Photo Essay: The Best Patios in Toronto

Toronto Life

Summer is in full swing. If you are a Toronto city-dweller and condo owner, you are probably looking for a reason to stay outside and soak up the sun as much as you can. With so many restaurants in Toronto adding patios, you can do exactly that! And if you are not much of a patio hopper, but you're looking for the right one for your needs, we picked five different, but equally stunning patios for our all-summery photo essay. Which one do you like the best?

Barrio

Address: 884 Queen Street East
Website: barrioonqueen.com
Jamie's tip: Passion Fruit Margarita and any appetizer with nacho chips
 
Barrio
Barrio

Barrio is a playfully decorated Mexican restaurant in the heart of the city. If you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere and some spicy flavours, you will fall in love with this place.

Food at Barrio is not only good but aesthetically pleasing as well
Food at Barrio is not only good but aesthetically pleasing as well

If you had to choose just one patio to sit at this summer, go with Barrio. This Mexico inspired restaurant has an east-facing patio, that is situated away from busy traffic. Colourful Mexican-themed mural makes the patio a nice private part of the restaurant and a bar on the other side just calls you to order one of their famous margaritas or a shot of tequila, if you are feeling adventurous.

Barrio's patio with it's string lights
Barrio's patio with it's string lights
Traditional mexican beer has to be on tap
Traditional mexican beer has to be on tap
The patio is less busy during the day
The patio is less busy during the day

The menu consists mostly of dishes you may expect in a Mexican eatery. Their Antojitos - appetizers consist mainly from the cult favourite Guac and chips ($10), Chimichangas ($12), Taquitos ($8) or an assortment of soups or salad.

Barrio menu and their drinks
Barrio menu and their drinks

We opted for the grilled corn ($7) during our visit.

Grilled corn at Barrio
Grilled corn at Barrio

As the main course, they serve various tacos, tortas (sandwiches), burritos and bowls. If you are not a fan of carb-overeating you can opt for Diablo Shrimp ($22), served with rice and diablo sauce and chips, Pescado Asado ($26) - which is a whole fried seabass, or Arrechara ($23), steak with salsa ranchera and Mexican rice.

Nachos here are exceptional
Nachos here are exceptional
A bit of classic tacos can't hurt
A bit of classic tacos can't hurt
Torta anybody?
Torta anybody?

Although Barrio's drink menu includes many delicious treats, including favourite Spanish Sangria, what Barrio does best are their Margaritas. Dressed in various colours and with various flavours, served in very instagramable mason jars, it's exactly the summer treat you can't miss.

Margaritas at Barrio
Margaritas at Barrio
When in Barrio, go with Margarita
When in Barrio, go with Margarita
 

 Amsterdam BrewHouse

Address: 245 Queens Quay West
Website: amsterdambrewhouse.com
Jamie's tip: Lighter beer flights

Amsterdam Brewhouse
Amsterdam Brewhouse

Amsterdam Brewhouse is a craft beer restaurant serving Canada-made beer paired with the best pub-styled food. Their location right on the waterfront provides the best views with your meal you could have asked for.

This is a patio with the best views
This is a patio with the best views
One part is under a roof
One part is under a roof
Other parts are not covered at all
Other parts are not covered at all

Their patio (or patios, since Amsterdam has a two story patio) is overlooking Lake Ontario, so there's basically no bad seat in the house. Beware that they don't take reservations for the outside seating, so with patio tables, it's first- come, first-served. In summer and especially during weekend rushes, the waiting times are more than 45 minutes for the table, but once you are seated, it's really worth it.

Lake view on one side...
Lake view on one side...
...CN Tower on the other
...CN Tower on the other

They have non-pasteurized local beers on tap, of which Boneshaker seems to be a cult favourite by now. They also serve seasonal brews, so make sure to ask your server about them.

Beer and tacos are the perfect combination
Beer and tacos are the perfect combination
 Salmon Niçoise
Salmon Niçoise

If you can't decide which beer to try, perfectly combined beer flights with a selection of 4x 5oz beer servings might be for you. You can choose between lighter beers, more hoppier beers, stronger beers or go for a selection of various strengths and flavours.

