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The Best Outdoor Dining in Toronto

The Best Outdoor Dining in Toronto

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After a particularly long, cold, frigid, and very snowy winter, the patios are starting to appear even before the flowers. People are rushing the season; they may still be wearing winter jackets but will sit at any sidewalk table if the sun is out. It was that kind of winter.

However that is all hopefully in the past as the urban-dwellers look forward to a summer of patio wining and dining throughout the city. Here are a sampling of some of Toronto’s best-loved outdoor patios.

1. Allen’s on the Danforth

This popular restaurant, right next to its Irish-themed sister pub Dora Keough, is always packed yet doubles in size when the summer patio opens its doors. This is a huge, gorgeous backyard you crave for your home. Huge trees, barnyard fences – and excellent wait staff serve from a legendary beer list created by John Maxwell, one of the city’s best-know restauranteurs.

143 Danforth Avenue. TEL (416) 463-3086.

2. Betty’s (Pacific Junction Hotel)

Since the day it opened as The Betty Ford Clinic (a legal notice forced a name change) Betty’s has been one of the busiest bars in town. Every night. And business only grows when the backyard patio opens with the arrival of spring. The place is packed and raucous and always fun. This year they are joined by their (almost) next door cousin The Pacific Junction Hotel which boats a smaller, quieter private patio.

240 King Street East. TEL (416) 368-1300.

3. Cabana Pool Bar

Yet another enterprise by Toronto’s ubiquitous Nightclub King Charles Kabbouth, this 2,500 person space (850-seat plus prviate lounge area) is located at the site of the former Docks party palace. You can lie on one of the many chaise lounges on the sand beach, overlooking the Toronto Islands and CN Tower across the water, or order special 'lounge service’ in private cabanas. Come to party hearty. Closed Mondays.

11 Polson Street. TEL (416) 479-7645.

Drinks at Cabana Pool Bar (credit: Cabana Pool Bar)

4. Granite Brewery

Where else to find a great beer patio then a great brewery? This is one of the city’s newest brewpubs where you can sip and sample or sit and soak in the sun from the large patio. It is located in the thriving midtown area of Yonge and Eglinton with its trendy shops, upscale residences and a multitude of condo dwellers which keep the patio hopping.

245 Eglinton Avenue East TEL (416) 322-0723

5. Mill Street Brewery & Beer Hall at the Distillery District

The Mill Street Brewery has been so successful they needed to open another 600-seat Beer Hall just around the corner. Half these seats are outside so patrons can enjoy the brewery’s award-winning beer. (If you like dark beer, try the Coffee Porter, made from real coffee beans from nearby Balzac’s Café. As one wag has suggested – the coffee will keep you awake so you can drink more!)

21 Tank Hour Lane TEL (416) 681-0338

6. Ceili Cottage

This little ramshackle and quirky cottage of a pub boasts one of the most packed frontyard patios in the city’s East End. You can count on a lineup every warm summer night. This is a fun crowd of beer drinkers and wine-sippers who enjoy the parade of people strolling along this Leslieville neighbourhood.

1301 Queen Street East TEL (416) 406-1301

7. Keating Channel Pub & Grill

One of the best outdoor venues in the city is also one of the least known. A pity. Yes, it is more difficult to locate – just south of the Lakeshore along Cherry Street. This is both a huge pub and patio – wooden picnic tables with umbrellas overlooking the greenery and waters of the Keating Channel. It’s easy to imagine yourself in a countryside environment just feet from a major highway.

2 Villiers Street. TEL (416) 572-0030.

Waterfront patio at Keating Channel (credit: Keating Channel)

8. Osteria dei Ganzi

Located in the historic Gooderham Mansion, this 200-seat outdoor patio provides a welcome relief for the locals in the downtown core. This is a very cool spot in a setting of stone grandeur. The food is lovely Italian and the wine list has been chosen with care.

504 Jarvis Street. TEL (604) 348-6520.

9. Park Hyatt Roof Lounge

One of the legendary rooftop lounges in the city featuring an unlimited skyline view of the city from Bloor Street right down to the harbourfront. The Park Hyatt is one of the most romantic outdoor venues in the city with upper scale, white glove service. Not the spot for a “boys night out” but the perfect place to ‘pop the question’. Morton’s Steakhouse is on the ground floor.

4 Avenue Road. TEL (416) 925-1234.

10. The Rectory Café (and Island Art Gallery)

Still unknown except to “Islanders” (there are about 275 homes on the Island) and summer visitors, this little restaurant is a find for the day-trippers wandering or biking through the Toronto Islands. It’s a beautiful outdoor backyard, like someone’s country garden, serving some fine food and beverages.

Take the 10-minute ferry from the main Ferry Dock to Ward’s Island. After that, just follow the maps.

102 Lakeshore Avenue. TEL (416) 203-2152.

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1. Wayfair

This site possibly has the biggest selection of patio furniture. (Photo: Wayfair)

Reviews: 342

Average Rating: 4.7 stars

Wayfair is possibly the most well-known online furniture shop. The site has a wide selection of products in every price range and is filled with tons of customer reviews, with people commenting on both the look and the quality of each piece (some even adding pictures of how they used the piece in their home). The same goes for the vast options you’ll find for patio furniture and outdoor decor on the site.

I’ve purchased several items from Wayfair and items can vary vastly in terms of quality. For example, my $100 temporary loveseat didn’t hold up too well compared to my more expensive dining set. Thankfully, I did check the reviews so I knew what I was getting into before purchasing. If you do run into issues, the furniture and home-goods retailer will almost always fully refund you if anything you buy goes missing, arrives damaged, or even just is not what you expected.

If Wayfair doesn’t suit your style, you can also browse through its three sister brands, the traditional Joss & Main, the classic and elegant Birch Lane, and the modern AllModern.

Clean colored plastic furniture with an all-purpose cleaner and water. Rinse well because sunlight and weather will hurry in fading process.

To clean aluminum with a baked-on enamel finish, keep in mind that the surface can scratch. You'll need a sponge soaked in detergent or your favorite all-purpose nonabrasive cleaner. Just scrub, rinse and dry with a soft cloth.

To maintain the shine on plastic, resin and metal furniture, give it a good waxing. Remove the cushions first, if possible, because the wax can stain. Use a soft cloth or the applicator that comes with the wax to apply, then let the wax dry. Finally, buff it off.

Clean plastic webbing with an all-purpose cleaner. Your scrub brush will probably come in handy here as well for any stains. Rinse with plenty of water.

To clean your grill window, spray the inside of the glass with oven cleaner. Wait a few minutes and then scrub it. Rinse well when you are through

Remember, if you clean your patio furniture on a regular basis, you can expect it to give you years of comfort and good looks.

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