Backyard hideaways, rooftop lounges, a 2,000-square-foot all-season terrace, and more of Toronto’s best new patios

Backyard hideaways, rooftop lounges, a 2,000-square-foot all-season terrace, and more of Toronto’s best new patios

More Summer Fun

The weather is warm, the days are long and patio season is officially upon us: welcome to another hot, sweaty Toronto summer. Which means it’s also time to welcome a new crop of outdoor spaces in which we can while away sunny (or, in some cases, rainy) days.

This year’s entrants include colossal King Street terraces, sweet backyard nooks and CaféTO streeteries commanding charming pop-up patios in parking spots and sprawling sidewalks. You can now slug back boozy slushies in the old Cold Tea space or people-watch on College while filling your glass with lo-fi Spanish sippers.

While opening a new restaurant space is never an easy feat, navigating staff shortages, commercial rents and CaféTO’s red tape has made it particularly tough to open a patio this year. So, here’s an incomplete list of the best new outdoor spaces. Stay tuned as we add to it throughout the summer.

Related: “There’s a lot of red tape”: Restaurateur Roger Yang on the frustration over CaféTO delays

Photo courtesy of Parquet
Parquet

There are few better date spots in the city than Parquet—snuggle up at the bar, order a glass of natural wine or a well-made martini, and impress your paramour with the correct pronunciation of words like beignets and cassoulet. Adding to the appeal is a spacious patio. It’s ideal for indulgent dinners, though the move is to camp out here during a weekend Apéro Hour— between 2 and 5 p.m.—for sweet deals on local cheeses, wines and collaborative beers from Sonnen Hill.

Photo by Daniel Neuhaus

Paradise Grapevine Geary

Late last year, Bloorcourt’s beloved wine haven opened a second location on Geary Avenue, home to not only a few bars but a winemaking warehouse. A spacious patio offers a sunny space to grab a glass, a bottle, a big plate of rotisserie chicken, or whatever else a summer Friday calls for.

Photo by Ryan Nangreaves
Sunnys Chinese

Cold Tea’s most excellent Kensington Market patio lives on—thanks to the Sunnys Chinese team—as a laid-back place to slurp dan dan noodles and sip thirst-quenching drinks. (Four words: strawberry-hawthorn daiquiri slushies.) It’s walk-in only, so veer down the alley next time you need a reprieve from Pedestrian Sunday.

 

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Evangeline

Crowning the new Ace Hotel and crammed silly with good skyline city views is Evangeline, Patrick Kriss’s all-season rooftop bar. Its bright, boozy punch and vodka-melon liqueur spritzes will carry us through the summer. When the late August chill sets in, large fireplaces bookend the room and high-octane nightcaps take over the menu.

Photo by Daniel Neuhaus

Casa Paco

While Casa Paco’s Clinton Street dining room is undoubtedly cozy, in the summer months the Spanish-leaning spot swings open the street-facing garage doors to allow the dining area to bleed into the front yard. Expect an indoor-outdoor space for eating paella and gildas as the Iberians intended—under a hazy-hot sun with sangria in hand.

Prime Seafood Palace

Last year, Matty Matheson’s temple to very nice food quietly set up some courtyard tables to bring its stellar seafood, steak and exacting expressions of Ontario vegetables outdoors. This year, its patio is erupting in full force, adding a sunnier space for the gourmet set to experience Prime Seafood Palace’s surf, turf and everything in between. For now, there are dining tables and lounge chairs, with a shade-providing canopy to come later this summer.

 

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Florette

This Queen West kitchen serves up creative, French-ish dishes (bone marrow topped with beef chili and served with tortilla chips, and chicken croquettes with marinara) from the former Nuit Social space. The crew also inherited the adorable back patio: a wood-lined space lit up with fairy lights when dusk hits.

Photo courtesy of Black and Blue Steakhouse

Black and Blue Steakhouse

Behemoth Vancouver transplant Black and Blue offers 2,000 square feet of patio space—complete with a verdant green canopy and a retractable roof—overlooking the Financial District. The menu includes a full raw bar, tableside steak tartare and an expansive menu of steaks, including a beef wellington for two. But let’s be honest, we’re here to people-watch.

The Daughter

An evening at this Davisville wine bar is a bit of a choose-your-own adventure. Grab a bottle and a full, tapas-like dinner, or stay low-commitment with by-the-glass options and snacks. There are conservas for the pescetarians, tartare and mortadella sandos for the meat eaters, and challah grilled cheese for the young and young at heart.

 

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Offworld Bar

Stepping onto the second-floor terrace at Offworld may break the illusion the extraterrestrial-themed cocktail bar offers, but the sunny perch overlooking Queen West is still a scenic spot for out-of-this-world drinks. Expect dry ice used in abundance and drinks with names like So Long and Thanks for All the Fish and, um, Alien Secretion (which is thankfully just a neon-green wine spritzer).