Lighter beer flights
Lighter beer flights
Which combination will you choose?
Which combination will you choose?

When it comes to food, what you could expect from a brewery, you get here. They serve mostly popular bar food like Amsterdam pretzel ($7), Chicken wings ($14.5-$27), Tacos ($14) or Poutine ($8).

Will you go with Kokean Pulled Pork or 3 Speed Fish Tacos?
Will you go with Kokean Pulled Pork or 3 Speed Fish Tacos?
Tacos go great with lighter beer
Tacos go great with lighter beer

For mains, you can opt for salads, burgers, sandwiches, smoked meat specialities or even pizza. Their menu is long and full of surprises.

The scenic view is insane
The scenic view is insane
The food looks delicious
The food looks delicious
 

Drake's Sky Yard

Address: 1150 Queen Street West
Website: thedrakehotel.ca
Jamie's tip: The Maharajah cocktail ($14)

drake-3988The Drake Hotel

Sky Yard is a very trendy roof patio in Drake Hotel. Drake hotel is established like on of the places to go for club-like vibe even if you just want some lunch and a sip of a delicious drink.

Bit of luxury on week day is no problem here
Bit of luxury on week day is no problem here
Fancy a drink? Bar is right there on the rooftop
Fancy a drink? Bar is right there on the rooftop
You will love the Sky Yard's decor
You will love the Sky Yard's decor

Their Sky Yard patio is the it place to go on Saturday night. The patio itself is privately covered from onlookers from the street, without losing its views of the city, but is also often very crowded with drink-slurping groups.

Perfect spot for some fun
Perfect spot for some fun 
Empty chairs are hard to come by at Sky Yard
Empty chairs are hard to come by at Sky Yard 
But if you do get a spot, the wooden benches are really comfortable
But if you do get a spot, the wooden benches are really comfortable 

The decor alone is a reason to visit. White comfy booth-like benches and subtle but colourful touches here and there make this patio one of the most photo-worthy in the city.

The decor alone is a reason to visit
The decor alone is a reason to visit
Colorful and playful, yet tasteful
Colorful and playful, yet tasteful

As for the menu, Sky Yard has every meal you'd want to enjoy out on a sunny afternoon. From fresh apetizers ranging from $6 to $19, through plates meant for sharing ($8-$39), sushi ($11-$100) and other more traditionally served dishes.

There's almost everything on the menu
There's almost everything on the menu
The food is really good
The food is really good
So many pretty colors
So many pretty colors 

Most groups go to Drake's hotel for it's club-like atmosphere and drinks, that range between $14 and $16. Of course, you can pop-in early for brunch and try anything from their special brunch menu.

You come for drinks and stay for food
You come for drinks and stay for food
The Maharajah coctail is really good
The Maharajah cocktail is really good 
Better make a reservation beforehand if you want to dine here
Better make a reservation beforehand if you want to dine here
 

The Beet

Address: 2968 Dundas Street West
Website: thebeet.ca
Jamie's tip: Tempeh Tacos ($9)

The Beet
The Beet

The Beet took over their neighbourhood restaurant Passenger and merged these two into bigger space with a good old-fashioned street patio you were looking for.

The Beet and Passenger now share a space
The Beet and Passenger now share a space 
There's a lot of summery drinks on the menu
There's a lot of summery drinks on the menu

Taking a fair share of the sidewalk, separated from street walkers only by iron fence enclosement, this patio makes a perfect spot for some people watching.

Good old-fashioned city patio
Good old-fashioned city patio
Perfect for people watching
Perfect for people watching

As for the food, the Beet really makes the difference. Their dishes contain only certified organic ingredients and local or Fair Trade items. They pride themselves in being a socially responsible business, using eco-friendly packaging and reclaimed materials.

