Sometimes our hunger can't be contained within mere brick and mortar, and so we set out in search of the many courtyards, patios, gardens, terraces, and rooftops, looking for a place to wine and dine while enjoying the weather. Outdoor dining in Toronto adds its own intangible spice, even if one of those spices is occasionally exhaust fumes. Whether gazing out at the neighbourhood passing by or eating within the confines of ivy-covered walls, here are our five favourite east-side spots in Leslieville and Riverside to bask in the airy glow of a gorgeous day.
Overhead sun shades, warm lighting and plenty of pretty flower boxes characterize the large, airy back deck at this local Italian eatery. It's the perfect spot for an al fresco brunch on weekends or to sit outside sharing pizza and sipping wine on a warm summer evening.
892 Queen St. E
AFT KITCHEN & BAR
Squeezing through the narrow corridor that spills out onto the rear patio at Aft feels, you feel as though you're in the know on a secret spot. The patio feels secluded and it's a scene in the evenings with its own outdoor bar pouring drinks and serving up hearty plates of barbecue.
686 Queen St. E
The look and feel of the rear patio at Tabule is just as modern and richly decorated as the Middle Eastern restaurant's interior. Cushioned benches with funky coloured pillows for a fun setting to share plates of house-made hummus, falafel and meat skewers.
810 Queen St. E
Not one, not two, but — count 'em — three patios make for more outdoor than indoor seating at the east-end outpost of this popular Toronto mini chain. The large sidewalk terrace is a prime spot for people watching while a high wooden fence on the rear patio makes the space feel private. A narrow alleywall patio with string lighting is the most intimate of the three.
1192 Queen St. E
With not one but two patios, Joy Bistro is a fine choice to post up for a cold beverage on a hot day. Its sidewalk patio is great for people watching and offers solid views of Jimmie Simpson Park, while its flipside patio, tucked in between Joy and its neighbour has more of a courtyard lounge feel with brick walls, string lights and cushioned couches.
884 Queen St E
THE COUNTY GENERAL
A collection of potted flowers hang from the fence of the County General's narrow sidewalk patio. It's small but charming, the espressos are strong and cocktails stronger, and that means spots are highly coveted on sunny days at the stools that line the outdoor bar rail along Boulton.
798 Queen St. E