While we've definitely enjoyed the last few months spent ordering takeout and delivery to eat at home in our stretchy pants and cocktail kits brought right to our doors to help us become home-bartending pros, nothing beats putting on real clothes and heading to one of the best patios in Toronto.
Summer is finally in full swing and restaurants have been given the go-ahead to make all manner of makeshift patios in order to increase sales – which means all the more al fresco dining options for us to choose from. Whether you're after craft beer or a fruity cocktail, alongside hearty pasta or shareable snack plates, we've got you covered. Here, we've rounded up the best patios in Toronto, by neighbourhood.
Most places are imposing a two-hour seating limit, but that just means you'll have time to cap off the night with a frozen treat from one of the city's best ice cream shops.
Now we just have to make sure our going out pants still fit.
The best patios in Toronto: The Downtown Core
161 Bay St.
Welcome to the jungle: When this Nikkei restaurant empire opened up last year, we were already sold on its pisco cocktails and graffiti-decorated interiors. Fast-forward to 2020 and the foliage-filled patio that wraps around Front and Bay Street has given us another great reason to experience this Peruvian-meets-Japanese cuisine. Order snackable share plates like the tempura roll and octopus alongside yuzu martinis, and pretend you're 2,000 miles south of Toronto.
364 Adelaide St. W.
Tutti Matti on Adelaide might be a well-loved Toronto institution – but until now, all of its seating was consigned to the inside of the restaurant. Chef and owner Alida Solomon spent much of spring working away in the kitchen to bring wild-boar ragu and fresh pasta to fans during quarantine. Now, the Tuscan spot has opened up a patio from Wednesday to Sunday (weather permitting) in front of the restaurant and in the spruced-up next door alley, which is kitted out with picnic tables and a colourful mural.
485 Wellington St. W.
Until now, Torontonians looking for a lights-out meal from Patrick Kriss had to be content with a burger from Aloette or a delivery version of Alo's tasting menu. However, Canada's top-rated restaurant proved its star power this month when it opened Alo Midsummer, a seriously swanky tented pop-up at 485 Wellington St. W. The Alo patio will be serving a 10-course blind tasting menu for $250 for parties of up to four. Book your spot or join the waitlist on Tock today.
100 King St. W.
With a casually sophisticated ambiance and an impressive tap list, King Taps fits seamlessly into its Financial District setting at First Canadian Place. Rows of flat-screen TVs and a menu emphasizing pizza and sandwiches channel a sports bar vibe, but stylish touches like a gleaming marble bar, exposed brick walls and a sleek open kitchen ensure that no one is confusing this spot with their local watering hole (it is steps from Bay Street, after all). The 140-seat patio extends over two-storeys, with wooden high-tops set under glowing fairy lights.
229 Richmond St. W.
What do you do with a vacant lot with a perfect view of the CN Tower in downtown Toronto? Answer: convert it into Toronto's biggest outdoor picnic. Rendezviews, a collaboration between the Fifth Social Club and the Ballroom, has transformed a private parking lot on Richmond and John into a sea of 80 picnic tables and umbrellas with concessions, offering tipples like Sol or Bacardi cocktails. Drink tokens are $10.50 and allow for a cash-free transaction.
188 University Ave.
Dreaming of your own garden getaway in the heart of downtown? Look no further than the Shangri-La Patio. The Canadian-inspired menu ranges from vegetable-forward bowls and sandwiches, to juicy pan-seared scallops and hand-cut linguine. On Saturdays and Sundays, tuck into a beautifully curated prix fixe brunch. Most of the ingredients are sourced from local farmers and producers within 100km of the hotel – expect everything to taste fresher than fresh.
The Rec Room
255 Bremner Blvd.
While you might be familiar with the sprawling mecca of food and entertainment that is the Rec Room, what you might not know is that their patio is one of downtown Toronto’s best-kept secrets. The hidden oasis is decked out with lush greenery and canopies and features unobstructed views of the city. Aptly called the Deck, it’s a place to hang out with friends, coworkers or even a date, and escape from the city while still being right in the heart of it.
