There are two kinds of Thai restaurants: take-out and dine-in. At Baan Thai’s new Broadmead location, it is worth staying (if you can get a table that is). Although it may be a bit more expensive than a take-away joint, food still comes out quickly and you get what you pay for in terms of ambiance and quality. I do suggest you spruce yourself up a bit if heading directly from the gym—Baan Thai’s new location is spiffy and bright and people can see if you are still wearing your gym shorts.
I was impressed by the quality and presentation of the food at Baan Thai. Portions were good-sized, although, being Asian cuisine, you will definitely want to get an appetizer with your meal or you will (as they say) be hungry again an hour later. As for recommendations, it’s all good. Pictured is Phad Thai Goong ($13.5) with spring rolls ($6.75).
Rating: 4/5Baan Thai (Broadmead) 400-777 ROYAL OAK DR. Victoria, BC
Open 7 days a week for Lunch & Dinner.
Victoria is full of really nice restaurants. So many, in fact, that it can be difficult to find the culinary standouts—Bon Rouge Bistro + Lounge is one of them. This French restaurant has excellent food, great cheeses, and delicious deserts all featuring local ingredients. Bon Rouge has three dining areas: the restaurant where reservations are recommended, the bistro with comfortable arm chairs and bar seating, or the outdoor patio with fireplace. In a town were many restaurants are overpriced and cater mostly to tourists, at Bon Rouge you get dining that locals know is worth coming back for again.
Being located downtown just off Governemnt street, Bon Rouge is not inexpensive or a regular weeknight kind of place—this restaurant is date material. That being said, it is not too expensive for the athlete’s table. There are some reasonably priced options like six fannie bay oysters ($12), a house-made burger with aged cheese and bacon ($16) or, my own favourite, the prix-fixe menu featuring an 8oz steak frites or seafood bouillabaisse with choice of appetizer and desert ($29). I upped my steak to the more appropriately athlete sized 12oz for a few extra bucks. Drinks were moderate to expensive here ($7.50 2oz martini and $11 house shiraz), but as athletes, we know the food is where it’s at.
Bottom line: Bon Rouge has great food and atmosphere. For a nice date night, their prix fixe dinner is a pretty good deal and a good amount of food that comes with French bistro ambiance.Bon Rouge 611 COURTNEY ST. Victoria, BC
Open 7 nights a week, 11am till midnight.
Packed with lean protein, omega-3 oils, and minerals, fish is a very healthy food. Top it off with a ball or roll of sushi rice (carbs) and you’ve got yourself a great food for a high-performance athlete. Many athletes don’t often think to go for sushi thinking it’s too expensive to satisfy a serious hunger. Bon Sushi solves this problem—delicious sushi at reasonable prices. They offer classic “purist” rolls and saucy “California-style” rolls that will stimulate your Unami taste buds. Their Royal Oak restaurant is quick and friendly to athletes who show up in post-workout track suits, best of all, you don’t have negotiate with downtown traffic to get there.
Rice digests easily before an afternoon workout so this author’s favorite is to hit up Bon Sushi for lunch. I’m a big fan of the teriyaki lunch box combo meal ($8 Reg, $13 Lg). If I go with a regular, I’ll usually add one of their 41 types of rolls—like a 10 piece dynamite roll ($6.50) or one of their great baked rolls drizzled with special sauce ($9). Finish it off with green tea ($1.50) and you are all set. If it is just sushi you are after 3-4 rolls will fill a hungry athlete or challenge yourself with the Party Platter A (5 rolls, $30).
Rating: 5.0/5.0Bon Sushi 4541 W SAANICH RD. Victoria, BC
Open Monday to Saturday for Lunch 11am till 2:30pm & Dinner 5pm till 9pm
Any athlete who has spent time training or competing in Italy can tell you that this restaurant is the real deal. La Piola features Italian specialties—Panini, pasta, and pizza—that will take you back to the best restaurants and pizzerias in Italy. They have replicated the European café ambiance as well—hold the indignant Italian waiter—with a casual atmosphere, fine cappuccino, and sliding doors that open onto the street in the summer. Recharge your carbs at this great Italian eatery.
Pizza’s are my favourite at this eatery, but, being thin crust, are not substantial to fill me up after 3 sessions on the water. I recommend doubling up with a pizza ($14) and pasta ($9-$12). That puts an athlete-sized dinner here at around $24 but given the authentic cuisine of La Piola, it’s well worth it for occasional reminder of why we like to train in Italy.
La Piola also features fine deserts, olive oils, balsamic vinegars, dry pasta, and other specialty foods that are hard to find in western grocery stores. Beware, there is (technically) only one parking spot (street parking is allowed) but really who wants to sit in a café and look out over a parking lot anyway?
Rating: 4.0/5.0La Piola 3189 QUADRA STREET
Victoria, BC, Canada V8X 1E9
Open Tuesday to Saturday for Lunch & Dinner, 11:30am till 7pm Thursday Friday Saturday till 8:00pm