Whether intimate or sprawling, these eight outdoor dining spots are selling escapism alongside coffee and cocktails.


By Kelsey Adams, NOW Toronto



The breezy rooftop oasis at Stock T.C. is one of many new patios that have opened up across the city


Toronto is rife with sidewalk patios. 


Thanks to the lifting of some lockdown restrictions in step one of the province’s reopening plan and the resurgence of CafeTO last weekend, the city felt revived.

 

Patios from Leslieville to Parkdale were packed, and streets lined with people dining and drinking bustled with energy. With case levels low and vaccination rates on the rise, it also felt a lot more comfortable to be out and about. 

Toronto’s always been a city that will wait in line for a good patio session but that sentiment has been tested by rolling lockdowns and the looming threat of the pandemic. Now that restrictions are lessening and socializing outdoors is permitted (to an extent), it feels like summer has truly arrived.


I still believe park picnics will be all the rage, but the return to a full dining experience – with table-side service and a server to banter with – is definitely welcome.


There are some new spots that stand out above the rest, whether because of buzz, novelty or really cool design elements. Some were unveiled for the first time this week, others got an artistic overhaul after putting together makeshift patios during last year’s scramble, and some had time to spruce things up.


Here’s a list of the best new Toronto patios, ready just in time for a sensational season.



C'est What


This charming spot near St. Lawrence Market has been a mainstay for local craft beer lovers for 32 years. It’s in the cellar of a historic building and never had a patio before last August. COVID made that situation no longer a plausible reality and C’est What kept the patio open well into the chilly nights of October. Throughout the winter the taproom was primarily operating as a bottle shop, but it’s now entering the summer patio season with an entire beer garden tucked on the side of the building. The patio has canopies to protect from rain and offers secure bicycle parking so you can pay full attention to your beer order. The offerings include local breweries Left Field, Collective Arts, Blood Brothers and Muddy York, as well as their own new release, Al’s Cask Ale. Food-wise the menu is heavy on comfort, with tostidos, poutine, burgers, fish and chips, and pulled pork mac and cheese.


67 Front East, cestwhat.com



Hector Vasquez / Courtesy Four Seasons Hotel



d|azur


Travel is a challenge these days, but the Four Seasons and d|bar are channeling the French Riviera. An enormous mural by local artist Jason Zante evokes the deep blue waters of the Côte d’Azur, as well as the region’s architecture. If you’re looking for a mini-vacation without having to go too far north or south of Bloor, d|azur’s seaside-inspired menu should do the trick: fresh oysters, caviar, ceviche, tuna carpaccio, octopus and more fruits of the sea are all on deck. The focus is on Mediterranean flavours and seasonal veggies. The dessert menu’s pièce de resistance is a tarte Tropézienne, a pastry originally created in St. Tropez, made of cream-filled brioche. 


60 Yorkville, fourseasons.com



Daniel Neuhaus / Toronto Life



Grape Witches

 

Grape Witches, the multi-faceted wine project from Krysta Oben and Nicole Campbell has taken on many forms. At the top of 2020, the pair signed a lease to open Grape Glass, meant to be a permanent space where they could host wine tastings and their signature variety of educational events. During the pandemic, they pivoted into a bottle shop and served natural wine on the makeshift patio behind the shop. Now they’re ready to relaunch as a proper patio with a fountain in the centre. With a focus on making natural wine more accessible, expect a relaxed vibe and impressive wine list – all 150 bottles available in-store are orderable on the patio. The floral mural by local artist Laura Dawe, the fountain centrepiece and mix-and-match seating gives the experience a very whimsical feel.


1247 Dundas West, grapewitches.com




Happy Coffee and Wine

A backyard but better is what a visit to the South Parkdale cafe and bar’s revamped patio feels like. With a no-fuss, two-level deck and flowers everywhere it feels immediately comfortable and familiar. The shop opened during the pandemic last year and quickly became a neighbourhood mainstay. The name says it all, so this is the type of patio where you could spend an entire day, starting with a catch-up over espressos that turns into happy hour. The food menu is small but mighty, with their iconic shrimp burgers selling out every single day they’ve been open so far. They’ve got a long list of mostly natural wines from all over the world available in their shop that you can now enjoy on the patio.