240 King St. E.
Commonly referred to as the east side’s “American honky tonk” bar, Betty’s is a long-standing institution for those seeking the right amount of craft in their drinks without any unnecessary pretentiousness. The whisky list impresses brown liquor aficionados, and the beer list is ever evolving and showcases Ontario’s finest. Tucked away at the back is one of the best reasons to visit Betty’s, its oasis of a patio, soundproofed from the hustle of King street. Perfect long summer evenings with the bar’s popular negroni by the glass program.
Upper Deck by Fran's
2-20 College St.
While most Torontonians are familiar with brunch staple Fran’s at College and Yonge, some may be unaware of the Upper Deck that sits above the diner. The all-season rooftop patio takes up two floors and has a ton of seating, meaning the odds of grabbing a table during a sun stampede are better than most of the city’s diminutive patios. Best of all, the Upper Deck has a retractable roof so when those glorious summer days and nights turn into thunderstorms and lightning, you won’t have to run for cover.
The best patios in Toronto: King West
485 King St W.
More than two years after Baro opened on King West, the restaurant’s long-anticipated patio finally began welcoming guests last summer. Overflowing with lush greenery, the rooftop is an oasis. An enclosed section with a retractable roof and window walls makes the airy space fit for a perfect patio afternoon even when Toronto’s fickle weather isn’t cooperating. In the patio’s outdoor kitchen, chefs cook a menu of simple items like roast chicken and grilled broccoli over charcoal.
642 King St. W.
When Lapinou, an elegant King West bistro, opened up last year we fell head-over-heels for its French charm and fantastic wine list. While the Parisienne spot did offer delivery during lockdown, we missed enjoying their homemade sourdough and duck breast in-person. Needless to say, we were thrilled (okay, we squealed) when Lapinou launched their adorable alleyway patio, complete with twinkly lights and a recently-added al fresco brunch service. C'est magnifique.
433 King St. W.
King Street hasn't exactly got the squeakiest reputation when it comes to social distancing – but one place that's doing things right is Labora. Summer saw the launch of the Spanish restaurant's sidewalk patio, inviting guests to enjoy paella in the sunshine, along with aperitivo hour specials on glasses of cava, daiquiris, negroni and Labora spritzs. From Wine Wednesdays to Date Night Thursdays, there are mucho reasons to visit this Mallorca-inspired spot. Buen Provecho!
75 Portland St.
When Chef Jamie Oliver is tweeting his love for Buca, you know it's the place to be. Serving up some of the finest Italian food Toronto has to offer, Bar Buca is all about smaller plates — and friendlier prices — than its King West counterpart. Sure it's on the small side, but its glorious patio backs onto trendy Portland Street, which means you can throw on a pair of shades, order a glass of pinot grigio and take in some serious people watching.
101 Portland St.
Clever design and construction doubled Gusto 101’s all-season dining capacity. Its glassed-in rooftop patio, which sits atop the original former auto-body garage, creates an industrial-chic environment including an oversized Goodyear sign as a loud-but-cute nod to the building’s former life. It all makes a fitting environment for tucking into the restaurant’s modern Italian fare.
627 King St. W.
It might scream summer in the city, but with views like these, we'd argue that Lavelle is a destination for any time of year. With completely unobstructed views of Toronto, the King Street West spot is a great place to bring out-of-towners and point out local landmarks with a cocktail in hand.
548 King St. W.
This side patio has long been a favourite, thanks to its outside bar and great location on King West – and that needn't change once the temperatures are slipping. Grab a seat underneath one of the heaters at Belfast Love, order a mimosa and enjoy people watching long into the fall.
