The secret’s out on these enchanting outdoor spots in Toronto. When the weather cooperates, there's nothing better than drinking and dining al fresco at a neighbourhood hideaway. Grab a seat on some of the city's best hidden backyard patios.
Classic Middle Eastern cuisine is styled with an Israeli twist at this eatery from local wunderkind Anthony Rose, who has started his own little culinary empire up on the Dupont Strip. The fenced-in 70-seat back patio features an outdoor bar and plenty of greenery to give it a relaxed backyard vibe. The casual picnic tables are filled every night of the week with groups of friends and neighbourhood locals nibbling on sharing-plates and platters.
You’ll find honest food and friendly staff at this Italian eatery in the east end. The backyard patio is tucked away from the busy Queen Street traffic and is a charming oasis for a lunchtime panini or an after-work Negroni. Soaked in sun throughout the day, the 50-seat outdoor space is decorated with pretty string lights and overflowing flower boxes. The menu features plenty of house-made pastas and pizzas to please diners young and old. We love the signature meatballs prepared with lamb, pork and beef, or duck; order the baci ball trio to sample all three.
Enjoy North Country cooking at this backyard BBQ joint behind Rose & Sons. The outdoor patio operates year-round and has a cabin-in-the-woods feel that seems much further north than Dupont Street. In keeping with the rustic setting, the campfire-inspired menu features pork and beans, baby back ribs and BBQ flank steak. All the meat is sourced from nearby suppliers are prepared over high heat on an open-flame grill.
It’s hard to keep the crowds away with handcrafted Mad-Men-era cocktails, tasty sharing platters and buck-a-shuck oysters during happy hour. Walk through the main bar and head to the intimate terrace out back where strings of twinkling lights are casually draped across the space to create an illuminated outdoor canopy. Seating is somewhat limited — just a few picnic benches and bar seats — so visit early if you want to snag a spot.
This beachy backyard hideaway is situated behind Playa Cabana Hacienda and serves up its own unique Yucatan menu bursting with smoky tropical flavours. The 90-seat space boasts colourful sandblasted patio furniture and string lights. The fully outdoor space also features a sturdy retractable awning for those rainy days. Southern Mexican specialties include red snapper ceviche and tacos al pastor stuffed with spicy pork and sweet pineapple.
This casual Portuguese grill house has four locations across the city but the College Street outpost has an unrivaled garden patio tucked away behind the restaurant. The spacious spot offers plenty of picnic-table seating and affordable fare including sandwiches, fish, seafood and meaty mains served fresh off the grill. The family-friendly backyard also offers a grassy garden area for kids to run around.
Sure, this Parkdale icon might not be a secret, but the sprawling patio out back earns a spot on this list thanks to its sheer size — which comes as a total surprise given the bar’s relatively small exterior. It’s easy to spend the entire afternoon on the outdoor space at this retro dive bar where you’ll find plenty of of seating (both covered and uncovered), classic pub grub and a pay-as-you-play pool table. The patio might be the highlight but take some time to peek around the inside and check out the kitschy rockabilly décor.