Patio season is going year-round in Toronto thanks to variety of heated outdoor dining concepts
November 20 Update: Effective 12:01 am on Monday, November 23, Toronto will move into lockdown and outdoor dining – including covered patios – will not be permitted. Restaurants, bars, and food and drink establishments will only be able to provide takeout, drive-through and delivery for a minimum of 28 days.
Toronto restaurants are winterizing patios with bubbles, tents, heaters and other covered structures. City council has vote to extend the popular outdoor dining program CafeTO to April 14, 2021. The program, which launched in June, allows restaurants and bars to open patio spaces on sidewalks with less fees and red tape.
After November 16, curb-lane patios will close but restaurants can set up patios in parking lots and on sidewalks. Many patios have heaters and tents, but the city is also encouraging diners to bring their own blankets. These Toronto spots with covered and/or heated patios are good for all seasons.
Enjoy the waterfront views and the pan-seared salmon from inside a heated bubble that seats up to six. 25 Dockside, fabrestaurants.ca
The sprawling patio at the brewery’s lakeside beer pub has added cozy- looking yurts for your bubble. 245 Queens Quay West, amsterdambeer.com
The Intercontinental Yorkville’s Igloo experience doesn’t open until November 12. But the restaurant is taking reservations for their $50 per person prefix menu offering poutine and chicken wings. 220 Bloor West, toronto.intercontinental.com
Take in the Casa Loma view and put a dent on that credit card trying Wagyu steaks from Japan, Australia and the American Mishima reserve. 1 Austin Terrace, bluebloodsteakhouse.com
This Mediterranean spot in Cabbagetown has set up a heated white tent to extend its fine dining vibes to the patio. 229 Carlton, dovarestaurant.com
Scotiabank Arena is closed, but the nearby pre-game hangout spot E11even is still open and has added a tent – with an open roof for ventilation – to its large patio. 15 York, e11even.ca
Under construction: The Farmhouse Tavern’s outdoor patio space, The Barn, before getting walls.
The Junction’s farm-to-table resto put the finishing touches on their tailor-made winterized patio space, the Barn. The permanent structure has three propane fire pits positioned near every table. And every seat comes with a sheepskin blanket. 1627 Dupont, farmhousetavern.ca
Dine under a white tent at this new Little Italy spot, which opened during the pandemic. Giovanni’s also has a small selection of grocery items and wines. 760 College, giovannispizza.ca
The upscale waterfront steak house has erected a huge heated and tented patio decorated with plants in the parking lot. Definitely one of the city’s more opulent winterized dining options. 60 Harbour, harbour60.com
The four rooftop patios at this Yorkville pub are hot real estate even when dining inside with the AC on is actually an option. Reservations accepted. 142 Cumberland, hemingways.to
The sleek Yorkville sushi spot put up tents and heaters to serve up wagyu carpaccio and miso black cod. 115 Yorkville, kasamoto.ca
The rooftop patio – possibly the only one on all of Dundas West – at Craig Harding’s California-inspired eatery was well over a year in the making. Reservations available. 849 Dundas West, lapalma.ca
One of our best new brunch spots of 2020 is bringing its modern-bistro menu to a cute adjacent patio that aims to whisk you away to the south of France. 642 King West, lapinoubistro.com
The North York outpost of the beloved Yorkville Indian restaurant has set up a heated tent outside CF Shops at Don Mills Plaza. Recent additions to the menu include vada pav (veggie sliders) and smoked tandoori chicken wings. 2 O’Neill, mantrabyhost.com
The farm-to-table spot on Wellington has taken distancing measures further than most, including adding QR codes on tables for easy digital menu access. Reservations accepted. 488 Wellington West, marben.ca
The large heated tent competes against the waterfront’s chill at Cabana’s pop-up. This weekend, the Marquee is hosting Dragon Ball, a ticketed event serving a drag show alongside the Prime Porterhouse. 11 Polson, cabanapoolbar.com
The Annex pub has a variety of outdoor spaces, including an open-air rooftop as well as colourfully decorated and heated “pods” over its street-side picnic tables. 539 Bloor West, pauperspub.com
The multi-floor watering hole is ready for winter with its rooftop tent and heaters. 22 Cumberland, thepilot.ca
After pivoting to selling meat pies during the pandemic, downtown’s favourite English pub and football bar has reopened its charming rooftop patio. It has been winterized with tents and heaters. 35 Elm, queenandbeaverpub.ca
The vintage-style King West bar went all out with the Halloween decor in its tented patios, which it plans to swap out for the holidays. 668 King West, regularsbar.ca
Make sure you get the spicy grilled shrimps and seared sea scallops at this long-standing Beach favourite for French cuisine. 1862 Queen East, sauvignonbistro.com
You can enjoy the soju cocktails and kimchi chopped cheese sandwiches of our #1 restaurant of 2019 as the weather gets colder. Bonus: Weekly cookouts featuring new menu items. 1241 Bloor West, @seoulshakersclub
The uptown BBQ spot has two heated tents that seat 18 people each, as well as live outdoor music on its patio.
