Jennifer Agg (left) and Grant Van Gameren’s big hit Black Hoof has a hot patio to match its stellar menu.
1. The Black Hoof
928 Dundas W, at Gore Vale, 416-551-8854. The most audacious kitchen in town, Grant van Gameren and Jennifer Agg's all-charcuterie bistro may not take reservations, but there's no doubt their grub - cappelletti stuffed with calf's brains, horse tartare, beef heart with salsa verde - is worth the aggro. When you get on the list, make sure to ask for a table in the candlelit courtyard out back.
207 Ossington, at Dundas W, 416-534-8520. Another no-reso resto, Tom Thai's (ex-Tempo) eclectic tapas spot doubles in size with the launch of its new 40-seat backyard patio. Follow Thai's legendary grilled/braised/grilled again short ribs in sweet sticky sauce with his spice-twisted take on chicken wings.
111 Queen E, at Mutual, 416-863-6006, georgeonqueen.com. Dramatically staged in the atrium of a 19th-century warehouse, chef Lorenzo Loseto's George dazzles with a multi-course tasting menu that's as drop-dead gorgeous as the garden terrace. At lunch, salad and anything off the special patio card - seared ahi tuna with tempura artichokes and fresh navu beans, say - comes in at $22. And after work, there are hors d'oeuvres and cocktails at the just-installed wet bar.
276 Augusta, at College, 416-961-7373, toritorestaurant.com. Protected from the late day's rays by a billowing tent, the backyard deck of Veronica Laudes's lauded Kensington tapas bar invites comparisons to Spain's Costa del Sol. Chef Luis Valenzuela's playful Iberian card and bottomless pitchers of sangria make the beach scene even more delicious.
5. Harbord Room
89 Harbord, at Spadina, 416-962-8989, theharbordroom.com. Scoring a reservation at Cory Vitiello and Dave Mitton's smart 30-seat resto can be a challenge at the best of times. Except Sunday and Monday nights. That's when it's walk-in only and the family-style prix fixe - grilled asparagus, smoked ham salad, pistou-stuffed fish, pistou and strawberry shortcake - is only $35 on the super-chic garden patio.