Everything here is organic, local or fair-trade
Everything here is organic, local or fair-trade
Even the decor is eco-friendly
Even the decor is eco-friendly 

If you want to try a bit of healthier eating this summer and still enjoy a good city patio, visit Beet. They serve All Day Breakfast (ranged from $6 to $16), Appetizers ($6-$9), Salads ($12-$14) and Wraps ($13 or $14).

Berry Smoothie and Tacos
Berry Smoothie and Tacos
They grown their own herbs right on the spot
They grown their own herbs right on the spot

For those really hungry they'll prepare various Bowls, Burgers or Sandwiches. If you really want to taste what Beets is all about, try their house special Loaded Avocado Combo ($15). It contains avocado stuffed with brown coconut, Thai rice and veggies with spicy peanut sauce and sprouts. It's served with salad, toast with house pesto and daily soup as a bonus. Other than that, most main menu items range from $13 to $15, with only Norwich Farm Chuck Burger priced at $18, so this restaurant will not make that much of a dent in your wallet.

Tempeh Tacos are delicious here
Tempeh Tacos are delicious here

Despite being eco-friendly and organic, they didn't forget about the most important people - kids. They have all-separate kid-menu items including some finger food, nibble plates or even some baby food. Kid menu will cost you from $2 for the pureed fruit and vegetables to $8.

Perfect summer treat
Perfect summer treat 

The Rectory Café

Address: 102 Lakeshore Ave
Website: therectorycafe.com
Jamie's tip: Grilled Cajun Calamari ($15)

The Rectory Café
The Rectory Café 

The Rectory Cafe is a small, scenic restaurant inside a history building on Wards Island. The building itself is a remnant from times the Toronto Islands were used as vacation homes for wealthy families looking to escape the city for the summer, but not too far away.

Welcome to The Rectory
Welcome to The Rectory
Wards Island is a short ferry ride away
Wards Island is a short ferry ride away

This two-story stucco residence from 1948 is one of the only two houses that survived when the city decided to demolish the houses after Second World War due to flooding problems. Now the building became part of the Land Trust, and now contains offices and community meeting rooms as well as The Rectory Café and Island Art Gallery.

Rectory has a long and interesting history and they make really refreshing drinks
Rectory has a long and interesting history and they make really refreshing drinks

Their patio is situated in a wide would-be garden of the house, with a surprising number of tables available. It's shaded by nearby trees and grants stunning views into surrounding nature and nearby lakeshore.

Everybody will find a table
Everybody will find a table
Their patio is right in the heart of nature
Their patio is right in the heart of nature

Menu is fish and sea-food centered, with various starters ($7-$22), assortment of Sandwiches (around $15) and Entrees ranging from $14 for French Omelette with white sharp cheddar, toasted multigrain bread + mixed greens, climbing as high as $35 for Wellington County Striploin served with daily vegetables, garlic mashed potatoes topped with a smoked blue cheese & walnut cream.

The menu is fish-centered
The menu is fish-centered
Orange Miso Salmon
Orange Miso Salmon

The star of our visit were the Grilled Cajun Calamari ($15). With the perfect balance of anchovy parsley sauce and served with jicama slaw, they were a show-stopper.

Grilled Cajun Calamari
Grilled Cajun Calamari
Perfect blend of sea food with some parsley sauce
Perfect blend of sea food with some parsley sauce
Note for the season: Since the Toronto Islands are closed to the public due to flooding, there are restricted rules for the ferry. If you want to eat at The Rectory, please ask the ticket seller at the ferry terminal in order to be allowed on the ferry.
It was worth the trip
It was worth the trip

MEET THE PHOTOGRAPHER:  Vivian Lynch

 
 
Vivian Lynch 
Vivian is a photographer, surfer, travel junkie, and fungi enthusiast living in Toronto and capturing life in all its many forms. After living abroad and graduating in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Toronto, she decided to combine her love of the natural world and appreciation of culture with her life-long passion for photography. On her days off you can find Vivian hiking with her dogs, and during the night, she's shooting live music in dark clubs. Find out more at vivianlynch.com

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