The best patios in Toronto: Waterfront
Cabana Waterfront Patio
11 Polson St.
You might know Cabana as Toronto's primo pool bar party hangout – but this summer, leave the tank top and the bikini-and-heels-combo at home. Cabana Waterfront Patio just launched Dinner and a Movie Tuesdays, giving lovers of sunsets and cinema the chance to take in the gorgeous Toronto skyline. The event, hosted by Belvedere Vodka, takes place every Tuesday with movies like The Hangover and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood playing to the expansive patio. The movie starts at 8.30 p.m., and pretty much any seat will give you a good view. We recommend making your reservation for 7.30 p.m. so you can order food from O&B and toast to that panorama with a featured Belvedere cocktail. The movie schedule will be released on social media, and if you don't love the film? There are worse places to get distracted...
245 Queens Quay W.
This waterfront spot is a great place to get your fill of Lake Ontario vistas. With three patios to choose from, Amsterdam BrewHouse is a summer stalwart for open-air dining and drinking, but with heated patios open on the warmer days of fall, you can extend those days of dinner with a view.
The best patios in Toronto: Yorkville
Il Patio di Eataly
55 Bloor St. W.
If Aperol is the drink of the summer, Il Patio di Eataly is the place to enjoy the sunset coloured aperitivo. The Italian marketplace is transporting us to Rome with an alfresco dining option featuring bitesized dishes like grilled zucchini and spicy chicken thighs, or full meals like Torino-style pizza to pair with all that spritz.
158 Cumberland St
For Nicki Laborie, the former View the Vibe owner turned brains behind Bar Reyna, details mean everything. Laborie worked closely alongside head chef Omar Ma (formerly of Buca Yorkville) to create the vision for the menu, resulting in a set of dishes that feels like a direct passport to Greece, Spain and Turkey. The space is split over two floors: a cocktail bar upstairs, and a formal dining space on the main floor – the latter leads out to a gorgeous, hidden patio space and the true showstopper here. Tables have been built around the trees so they become living fixtures, while a retractable roof allows Bar Reyna to be patio approved all year round. You know where you'll find us.
The best patios in Toronto: Little Italy
460 College St.
Buena Copa, Little Italy's newest Mexican snack bar is having a year of firsts. The people behind Good Hombres and Campechano Taquería completed their trifecta in February with this antojeria at 460 College St. Now they're launching Campechano Mariscos, a hidden back patio pop-up with a focus on seafood, serving dishes like ceviche, aguachiles and plenty of fish tacos. Patio dwellers can also expect an almost entirely gluten-free and celiac friendly menu, plus signature cocktails, natural wine and craft beer.
The best patios in Toronto: Trinity Bellwoods
Casa la Palma
849 Dundas St W.
A barely-marked door beside La Palma, leads up to where sister snack bar Casa La Palma has taken roost. Removed from the crowds, it offers a reprieve from the scrunched sidewalk patios. Bonus: retractable windows make the whole restaurant feel like a patio.
Venice Beach Bar
1251 Dundas St. W.
Collaborations abound in lockdown, with yet another duo partnering up for some fun in the sun. The owners of Dundas West's Unboxed Market have teamed up with the people behind Bar Mordecai to create a "staycation-inspired" beach bar. Drinking cocktails and eating southern Californian snacks in a storage lot might not seem like paradise, but after a pastel paint job, that's exactly where you'll be transported to.
928 Dundas St. W.
There would be a major feud if anyone took a bite of our pasta from Bar Vendetta without asking. We may have no-chill when it comes to pasta, but Vendetta’s relaxed, backyard patio has chill written all over it. The wine list is long and specially curated which pairs wonderfully with the small, no-fuss chalkboard menu full of simple dishes done really well. Bonus: the patio is covered so you’re all clear for carbs on rainy days.
942 Queen St. W.
Behind this well-trodden part of Queen Street West lies one of the city's most adorable outdoor dining spaces. There's plenty of foliage (and often, accompanying wildlife like squirrels) on Fonda Lola's patio, which masks some of the noise from the street. Plus, there are enough trinkets and knick-knacks hanging around to keep you entertained (look out for the birdcage with Lucha Libre action figures imprisoned inside). Grab a cocktail and a taco and enjoy this suburban sanctuary.
