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32 Comments

Get outside: Toronto’s 10 best patios

The patio season started early this year, which simply means there’s more time to hit the city’s best al fresco dining and drinking destinations. Here, 10 of our favourites »

  • P

    Not so sure I would have included the Ceili Cottage in here. I also think you missed a couple of great ones. Fat Cat Wine Bar on Roncesvalles Avenue has a great patio out back, in addition to The Keg on York Street – their courtyard patio is fantastic.

  • Torcello

    The Rectory Cafe and Pop Bistro are among my top 10.

  • Michael

    What about Houstons’ outdoor patio, at Yonge St. and Front St.? IT IS ONE OF THE BEST!!!

  • Pee

    Houston on Yonge/Front is so noisy with all the cars racing down/up yonge street,boxed in and pollution to kill!. Good choices Toronto Life – as you have capture the definition of patios – to people watch,away from cars & smog!

  • Dean

    Has anyone seen the view from Jack Astor’s patio overlooking Dundas Square? Hard to leave it off the list!

  • Jeff Taylor

    Re: Panorama Lounge and taking ‘jaded’ Vancouverites there. The problem is once dinner is over, they would have to come back down to the streets and walk through the dirt & grime of this city. As for the Bloor St. renovations, after nearly 2 years, the street doesn’t look all that much nicer.

  • P.D.

    Another one I think you missed is Polson Pier. It’s lakeside location speaks for itself. And it hosts my favourite summer patio event in Toronto, The Drinks Show. It’s 2 nights of great music, dancing, and of course, cocktails, cocktails, and more cocktails. I loved last year’s show, and I’ve already got my tickets for this year’s in July.

  • Nick

    No Drake Hotel? Watermark Pub? Vivoli? Cafe Diplomatico? Brazen Head?
    Good choices overall though, except for Panorama. Roof Bar has a similar view, without the overpriced food that was only recently defrosted. To those who mentioned Houston’s and Jack Astors, chain restaurants should never be included in these lists. You’re gonna go to Yonge and Dundas, the heart of downtown, for food you could get in a Brampton power centre?

  • MB

    Drake Hotel has a terrific brunch patio (side) and after work drinks patio (top)…but I guess everyone probably already knows that. You left out two of my favourites, both on Ossington, and I’m secretly happy about that. They’re crowded enough as it is! ;)

  • sid

    Not in Toronto, but a mere 20 minutes away is
    Burlington’s Spencers at the Waterfront.

    The best views of Lake Ontario and Burlington Harbour

  • JoJo

    Not sure how you are travelling sid, but last time I made the trek it took quite a bit longer than 20 minutes to get to Burlington.

  • Rich

    Bar Wellington’s sister bar, Bedford Academy is also a fantastic oasis in the City located at 36 Prince Arthur Avenue in the Bloor and Bedford area. Easy to get to at the St.George subway stop.

  • Pee

    Yeah , Sid…. 20 minutes to Burlington for a waterfront Patio? DOnt think so , bud. A 2 min walk to Il Fornello by Toronto Harbourfront & you can people watch. Burlington ? – yikes!

  • gk

    The far southwest end of Burlington no less …

    Crazy though it may sound, everyone should endeavour to visit the huge patio of the Lakeshore Legion near the Argonaut Rowing club – a true waterfront location over-hanging the harbour and the cheapest beer in town!

  • davide

    Gatto Nero on Clloelge street is one of my faves

  • Thea

    Tati Bistro on Harbord has a great back patio for the U of T lunch crowd. Nice canopy of trees. Rebel House’s patio is also a little gem.

  • Randy

    The Ceili Cottage is just awful! How about mentioning their witch of a manager, who keeps telling patrons to clear the pation? Or the overpriced, sub-standard food?

    Mentioning this place is Toronto Life’s equivalent of a mercy f@ck.

  • T Dot R

    I guess it’s impossible to name all the really great patios Toronto has to offer but I would like to add some to the list.

    Caren’s Wine Bar in Yorkville – great for a date out of the “scene”.

    Sutra on College St. cute sandy tiki bar patio in the back.

    Politica Resto Bar On Strachan north of King West great place for a patio dinner.

    The Foggy Dew has an awesome wraparound a street corner patio on King West

    Last but not least what about all great patios in the Distilleries?

    The list is truly endless! Enjoy!

    Rita

  • Helen Ledgerwood

    And out-of-towners love Hemingway’s!

  • jane tattersall

    Aaaahh..this the worst patio list in Toronto I have ever seen. I think the only one that would make my top ten is the Park Hyatt. Drake? Crevejaria? Spoke? Thompson Hotel rooftop? BLACK BULL? Terroni?

  • dino

    The Pour House Pub on Dupont St. in the Annex has a great 2 level patio under a great big maple tree. Worth checking out!

  • Tanya

    Burlington is gorgeous. Idiots.

  • Speed Demon

    I don’t recall anyone saying anything about the aesthetic of Burlington, just that by any measure it isn’t 20 minutes away. Besides the magazine is called Toronto Life, not “Great Suburban Wasteland Life”.

  • Eva

    Regardless of the burlington aesthetic or distance….the Toronto Life Number 1 restaurant wasnt even in Toronto; Stadlander could draw a crowd anywhere i guess!
    As for the restuarant in burlington sid was talking about, Spencer’s, out of this world. What a Beauty – couldnt find a better patio and menu is amazing! make the trip!

  • Kareen Agha

    @jane tattersall Spoke? Thompson Hotel rooftop? A little inclusive, are we?

  • Diva

    Indian Rice Factory ! Great Garden Patio.

  • Sarah

    As an Oakvillian, I have to defend Sid here. I actually ate at Spencer’s on Sunday night and it was pretty good. The atmosphere was fantastic. If you haven’t checked out the Burlington downtown lately it has really come into it’s own. Lots of great places in walking distance from each other. You can grab dinner at one place and walk to a variety of other places for drinks after. The path along the lake is great for a romantic stroll and there is a lot less noise in Burlington than in the city.

    Sarah

  • Keith

    I’m from Burlington. Spencer’s is terrible. Overpriced and trying way too hard. It’s a nice enough waterfront, I suppose. But why anyone would to go there when they live in Toronto is beyond me. Perhaps Sid works there or something.

  • A.R.

    Patios should be judged on their experience: their city views or quality of landscaping if it’s a backyard patio, their proportions in relation to the kind of establishment that they belong to, the available of awnings or umbrellas to protect from the scorching summer sun, the comfort and the quality of patio furniture, and the overall atmosphere and feeling of being there. Anyone can read restaurant reviews; if you’re going to focus the best patios, then you need to judge and write about the experience that these patios provide. It would be great to have more year-round patios, too.

  • Gilly

    The best patio I’ve been to in Toronto has to be at Against the Grain down at the Corus Quay building at the foot of Jarvis. Beautiful view of the lake, great wide patio…awesome. Food’s not bad either.

  • Shirley Hutchison

    mine too

  • Bri

    Not Toronto, but PORT in Pickering has THE best patio. amazing booze/cocktail selection and food on Frenchmans Bay. It feels like you’re in Vancouver. It’s truly a hidden gem.

 

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