Lion & Compass Restaurant, Sunnyvale, CA



1023 N Fairoaks Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
(408) 745-1260

Neighborhood: Silicon Valley, CA
Cuisine: Seafood, American (New), Wine Bars
Cost: $$ = $31-60
Four Forks = Defines excellence in local dining.  Worth the investment

Monday through Friday 11:30am-9:30pm
Closed Saturdays and Sundays

Handicap accessible: Yes
Parking: Valet, Private Lot
Vegetarian options: Yes
Kid friendly: No
Liquor served: Full bar
Wine List: Decent options, at fair prices
Outdoor seating: Yes
Reservations: Yes

Unique:  For over a quarter of a century, the Lion & Compass has maintained a special status in the Silicon Valley. Opening in 1982, the Lion & Compass quickly established its reputation as the premiere business dining restaurant for the high-tec cognescenti. The lunch crowd is known to be business casual and popular.  “Combining sophisticated urban cuisine with a tropical English environment, a New York Times article from the 1980’s noted, “the Lion & Compass is to the Silicon Valley what Sardi’s was to the theater district.” So know that the ambience is a little old fashioned.

Lion and compass restaurant inside

The place has a classic California decor, with white walls, multi-pane windows, cathedral white ceilings, and a glass sunroof, covered by a white canopy.  The tables are all covered with white tablecloths and red roses and there were candles that didn’t actually burn, but had a nice glow; perfect for enjoying the scents of our meals and wine.  They do seem to take great attention to detail.

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The outdoor eating area would be nice during warmer weather, but was a beautiful tropical sight, while visiting from a frigid Minnesota winter!

Complementary: Complimentary bread and butter


A fresh sour dough bread that was moist and flavorful, with delicious, soft butter!

Started off with: Crispy fried Calamari, $13


We typically share starters.  The calamari was one of the best I’ve ever had.  Served with a lemon aioli, parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and garlic.  It was hot and the crust was just enough.  We both commented that there was no tough or rubbery texture that is so often the problem elsewhere.

We also split a “signature” Goat Cheese Salad, $10


This was the perfect size for both of us.  Each of us enjoyed it very much and thought that the preparation of the cheese was amazing; the warm goat-cheese was slightly breaded was served on top of a bed of baby spinach.  The fresh tomatoes popped with brightness and the pine nuts were a nice touch; all topped with an olive-oil and vinaigrette dressing.

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Bill chose a wonderful Merlot from Stags Leap Wine Cellar, $85 to accompany dinner.

Entree: Asian Seafood “POT-AU-FEU”, Lemon Grass Broth, $29


Salmon, bass, clams, scallop, shrimp, vegetables, potatoes and Asian herbs.  The Thai Seafood Pot-Au-Feu is one of the best seafood dishes I’ve had in recent years.  I don’t usually order this type of dish, but it was very good!  It was made with a sweet, but mile curry broth.  The veggies were crisp and fresh.

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The fish, shrimp, scallops and clams were cooked perfectly, but I’m not convinced there was any salmon.  The fish melts in your mouth!  The only other complaint is that it needed rice or something.


I ended up eating more bread than normal, to soack up the broth because it was so good!

Bill chose the Chicken Breast with Prosciutto and Mushroom Duxelle, $25


I was a little surprised that he ordered this with mushroom in the description; but after I explained that Duxelle is the same thing we put in our beef wellington, he was good to go!  The dish came with two large chicken portions was moist and delicious!  The asparagus was cooked to a perfect al dente and served on a flavorful risotto.  There was enough leftover for both of us to share for lunch the next day!

Dessert:  We were too full! 

The ambiance is a date night feel.  We highly recommend it!  Our server Isabella was nice and checked on our table often enough to make sure we always had what we needed, but didn’t linger.  Great service!


Bon appetit!