Churrasqueira Galo: Roast Chicken in Paris
I’ve hesitated about sharing this place with you, but have finally succumbed. After all, everyone has a right to find a great roast chicken place. Especially one that’s incredibly affordable. And pretty delicious.
Churrasqueira Galo is a dive, a place where there’s a always a lively cross section of residents of this transitioning quartier, including families out with the kids, drag queens, Portuguese soccer players, and assorted dubious characters (like me) looking for a good, inexpensive meal.
And beware of going during the full-blast heat of the summer: last year we had to leave mid-meal because it was so stifling hot. When I asked the sweating owner, who was manning the fiery rôtisserie, why they didn’t get a fan, he told me: “They’re so expensive! A fan cost the same as a day’s earnings in Portugal.”
I didn’t want to point out that A) We’re not in Portugal, we’re in Paris, and B) A cheap fan costs about €20. No one asked me, but I think twenty euros is a pretty good investment if your customers are leaving.
But no matter, just go prepared for anything and if you’re looking for linen napkins, fancy crystal, and a television that plays something other than the Portuguese soccer game, forget it.
I always get a bottle of Aveleda vinho verde which I love drinking, although I didn’t always. The first time I tasted this “green” wine, I was in a restaurant in Portugal and was put-off by the slight sparkle of the carafe of wine that was presented, and thinking the wine was off, I brought it to attention of the waiter. Everyone at the surrounding tables erupted and told me that was normal, that the wine was meant to be that way.
And now? I love it and it’s one of my go-to summer wines because it’s light and refreshing. Plus it also has half the alcohol of other wine so you can drink more without getting into trouble. Which is especially important at a place filled with Portuguese soccer players and assorted other types.
I don’t think the menu changes and for €9 you’ll get a half-chicken, French fries (like elsewhere, they have trouble cooking them ’til crisp—so ask…or beg, as we always do…), a mound of rice, a little gesture of salad, and the fullest glass of red wine you’ll ever come across.
69, rue de Dunkerque (9th)
Tél: 01 48 74 49 40
(Open daily, 11am-11pm)
UPDATE: As of 2012, Churrasqueira Galo is under new owners.
On another note, I’ve added a few addresses to my Paris Hamburger List:
13, rue du Pot de Fer (5th)
Tél: 01 43 36 61 52
Respectable burger with outstanding house-made French fries, cooked until deep-golden brown. My burger could have been seasoned with a bit more salt but it was served juicy and pretty rare. Very friendly service and a deal at around €11.
154, rue St. Honoré
Tél: 01 42 60 31 84
My friend Heather took me here for a belated birthday and I had a very good birthday-burger. On the plus side, it was juicy and seasoned just right. Plus at lunch, it’s a deal; €13 gets you a hamburger and an excellent milkshake. I’ll shave a few points off for not toasting the bun, and they serve roasted potatoes, rather than fries. (In their defense, they may not have a fryer.) But all is redeemed since they make their own ice cream!
38, rue de Bretagne (3rd)
Tél: 01 44 54 03 30
I was pretty miffed at this terribly bobo café since when took over the corner where a lovely old bread bakery was. But their redeeming quality is they serve up a very good cheese burger with excellent, crisp thin-cut fries. The service is pretty “eat it and beat it”, which is unusual in Paris, but the staff is amiable and they serve Moroccan-style mint tea, for those with the fortitude to linger.