The Best Backyard Patios in Toronto
The best backyard patios in Toronto will keep you out of sight of the lineups of hostile would-be diners waiting for a spot inside. It's no secret that they're fantasizing about reaching over and snatching that plate of eggs benny right out from under your nose - but backyard patios give a semblance of privacy.
Here, in no particular order, are the best backyard patios in Toronto.
Fonda Lola's patio feels just like my mom's backyard. Ample shrub creatures cozy up to its edges, and the tables are intimate and well-designed. On the menu, you'll find traditional Mexican cuisine, and cocktails sweetened with maple sugar. A small plate of ceviche, a margarita or two, and a book can make for a #blessedly happy afternoon on the Fonda Lola patio.
The Cadillac Lounge
The Cadillac, in my humble opinion, is a Parkdale mainstay for getting trashily raucous and enjoying some live music (which may not always be that good, but is always highly entertaining in some way). Its back patio is huge, with lots of seating, an outdoor bar and a bit of a tree canopy. Don't come for the food, but stay for the beer and the patio.
Bairrada Churrasqueira (College St.)
The College St. location of Bairrada Churrasqueira, at Dovercourt, has a massive back patio with tons of seating. In the summer, they grill food right on the patio, with an all-day pig roast on Wednesdays (you know, if that's your thing). While the beer list isn't much, the wine list is decent, and the food is a proudly Portuguese experience.
Rock Lobster (Queen West)
More than half of Rock Lobster's seating is outside on its back patio. Pretend you're in the Maritimes, or some other lovely seaside locale, as you chow down on lobster rolls and poutine away from the eyes of passersby. The majority of the fish on offer is shipped in straight from the east coast, and the cocktails are pretty desirable, too (I highly recommend the caesar).
Allen's pub and restaurant on the Danforth will satisfy any and all pub food hankerings, I do believe. Their burgers, chicken wings and steaks are all noteworthy, and since food always tastes better outside...yeah, you get the picture. Add to that their long-ass beer list, and virtually nothing is missing from your life. To minimize the annoyances of Toronto's typical gargantuan patio line, their patio is huge, with booths and little tables dotted throughout.
Betty's, at King and Sherbourne, is a classic George Brown haunt. The place is a true dive, with a menu featuring dishes like poutine, nachos and veggie curry. Its patio is delightful, with colourful lanterns hung overhead and rustic wood tables, and Canadian summer (aka July) can be maximized with a list of 40-plus bottles and about 30 regular beers on tap.
Stout Irish Pub
Stout Irish Pub in Cabbagetown has a cozier backyard patio than some on this list, but the microbrews make up for it. On tap, you'll find Cameron's, Canuck Pale Ale and Wellington, accompanied by a variety of pub staples from the kitchen. The picnic tables in the back are all umbrella-shaded, which makes a rainy-day patio session totally plausible, too.
The back patio at The Caledonian feels like it might easily be home to a troupe of Celtic faeries. Slim trees are rooted there, giving it a forest clearing feel, and there's something romantic about the spindly wrought-iron furniture. In short, this College and Ossington spot is an enchanted place to enjoy one of their 200 or so varieties of scotchy-scotch-scotch.
Terroni (Queen West)
The city's first Terroni, located just east of Bellwoods, also happens to feature a wonderful, airy back patio. There's ample seating to suit a typical Terroni lineup, and giant umbrellas keep it shady and comfortable. Enjoying a Terroni wood-fired pizza outdoors in the sunshine is, as far as I'm concerned, one of Toronto's great pleasures.
3 Speed, at Bloor and Dufferin, is one of my favourite bars in the city. In the summer, its patio makes it even more dive-tacular. There's a wood stove, fairy lights, long communal tables and quiet cozy corners to make out in. Couple this with a simple glass of Jameson or a pint alongside a small cheese board, and you're in for a distinctly unpretentious time and some top-notch conversation. It would also be a great place to set the scene of a novel.
Greenwood Smokehouse BBQ
For 12 years before opening Greenwood Smokehouse BBQ, owner Warren DeSimone's favourite hobby was smoking meat. It shows on his menu: ribs, pulled pork sandwiches and burgers dominate. Their backyard patio has a retro feel, with red umbrellas and picnic tables, old-school Christmas bulbs, and a lattice fence with lush plants peeking over. (Pro tip: This is a good spot to bring your boyfriend when he's mad at you.)
Ursa's patio is bright and simply-designed (think the starkness of Ikea furniture, but up the quality into something reasonable). What makes it one of the best in Toronto is the food at Ursa, which can be defined as beautiful plates of art that make the tastebuds wonder what their lives could possibly been about prior to this.
Yes, yes. Cold Tea used to be secret, and is now, well, not so much. But it can be a fun place to party, and the music is usually reliably good. The patio has long communal tables stretched along its length, and lights strung up overhead. It's ideal for meeting up with big groups of friends and enjoying copious amounts of creative cocktails (invented by Matt LaRochelle).
The Keg (Financial District)
If you're the type who finds jokes about "meatatarians" funny, you'll love the Keg. The Financial District location's decor is a step up from some of the chain's other outposts, and its outdoor patio at York and Richmond features comfy plush chairs and ample seating. Come for the steaks, stay for the stock tips.
Aft Kitchen & Bar
This Riverside patio is a go-to for BBQ in the east end. You'll find artfully constructed wings and ribs - all the better for enjoying on Aft's dreamy patio, which is encased in a low fence with trees peeking over, and accented by a red brick wall. You'll find lovely mood lighting at night, so as to make your carnivorous chowing a wee bit romantic, perhaps? Top it off with a pint and you're set.
Did we miss your favourite? Leave your favourite backyard patio in the comments.