It’s been an especially long winter and spring, making it all the more important to take full advantage of summer and get outdoors. That includes at restaurants, which have taken to the streets with bigger and better patios, new safety precautions, and the same, great food — sans having to do the dishes.
Read on to book a reservation at some of the top restaurants for outdoor dining in Toronto.
For guides to the best outdoor dining in cities around the United States, head here.
For modern Mediterranean: Bar Reyna
Set in a Victorian townhouse in Yorkville, Bar Reyna’s patio oozes charm. Upturned umbrellas, foliage, and string lights line the ceiling, while brick and wood walls add warmth. The Mediterranean menu includes creative modern fare such as lamb baklava, a falafel burger, falafel panzanella salad, and halloumi souvlaki.
For meat lovers: BlueBlood Steakhouse
Majestic castle-style Casa Loma, a landmarked home and gardens, is the backdrop at BlueBlood Steakhouse, where dining outside means being surrounded by stunning landscaping, historic architecture, and art from the likes of Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí. BlueBlood’s menu includes standard upscale steakhouse fare, from seafood towers and fish entrees to dry-aged beef and plenty of sides.
For a waterside escape: Cabana Waterfront Patio
Fifty-thousand square feet overlook Lake Ontario and Toronto’s skyline at Cabana Waterfront Patio, a restaurant with a something-for-everyone menu that includes salads, sandwiches and burgers, sushi, and pizza. The raucous atmosphere runs from Sunday brunch and movie viewings to barbecue and lobster nights.
For a fun hang with friends: El Catrin
The sprawling, industrial, colorful patio at El Catrin in the Distillery District makes this Mexican restaurant one of the city’s most fun for outdoor dining. Beyond Mexican favourites such as tacos, table guacamole, and a huge tequila and mezcal selection, find fire pits, tons of plants, and funky mixed furniture for a patio experience that’s one of a kind.
For a raw fish feast: Jabistro
Jabistro specializes in pristine fish, from pressed and torched blocks of sushi, or oshizushi, to omakase with nigiri and sashimi. Out back, a wood-paneled patio with string lights offers a serene setting. Don’t skip the famed lobster platter, replete with sweet lobster sashimi.
For a casual meet-up: King Rustic
An impressive range of comfort food — perogies and meatballs to burgers and fried chicken — is on the menu at neighbourhood go-to King Rustic in King West Village. Casual seating out front, as well as on a patio with Victorian rugs and flowers, matches the menu. Walk-ins only.
For a charming French bistro in an alley: Lapinou
No alleyway has ever been more charming than the one at Lapinou, with its string lights, lanterns, and wrought iron, padded seating. The French neobistro — a term for trendy, modern Parisian wine bars — has reached Toronto here, where the menu pulls in global influences in dishes such as strip loin with grilled turnip, XO sauce, and sesame and zucchini with Carolina gold rice, yogurt, za’atar, and fresh herbs.
For a celebrity chef’s signature flair: Lee
Celebrity chef Susur Lee leads the kitchen at Lee, an award-winning Chinese-French restaurant on King Street West. This is Lee’s flagship, with a menu that showcases Chinese flavors with French technique in dishes such as double-smoked bacon bao, Asian-braised beef with horseradish sour cream, and char siu duck breast with duck confit roll. Sidewalk seating now stretches onto the street, decorated with lush foliage, an awning, and wrought iron fence.
For the flavors of Peru: Mira
Mira’s dreamy patio in King West is dripping in flowers, with comfortable couch seating for an array of Peruvian flavors. The menu uses ingredients straight from Peru in dishes such as fluke ceviche with sweet potato and tiger’s milk and whole branzino with aji amarillo coconut sauce and fried brussel sprouts.
For a beer and a view: Steam Whistle Biergarten
If it weren’t for the up-close view of a Toronto landmark, you’d think you were in Munich at Steam Whistle Biergarten. The German-style beer hall at the base of the CN Tower serves up traditional German fare — think pretzels and schnitzel — alongside its own beer. Outdoor seating has an expansive view of the skyline beyond the string lights and umbrellas for shade.
For Korean comfort: Té
Té blends traditional Korean fare with Canadian comfort foods in modern dishes not seen anywhere else. Pizza tteokbokki (Korean rice dough balls with sweet chile tomato sauce and oven-baked mozzarella), toasted kimchi ravioli with honey wasabi pesto, and soy-braised braised brisket poutine are just some of the creative offerings. The petite backyard patio is surrounded by trees and lit by string lights for a homey feel.
For chic Italian vibes: Terroni Summerhill
See and be seen at Terroni’s Miami-like Summerhill patio. All-white furniture with blue accents, string lights, and skyline views make for a chic place to dine on Italian classics such as pizza, pasta, and panini.
For a fine dining treat: The Chase
Fine dining is at its best on The Chase’s stunning rooftop setting. Tucked in between soaring Financial District skyscrapers, The Chase’s indoor-outdoor bar and seating is the place to celebrate special occasions with refined French-Italian plates such as carpaccio with confit porcini, dehydrated strawberry, fried pumpernickel, and spruce vinaigrette.