus was woody and undercooked.

They advertise this as the “oldest” restaurant in Ohio, and I must warn you that The Golden Lamb effectively reminds patrons that not everything gets better with age. They should change the name of this restaurant from The Golden Lamb to the “Old ‘n’ Lame.” Our dining experience proved that you don’t always get what you pay for. Our first visit to the Golden Lamb will definitely be our last.


Ida Mae Bond

September 14th, 2007

While the Golden Lamb’s main restaurant is lovely, don’t overlook the back room! If you walk on back, you will find The Black Horse Tavern. Walk past the bar and there are several tables, and you can seat yourself wherever you like. No frilly lace back here and there’s an entirely different menu!

The house salad is Greek, and they bring out a big bowl of it to serve family-style. The hit on the menu is the fried chicken. When you place your order, the waitress will warn you: it’s going to be an extra 40 minutes until your meal is served. Why? Well, all deference to The Colonel, they have to actually pan fry your chicken and that’s going to take some time! In the meanwhile, you have that Greek salad and fresh baked bread to keep you company.

This is simply the best fried chicken I have ever eaten! So many places cut corners on fried chicken to save time. Here, it’s dipped in a buttermilk batter that is homey but doesn’t get in the way. It’s all about the chicken, and it’s crispy and juicy, a delight.

After your meal, take the time to tour the inn. It’s some 200 years old and has seen a large number of distinguished guests, including several presidents. The rooms are full of antique furniture, and when no one is renting a room, the door is open so you can peer inside. On the top floor, there’s a room furnished for a child, circa 1920 or so, and it is reputed to be haunted! I didn’t see any ghosts myself but the staff told us there are going to be seances there this October to settle the matter. We’d have rented a room and dared the ghosts. We saw one room that had a bed just like the one in the Lincoln bedroom; but miles to go before we slept.


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