Last night for Valentine's Day we went to Gallopin. I was super excited because I've read great reviews about the place, it's a bon gourmand* restaurant, and their set price menu is only 33€50 , wine included! They had this chalkboard set up outside, confirming the website menu:
So I was kinda (well, totally) pissed when we got the menu and I learned that the exact same menu was now 45€ because it was Valentine's Day:
WTF?! I understand that restaurants have special menus for special occasions, but what really perplexed me was that on the website you can see that they had special menus for Christmas and New Year's, all the while keeping the original menu available. But this was the original menu, just the prices had changed. Whatever. I got over it, and my date didn't care because he wasn't going to order the menu anyways.
So first of all, the Gallopin is one classy place. Out of all the bon gourmand restaurants I've been to in Paris, this was by far the nicest dining room. It has an incredible Cuban bar, wood paneling, chandeliers...check out the photos on their site. Unfortunately I didn't take any; I had my camera, but we were seated in between two pairs of regulars and I would've felt like a jackass, totally ruining the whole "romantic", intimate, St. Valentine's Day vibe.
So, my boyfriend got an entrée (pâté or foie gras...can't remember but he liked it), I didn't because I was saving up for dessert. I got a glass of white wine, and we also got a bottle of red wine. The wine list is very reasonable and it starts at about 18€ for a bottle, 4 or 5€ for a glass. For our main dishes my boyfriend got steak served with french fries, and topped with red fruits, and I got grilled fish. Stupid me, I totally ignored the "entier" in the description, and so when the waiter brought out the entire fish with the head on, he obviously saw my look of dismay and kindly offered to prepare it for me. He did a great job on that and I was impressed with his skills and very thankful - I know I would've butchered it.
Soon enough it was my favorite part of any meal, dessert. I hesitated between crème brûlée and millefeuille (which I've never had before), but I haven't had crème brûlée in a while so I decided to go for it. A word of warning: the desserts are GINOURMOUS! I have never seen as big a crème brûlée; at first I thought it just looked big and the dish was shallow...but no. Not to say that I didn't finish it ;)! The baba rhums looked huge as well, served in a soup dish! Unfortunately no one ordered the crêpes flambées when we were there, apparently they fix it right in front of you and I'm sure it's quite a sight.
After desserts we had coffee, and then cognac. And now comes the part where Gallopin totally won me over and I forgive them for raising the prices for Valentine's Day: before we left the manager came over and gave my boyfriend a 375mL bottle of champagne and me a Thalgo travel kit with a 15€ coupon at the Thalgo institute! I doubt I'll use the coupon, but I always love samples :)
So, go to the Gallopin, it's beautiful and you'll feel like you stepped into old Paris. Definitely make reservations.
40, rue Notre Dame des Victoires
01 42 36 45 38
*kinda like a "good deal" category in the red Michelin guide, it means you can have an amazing 3 course meal for around 30€.
EDIT: I went back on April 3 and snapped a photo of the typical offerings. The daily specials look great and I am amazed at the normal prices. I'll have to go back! ps If you look carefully you'll notice the saint marked by the date - Saint's Days are celebrated here in France and I have never noticed it on a menu before. Today is St. Richard, so if you know a Richard you'd better wish him a happy saint day!
2nd EDIT: p.s. Hey, I went back 2 months later. Read about my second visit here.