1304 King West, happycoffeeandwine.com




Il Patio di Eataly

Eataly has turned the space outside of the Manulife Centre into an escape to an Italian piazza. It’s one thing to pick up a ready-made spaghetti carbonara and bring it home, but it’s another thing to be able to relax and have it brought out to you piping hot with a cold glass of white wine. Modelled after the way piazzas incorporate food and drinks from multiple establishments, the restaurant is partnering with Toronto-based retailers, bartenders and gelato-makers to elevate the experience. Every three weeks, they’re welcoming a new bartender from one of Toronto’s top bars and restaurants to serve up specialty cocktails, starting with Nick Kennedy from Civil Liberties.


55 Bloor West, eataly.ca




Little Sister

The Dutch-Indonesian restaurant has been a midtown staple for a while and expanded with a King and Portland location in the thick of pandemic winter. The patio is finally seeing some action. With more space to work with than the Yonge location, there is naturally more seating (i.e. an easier chance at snagging a table), which was difficult to do at Little Sister even pre-COVID. Following the recent trend of escapist patios, the Portland spot is going for an intimate Ubud vibe, with communal booths covered in palm leaf-patterned fabric and a burnt orange wood fence. Grab some shareable bites like nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice), satay ayam (chicken skewers with peanut sauce), udang kari (shrimp in coconut curry) or lumpia (Jakarta-style spiced beef spring rolls) and nosh with a tropical cocktail.


102 Portland, littlesisterto.com




Rendezviews x Collective Arts

The massive outdoor patio at Richmond and John has re-emerged as a Technicolor dream world. Partnering with Hamilton-based brewery Collective Arts, the joint outdoor dining project from the Fifth and the Ballroom that was unveiled last summer has levelled up. Artist duo Clandestinos Art took the 30,000-square-foot space (15,000 for the ground and 15,000 for the mural) and turned it into a “a visual story of triumph, optimism and community growth.” The patio is open but artists Bruno Smoky and Shalak Attack are busy working away finishing the mural in preparation for a June 24 celebration. Eighty picnic tables are painted in vibrant yellow, pink, green and turquoise, giving the space a fun and playful energy. The food is equally casual, with menu items like buffalo chicken poutine, smash burgers and hot chicken sandwiches. They’re serving a mix of cocktails, hard seltzers and beers as well as some new Collective Arts canned drinks like their Dry Gin & Soda with Grapefruit, Lemon & Thyme and Mango & Pineapple Hard Tea.


229 Richmond West, rendezviews.ca



Kelsey Adams


Stock Bar


The marriage between Terroni and Cumbrae’s resulted in Stock T.C., a hybrid grocer-cafe-bottle shop that opened last summer. It’s midtown’s answer to Eataly but with a distinctly Toronto feel. They’ve now launched Stock Bar, with a separate selection from Stock T.C.’s takeout offerings. There’s a wrap-around terrace on the ground floor, just outside the main entrance where you can catch a glimpse of the hustle and bustle while sipping an espresso or afternoon cocktail. Upstairs, the rooftop garden patio is a lush oasis with a cozy, beachy feel that will likely become the new midtown go-to spot. The menu is extensive, to say the least. It’s doing a lot but it’s cohesive, bringing the best of Terroni and Cumbrae’s together. There’s the classic Neapolitan pizza that put Terroni on the map, tried-and-true apps like the calamari fritti and about a dozen pasta options. Cumbrae’s influence is all over as well, from the seared steak tartare to the cheeseburger and fried chicken. The wine list is a refined selection from Italy and France and the cocktails are a mix of classics and unexpected pairings. Some are even named after warm weather destinations like Oaxaca, Positano and Palm Springs.


2388 Yonge, stocktc.com



Which patio are you most looking forward to visiting this summer?! Let me know on my Facebook or Instagram page, or leave a comment below!



Source: Now Toronto


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A number of businesses and services are still open and operating right now, and many Toronto restaurants are offering take-out and delivery options. Here's your guide to what's currently open and operating across the city!

GROCERY STORES

Source: Wikipedia

  • Loblaws stores are open. The company has additionally lowered grocery delivery fees and waived fees for pickup. Some Loblaws stores are offering early morning hours for immunocompromised shoppers; call your local store for details. Loblaws-owned grocery stores will now be open between 7 am and 8 pm, with shopper numbers limited at some busier stores.
  • No Frills stores are open. Online shopping is available and pickup fees are waived. Individual stores are introducing hours for immunocompromised shoppers; call your local store for details.
  • Sobeys and stores under its banner, including FreshCo and Farm Boy, have announced they will stay open. Sobeys will offer early-morning shopping hours for elderly and immunocompromised shoppers; call your local store for details.
  • Longo's stores are open, with early morning hours for elderly and immunocompromised shoppers.
  • Pusateri's stores are open (With the exception of the CF Toronto Eaton Centre location). Between 7 and 8 am, all stores will be limited to elderly shoppers and those with compromised immune systems.
  • McEwan stores are remaining open, and will be offering grocery delivery via Inabuggy.

