A restaurant patio is prime real estate in the Toronto streetscape. It puts patrons in the midst of the excitement, but still safely removed from the urban chaos. Order a glass of vino and enjoy al fresco dining at its best from these charming Little Italy patios.
The spacious street-facing patio features an exposed brick wall, classic black awning and picket fence-style railing. During events like Taste of Little Italy, the patio merges with the street and diners are covered by a large canvas tent. The continental menu is meat forward and includes baked oysters, bone marrow arancini, Ontario pork loin and Kobe beef short ribs. Open daily (except Monday) from 6 p.m. to close, the patio is an ideal spot to watch a gorgeous sunset when nature cooperates.
This College Street café has been owned and operated by the Galipo family since 1959. The neighbourhood gelateria specializes in European desserts (locals rave about the Tartufo and the fresh-baked Belgian waffles) as well as lunch and breakfast fare. The spacious 72-seat European-style sidewalk patio comes alive in the summertime with visitors stopping by throughout the day and night. Order an affogato and pretend you’re in an authentic Italian piazza, if only for an hour or so.
With its ivy-covered fencing and candles on every table, this secluded 50-seat back patio offers a little piece of heaven amid the hustle and bustle of the College Street strip. The warm wooden tables and chairs are offset with plenty of flora and lanterns that are used to create a garden-like atmosphere. Order the wallet-friendly prix fixe meal or dig in to the regular menu – either way, you can’t go wrong with a nice al fresco meal and glass of vino here.
The cozy little patio at this College Street noodle house becomes incredibly popular once the sun goes down. The street-facing outdoor seating area allows diners to enjoy delicious Japanese ramen and Izakaya while people watching. A well-placed tree adds a little privacy, while a couple of umbrellas will keep you made in the shade during a heat wave.
This iconic College Street cantina hardly needs an introduction; the hip haunt is renowned for its tasty Mexican street food and party-like vibe. A word to the wise: the intimate sidewalk patio here overflows in warmer weather thanks to its prime people-watching location. The restaurant opens nightly at 5 p.m. so you'll have to arrive early if you want to snag a coveted spot outdoors. Once you've claimed your table, order an array of tacos and don't forget the cheesy Mexican street corn.
This iconic Little Italy institution has been slinging pasta and pitchers of sangria for close to 50 years. The corner patio at College and Clinton is a buzzing hub throughout the summer months, attracting crowds of all ages. The al fresco space features streetlamp lighting, potted flowers and palpable energy every night of the week. With reasonably priced beers, free Wi-Fi and a carb-focused menu, you’ll be tempted to call the Dip your new home.
Take your patio experience up a level – literally – by dining al fresco on one of the best rooftop patios in the city. The west-facing patio has hardwood floors, box planters and rope lights for cozy nighttime illumination. If you’d rather stay at street level, Vivoli has patios on both sides of the corner restaurant. Order a pizza from their wood burning oven and ponder whether life can get any better.
Bar Italia has one of the most elegant patios in Toronto. A minimalist geometric wrought iron fence encloses the space and white seats and benches flank stone-coloured tables, effectively putting you on the Italian coast rather than landlocked Little Italy. When the temperature drops, the patio stays heated to extend the outdoor season and award diners front row seats for the live music on Fridays. Relax with a glass of Sangiovese and a panino Cubano and enjoy the breeze.