Food personalities Philip Lago and Mystique Mattai of Chef Sous Chef share their favourite summer patios in the city
Earn more Membership Rewards points using The Platinum Card from American Express on all eligible purchases
It’s easy to be a food-lover in the city. Besides the many markets boasting local produce, vendors hawking artisan goods and festivals celebrating Toronto’s diverse culinary scene, there are excellent restaurants scattered across the GTA—and even more to choose from in the summer months, when patio season is in full swing.
For Philip Lago and Mystique Mattai, the co-creators of Chef Sous Chef, cooking and eating together is an opportunity to connect as a couple. The husband-and-wife team believe in taking a mindful approach at mealtime, including being more conscious of where their food comes from. Every meal is an experience that they share on their blog, Instagram and cookbook, Eat with Us. It’s also an approach they take when dining out.
The couple eat out a handful of times per month, mainly on special occasions or when they need a break from creating content. Sometimes, it’s research for projects that involve a particular ingredient or cuisine.
“During the height of the pandemic, we wanted to support local restaurants,” said Mattai, the voice and stylist behind the blog. “We would order in and take inspiration from the dishes to create new concepts like [karaage chicken on green onion waffles or a shepherd’s pie injected with West Indian spice].”
To complement their lifestyle, the duo rely on The Platinum Card from American Express.
“We’ve been Amex Cardmembers for more than a decade,” said Lago, the team’s recipe developer. “We always earn points in the dining and travel categories because that’s what we primarily use it for. It’s great we’re able to redeem points for big excursions like our honeymoon or other trips.”
And, from now until September 20, 2022, new Platinum Cardmembers can increase their reward earning potential with accelerated earn rates and welcome offers. Platinum Cardmembers, like Lago and Mattai, can earn up to 90,000 Membership Rewards points after charging $6,000 in net purchases to their Card in the first three months.
There’s also the opportunity to earn 10X the Membership Rewards points – up to 20,000 points – on all eligible eats and drinks purchases for the first 3 months of Cardmembership, amounting up to $200 towards dinner out with friends at your favourite patio.
Although they’ve recently moved to Newmarket from Toronto’s Queen West strip, the family of almost-four still head downtown to visit their favourite patio stops.
“We’re happy to visit patios,” shares Lago. “It’s nice to be comfortable, to feel safe with some normalcy again. We’re very experiential; if we have an amazing experience, we’re always going to come back, because that’s why we’re eating out. It’s nice to get out, try new things, be outside on patios and experience dining out with [our two-year-old daughter] Lennox.”
“Plus, I’m happy to not do the dishes,” chuckles Lago.
Looking for your next favourite summer patio before the season ends? These are the couple’s favourites.
“DaiLo is a great place to people-watch,” the couple shares. “But what we love about this restaurant is their ability to make every dish an experience with the help of maître-d’ Trevor. As Trevor says: ‘You could be dining next to another table and have a completely different experience, as each dish is personalized to your preferences.’ It’s a fairytale menu that can only get better enjoyed outdoors on their patio while sipping a spicy Tom Yum-inspired cocktail.”
Must-order: Smokey Pea Dumpling
“What looks like a refined pasta dish is actually a delicate dumpling in a mouth-watering dashi stock — a humble, yet completely mesmerizing dish.”
“La Palma hits the mark on ambiance, food, and service,” said Mattai. “Their staff is amazing. The chefs are amazing. The restaurant has an open kitchen, which also adds to that experience. We go to La Palma on every anniversary. It’s a special place to us.”
Must-order: 100-layer lasagna
“It’s amazing. It’s one of those dishes you try to recreate at home, but then you’re like, ‘that’s going to take too long.’”
“La Spesa is a local gem,” said Lago. “It’s that little place next door that feels like home and has all your favourite ingredients. Inspired by European customs, their patio is exactly what you’d expect from your local coffee shop meets cheese shop meets deli meets lunch shop. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a quiet moment, where everyone knows your name.”
Must-order: The sandwiches
“Mystique is a sucker for a well-architected sandwich, and La Spesa delivers with all the special details — hello, truffle mayo! Whether it’s their savoury breakfast sandwich on a croissant or a lunchtime sandwich on a bun stuffed with porchetta or turkey, their sandwiches are a must.”
To learn more about The Platinum Card and how you can take advantage of their exciting limited-time offers while patio season is still going strong, visit here.