- Delicious, simple French brasserie dishes with modern flair
- Excellent service and friendly wait staff
- Belle Époque décor transports you to a lost Paris
- Not particularly vegetarian-friendly
- Fixed menus offer few choices
- Those who prefer bustle may find ambiance too quiet
- Address: 40, Rue Notre Dame des Victoires, 75002
- Metro/RER: Bourse (Line 3) or a ten-minute walk from Opéra (Metro lines 3, 9 ; RER A)
- Phone: (+33)142 364 538
- Price range: Set menus from 23-33.50 Euros (approx. $30-$43) ; a la carte 14-70 Euros (approx. $18-$90)
- Hours: Mon.-Sun., 12 p.m.-12 a.m.
- Drink service: Full bar, wine list
- Credit cards: All major credit cards accepted
A French friend recommended Gallopin after I told her I was looking to sample excellent, yet reasonably-priced, brasserie-style French cuisine. It was a tall order. And I certainly wasn’t expecting any frills.
So imagine my surprise when I walked into Gallopin from off of the resolutely grey Place de la Bourse (Stock Market Square), favorite haunt of investment bankers, and found myself transported to an enchanting Paris circa 1900.
The Paris brasserie was first opened in 1876 and was renovated for the Universal Exposition of 1900. Gallopin features a large mahogany bar, brass chandeliers and rails, and, best of all, some of the most remarkable stained-glass murals I have laid eyes on. With their soft pink and yellow hues, the murals cast a warm, dreamy light over everything and even open onto a garden. Mirrors amplify the effect. This is atmospheric dining at its best.
The delights could have stopped there, but they didn’t. Owners Marie-Laure and Georges Alexandre and Chef Didier Piatek offer up freshly-prepared market ingredients in elegantly-presented traditional dishes, adding just a zest of the eclectic and modern to old favorites.
- Monkfish stuffed with thyme, lemon, and tomato confit
- Champagne-flambéed beef Châteaubriant with peppers and French fries
- Roast lamb with pesto and Provencal vegetables
- Fresh seafood platters
Desserts, all mouth-watering, include Belle Hélène (a pear doused in hot chocolate sauce) and French-toast style brioche with salted butter caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
Because seasonal ingredients are favored by the kitchen, the menu changes frequently. You can order a la carte, but I recommend the fixed menu for a first visit. At 33.50 Euros (approx. $43), the full menu includes an appetizer, main course, dessert, and half-bottle of Mouton Cadet (red or white).
Lighter appetites can opt for an appetizer and main course or a main course and dessert, both for 23 Euros (approx. $30).
After being shown to our table by our gently ironic, but very friendly, server, we started our meal with kirs : a classic aperitif (before-dinner drink) made with white wine and black currant syrup.
Being a seafood lover, I chose the salmon terrine (close to a pâté) with Mimosa eggs as my first course. The salmon is delicately seasoned and melts on the palate.
The main course, red mullet with vegetable lasagna and Provencal pesto, was equally delicious. The mullet, which is close to red snapper, has a more buttery and tender texture, and was very fresh. The lasagna was tasty, though nothing exceptional.
My two companions, ardent carnivores, both reveled in the traditional foie gras and the lacquered pork filet mignon with sweet-potato gratin.
For dessert, I stuck to tradition and ordered bourbon vanilla crème brulée. I was not disappointed. The crème brulée lived up to its ideal form: half-firm, half oozing custard under a perfectly caramelized sugar crust that breaks like thin glass under the spoon.
In short, Gallopin is worth reserving an evening for.