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Savour the open air at Scarpetta.
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Enjoy the outdoors on Beast’s secluded patio.
550 Wellington W, at Portland, 416-601-3590, scottconant.com/restaurants/scarpetta/toronto. For proof that New York celebu-chef Scott Conant's local outpost in the super-chic Thompson Hotel is in a league of its own, look no further than its dazzling II by IV-designed outdoor dining pavilion. With its long communal table, reflecting pool and iconic skyline view, 24 bucks for a small plate of spaghetti will seem like a bargain.
Dinner Monday to Thursday 6 to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 6 to 11 pm. Closed Sunday. Licensed. Access: barrier-free.
96 Tecumseth, at Whitaker, 647-352-6000, thebeastrestaurant.com. Set in the same side-street space that was once home to Susur Lee's legendary Lotus, Scott and Rachelle Vivian's innovative snout-to-tail bistro has a hard act to follow. And it does so with aplomb, from monthly vegetarian (!) tasting menus and weekly pop-up lunch specials to Thursdays-only maple bacon donuts and Sam James coffee from 8 am, all on a quiet leafy terrace.
Dinner Wednesday to Saturday 5 to 11 pm. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 3 pm. Closed Monday, Tuesday, holidays. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washroom on same floor.
924 Queen W, at Shaw, 416-536-8963, ursa-restaurant.com. Using techniques usually associated with hardcore vegan cuisine - dehydration, fermentation, sprouting - co-owner/chef Jacob Sharkey-Pearce breaks new ground for carnivores, as in his avant-garde cider-glazed Niagara pork loin 'n' belly over decorative kale in an apple-skin reduction. But he also caters to the veggie crowd, most notably with his dramatically plated Spring Salad. You won't know whether to eat it or wear it as a corsage.
Dinner Tuesday to Sunday 6 to 11 pm. Reservations recommended. Bar till late. Closed Monday. Licensed. Access: two steps at door, washrooms in basement.
4. Hanoi 3 Seasons
1135 Queen E, at Larchmount, 416-469-3010, hanoi3seasons.com. Hai Luke Tran's sweet North Vietnamese bistro often gets lost in the foodie shuffle. But summer's the perfect time to rediscover this Leslieville gem, if only for its terrific bamboo deck out back. There, over several beverages, linger over spicy baby clams as explosive as ever and grilled grouper laced with dill under a hazy evening sky.
Tuesday to Sunday for lunch noon to 3 pm, dinner 5 to 10 pm. Closed Monday, holidays. Licensed. Access: short bump at door, washrooms in basement.
5. Earth Bloor West
2448 Bloor W, at Jane, 416-763-2222, thinkglobaleatlocal.ca. Half-price locavore appetizers - crispy Ewenity Dairy cheese curds with chipotle ketchup, PEI mussels in chili garlic cream - and drink specials daily from 4 to 6 pm on an expansive rooftop deck. Other locations: 124 Danforth, at Broadview, 416-466-2000; 1055 Yonge, at Roxborough, 416-551-9890
Lunch Tuesday to Friday 11:30 am to 3 pm, dinner Tuesday to Wednesday 5 to 10 pm, Thursday to Saturday 5 to 11 pm. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 11 am to 3 pm. Closed Monday, holidays. Licensed. Access: four steps at door, washrooms in basement.