Seldom is any season in Canada welcomed as enthusiastically as patio season, and perhaps never more so than this year. After nearly four months of lockdown orders due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, many Torontonians were thrilled to dine al fresco when restaurants and bars finally opened their (out)doors last month.
Yonge and Eglinton has long been considered one of the city’s best spots to dine outside, and this year, there are even more places to choose from. A host of neighbourhood restaurants have introduced new patios on city sidewalks and curb lanes, all part of the CaféTO program, a city-wide initiative introduced by Mayor John Tory to allow for physical distancing and safer dining for all. Here are seven of the area’s best newcomers.
Little Sister Indonesian Food Bar
Indonesian food was meant to be consumed under a blazing sun, it makes the experience even more authentic. With a little help from a small lane reduction (thanks CaféTO!), Little Sister now offers a patio with seats for 30. Don’t miss the classic Nasi Goreng from the spot Toronto Life recently named as Toronto’s Best New Takeout.
littlesisterto.com | 2031 Yonge Street
Rose and Crown
For nearly half a century the Rose and Crown pub has been a neighbourhood institution at Yonge and Eglinton, but they’ve never had a patio… until now. This summer, snap up a spot among the new tables on the sidewalk in front of the classic English pub.
roseandcrown.com | 2335 Yonge Street
St. Louis Bar & Grill
This Toronto chain has always had a solid following for their patio, but this year, an expansion onto the side parking and curbside means there’s even more space to enjoy your favourite wings while keeping a safe social distance.
stlouiswings.com | 2050 Yonge Street
5 Doors North
This local restaurant stayed busy during the pandemic participating in Feed the Frontlines TO, an initiative that supports local restaurants by creating opportunities for employees to prepare and distribute meals to healthcare and social services workers around the city. Now open with expanded patio seating, they’re ready to serve even more customers for lunch, dinner, and cocktails in between.
fivedoorsnorth.com | 2088 Yonge Street
It’s nearly impossible to decide among the menu of middle eastern delights at this midtown spot, so grab a table right on Yonge Street and settle in for a feast. Hot tip: you can’t go wrong with the namesake dish.
Tabule.ca | 2009 Yonge Street
Authentic and healthy Indian food is now being served on a charming street-side patio. Tickle your tastebuds with a lineup of perfectly-spiced dishes like vegetable samosas, Kashmiri rogan josh, and the all-time favourite tandoori chicken.
khaugully.ca | 1991 Yonge Street
If artisan-made linguine with calamari, capers and olives in a rich San Marzano tomato sauce sounds like something you might want to try, then head to the expanded patio at Balsamico’s. Filling up faster than you can say “ciao.”
balsamico.ca | 2029 Yonge Street
Photo courtesy of Balsamico