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LOCAL AND SPECIALTY FOOD STORES

 Source: Pacific Bread Company

Many community grocers and specialty food stores will be remaining open as well, including the following: 
  • Chantecler Boucherie (1318 Queen St W) is still open and selling all kinds of charcuterie and sausages, though they advise you order ahead for pickup or delivery to ensure they have in stock what you are looking for.
  • All locations of sustainable seafood shop Hooked are open, with some restrictions in place - 2 customers at a time at their Baldwin location (206 Baldwin St), 3 customers at a time at their Leslieville (888 Queen St E), Danforth (1246 Danforth Ave) and South Kingsway (18 Ripley Ave) locations, as well as reduced hours. Check website for details.
  • Cheese Boutique (45 Ripley Ave) is still open, though they strongly suggest that people call ahead to place any orders, and they’re limiting the number of customers in the store to 20 at a time. 
  • Bare Market (1480 Danforth Ave) has an online shop, with next-day in-person pick-up available (procedures are in place to maintain social distancing).
  • Eataly’s (Manulife Centre at 55 Bloor St W) market and counters will remain open for groceries and takeaway dishes, and the downstairs Birroteca is still selling bottles to go. Eataly’s market will also open to early to offer an hour of shopping from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for elderly and vulnerable customers only.
  • Good Cheese’s (614 Gerrard St E) cheese and takeout counter remains open. Bonus: the new “Stay at Home Box” is your quarantine dream, filled with double-cream brie, manchego, chorizo, plum jam, pickles and crackers.
  • Sanagan’s Meat Locker (176 Baldwin St. and 1513 Gerrard St E) has shortened its hours of operation and is limiting the number of customers that can be in the store at the same time. They are also currently cashless, so only debit and credit are accepted. 
  • Dough Bakeshop (173 Danforth Ave) offers small-batch baked goods, and is operating on a reduced schedule (weekdays 8 am to 5 pm).
  • Both BlackBird Baking Co. locations are limiting the number of customers to five (Kensington Market, 172 Baldwin St) and 10 (Riverside, 635 Queen St E) at a time.
  • Bloomer’s (873 Bloor St W & 715 Queen St W) is hawking their doughnuts and other baked goods to go. They are also going cashless.
  • Cote de Boeuf’s (130 Ossington Ave) retail section is still open but going cashless. There will also be a limited number of sandwiches available for takeout each day.
  • Famiglia Baldassarre (122 Geary Ave) is still selling their delicioso house-made pastas, sauces and condiments to go, but they’re limiting the number of customers in the store to just two at a time.
  • Roselle Desserts’ east (362 King St E) and west (108 Dovercourt Rd) shops are providing people with plenty of sweet ways to eat their feelings, but at reduced hours, for takeout only and only if you’re paying with plastic. 
  • At Spaccio, Terroni’s brand-new commissary in Corktown (22 Sackville St), customers can still purchase items from the retail section (bread, fresh pasta, sauce, olive oil, tomatoes) as well as prepared meals (ahem, whole trays of lasagna) to go.

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LIQUOR, WINE & BEER STORES

  • LCBO stores are open Tuesday through Sunday, operating on reduced hours (11 am to 6 pm daily). They will be closed Mondays beginning March 30th.
  • Beer Store locations are open. As of Saturday, March 21, the Beer Store will be operating on reduced hours (10 am to 7 pm daily), according to a news release. Additionally, bottle returns will be suspended until March 31.
  • Wine Rack stores in grocery stores only, are open from 11 am to 7 pm daily, with certain locations open from 7-8 am to accommodate seniors.

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PHARMACIES

  • Shoppers Drug Mart stores are open. Prescription delivery is offered free of charge. Shoppers will reserve the first hour of each day for customers who are elderly or have disabilities. Note that they've announced that they will reduce hours at its stores, effective immediately, "to allow our colleagues time for extra sanitation and a bit of rest," as well as limiting how many people can shop at once in some busier stores. Check online for your local store's revised hours.
  • Rexall stores are open until 8pm during the week, and will be offering the first hour of each day for 55+/immunocompromised shoppers, as well as offering its 55+ discount until 10am daily. Note that they've announced that they will reduce hours at its stores, effective immediately, "to allow employees more time to sanitize, restock, rest, and take time for self-care," as well as limiting how many people can shop at once in some busier stores. Check online for your local store's revised hours.