744 Mt Pleasant, smokeshowbbqandbrew.com
Nerds, it’s time to leave the basement and cozy up on this geek-themed bar’s sizable front deck. Staff say they got every table covered with canopy cover, umbrella heaters and what they call “Wall-E” heaters. 580 Church, stormcrowmanor.com
This go-to K-town spot on the corner of Bloor and Markham is ready for winter with a newly installed covered patio and space heaters. 584 Bloor West, arisu.ca
Still known in the hearts of many as the Black Hoof’s back patio, Vendetta’s backyard space (now with a swishy striped paint job) is open for all your pasta and orange wine needs. Reservations available. 928 Dundas West, barvendetta
Dine on haggis in the shadow of a massive Scottish flag while sampling your way through this College Street pub’s enormous collection of whiskeys. Reservations only. 856 College, thecaledonian.ca
If you’re in need of casual vibes, this Leslieville cafe and bar’s large corner patio is now completely covered. 1173 Dundas East, dundasandcarlaw.com
The boutique hotel’s rooftop patio is a west-end summer staple, and now it’s going year round. Reservations are required and seating limit is two hours. 1150 Queen West, thedrake.ca
Courtesy Fet Zun
The Middle Eastern snack bar on Dupont turned their back patio space into a full-fledged winter camp. Fitted with heat lamps, tent canopies, cozy blankets and fire pits that mimic bonfires. You can pretend you’re up north while munching on shawarma, pita topped with za’atar and sesame, plus chunky hummus. 252 Dupont, fetzun.com
The year-old Parkdale spot has an extensive list of wines to go and a small menu (Wed-Sat), but if you prefer to sip on the cozy back patio, there’s a canopy and space heaters. 1304 King West, happycoffeeandwine.com
The French restaurant’s original Spadina location closed earlier this year, but the west-end location is open to satisfy your steak frites cravings. Reservations are recommended for the heated and covered patio. 924 Queen West, bistro-jules.com
Dine on burgers and classed-up pub fare on the side patio at this former dive bar (the old sign from the original bar still hangs). 955 Gerrard East, mapleleaftavern.ca
The cafe-bar-grocery that feels like being whisked to the Mediterranean (if you ignore the Ossington traffic) has a small patio with overhead heaters to keep diners toasty while sharing fresh salads, Spanish potato tortillas, falafel sandwiches and Moroccan olives. 210 Ossington, exploretock.com/manita
Sushi by the water sounds like a match made in heaven – and the plush atmosphere on this upmarket sushi spot’s patio, decked out in bench seats and lanterns, takes things to a whole new level. 10 Bay, mikutoronto.com
The Distillery brewpub’s outdoor spaces are officially back open for day drinking (with new safety measures like reduced seating and sanitation stations in place). 21 Tank House, millstreetbrewery.com
This wine bar spinoff of Paris Paris took over the former Superpoint Express pizzeria in Parkdale and has a patio with a wooden roof with a long space heater running across it. And they’re adding hot cider to the menu, in case you need extra warmth. 269 Dunn, instagram.com/nicenicewine
The art deco Italian restaurant on the main floor of the historic Paradise Theatre on Bloor West has an extended patio with overhead heaters that makes it a great option for sophisticated outdoor dining. 1006 Bloor West, osteriarialto.com
This Distillery District sustainable seafood spot’s spacious outdoor patio has several large umbrellas as well as heaters. 17 Tank House, purespirits.ca
It’s been in business for over 40 years, but this cafe and Thai restaurant’s walled back patio still feels like a secret garden hidden in plain sight on Queen. 208 Queen West, queenmothercafe.ca
If a giant Caesar cocktail with a bunch of stuff skewered onto it sounds like your idea of a good time, head for this Vancouver-by-way-of-King-East sports bar.
