325 Bay, at Adelaide, 416-637-5550, stockrestaurant.com
If you're at all afraid of heights, this narrow slip of a glassed-in patio on the 31st floor of the Trump Hotel probably isn't your idea of fun.
The rest of us will take in the skyscraping panorama of the lower financial district, the majestic art deco details of the old Commerce Court illuminated in the warm afternoon sun. In the distance, light refracts off the lake. In surroundings this swank, we're surprised we made it past the uniformed doorman, let alone the maitre d'.
You'll still be better dressed than the well-heeled American tourists in track suits who can afford to stay here. But then, who cares what you're wearing if you can fork out $140 for 50 grams of premium sturgeon caviar or $56 for Nova Scotia lobster, asparagus and whipped Yukon Gold potatoes (24 carat, we presume)? The hotel's extravagant all-you-can eat - and eat and eat - $49 Sunday brunch buffet seems like a relative bargain.
Breakfast daily 6:30 am to 11 am, lunch Monday to Saturday 11 am to 3 pm, lounge menu daily 3 to 5 pm, dinner nightly 5 to 10:30 pm. Sunday brunch 11 am to 3 pm. Bar till midnight Sunday to Wednesday, 1 am Thursday to Saturday. No reservations on patio. Licensed. Access: barrier-free.
10 Dundas E, at Yonge, 416-263-9800, jackastors.com
Situated on the fourth floor of the AMC theatres, this most perfunctory of corporate roadhouses offers first-rate sightlines of Yonge-Dundas Square from its heated 100-seat patio, something you might want to remember if you're thinking of attending any of this year's NXNE concerts.
Service is friendly, the playlist rarely strays from classic rock - Bryan Adams, later-period Fleetwood Mac - and the pub-grub menu's all over the map, encompassing everything from pulled pork poutine to pad thai. The bacon cheeseburger deluxe and a pitcher of sangria look like safe bets.
Keep in mind that nothing up here comes cheap. But, hey, we can see Sleigh Bells!
Daily 11 am to 2 am. Closed some holidays. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: barrier-free.
66 Wellington W, at York, 416-777-1144, bymark.ca
There are patios and then there is Bymark, the crown jewel in televisual chef Mark McEwan's constantly expanding culinary empire. Surrounded by the looming towers of the modernist Mies van der Rohe-designed Toronto Dominion Centre, the 150-seat resto-lounge might as well be a rooftop retreat in reverse, only one timelessly appointed in leather and wood by local design gurus Yabu Pushelberg.
The price of admission is steep. The signature cocktail - 3 very chilled ounces of Absolut Citron vodka, pink grapefruit juice and champagne - commands a healthy 15 bucks, while the secret-recipe Colonel Sanders will cost you 16 smackers. But no visit to this stunning Bay Street boîte is complete without one of McEwan's legendary $35 cheeseburgers made with 8 ounces of grass-feed PEI beef. Out of your price range? Order the slider version off the bar menu for only $8.50.
Monday to Friday 11:30 am to 11 pm, dinner Saturday 5 to 11 pm. Bar nightly to close. Closed Sunday, some holidays. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: barrier-free.
Against the Grain
25 Dockside, at Queens Quay E, 647-344-1562, atgurbantavern.ca
For a world-class city on a so-called Great lake, Toronto certainly lacks for patios on the water, tourist traps excepted. Against the Grain cuts against that grain.
Slightly off the beaten track, this upscale resto-lounge with its perpetually mobbed terrace can be found right on the harbour, at the foot of Sherbourne next to Sugar Beach on the south side of the Corus complex. Across the water lie the yacht club, Ward's Island and the eastern channel. Sailboats float past, seagulls shriek overhead. Good luck scoring a walk-in.
Used to be, if you came on a weekday in the middle of the afternoon, you'd have the 150-seat patio practically to yourself. Not any more now that everything on tap and all appetizers are discounted two bucks from 3 to 6 pm.
Monday and Tuesday 11 am to 11 pm, Wednesday and Thursday 11 am to midnight, Friday 11 am to 1 am, Saturday 10:30 am to 1 am, Sunday 10:30 am to 11 pm. No reservations on patio. Licensed. Access: barrier-free.
131 Bloor W, at Avenue Rd, 416-551-9929, lasociete.ca
On the second floor of the 60s-chic Colonnade, on what was known as the Mink Mile back when it was fashionable to wear the fur of dead animals, the spectacular wraparound terrace at Charles Khabouth's recently rebranded La Société has some of the best sightlines around.
Why, on a clear day you can see right across the street to Tiffany's - and Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel and Cartier to boot!
Perhaps that explains the mostly orange-skinned clientele, many of whom seem to be speaking Russian as they absent-mindedly pick at their $179 towers of seafood and $27 foie gras hot dogs. Those of us of lesser means will make do with one of the tastiest cheeseburgers in Yorkville. Sided with frites as skinny as a supermodel, it's a steal at 18 bucks.
Monday to Thursday 11:30 am to 11 pm, Friday 11:30 am to midnight, Saturday 11 am to midnight, Sunday 11 am to 11 pm. Weekend brunch till 3 pm. Bar nightly till close. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: barrier-free.