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GOVERNMENT SERVICES

  1. TTC transit is operating normally.
  2. Metrolinx is making some cuts to GO Transit and UP Express schedules in light of reduced ridership.
  3. Emergency services (Toronto Police, Fire Services and Paramedic Services) are operating.
  4. Garbage, recycling and organics collection are operating.
  5. Shelters, respites, drop-in centres and long-term care homes are open.
Click here for more info on affected city services.

~

SHOPPING CENTRES & MARKETS

Source: Wikipedia


  • Yorkdale continues to operate under normal hours, though specific stores have closed or are open under modified hours. The mall has an updated list of retailers with modified hours on its website. Enhanced cleaning measures, additional hand sanitizers and emergency preparedness plans have been put into place.
  • Eaton Centre and Sherway Gardens are open. Mall operator Cadillac Fairview is limiting shopping hours to 11 am - 7 pm for two weeks, effective March 16, according to a statement. Events such as yoga, seminars and community activations have been cancelled and the malls have introduced enhanced cleaning protocols.
  • The St. Lawrence Market is remaining open but is postponing a pilot project to extend operating hours to Sundays. "A change in hours will be deferred to a later date and launch events will be rescheduled," market operators said in a statement. In the meantime, it will open during regular hours with additional cleaning protocols and hand sanitizer dispensers placed in public areas.

~

RESTAURANTS

Source: General Assembly


Many establishments are offering takeout or delivery to feed house-bound Torontonians and bring in much-needed revenue during what could be a devastating period for the industry. If you don’t feel like plundering your pantry supplies just yet, these Toronto spots have added new delivery and takeout options, albeit with restrictions in place to ensure social distancing. We've noted their general location, so you can quickly see if they are located near you.

For more options in your area, check your favourite restaurant's website, see what's available near you on Doordash, UberEats, or Foodora, or check out the interactive map at the bottom of this post.
 
Adamson Barbecue (East Toronto) - Takeout (call or preorder online) with delivery on the way, including new "meal kit" options.

Aloette (Downtown) - Takeout (Ritual) and delivery (Doordash).

Aviary Brewpub (East Toronto) - Offering cold cans of Longslice beer and hot food to go. 

Bacan (West Toronto) - Takeout (call 416-535-2222) and delivery (UberEats, SkipTheDishes).

Barque Smokehouse (West Toronto) -  Delivery via UberEats and Doordash.

BarHop Bar (Downtown) - Takeout (call 647-348-1137) 

Blondie’s Pizza (East Toronto) - Slices and pies to go (437-341-1555)

Blood Brothers (West Toronto) - Takeout (call 647-628-6062).

Borrel (East Toronto) - Dutch-inspired cafe, Takeout

Calii Love (Downtown & Uptown) - Takeout and delivery (Ritual, UberEats) 416-977-2181.

DaanGo Cafe (East Toronto) - Takeout (call 647-245-2112).

Descendant Detroit Style Pizza (East  & West Toronto) - Now offering curbside takeout service in addition to delivery (UberEats).

Double D's Pizza (West Toronto) - Free curbside delivery for local order (call 416-901-1433)

Eastbound Brewing Co. (East Toronto) - Takeout (call 416-901-1299)

Elm St. Deli (Downtown) - Delivery and takeout options TBA.

Favorites (West Toronto) - Takeout (Ritual), delivery TBA.

Fourth Man In The Fire Pizzeria (West Toronto) - Takeout with curbside pickup and delivery (UberEats)

General Assembly (Downtown) - Delivery of "pizza kits" (UberEats, Foodora)

Good Hombres (West Toronto) - Takeout and delivery 

Hotel Delilah (East Toronto) - Delivery and takeout options TBA.

Imanishi Japanese Kitchen (West Toronto) - Takeout (call 416-706-4225).

Indie Ale House (West Toronto) - Takeout (call 416-760-9691).

KA SPACE Cafe (East Toronto) - Vegan & vegetarian brunch. 20% discount on all take-out orders (call or text 647-373-9600 or order in-person). Orders ready for pickup within 15 minutes. Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 3pm.

Lady Marmalade (East Toronto) - Takeout (call 647-351-7645).

Maha’s Fine Egyptian Cuisine (East Toronto) - Call ahead to place your order between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., daily, for takeout only. (416-462-2703)

Maker Pizza (West Toronto) - Delivery (Fododora, UberEats or call 416-782-2000), takeout (by phone). Now offering curbside pickup service and no-contact delivery.

