Toronto Patio Guide: Little Italy
It shouldn't be too hard to spot a patio in Little Italy. From Bathurst to Ossington and beyond, the cafes, restaurants and bars on this stretch know how to mint money during summer time (or international soccer tournaments). A little fried calamari, some pizza and big pints of beer are more than enough to pack in the crowds for afternoon fun in the sun, late night noshing or cheering on the Azzurri.
Here's a list of 10 of the best patios in Little Italy.
It all starts at the Dip. Occupying a prime corner spot at College and Clinton, this casual Italian eatery is so famous for its patio that line-ups here are all but guaranteed. Don't expect to see Amanda Seyfried or Julianne Moore hanging out here (that only happens in the movies) but this is as close to the epicenter of Little Italy action as you're gonna get.
The army of picnic tables here reminds me of my youth and the kitchen makes sure the ambiance doesn't go to waste. As we've written before, kicking back at this backyard spot with a cold Sagres and an expertly charred half chicken platter is like taking a trip to sunny Lisbon but skipping the 10-hour flight.
Known for its pizza and excellent Sangria, Vivoli won the lottery when it comes to patio space. There's both a rooftop and a street-side patio and soccer fans are a little less boisterous here making this spot suitable for a less frenzied night or afternoon on the town.
Mitzi's on College
It's not the kind of place you'd go to watch the game or play a round of quarters, but this new-to-College brunch spot feels a bit more serene due to its west of Ossington location. For pancakes in the great outdoors this is Little Italy's best bet.
The lively back patio at this neighbourhood favourite draws a loyal crowd for some of the city's better Tex Mex, healthy salads and terrific nachos. Expect big portions and friendly service.
It might be better knows for its scrumptious steak frites than its back patio so first-time visitors will be in for a real treat. A bit more refined than other outdoor spaces in the area, the south-facing patio here feels like the kind of place you'd want to share a bottle of good wine rather than a pitcher (which they don't serve btw).
The patio here isn't as cozy or loungy as some others on this list but it's always busy so they must be doing something right. Homemade soups served with naan and pitchers of mojitos ($32) are two of the big draws.
If you haven't eaten the city's best smoked meat sandwich while looking at streetcars whiz by than you haven't lived yet. Or, at least, you haven't had lunch at Caplansky's large, east-facing patio. Plenty of shade here.
It might be small but there's not too many more romantic patio options in Little Italy than this one. Consider yourself lucky if you can snag one of the few seats on this courtyard. A good date spot with almost 20 wines by the glass.
From the same owners as Sidecar, this one year old panini shop was already anointed best in the city by readers of this site. They also make homemade ice cream - a perfect after meal treat to indulge on either their tiny street-side or more extensive backyard patio.
What's not on this list? There are almost too many patios in Little Italy to mention, but others to consider include Dolce, Sicilian Sidewalk Cafe or The Big Chill for ice cream or gelato; Il Gusto, Il Gatto Nero, Sotto Voce, Bar Italia or Trattoria Giancarlo for Italian eats; and Nirvana, The Standard, Olivia's at 53, Cornerstone, Langolino, Marinella and Aunties and Uncles for everything else.
A special thanks to Bud Light Lime for sponsoring this section.
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