Le Papillon (restaurant)

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Le Papillon
Restaurant information
Established 1977 (1977)
Current owner(s) Mike Mashayekh
Head chef Scott Cooper
Food type French
Dress code Business casual
Street address 410 Saratoga Avenue
City San Jose
State California
Postal/ZIP code 95129
Country United States
Coordinates 37°19′11″N 121°58′21″W / 37.31972°N 121.97250°W / 37.31972; -121.97250Coordinates: 37°19′11″N 121°58′21″W / 37.31972°N 121.97250°W / 37.31972; -121.97250
Seating capacity 65
Reservations Suggested
Other information Phone: (408) 296-3730
Website LePapillon.com

Le Papillon (the French word for butterfly, pronounced: [lə papiˈjɔ̃]) is a French restaurant located in San Jose, California.

Le Papillon is located on a busy street corner between a hotel and a strip mall.[1] Although the surrounding area is prosaic, the restaurant is "elegant (and expensive)".[2] Customers are pampered by "many people in suits".[3] Le Papillon specializes in contemporary French cuisine.[4]

Owner Mike Mashayekh[5] opened Le Papillon in 1977 in a remodeled coffee shop at its current location.[6] Mashayekh is also co-owner of the La Foret restaurant (another French restaurant in San Jose) with John Davoudi. Mashayekh and Davoudi were friends before they immigrated to the United States. They had been in the Iranian Army together[7] before the overthrow of the Shah.

Before moving to San Jose, Mashayekh had lived in Santa Maria, California where he met and married the mother of Scott Cooper (Le Papillon's Executive Chef). Cooper was a young boy at the time. The family moved to San Jose so that Mashayekh could attend San Jose State University.


Executive Chef Scott Cooper[8] was born in Santa Maria, California[9] and was 12 years old when his stepfather Mike Mashayekh opened Le Papillon. Cooper attended Leland High School in San Jose. Cooper joined Le Papillon's staff in 1992.[10] He started as a dishwasher, and moved up to bus boy, prep cook, pantry, line cook, and many other positions, before becoming the Executive Chef. He also cooked for eight years at La Foret, the sister restaurant of Le Papillon. Cooper's wife is a niece of Mashayekh's partner John Davoudi.[7] Cooper is an avid exerciser who runs and mountain bikes.

Brian Fernando is Sous Chef.[11][12]

Camron Mashayekh (Mike Mashayekh's son[7]) is Le Papillon's General Manager and Sommelier.[13]

Jondel Goldsmith is in charge of Catering and Special Events.

Omid Najian is Assistant Catering Director.


Zagat Survey, in its San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants 2010, rated Le Papillon 27/30 for food, 23/30 for decor, and 27/30 for service. Zagat interprets these ratings as "extraordinary to perfection" for food and service, and "very good to excellent" for decor. Also, Zagat found Le Papillon to be one of the top two restaurants in the South Bay Area for service.[14]

The 2005 Zagat Survey ranked Le Papillon as one of the Bay Area's top five restaurants, giving it the highest marks for any Bay Area restaurant south of San Francisco.[15]

Foie gras protests in 2010[edit]

Animal activists conducted weekly street demonstrations at Le Papillon from April 3, 2010 to October 23, 2010, protesting the serving of foie gras by the restaurant. The weekly protest was conducted by Santa Clara County Activists for Animals (SCCAA), a local group of animal-protection advocates. The protesters held signs and spoke to restaurant customers, offering them literature and asking them to ask the restaurant to stop serving foie gras. The protesters expressed the view that the method of foie gras production, including the force-feeding of ducks, is cruel and inhumane.

The protests ended when the restaurant removed foie gras from their menu and informed SCCAA that they would no longer serve it.[16]

A California law (SB 1520) enacted in 2004 prohibits the production and sale of foie gras in California, but the law didn't go into effect until July 1, 2012.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Graue, Jennifer (2010-06-09). "Review: San Jose's Le Papillon offers outstanding French cuisine for special-occasion dining". San Jose Mercury News. MediaNews Group. Retrieved 2010-06-23. Le Papillon, I was reminded there is a reason that stocks, and therefore sauces, are the foundation 
  2. ^ Holbrook, Stett (2005-08-10). "French Connection – Fine dining at Le Papillon means stepping into another world". Metro Silicon Valley. Metro Newspapers. Retrieved 2010-06-23. Stepping through the doors of Le Papillon, you leave the noise and exhaust 
  3. ^ Pearson, Mark (2008-12-07). "Le Papillon Review". PBworks. Retrieved 2010-07-12. dim lighting, many people in suits, no windows 
  4. ^ Waters, Christina (2001-09-27). "French Dressing". Metro Silicon Valley. Metro Newspapers. Retrieved 2010-07-14. Contemporary French cuisine is the house specialty 
  5. ^ Photo of owner Mike Mashayekh with customers in Le Papillon
  6. ^ Watson, Aleta (2007-02-11). "Fresh French cuisine at classic Le Papillon: Elegant eatery plays with inventive dishes". San Jose Mercury News. MediaNews Group. Retrieved 2010-06-23. formally clad servers, theatrical flowers and gilt-framed prints of the butterflies 
  7. ^ a b c Smullen, Dede. "Meet Your Neighbors – Carolyn and Scott Cooper" (PDF). Almaden Winery Neighborhood Association Newsletter. Almaden Winery Neighborhood Association. pp. 3 & 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-01. Retrieved 2010-06-23. La Foret, owned by her uncle John Davoudi , Volume 9, Issue 4, August 2004
  8. ^ Photo of Le Papillon Executive Chef Scott Cooper
  9. ^ Holbrook, Stett (2010-02-11). "Interview: Scott Cooper". SanJose.com. Retrieved 2010-07-12. I was born in Santa Maria, so tri-tip is close to my heart. 
  10. ^ "Le Papillon". TopRestaurants.com. Retrieved 2010-06-23. Le Papillon has evolved since 1977 to become a landmark in the gastronomical world 
  11. ^ Vanderaa, Rita (2010-01-06). "Still Shining Brightly After Thirty Years". Explore. Explore Publishing, Inc. Retrieved 2010-07-16. Le Papillon today is anything but traditional 
  12. ^ Vanderaa, Rita (May 2010). "At Le Papillon, You Can Leave it Up to the Chef". Explore. Explore Publishing, Inc. Retrieved 2010-07-14. Creations are inspired by the day's freshest items 
  13. ^ "Le Papillon: Inspired French Cuisine". Explore. Explore Publishing, Inc. February 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-23. Le Papillon is easy to fall in love with 
  14. ^ Halm, Meesha; Hudes, Karen, eds. (2009). San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants 2010. New York, New York: Zagat Survey. pp. 226, 5, 14. ISBN 978-1-60478-174-8. 
  15. ^ Vanderaa, Rita. "Top Marks (Encore!) for Le Papillon". Explore. Explore Publishing, Inc. Retrieved 2010-07-16. Zagat's 2005 survey is out, and San Jose's Le Papillon has been ranked as one of the Bay Area's top five dining spots 
  16. ^ Hawthorne, Mark (2010-11-30). "Persistence Is Key to Victory in Anti-Foie Gras Campaign". Striking at the Roots. Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2011-07-25. At last, realizing the activists were not going away and were within their rights to demonstrate, Le Papillon relented and informed SCCAA they would no longer be selling foie gras. 

External links[edit]