Patio season is a beautiful thing in a city like Toronto. Even though it's fleeting, whenever nice weather manages to grace the skies, restaurants are ready and waiting with some surprisingly gorgeous spaces that can't wait to accommodate you.
And while we love a good cocktail as much as the next person (maybe more, actually), great food can be a huge part of the patio-going experience too — at the very least, as a way to kick off the night. Fortunately, that's not lacking in basically any corner of The 6ix.
We've come up with a list of some of the best spots in Toronto to eat outside, where you can enjoy a fantastic atmosphere and delectable food at the same time. Bon appetit!
Where: 577 College St. (Little Italy)
Why here: This little oasis of twinkle lights and wooden charm serves up solid dishes every time, including a great steak frites.
Price point: Mains $18 to $21
Where: 101 Portland St. (King West)
Why here: Tons of seating, spectacular pastas and pizzas and a skylight that is just reminiscent enough of the Louvre.
Price point: Pizzas $15 to $18; grilled dishes $17 to $35.50
Where: 1226 Bloor St. W. (Bloordale)
Why here: The Greek-inspired menu is a change from the usual bar fare — and their buck-a-shuck oysters every day from 5 to 7 p.m. are very patio friendly.
Price point: Tapas $4.50 to $16
Where: 18 Tank House Lane (Distillery District)
Why here: Besides the stellar decor that's carried through from the restaurant to their outdoor space, the Mexican fare is authentic and delicious every time.
Price point: Mains $14.95 to $48.95
Where: 158 Cumberland St. (Yorkville)
Why here: It calls itself a snack and cocktail bar, but in our experience, the Mediterranean dishes served up here are innovative and always satisfying as a meal.
Price point: Family-style plates $15 to $48
Where: 1000 College St. (Little Portugal)
Why here: You might expect excellent chicken and grilled meats from the "authentic" look of this place (and you'd be right), but you probably wouldn't expect to find this epic backyard patio just waiting for you and a half-dozen of your closest friends.
Price point: Mains $12 to $20
Where: 1163 Bloor St. W. (Bloordale)
Why here: With an ever-changing menu that nevertheless always has a mussels special (check their Twitter feed for the day's options), this place is a delight.
Price point: Mains $9 to $14
Where: 1150 Queen St. W. (West Queen West)
Why here: Classics don't go out of style. And the Sky Yard at this beauty still boasts a patio that is hella fun, and serves up everything from sushi to squid ink pasta.
Price point: Mains $19 to $32
Where: 97 Harbord St. (University of Toronto)
Why here: A salad sounds like a boring meal, but the way Flock does it — with ingredients you would never have on hand in your kitchen — makes it not only interesting, but inspiring too. Plus, you can always order yourself a fried chicken platter if you're feeling too virtuous.
Price point: Mains $12.50 to $20
Where: 127 Strachan Ave. (West Queen West)
Why here: It's a slider menu without comparison, with options like the Nashville hot chicken and waffle and the lean bean banh mi — and the live music is fantastic.
Price point: Sliders $4 to $6
Where: 1 First Canadian Place (Bay St.)
Why here: This rooftop patio is a bit glam, and the food is straight-up delicious. There is a lot to choose from as well, so people with any food restrictions at all should be happy here.
Price point: Mains $24 to $36
Where: 2A Kensington Ave. (Kensington Market)
Why here: The energy of the Market never fades, and this patio — along with its perfectly sized tostadas and mezcal drinks — is the perfect spot from which to watch it all.
Price point: Mains $6 to $11.50
Where: 106 Broadview Ave. (Leslieville)
Why here: This brand-new spot is already a hit with locals for its gorgeous space and light options for the rooftop patio, like a bay scallop ceviche or a foie gras parfait. Alright, maybe not so light.
Price point: Mains $12 to $20
Where: 35 Elm St. (Hospital District)
Why here: Anglophiles looking for a hit will find it with, say, a smoked pheasant and ham hock terrine, and the balcony-style patio is a lovely find downtown.
Price point: Mains $22 to $27
Where: 810 Queen St. E. (Riverside)
Why here: The Mediterranean fare at this Toronto standard (they now have four locations) is always of impeccable quality, and it suits their cozy backyard patio oh so well.
Price point: Mains $14 to $27
Where: 4150 Yonge St. (York Mills)
Why here: This garden patio is unsurpassed in prettiness, from both a food and atmosphere perspective. The stunning dishes taste as good as they look.
Price point: Mains $32 to $52
Where: 1301 Queen St. E. (Leslieville)
Why here: This homey, welcoming space was actually open year-round, thanks to a yurt (which is currently unavailable), but it's no wonder patrons flock here when the weather gets good — the sharing charcuterie boards, the oysters that come in fresh and the classic sides all make for a great meal.
Price point: Dishes $12 to $28
Where: 220 King St. W. (Bay St.)
Why here: In the middle of a lot of glass and concrete, this little hole of a patio is a rolicking good time, complete with tacos you'll rave about for days and guacamole you can eat as a meal.
Price point: Tacos starting at $4.50
Where: 1095 Yonge St. (Rosedale) — though the Queen St. and Adelaide St. locations both have great patios as well
Why here: Terroni might be the quintessential Toronto restaurant — one part amazing, authentic Italian food, another part total and complete rigidity (no, you can't take the onions out of the salad). But the patio at their Price St. location is truly a masterpiece.
Price point: Mains $16 to $25
Where: 1008 Queen St. E. (Leslieville)
Why here: The seafood-based menu is perfect for summertime, and the inventive touches, like the daily bread, take it up a notch.
Price point: Mains $15 to $29