107 King East, scoreonking.com
Get your people-watching in (to the sound of live Greek music) at the flower-lined patio on this Danforth favourite. 500A Danforth, soulas.ca
String lights, an outdoor fireplace, heaters from above, greenery, regular mussel specials – this Bloordale classic has it all. 1163 Bloor West, thethreespeed.com
Cluny Bistro’s heated patio is full of greenery.
Rosa Marinuzzi’s Eglinton trattoria has recreated the cozy indoor vibes out back on the patio. Warm up with Southern Italian staples under heaters and the odd umbrella. 516 Eglinton West, sevennumbers.com
Time to get reacquainted with that willow tree – the Danforth’s best-hidden spot for beers and burgers is back . Tents are on the way. Reservations accepted. 143 Danforth, allens.to
The Roncesvalles craft brewery has heaters at each patio table – plus a new fall menu and selection of barrel-aged brews. 2125 Dundas West, banditbrewery.ca
Bring your own blanket and catch a seat under the awning at Bar Hop’s original location. 391 King West, barhopbar.com
The Leslieville Mexican joint has converted a chunk of its patio into a limited-capacity open-air market complete with carnival-inspired snacks like pickle-lemon soft serve. 884 Queen East, barrioonqueen.com
The long-running dive bar and rock venue’s rooftop tiki bar is serving up cocktails on its heated patio – and the umbrellas aren’t just in the drinks.
542 Queen West, instagram.com/tikibartoronto
Go al fresco on the Distillery District bistro’s scenic patio, where seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. 35 Tank House, clunybistro.com
One of the Distillery’s biggest, most bombastic patios (read: ample room to spread out) is back open for tacos and margaritas. They’re taking limited reservations, leaving room for walk-ins and keeping patrons warm with what they call “super sonic” heaters. 18 Tank House, elcatrin.ca
While the Bellwoods offshoot of the taqueria has become all-vegan Tacos Rico since last summer, the original location – and its charming plant-laced back area – is still truckin’. 1330 Queen West, grandelectricrestaurants.com
The arcade machines are, unfortunately, off-limits at this Geary pizzeria. But the beer and North of Brooklyn pies are still available on the shaded side patio. 229 Geary, thegreatergoodbar.com
It’s a shame we can’t enjoy the striking indoor setting at the new five-floor Gusto in Corktown – but the wood-fired pizzas, mortadella sandwiches and clever cocktails make up for it. 501 King East, gusto501.com
Cabbagetown beer geeks can enjoy both of the patios at this beloved Parliament pub are open, with service available through their takeout window. Expect an awning soon. Reservations accepted. 454 Parliament, houseonparliament.com
With over 100 selections available, this Harbord bar (and its colourful side patio) is a magnet for cider lovers. Reservations accepted. 119 Harbord, herfathers.ca
The entertainment complex’s patio (which seats a socially distanced 128) offers plenty of room to spread out, with some canopies and heaters in the mix. Reservations available. 255 Bremner, therecroom.com
The gorgeous, tree-shaded rooftop patio at this Leslieville brewery is one of the east end’s best-kept secrets. 1001 Eastern, rorschachbrewing.com
The brewery’s 100-seat patio now features an expanded footprint to better allow for distancing, plus the same ol’ Steam Whistle suds and food by Otto’s Bierhalle. 255 Bremner, @swbiergarten
The heaters are sprawled out on Terroni’s rooftop patio, which sits just above Bar Centrale with an enviable view of the skyline. 1095 Yonge, terroni.com
This story was updated on November 7, 2020.
NOW’s Radheyan Simonpillai and Norm Wilner discuss what Toronto’s winter dining landscape looks like in the latest episode of the NOW What podcast, available on Apple Podcasts or Spotify or playable directly below: