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13 perfect picnic food ideas from your favourite Toronto restaurants

Looking for the perfect picnic food? These Toronto restaurants offer portable takeout options and picnic baskets to-go for levelling up your next park hang. 

Delicious picnic food ideas | A picnic spread from GIA

There’s nothing quite like switching up your mealtime routine by making it into a picnic. We’re happy to report that the entirety of July is National Picnic Month, meaning it’s time to start planning the perfect picnic to-go. If you’re struggling to come up with picnic food ideas, don’t sweat — we’ve got you covered. We’ve curated a list of the best Toronto restaurants that are offering delicious, portable takeout snacks and picnic baskets to-go.

There are so many ways to customize your picnic, too. Be bold and up your picnic food game by mixing up some tropical cocktails to take to the park (we won’t tell). Or beat the heat by sampling Toronto's best ice cream joints as part of your picnic. There are even Toronto events perfect for picnicking, like the well-loved Rosé Picnic.

Regardless of how you want to enhance your picnic, there’s no time like the present to go outside, touch some grass and spend quality time with friends and family.

13 delicious and portable picnic food ideas

1. Tinuno

31 HOWARD ST.

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Tinuno’s Fiesta Kamayan Kit (Kamayan means “with hands'' — and you’re going to need ‘em) is an excellent way to share your love — and food, or maybe your love for food — with friends. This communal Filipino feast can feed four hungry people and there would still be leftovers.

Inside the box you’ll find a variety of seafood and meat with rice served on banana leaves. The finale: a choice of either leche flan or turon (fried banana spring roll) for dessert. The kits sell out fast, so pre-ordering for pick-up from the restaurant is your best bet.

tinunothirtyone.com

Nearby parks: Riverdale Farm, Winchester Square Park

2. GIA

1214 DUNDAS ST. W.

GIA is renowned for offering delicious plant-forward fare. For the perfect outing, you and a mate (or date) can order their picnic basket for two for pick-up, then bring it to the nearest park, stat. The packs are available Thursday – Sunday and include a vegan fried chicken sandwich and their Impossible Burger.

The picnic to-go basket also includes their baby gem salad with crispy shallots, and polish off your hearty meal with a light, vegan olive oil cake, filled with vanilla buttercream and strawberries.

The cutlery is eco-friendly and disposable, the sandos are stacked and Bellwoods is less than a kilometre away. What more could you need?

giarestaurant.ca

Nearby parks: Trinity Bellwoods, Fred Hamilton Playground

3. Patois

794 DUNDAS ST. W.

Patois is a fusion between Caribbean and Asian cuisine. You and a friend — or maybe two or three friends — can order the Whole Shebang if you’re undecided on just what to get from the Dundas West restaurant. This shareable takeaway kit comes loaded with some amazing picnic foods like Jamaican patties, a Trini Mac Pie, juicy jerk chicken, O.G. fried chicken, Jamaican coleslaw, rice and peas, kale salad and more.

patoistoronto.com

Nearby parks: Trinity Bellwoods, Alexandra Park

4. Isabella’s Mochi Donut Boutique

2066 QUEEN ST. E.

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Doughnuts count as a balanced breakfast right? As the name suggests, Isabella’s Mochi Donut Boutique specializes in mochi donuts, a marriage of Japanese mochi and American doughnuts. Choose from light and sumptuous flavours like London Fog and Rainbow Hibiscus Lemonade. Their Dirty Matcha doughnuts are a fan favourite. Grab a few for your next beach day — they make for a perfectly sweet alternative to a picnic basket to-go. Eat them as a snack, dessert or breakfast — we won't tell. 

isabellasdonuts.com

Nearby beach: Woodbine Beach

5. Oyster Boy

872 QUEEN ST. W.

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Toronto’s fave spot for shucked mollusks also has one of the city’s biggest backyard patios: Trinity Bellwoods Park. We can’t think of a bigger power move than having two dozen sustainable, east coast oysters or a full-on lobster boil in the park. Grab takeout from Oyster Boy, spread out your picnic blanket and let the envious stares begin. Find daily updates, the oyster selection of the day and special features on their Instagram.

