If the gold you're after comes on a plate, you don't even have to leave Washington to pan for the glittery stuff. Though we've lost the Golden Booeymonger, the Golden Table and the Golden Temple in recent years, there's still a veritable El Dorado of area restaurants with a "golden" touch. Descriptions, if any, have been excerpted from reviews by Phyllis C. Richman. Abbreviations for credit cards are as follows: AE, American Express; C, Choice; CB, Carte Blanche; DC, Dinner's Club; MC, Master Charge; V, VISA. EL DORADO -- 1832 Columbia Road NW. 232-0333. L & D $5.95-$9.95. AE,CB, DC, MC, V. Reservations accepted. Full bar. El Dorado turns out workmanlike Latin American food at reasonable prices in a surprisingly quiet and spacious setting. Portions tend to be generous. Concentrate on the simple, hearty, Cuban-style offerings: steak-and-egg combinations, or Cuban ground beef with fried banana and egg, or roast pork, or roast chicken with onions. GOLDEN PALACE -- 720 7th Street NW. 783-1225. L $4.50-$6.50, D $8-$16. AE, DC, MC, V. Reservations suggested. Full bar. Served in two red-lacquer-and-gilt dining rooms, the Cantonese offerings here range from nine kinds of duck (including duck feet) to sauteed squid and stir-fried dishes with crisp vegetables and tender seafoods. At lunch every day, there are dozens of varieties of dim sum, the steamed being more likely to please than the fried. End a dim-sum lunch with fragile, short-crusted custard tarts. GOLDEN WAGON -- 6408 Kenilworth Avenue, Riverdale. 277-7174. L $3.75-$4, D $4.50-$8.50. AE, MC, V. Reservations accepted. Beer only. Among the good Chinese restaurants springing up in the suburbs these days, the Golden Wagon is a find. On weekends it has dishes not usually available elsewhere, such as fried beef cakes and boiled dumplings. Another unusual series of dishes, listed as "noodles and soup," consists of lo mein, meats and vegetables -- really meals in a bowl. Other good choices: gingery yu shiang dishes, home- style bean curd and Szechuan crispy duck (order a day ahead). LE LION D'OR -- 1150 Connecticut Avenue NW. 296- 7972. L $9-$20, D $14-$25. AE, CB, DC, MC, V. Reservations required. Full bar. Le Lion d'Or consistently retains its high rank among our French restaurants. The extensive menu caters to the rare-duck-breast crowd as well as steak-and-potatoes lovers. The foie gras is fresh, the salmon home-cured and the game plentiful in season. And whether you choose a new-style airy mousse or an old-fashioned wild mushroom soup, Le Lion d'Or's experience shows. CAFE D'OR -- 1721 Columbia Road NW. 667-1618. D $3.95-6.75. No credit cards, no reservations, full bar. Continental specialities such as chicken Dijon, beef bourguignon and scallops en casserole. CAVO D'ORO -- 7866 Richmond Highway, Alexandria. 780-4963. L $1.85-$4.50, D $4.50-$7.50. AE, DC. Reservations accepted. Full bar. Italian specialities -- pizza, subs, pastas, veal with mushrooms, eggplant dishes, steaks. GOLDBERG'S DELI -- 2021 K Street NW. 452- 1444. No credit cards, reservations, or alcoholic beverages. Deli specialities: corned beef sandwiches, kosher hot dogs, plus soups and chili and breakfast items. GOLDEN BULL -- 9107 Riggs Road, Adelphi, 439- 4800; and 7 Dalamar Street, Gaitherburg. 948-3666. L $3.50-$8.75, D $6.95-$13.50. AE, CB, DC, MC, V. Reservations accepted. Full bar. Specialties include prime rib and the catch of the day. Sandwich menu at lunch only. GOLDEN BULL -- 308 Sixth Street NW. 347-7513. L & D $1.95-$5. No credit cards, no reservations, full bar. Seafood sp $7.95-$15. AE, CB, DC, MC, V. Reservations accepted. Full bar. Continental specialties such as steak diane plus prime rib, steaks, veal, poultry and fish dishes. GOLDEN SKILLET -- 1379 K Street NW. 842- 2264. 7301 Marlboro Pike, Forestville, and 6359 New Hampshire Avenue, Takoma Park. No credit cards, no reservations, no alcoholic beverages. Carry-out fried chicken dinners, $2.09-$12.70.with art by Suart Armstrong