'Tis the Season: Toronto's Top Restaurants for Prime Outdoor Dining

We are much more forgiving of dining when it is in the great outdoors. The bread might not be as soft and doughy, your main might not be the precise temperature, but who cares? You are in those glorious few months when the sunshine is beating down on your skin, the ice is melting in your glass and...we're sorry, what were we saying?

Toronto is serious about its dedication to the patio. Foreigners may laugh, but as soon as it gets above 10 degrees Celsius, it is fair game to don board shorts and sit outside under an umbrella. You need only experience one brutal winter to understand: Torontonians earn their tan lines. Patio dining becomes a commendable sport.

If you are suddenly feeling athletic, we have the restaurants that are so hopeful for the warmer season, they are almost more patio than interior space. This includes the delightfully seafood-centric Rock Lobster and the romantic and ornately French Cluny in the Distillery. You can even grab a pizza on a tree-lined suburban street at F'Amelia.

There are times for winter jackets. There are times for hibernation. The summer is the time to meet your neighbours and to recognize the diverse 5-million-plus population in Toronto. See you outside!

Local and seasonal nachos? Well, Against The Grain tries to be as local and seasonal as they can be, and the pickings get even broader in the spring and summertime months. They work seasonally, resulting in salads and sandwiches that are as...  Read More

With all of the accents and umlauts in the restaurant name, you might expect Tabüle to be a little fussy. It does offer a chic vibe, but the attention to detail stays where it belongs: in the food. From a crunchy falafel salad to succulent...  Read More


This restaurant is on Amelia street, so it could not be more aptly named. However, the restaurant's amiability extends far beyond the entrance. Owners and waiters learn your name quickly and don't rush you through your Northern Italian dinner. ...  Read More

Omelette du jour. L'Hamburger. Even if you don't speak a lick of French, food sounds even more appetizing and sexy when it is French-ified. Colette Grand Cafe knows sexy food, with dishes so beautifully presented it would make anyone sign up for...  Read More

Amsterdam Brewhouse has a patio in Toronto that rivals the best. The brewhouse is an impressively large space with a waterfront view on all sides. The beer is what it is about for most patrons. There are amazing fresh and local picks, many of...  Read More

Drake Hotel Lounge
Photo courtesy of Connie Tsang

The Drake is not right in the centre of Toronto, but it sure feels like it is when you arrive. A hub for the fabulous, this revamped space manages to be edgy yet elegant. It offers everything from brunch to late night entertainment with world...  Read More

Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie
Photo courtesy of Cluney Bistro & Boulangerie

Cluny Bistro takes French food and makes it unfussy. You can have your caramelized onion soup and moules frites but you don't need to have a side of snobbery. Even so, the backdrop for your dining experience is absolutely stunning with high...  Read More

Is there anything more summery than a margarita and a giant bowl of guacamole? Well, there probably are lots of things, but for the purpose of this article let's pretend that is it (we do have a word count, after all). El Catrin is located in...  Read More


La Societe doesn't have an official dresscode, but coming from the Yorkville area of Toronto, people dress to impress. Although the patrons certainly have jobs, they seem be equally adept at holding a champagne glass. La Societe has a wine list...  Read More


Meet Courtney Sunday

Courtney Sunday has lived in England, Switzerland, Canada and the US, finding her way into the professions of freelance writing and yoga teaching in between travel opportunities. She learned...  More About Courtney

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