@oysterboytoronto

Nearby Parks: Trinity Bellwoods, Stanley Park

6. Ritz-Carlton Toronto

181 WELLINGTON ST. W.

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Put on the ritz this summer with a stay at this glamorous Toronto hotel. Guests staying at the Ritz-Carlton can sign up for a fancy, fully equipped picnic basket to-go with the Green Escapes experience. An e-bike rental for two is included in the package, so you and your SO can cycle along the scenic routes of Lakeshore West and even pop over to the Toronto Islands.

ritzcarlton.com

Nearby parks: David Peacut Square, Simcoe Park, Toronto Music Garden

7. Eataly

55 BLOOR ST. W.

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We’ve never loved grocery shopping more than perusing the aisles at Eataly. While they’re no longer offering prepared picnic baskets, shoppers have a wide variety of picnic foods to choose from when assembling their perfect picnic to-go. Eataly offers different ready-to-eat salads, regional Italian wines, plenty of cheese and an assortment of local and Italian cured meat.

For convenience sake, we recommend ordering their antipasti gift box, which comes with olives, a tomato and basil bruschetta mix, artichoke spread and hot pepper spread along with a baked pizza snack. May the taste of Eataly — er, Italy, be with you!

eataly.ca

Nearby park: Queen's Park

8. XO Bisous

60 ADELAIDE ST. E.

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For a sweet picnic, this downtown Toronto pâtisserie has sandwiches and goodies to-go. It doesn't matter who you're sharing your blanket with, XO Bisous has delicious sandwiches for any dietary preference or picky picnic-eater.

You can order their picnic baskets (for two or four people) or the cheese and charcuterie grazing boxes from their website or over the phone. Add on some fresh-baked chocolate chip or vegan cookies for good measure.

xobisous.com

Nearby parks: St. James Park, Berczy Park, David Crombie Park

9. Café Plenty

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

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This café can be found in four locations across the city, and near several parkettes. Café Plenty is renowned for offering fresh meals and pantry items to its patrons. Try their salad boxes, or even their continental breakfast box, which is complete with a morning glory muffin and yogurt and granola to start your day right.

While you’re there, be sure to stock up on some pantry items, which are locally produced. Who says you can’t impress both your picnic and dinner guests all at once?

cafeplenty.com

Nearby parks: Grange Park, The Gardens of Osgoode Hall

10. Aviator Cafe

1458 DANFORTH AVE.

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You won’t know what to expect with Aviator Cafe’s picnic baskets, simply because they release a new one week to week!

One thing that remains a constant is Aviator’s Victorian High Tea. If you’d like to recreate your very own Bridgerton promenade, the Victorian High Tea has the perfect picnic food for you. This picnic basket to-go includes tea sandwiches, classic scones and several mini desserts for your pleasure, such as their white chocolate and raspberry tarts. For kids, be sure to snag Aviator’s Teddy Bear picnic basket to-go.

aviatordanforth.com

Nearby park: Monarch Park

11. Jatujak

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

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Named after the famous (and the largest) market in Bangkok, Jatujak specializes in street-style Thai food. Their Kingston Road location is minutes away from one scenic picnic at the Scarborough Bluffs.

Since no one wants to sightsee or even be around people on an empty stomach, pre-order their signature pad Thai, colourful mango sticky rice and throw in some extra spring rolls before you head out on your next adventure.

@jatujakthai

Nearby park: Bluffer's Park and Beach

12. Rustle & Still Cafe

605 BLOOR ST. W.

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Interested in sampling a Vietnamese staple? Try out some banh mi at Rustle & Still Café. The café has been voted as the best banh mi joint in the city, and offers couple meal sharing baskets for its patrons.

The couple meal sharing basket contains the perfect picnic food. You and a date can split two banh mi sandwiches and enjoy a refreshing bottle of Viet iced coffee or a latte. A perfect meal for the perfect picnic.

rustleandstill.com

Nearby park: Greenwood Park

13. Light Café

23 BALDWIN ST.

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Getting into a brunch spot in Toronto is no easy feat — especially on a weekend. Skip the long lines and wait times by taking your brunch outside. Light Café specializes in contemporary Taiwanese cuisine and they’re well-known for their brunch boxes.

Cut the chaos for a peaceful weekend morning and pre-order a brunch box. These boxes include a butter croissant filled with your choice of lobster, roasted mushroom or salmon. For those with a sweet tooth, we recommend ordering the mini pancakes. Each box also comes with waffle fries, eggs and a slice of bacon or sausage. Who says your brunch can’t be a picnic?

lightcafe.ca

Nearby park: McCaul-Ode Park

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