In 2011, Santos Uy took a trip to Paris that not only changed his life but also what it means to be a neighborhood restaurant in Hollywood. Every night he experienced prix fixe menus and fell in love with the simplicity of that style of dining. On the trip back, he jotted down notes for his next restaurant concept, and ended up selling his original downtown restaurant, Bacaro, to finance it. Toying between a DTLA food court and an old Altadena bakery, he later settled on an old Raffalo’s strip mall location on Franklin. It's a move that seems prescient now, given the Ludo Lefebvre/Animal partnership on Trois Mec, a new restaurant that also utilizes an old Raffalo’s.
Since opening in 2011, Papilles hasn’t strayed much from the original concept. Like the Parisian restaurants Uy experienced, the format is limited to prix fixe offerings. Foie gras was once available as a supplement, but since the ban, it’s been replaced with occasional uni offerings, as well as more expensive main-course substitutions like a rib eye for two. Uy says that at first, there were some misperceptions about the price: “$30-something for a three-course menu is a big number to hear all at once, but one main course might cost $36 at a Restaurant X.” The executive chef is Tim Carey, who worked at Patina prior to Papilles.
Uy’s wine background comes from his stint at Silver Lake Wine and as a junior sommelier at A.O.C. He still curates the ever-changing list for Papilles, and favors Burgundies and the Loire Valley, since they pair well with both fish and meat, as many guests split everything 50/50. (PHOTO: Courtesy of Papilles)