Morning, noon, and night — the three patios to visit in Yorkville.
In the trendy neighbourhood of Yorkville, people-watching is an Olympic sport. No matter whether this is where you work or play, attitude and style are always hand in hand with the endless parade of beautiful people who populate this district.
Between Bloor Street, Bay Street, Yorkville Avenue, and Avenue Road, the powerful, the pretty, and the popular are making their way to a patio — so which do they choose? It depends on the time of day.
AM – Lettieri Espresso Bar & Café
It's first come, first served at this Italian-style corner coffee hot spot, a favourite of the neighbourhood since the 1990s. This Toronto-based café chain first took up residence in the nearby Hazelton Lanes Shopping Centre before arriving at the northeast corner of Bellair and Cumberland.
With a patio that wraps around the corner on both streets, diners get perfect views for people-watching — from morning commuters stopping to pick up breakfast to mid-morning caffeine addicts picking up a quick jolt of their favourite brew. Fresh-from-the-oven pastries are on offer every morning, and it's no surprise to see well-dressed patrons ordering their morning cup of java with house-made biscotti ($3.00) or tasty panini ($10.00+).
Contemporary-styled black metal tables and chairs give this patio a European feel, and there's always a few people sitting on the stools inside the floor-to-ceiling windows, hoping to snag a coveted patio spot outside. Lettieri's patio offers the perfect perch for a quick coffee meeting, a place to meet a friend before a day of shopping, or a quiet spot to read the morning news. For a guaranteed spot, come after 9:30 am to avoid the morning rush.
Recommended morning indulgences from regulars include the mocaccino, frozen yogurt, house-made smoothies, and a wide selection of loose leaf teas, all priced between $3.00 and $6.00.
According to Anna, who likes to come here on weekends after her workout,
You go to Lettieri to people-watch. Perched on the corner of Cumberland and Bellair, the patio... [is] prime real estate for thoroughly judging all the Yorkville hotties.
Lauren, who appreciates the neighbourhood's shopping options and likes to stop here to refuel, adds,
You really only go here for the patio. It's a top-notch people-watching spot and deserves three stars alone for that.
Noon – Hemingway's
The office crowd, the shopping crowd, the "let's hang with our friends" crowd — everyone in this tiny neighbourhood knows if they want to have fun in a laid-back atmosphere, Hemingway's is the place to find a seat on the patio. But don't worry about the weather — which patio to choose? This lively sports pub offers three patios, all offering unique views and plenty of space — whether it's for date night or a large group meeting for a night on the town.
Those who want to see what's going along Cumberland Street will prefer the street level and front second storey patio to gaze at the bag-laden shoppers and the film-obsessed heading into the nearby movie theatre. Those who want to watch the game and be in the "backyard" can head to the popular second and third storey patios with views of the neighbourhood rooftops. Just be sure to arrive on the early side for lunch hour or plan a late lunch after 2 pm if you haven't made a reservation.
Water misters provide a cooling effect in summer, while heaters extend the outdoor patio season — and a bonus for the tech-obsessed, complementary WiFi. While diners indulge in inventive salads, tasty sandwiches, and choosing pint glasses from over 20 options of local and international brews, there's a friendly energy here, probably a result of the Kiwi hospitality that comes from this pub's owner.
Recommended lunch indulgences from regulars include the Out of Bounds chicken salad ($13.99), grilled chicken with brie and apple sandwich ($12.19), and a pub fave, the hearty Kiwi lamb burger ($13.99). Lunch for two plus drinks ranges from $35.00 to $40.00.
As AJ explained, visiting the big city for the weekend,
I loved this place. The rooftop patio was excellent... The servers are awesome and very friendly. This is the perfect spot to hang out with friends. It's not too expensive, which is great, since it's Yorkville.
PM – One Restaurant at The Hazelton Hotel
This elegant boutique hotel of the neighbourhood partnered with the award-winning McEwan Group to open One Restaurant, which was designed by local powerhouse design firm Yabu Pushelburg. Launched by Chef Mark Ewan and now helmed by Chef de Cuisine Matt Beasley, this contemporary restaurant occupies a chunk of the prime patio real estate at the corner of Yorkville Avenue and Hazelton Avenue.
Diners will be sporting their fashionable sunglasses (even though they're happily dining beneath massive shade umbrellas) so they can discreetly gaze at whom else is on this popular patio, thanks to its notoriety as the destination for the neighbourhood's A-list celebrity visitors. Stylish patrons know to make a reservation in advance, so they can easily pick the perfect spot on this tree-lined patio to watch the evening sidewalk traffic of the fit and fashionable coming from the nearby trendy boutiques and contemporary art galleries, in between indulgences of McEwan's trademark Italian-inspired haute cuisine.
Recommended dinner options include the eggplant arrabiata ($19.00), organic beef carpaccio ($18.00), and linguine in white wine butter sauce with blue crab and black tiger shrimp ($32.00) or the miniature One version of McEwan's well-known burger ($28.00). Dinner for two ranges from $125 to $150.00. As Tina, who occasionally comes to Yorkville to meet friends and check out the street styles, mentioned,
It's a good place to people-watch.
Andrew, who works in the neighbourhood, explained,
You would be very hard-pressed to find a location that can match and come closeto the corner of Hazelton and Yorkville. It's a corner known by many in and out of the country as the place to park your Ferrari, Lamborghini, or Rolls [Royce]. One creates... a nice setting for any occasion. There's money in the air and everyone is dressed to the nines.
For those looking for the perfect patio in Yorkville, it's all about timing. And with these three patios, the choice is already made.