Toronto’s best patios are a staple of the summer season. While immediate proximity to your home or office is a bonus, the cream of the crop are destination-worthy and most definitely worth the trip. Explore a neighbourhood you might not venture to and you might just discover a hidden gem. The trifecta of food, friends, and fancy drinks all but guarantee a good time.
The queen of Yorkville has now been crowned with Bar Reyna reimagining the space that was once Caren’s Wine and Cheese Bar. The back patio is a jaw-dropper; a chic space with banquette style seating, and charming wooden feature walls which all but beckon you to lose track of time (and how many copper pineapples you’ve tipped). The retractable roof keeps this patio party going year-round, and who can resist a menu devoted to French fries?
Image via Bar Reyna
Celebrating their 20th anniversary this month, Trattoria Nervosa has been a cornerstone in Yorkville’s restaurant scene. What it lacks in size it more than makes up for in people watching, including famously hosting Blue Ivy and her parents when they were in town in 2013. Owned by the Gusto 54 Group, the kitchen pours out upscale Italian eats and pairs them perfectly with their old world wine list or pitchers of sangria.
Image via @NervosaTO
With more seats outside than in, Summer may be your best time to visit Chabrol, the hidden jewel of Yorkville. Only open since last fall, the sister restaurant to Cava specializes in French food, with Doug Penfold executing classic cuisine in a kitchen that is no bigger than most walk in closets. Slightly shaded and set back from the busy avenue, this patio is a perfect perch for those who wish to see without being seen.
Image via @advera
The concrete jungle may surround Bar Buca, but with wafts of freshly planted rosemary and even more drool-worthy aromas permeating from the kitchen, Bar Buca’s patio is truly a downtown oasis. Part grab and go, part sit and swoon, this eatery has gourmet finds like the stunning Caprese Salad ($11), Insalata d’Arancia ($10) or the porky Porchetta ($14) all paired flawlessly with their deluxe cocktail program. Smart money stops by between 4pm and 7pm for their aperitivo ‘happy hour’, with a picture-perfect platter of gourmet bites that will whet any appetite.
Image via Bar Buca
Distillery District darling El Catrin is a favourite for downtown patio-goers, and for good reason. The massive space is punchy and fun – with hits of colour from the playful décor and swathed in mood lighting that makes Distillery such a destination for countless date nights. Tipples here are mainly tequila based, which pair nicely with their share-style menu that goes beyond mere tacos.
Image via @shinyapplecider
If the humidex is high head south to the lake, with Miku’s brand new patio, giving diners a brief reprieve from the heat with gentle breezes swooping in from the nearby lake. Miku’s patio is a breath of fresh air, with not only a dining area but also a laidback lounge perfect for sake sipping. Aburi style sushi lends itself well to the lakeside location.
Image via @wildxsight
The cottage in the city that is Auberge du Pommier is still as quaint and charming as it always has been, now surpassing its 29th year on Yonge just a pinch past York Mills. Swathed in greenery, this lush patio terrace evokes the French cuisine that current Chef Malcolm Campbell has been executing on with great success, including the delectable weekday afternoon Champagne menu, which sees guests clinking glasses of Perrier-Jouët and noshing on midday nibbles like fresh market oysters or steak tartare.
Image via Oliver & Bonacini
White lattice surrounds the beautiful patio that houses Colette, part of the Thompson Hotel (which of course has a splendid rooftop that is not to be missed). Sidled up to Wellington Ave West, this quiet patio is a relaxing space to reinvigorate to start your day, but even better with a squad for a little cinq a sept with a special menu dubbed Île de Colette meant for especially for the summer season.
Image via @colettetoronto
With two locations boasting beautiful patios, Origin and Origin North both share similar but slightly different menus, but the same common goal- tapas-style eats and punchy libations courtesy of everyone’s favourite MasterChef, Claudio Aprile. Bayview Village is home to Origin North, with a generous patio that wraps around the restaurant dotted with umbrellas, greenery, and banquette seating. The original Origin at King and Church boasts seating for 40 people, with mega-sized umbrellas to protect you from the sun’s rays (or your boss’s glare from above).
Image via @originrestaurant
The sunny patio at Macho Radio Bar is a nifty find in City Place. The patio is a flanked by a colourful pergola that echoes the party theme inside. Pitchers of sangria wash down a little too easily, especially paired with their Chorizo Queso Fundido ($10) or Macho Fries ($12). The patio vibe here replicates a day at the beach mood so try and snag one of the back booth tables for extra-long fiesta fun.