276 Augusta, at College, 647-436-5874.
Since its launch last year, this tremendous tapas bar at the top of Kensington Market has been a mob scene, with lineups out the front door the rule rather than the exception. But with the launch of a secluded backyard deck as well as a streetside terrace out front, downtown's hottest spot doubles its capacity. Even better, owner Veronica Laudes and chef Carlos Hernandez have just returned from a working holiday in Spain, where they were inspired to add several new sharable dishes to their Catalan card including a baby fava bean 'n' artichoke heart salad and a canatu yellow gazpacho laced with avocado, gooseberries and shrimp.
96 Tecumseth, at Whitaker, 416-913-5830.
For almost two years, owner/chefs Jason Inniss and Bertrand Alépée's beautiful bistro in Susur Lee's old Lotus has been hailed as one of the finest dining experiences in Toronto. Come summer, it's even more so, especially when you're tucking into the likes of foie gras sticky pudding and escargot ravioli on the exclusive street-side grotto next to a burbling water feature. Bonus: on chilly nights, the house hands out tangerine pashminas!
580 Church, at Dundonald, 416-944-9888.
Although she has several unsuccessful makeovers under her belt, the Village's prettiest and most urbane patio's current incarnation could best be described as Gone With The Wind Does South Beach. With the best optics on the strip and a contemporary kitchen under the direction of Oprah Winfrey's former personal chef, no less, this shaded boîte looks to become the hottest thing to hit Church Street since the late lamented Five Alarm Diner.
111 Queen E, at Mutual, 416-863-6006.
One of Toronto's most acclaimed restos, this luxe supper club in a converted east-side warehouse cum spa takes it al fresco once weather permits on a terrific terrace in the complex's four-storey atrium. Against a backdrop of shade trees glowing with fairy lights and a water wall, foodies nosh on chef Lorenzo Loseto's genre-busting five-course tasting menu and a just-introduced weekly patio card. Bonus: vegetable gardens fed from a rooftop water reserve!
Live Organic Food Bar
264 Dupont, at Spadina, 416-515-2002.
Arguably T.O.'s best vegetarian restaurant, owner/chef Jennifer Italiano's north Annex eatery embraces the great outdoors on its secluded, all-white backyard deck during the summer. And though she earned her stellar rep for a card of all-raw dishes like the faux lasagna of uncooked zucchini noodles layered with cashew ricotta, tomato marinara and basil pesto, the vivacious veg-head now offers several cooked dishes as well. Bonus: Sunday egg-free brunch!
More patios for great food
184 Augusta, at Denison Square, 416-591-1245.
This beloved Kensington Market covered deck offers relatively inexpensive pints and pitchers of Sangria alongside fabulously grilled Portuguese-style sardines.
90 Avenue Rd, at Cumberland, 416-961-2622.
A favourite of Elvis Costello and Diana Krall, the seasonal menu at owner/chef Bob Berman's upscale uptown kitchen features slow-cooked barbecued ribs and miniature grilled cheese sandwiches.
Churchmouse and Firkin
475 Church, at Maitland, 416-927-1735.
Leather brunch every third Sunday of the month.
815 St Clair W, at Atlas, 416-410-1812.
What other patio serves a respectable 10-ounce strip loin sided with lumpy mashed potatoes, grilled veggies, decent dessert and coffee for only $10.95?
4 Irwin, at Yonge, 416-923-5438.
Kenyan beer and African honey mead accentuate trad Ethiopian dishes just off the Yonge Street strip.
924 College, at Dovercourt, 416-850-1729.
Toronto's hottest new bistro opens to a small enclosed deck on the curb.
5 Mercer, at John, 416-850-2855.
Posh Mexicana and the largest lineup of tequila in town, opposite dramatic Metro Hall.
307 Wellesley E, at Parliament, 416-929-2099.
Sri Lankan specialties like fiery kottu rotty and string hoppers on a quiet Cabbagetown side street.
1408 Danforth, at Coxwell, 416-469-2513.
Get together over communal Ethiopian combos till after midnight weekends.
2A Kensington, at Dundas W, 416-598-1573.
This modest Kensington Market spot is the only place in town that serves dim sum outdoors.
1862 Queen E, at Rainsford, 416-686-1998.
An unpretentious French bistro on the edge of the Beach, a neighbourhood - with a few exceptions - not known for its cuisine.
431 College, at Bathurst, 416-603-3090.
King Crown nachos on two all-night streetcar lines Fridays and Saturdays till 4:30 am
582 Lansdowne, at Paton, 647-438-9730.
Value-minded, often organic Caribbean grub on two patios, one street-side, the other out back.