Aside from a smartass "just use a first run Playstation" response: Try a Sony DVP-7700 or it's succesors the DVP-NS999ES & DVP-S9000ES (some of them were available in silver & even champain I believe though they usually come with a premium on the aftermarket).
Toshibas fist HD-DVD player the HD-XA1 was also regarded as a top CD player back when not jsut due to the flagship build quality but the excellent audio section woth top tier bur brown DAC's. I have 2 of the succesors the HD-XA2's & they might be of the same caliber but I never (cared) to look into it as i also own 2 7700's ehich have twin lazer optical picups/assemblies (one for DVD & one for CD).
All of the ones I mentioned were top of the line flagships that rtailed for $1,000 & over and were designed to act as referrence CD players also (again, not sure of the XA2, which is a flaghip but I have not checked out the CD cred). characteristics range from aluminum fronts, copper platted chasis, twin lazer optical assemblies, Japanese construction & more.
All of the have standard component sizing & looks that trouncemost of what came afterward to this day.
Best of all you can get all of those for anywere from about $100 to abuot $350 after tax & shipping depending on condition & completeness.
There may be some solid CD only player that could be recomended as well but TBF those Sony dual disc players are the complete package in terms of perfoemarnce, ergonomics/ease of use, build quality & asthetics (The later of which your girlfriend might appreciate).
The Toshiba's are great as well BUT they, just like Blu-Ray players, are software based machines & I like the speed & immediacy (in terms of loading & control) with DVD players as they act just like CD players when reading & playing.
Hope that helps.
EDIT: Also, denon made a VERY nice & respected line of multi format DVD/CD players before the they went ful bore on blu-ray. The line had two iterarions of most models with the "CI" (for Custom Integration) variants being the later with features that would nopt be of much significance today. The line started with retails going for under agrand with the flagship, the 5910 or 5930 I believe, being $3,800 & a fucking behemoth. Thos were all made in China but still built like brickhouses with all the bells & whistles. Some I believe can be used as transports & some might have digital ins & multi channel analog outs, but I can't remember off the top of my head. I bought a car load of them NIBforpennies on the dollar when a regional chain (6th Avenue Electronics) wasliquidating them when going out of business) I flipped them all & never got a chance to try one out unfortunately.