Toronto patios are famous for the scenery around them. Whether it’s a rooftop skyline or a cafe garden, these patios offer scenic views where you’d least expect!
As Drake himself knows best, this city has capital-V “Views” by the thousands, and some of them are even album cover-worthy! With such a pretty city, there is no shortage of angles that make our city look so grand and beautiful. But while many flock to the downtown core to get that perfect CN Tower shot or to see and be seen, there are plenty of patio views out there that offer unexpected surprises, travels to new neighbourhoods, have scenes of their own and oodles of opportunity for unique patio-hopping!
So while we all make the most of patio season this summer, let’s be tourists in our own city. It’s time to think beyond the city centre for more patios that make us travel and appreciate a new piece of the city.
Saulter Street Brewery
Blink and you’ll miss the turn-off! The journey through the lush foliage of Saulter Street is part of the fun as you explore a new angle of the Riverside District. And as owner John Sterling said when describing his first time seeing the former barn he converted into the brewery, he had a feeling that “time slowed down. It felt like a little escape from the city, hidden within it.” You’ll certainly feel the same.
What to Order: There’s always something interesting on tap and in cans at Saulter! A recent visit gave us tastes of the all-season Riverside Copper Pilsner, the zingy SUBLIME: Belgian-Style Witbier, the fresh Whirs & Clanks: Japanese Style Lager, and I’m coming back to try the Watermelon Lemonade Sour asap!
Cafe Belong at Evergreen Brickworks
Within minutes of the city, be transported to a nature retreat! Evergreen Brickworks in the Don Valley is the perfect jumping-off point for a day spent in nature for all kinds of trails, and Cafe Belong is there to make you start your journey with a full stomach. The food ethos is to be nutritious, sourced locally and made from scratch whenever possible.
What to Order: A farm-fresh taste of Ontario! The charcuterie and cheese plates each feature fine ingredients from across the province and as well as house-made treats like sausage and bread. Dishes like the smoked trout cake with beet fennel slaw and green goddess dressing sound like the perfect summer fare.
Something for the Uptown girls, boys and all people! Stock Bar is a combination restaurant that offers wrap-around views of Yonge & Eglinton while you are delighted with treats from Cumbrae’s sustainable farms and Terroni acclaimed establishments.
What to Order: Terroni classics and/or go all out with something like a Cowboy Steak for the table from the Butcher section. With Terroni on deck, you can’t go wrong with a pizza or pasta like the Spaghetti Alla Norcina with black truffle and the Oaxaca cocktail with tequila, mezcal, hibiscus and lime is a perfect pink and smoky dream cocktail on the menu.
Rooster Coffee House
Those in Riverdale know where to get their caffeine fix, and this coffee house also comes with a bottle shop, plus one of the best CN Tower AND park views in the city! Open from 7:30 a.m. until 8 p.m., as one of the earliest cafés to open in the entire area, this is the perfect place to perch on their patio, where every seat faces towards the nature views of Riverdale Park.
What to Order: Your favourite coffee! Also, check out the shop inside for baked goods and local treats like the perfect cooldown with handmade ice pops from The Pop Stand. Cookies and cream is a don’t-miss flavour that would pair perfectly with a coffee.
While there’s no shortage of Greek food in Greektown, we’re calling out Mezes for their large yet cozy covered patio and notably incredible eats. With festivals like Taste of The Danforth and so many visitors to this 2.5-km stretch, this is a great spot to sit back, relax and watch the world go by. And now you can walk away with your favourite flavours like Greek olive oil and their signature dips from Mezes Food Co., a Greek Market of pantry items and gift baskets!
What to Order: A saganaki flaming cheese is always an excellent way to start off any meal with an Opa! Make sure you don’t miss the namesake Mezes dips, and you can try many at the same time with a Kria Pikilia platter. And for the main course, make sure you get a taste of that grill.
Patio at YSC
Not only can you order from 11 places and take in street art, but often there is live jazz, too! This is a perfect option for a group of different kinds of eaters, and there is something so unique about being out on this never-done-before collaboration patio at Yonge & St Clair Ave.
What to Order: Mediterranean, vegan, Indian and endless options! Start your day with a ”Be Smashed” special of avocado toast plus a side from Mary B Kitchen for breakfast, have some butter chicken and lamb vindaloo for lunch with vegetable samosas from Ambiyan On Yonge, and finish the night off with burrata and a baked whole branzino fish from Capocaccia Trattoria.
Gare De L’Est
This neighbourhood French Bistro has a fabulous corner patio and a surprisingly good view of the CN Tower and Toronto skyline from Dundas East. Also, they are direct neighbours to Crow’s Theatre, so maybe your post-dinner plans are taken care of?
What to Order: Hit all your French cravings with well-prepared classics like Soupe L’Onion Gratinee, steak tartare, and moules frites a.k.a mussels with hand-cut fries. Done right.
Enter Anthony Rose’s prime patio of his Dupont oasis that the restaurateur lovingly calls, “Camp.” Let the covered back patio (that somehow feels like you’re in a forest), colourful decor and the wafts of Middle Eastern food guide you to a good time, no matter what.
What to Order: Anything to dip those puffy pitas in! The Mezze platter will have you covered there, and the “Feasts” sections will include the meze dishes with additional main dishes. Don’t miss trying one of the monster hummus dishes with a topper like chicken shawarma or charred broccoli for vegetarians.
The Rooftop at The Broadview Hotel
With incomparable panoramic views of the city’s skyline from a Riverside perspective, this historic building now holds one of the city's best patios, the Rooftop at The Broadview Hotel. Drinks, great food, fun music with the wind in your hair—it’s a vibe. Period.
What to Order: With a focus on share plates, there’s much to try from a selection of baos to Yucca Fries or Yellowfin Tuna Tataki. For a larger appetite and family-style presentation, try the Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps and DOC Pepp Pork Carnitas Tacos for easy sharing.
The Distillery District—Distillery Hospitality
What could be more beautiful and historic than a romp around the Distillery District? All you have to do is take a seat at one of the physically distanced patio tables throughout the Distillery District (with a “Distillery District Patio” sticker), scan the QR code and then you can order, pay and tip, directly from your phone. You can even mix and match items from all five restaurants—Madina, Cluny, Pure Spirits, District Pizza and El Catrin.
What to Order: Choose your own adventure! Do you want Spanish tapas at Madrina or classic French fare at Cluny? Or sustainable seafood at Pure Spirits, fresh pizza from District pizza or Mexican bites from El Catrin. The choice is yours.
Want to explore more of the Distillery District? Check out this guide to patios in the Distillery District.