Open season: A look at some of the city’s best patios

Open season: A look at some of the city’s best patios

Springtime, and the living is easy (if you can get a table) (Photo by Giulio Nepi)

This past weekend proved that double-digit temperatures are all Torontonians need to get patio season going. We checked out some of the city’s most popular terraces to see what’s open so far in 2009, and how these places are celebrating the al fresco season.

Future Bakery
Despite last year’s spat over noise levels, this Annex hot spot continues to thrive. Traditionally packed with U of T students ignoring their textbooks, the street-level patio also hosts families, local characters and university grads of yore. Large plates of pub fare, cabbage rolls, mashed potatoes, salads and all-day breakfasts (mostly in the $4 to $10 range) should be shared in order to save room for Future’s famous cakes. Keep in mind that the patio has a wait staff, and inside has counter service. Patio open every day, 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. 483 Bloor St. W., 416-922-5875.

Drake Hotel
The hotel’s Sky Yard goes from hip to caliente with Cinco de Mayo celebrations starting April 30. Chef Anthony Rose will be creating a gastronomical fiesta with such items as chili- and lime-rubbed grilled steak and tres leches cake with mango. Margaritas (mango-ginger and watermelon are just two of the flavours) and a mariachi band (starting May 5) will provide their respective enchantments. Special menu runs April 30 to May 9. Patio open weekdays 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., weekends noon to 2 a.m. 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042,

A slight breeze is the perfect accompaniment to Ki’s sushi ($5–$15 à la carte, maki rolls $9–$14) and sunomono salads. Sit back in the lounge-style seats while watching the Bay Street hustle pass by. To keep up the Japanese theme, order a bottle of chilled sake ($21–$200) instead of a cocktail ($10–$14). Patio is open 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day. 181 Bay St., 416-308-5888,

Joy Bistro
The Leslieville institution offers three patios: one for diners that overlooks Jimmie Simpson Park, one for revellers that plays rock and pop, and one with an intimate vibe for romantic evenings. Brunch, lunch and dinner (most daytime mains are under $15; dinner mains are under $30) are served, and there is a daily prix fixe menu (lunch $19, dinner $25–$35) prepared by chef Bryan Burke. Local is the keyword here, with Ontario ingredients and Niagara wines dominating the French- and Italian-inspired menus. Patios are open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and Sundays, and 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturdays. 884 Queen St. E., 416-465-8855,

The Keating Channel Pub and Grill
This little-known pub at Cherry Street and Lake Shore Boulevard is anything but little. A 275-seat patio offers entrancing views of Lake Ontario and the city skyline, along with traditional pub fare, pastas and sandwiches. Special martinis and sweet house cocktails (all $6.40) help rowers, locals and film industry types ease into the evening. Until May 1, the patio is open Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and closed Sunday. Starting May 1, the patio is open 11:30 a.m. to midnight every day. 2 Villiers St., 416-572-0030,

• For our list of the city’s best patios, click here.