The best patios in Toronto: The Distillery District
18 Tank House Lane
Guacamole and nachos aren't the only thing capable of transporting us to sunnier climes at El Catrin. Their weatherproof patio also does a pretty awesome job of making us feel that little bit closer to Mexico come fall and beyond. Their winning combination of heated patio, huge fire pits and blankets make this a great al fresco option for when the weather starts to get cooler.
The best patios in Toronto: West Queen West
Drake Sky Yard
1150 Queen St. W.
This colorful oasis on Queen Street West is an all-season space, thanks to its heated and covered patio. The soft furnishings and macramé wall hangings give the Drake Sky Yard a cozy feel.
The best patios in Toronto: Cabbagetown
592 Sherbourne St.
From Oliver & Bonacini, Maison Selby is set in a historic mansion that’s over a century old and has a checkered past. Each of the French bistro’s rooms has a separate aesthetic, from the bright, tropical wallpaper in the room known as L’Orangerie, right down to the dimly lit speakeasy in the basement. A 32-seat garden patio wraps around the south side of the property.
The best patios in Toronto: Fort York
28 Bathurst St.
This marketplace is made entirely from shipping containers. More than 70 per cent of the 100,000-sq-ft space is outdoors – earning Stackt recognition for its sheer size alone. The outdoor food and beverage pavilion sinclude seating across multiple courtyards.
The best patios in Toronto: Midtown
12 St Clair Ave E.
From Chase Hospitality Group, Arthur’s is a North American grill and cocktail bar offering spruced-up iterations of classic items. The midtown restaurant is sectioned into the bar, the Crystal dining room and, above it, the rooftop terrace.
2031 Yonge Street
This Dutch-Indonesian food bar offers a unique taste of the Indonesian islands mixed with the personal history of chef-owner Mike Van Den Winkel who was raised in the Netherlands. Little Sister’s casual, affordable menu is divided into skewers, snacks, sides and traditional dishes like nasi goreng and udang kari.
Each dish is full of flavour and heart and the lush greenery on their new patio will make you feel like you're in Bali (ermm, a busy street in Bali) instead of Yonge Street.
The best patios in Toronto: Liberty Village
42 Liberty St.
The two-level heritage space at East Liberty and Atlantic houses the Big Rock beer and bottle shop on one side and the brewpub on the other for the ultimate all in one collab between the Big Rock brewers and Oliver & Bonacini. A large private dining room sits in the back of Liberty Commons as well as a 100-seat patio.
The best patios in Toronto: Parkdale
5 Brock Ave.
Owners Alex Pearce and Zach Pettiford, both alum of the Drake Hotel, brought Parkdale a chill, funky spot with Superfly. The pair have redone the former Electric Mud BBQ space with a design that pays homage to 1970s New York.
The space has been brightened up with a pastel-patterned bar, geometric ceiling tiles reminiscent of a dance floor and lots of greenery – a handful of features from Electric Mud remain, however, including the neon cross illuminating the restaurant’s location on a small side street off Queen and the covered, all-season patio.
The best patios in Toronto: Roncesvalles
2125 Dundas St. W.
We can hear your inner craft beer cynic from here. "What's that?" it asks. "Another brew pub in Toronto's west end?" Heck yeah it is, but believe us, you ain't seen nothing like Bandit Brewery in this town. Their patio has all the hallmarks of a German beer garden, a vibe that carries through to the interior thanks to the adorable rows of bulbs that shine overhead like twinkle lights.
The best patios in Toronto: Leslieville
The Rooftop at the Broadview Hotel
106 Broadview Ave.
Set on the seventh floor of the Broadview Hotel, the Rooftop features dramatic views of the Toronto skyline and the Don River, with its east end location offering a rare bird’s-eye perspective on the city. The lounge has floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a striking pyramidal skylight, with hanging plants further enhancing the feeling of connection to the outdoors. Buzzy vibes and a menu of $6 snacks, like chili-lime spiced popcorn and a chicken karaage bao, make the Rooftop a hip patio alternative – plus there’s a large outdoor seating area.