Northern Maverick Brewing (West Toronto) - Takeout, delivery (UberEats) or call 416-540-4030.

Oretta (Downtown) - Delivery (Foodora, UberEats) 416-944-1932

Original's Dining Lounge (West Toronto) - Takeout (call 416-532-2908)

Pizzeria Libretto and Enoteca Sociale (Multiple locations) - Get pizza and pasta delivered to your doorstep via Foodora or UberEats. 

Porchetta & Co. (West Toronto & Downtown) - Pickup and delivery. (call 647-351-8844 for west location; no phone for downtown location)

Riverdale Perk Cafe (East Toronto) - Takeout and curbside available (call 416-462-3538 or email info@riverdaleperk.com). Open 8 am to 4 pm daily.

R&D (West Toronto) - 20% discount on all takeout orders (call 416-586-1241)

Ronin Izakaya (Downtown) - 20% discount on takeout (416-977-8808), delivery (UberEats)

Salad King (Downtown) - Open 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., daily, for takeout orders (call 416-593-0333) or delivery via Foodora

Shozan Room (West Toronto) - Takeout (Ritual or call 647-478-6164)

Sotto Sotto (Uptown) - Contact-free delivery and takeout (call 416-962-0011)

South Indian Dosa Mahal (West Toronto) - Takeout, delivery (UberEats)

Sud Forno (West Toronto) - Takeout (call 416-504-7667), delivery (UberEats)

Tabule (East Toronto and Uptown) - Takeout and delivery orders, with the exception of their Bayview Village location

Tacos El Asador (West Toronto) - Takeout (call 416-538-9747) or delivery (UberEats or DoorDash)

Timothy's Pub (West Toronto) - Takeout and delivery (call 416-201-9515). Open 12 pm to 8 pm daily.

Tinuno (East Toronto) - Takeout and delivery (call 647-343-9294).

Udon Kitanoya (West Toronto) - Takeout (call 416-519-8513).

Wilder (West Toronto) - 10% discount on takeout (call 416-551-8535), delivery TBA.
 

~

BREWERIES

Source: DailyHive

 
Here's a look at some of the breweries that are offering delivery throughout the city (and the province) right now.

Bandit Brewery (West Toronto) - Local deliveries (Postal Codes M5-M8) with free deliveries on orders of $50+, or a $10 flat rate for smaller orders.

Bellwoods Brewery (West Toronto) - Retail shops open (check website for hours). Delivery via online shop and Foodora.

Black Dog Pub (East Toronto) - Free delivery for orders over $50

Black Lab Brewing (East Toronto) - Free delivery for all orders over $50, $15 for under $50. Send an email to orders@blacklab.beer to order. Orders will be delivered within 72 hours.

Blood Brothers (West Toronto) - Plus delivery through Foodora and Boozer

Burdock Brewery (West Toronto) - Free shipping or free downtown delivery on full cases.

Collective Arts Brewing Co. - Doorstep beer delivery - shop online. Orders are a 24 can minimum and someone 19+ must be home with an ID to receive.

Eastbound Brewing Co. (East Toronto) - Delivery via online store

Great Lakes Brewery (West Toronto) - Online orders in the works

Godspeed Brewery (East Toronto) - Order via online store. Free local delivery for orders of $50 or more, for postal codes starting with M4, M5, or M6.

Indie Ale House (West Toronto) - Free delivery over 12 units Monday-Friday

Junction Craft Brewery (West Toronto) - Free local delivery on 12 or more cans, or free province-wide delivery on orders over $75.

Keep 6 Imports - Order via online store

Muddy York Brewing Co. (East Toronto) - Free delivery for orders over $100

Left Field Brewery (East Toronto) - Free delivery for orders over $50 for anyone in the M4, M5, M6 or M8 postal code areas

Rainhard Brewing Co. (West Toronto) - Delivery $5; 12-unit minimum

Reid’s Distillery (East Toronto) - Signature gins, citrus gins and spiced gins are all available for delivery via Foodora or, for Leslieville residents, by contacting the distillery directly. (And, like other local distilleries, they’re also producing hand sanitizer.)

Shackland Brewing Co. (West Toronto) - No-contact pickup if you pre-order online or call 416-763-2424
 
 
Last but not least, check out this great interactive community-made map of more restaurants, breweries and cafes that are offering takeout and delivery during this time. If you feel safe to and wish to support these small businesses, it will go a long way towards helping them stay afloat during this difficult time:
 
 
 
 
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