Best by a Park
Flatiron & Firkin
49 Wellington E, at Church, 416-362-3444.
Other than the CN Tower and Honest Ed's, is there any Toronto edifice more iconographic than the Flatiron? Pictured on the cover of virtually every local guidebook, the wedge-shaped building is home to this beer-soaked franchise and its scenic 80-seat wraparound patio on Berczy Park. While the BCE twin towers loom overhead, sun worshippers imbibe from a lineup of more than a dozen draughts on tap and nine vintages by the glass while pigging out on pub-grub standards like bangers, beans and mash (translation: sausages, baked beans and mashed potatoes) and baskets of chicken wings sold by the pound.
111 King E, at Church, 416-366-8191.
This tony downtown patio faces not just the Sculpture Garden but St. James Cathedral as well. A favourite with wedding parties, this elegantly appointed space features Cal-Ital mains like roast loin of ostrich in wild berry and port reduction and Muscovy duck in brandy sauce as well as a nightly pre-theatre $35 three-course prix fixe. Live dinner music, too.
102 Lakeshore, Ward's Island, 416-203-2152.
Nestled in a grove of tall pines, this idyllic Ward's Island café just off the south-shore boardwalk will be open seven days a week for the summer starting in mid-June. While its front-yard beer garden makes the perfect pit stop for those who want to grab a quick pint while blading, the main attraction's the former community centre's patio on its south lawn, complete with shuffleboard court and weekend brunch.
More patios near a park
520 Wellington W, at Portland, 416-341-8880.
From the owners of Bedford Academy comes this three-storey downtown outpost opposite historic Victoria Memorial Park.
1212 Dundas W, at Lakeview, 416-588-4900.
Cocktail lounge and upmarket coffee shop on leafy Lakeview Avenue Parkette.
884 Queen E, at Booth, 416-465-8855.
Weekend brunch overlooking the tennis courts at Leslieville's Jimmy Simpson park.
1156 Queen E, at Jones, 416-465-8085.
Secluded backyard getaway backing on Leslie Grove Park.