With 11 restaurant and cafe patios in Toronto’s vibrant Riverside neighbourhood, there is plenty of room to enjoy the outdoors city-slicker style. Whether you’re a night hawk out for a night cap, an early bird after eggs-Benny, a day drinker, day dreamer, vegetarian, meatlover who loves footfall or someone who loves to sip lattes and people watch – this cozy neighbourhood has you made in the shade when it comes to enjoying the city sunny-side up or under an umbrella on a patio. Riverside offers the very best of Toronto’s food, wine, coffee, and views so get out, grab a refresher and enjoy this heatwave while it lasts.
This blog gives you a sneak peek of each patio – ordered from west to east on the map – and find out what makes each unique. To make for easy reading, what makes each patio unique is summed up in one word, right off the bat. So read on, then go check them out for yourself!
1. Il Ponte / Mediterranean
625 Queen St E. | 416-778-0404 | ilponte.ca
Located at the very western limits of Riverside on the south side of Queen East beside the DVP, Il Ponte boasts a patio worth visiting just to see the sunset. This west facing terrace is the perfect place to relax with a glass of wine and a Margherita pizza after a long day.
2. Cannonball Coffee and Bar / Hidden
641 Queen St. E | 416-463-0500 | facebook.com/thecannonball641
Keep your eyes to the sky on the south side of Queen East, just west of Carroll, and you’ll see a quirky white sign featuring a once-bitten slice of bread and a cup of coffee. Past the magazines and laptops in this cozy cafe, you’ll enter an outdoor oasis in the middle of the city. Surrounded by trees and protected by shade, this patio is perfect for afternoon beers and a good book. In the evenings you’ll often find a livelier crowd out back where live music happens after sundown.
3. Dark Horse Espresso Bar / Vibrant
630 Queen St. E | 647-436-3460 | darkhorseespresso.com
If you’d like to take your doggy on a date, head to Dark Horse Espresso Bar at the corner of Queen and Carroll. This vibrant patio makes for a perfect pit-stop to warm up or cool off (or wake up) with a beverage in Riverside, especially if you’ve just walked over the bridge. The spacious east facing patio offers a variety of seating options including a giant bench that begs for company and a couple of pillows.
4. Aft Kitchen + Bar / Woodsy
686 Queen St. E | 647-346-1541 | aftbar.com
Aft’s secluded back patio is where country meets city in Riverside. You’ll find an outdoor bar, a BBQ (usually fired up) and lots of meat on the menu. Located just west of Queen East and Broadview on the north side, it’s an ideal spot to dig into some smoked ribs and catch up on the latest in Toronto sports on a hot summer day.
5. The Broadview Hotel / Views
106 Broadview Ave. | 416-686-9199 | thebroadviewhotel.ca
The latest and greatest addition to Riverside’s outdoor dining scene is The Broadview Hotel’s stunning rooftop terrace. Located seven stories above Queen East and Broadview, this patio offers one-of-a-kind panoramic views of Toronto all under the sun, the moon and the spell of a soothing botanical vibe.
6. The Opera House Grill & Patio / Sociable!
737 Queen St. E. | 647-343-7022 | theoperahousetoronto.com
A great spot for people-watching and relaxing, the Opera House Grill patio is where to go for Greek poutine and a glass of wine on those summer evenings when you just don’t want to cook. Located at the corner of Queen and Lewis, this patio is super chill, especially on afternoons when you’re just want a latte and free Wifi.
7. Chez Nous Wine Bar / European!
798 Queen St. E | 647-909-7208 | cheznouswinebar.com
Enjoy the rest of Ontario’s summer evenings with the best in Ontario wines on a European style patio at Chez Nous Wine Bar. Located at the corner of Queen East and Boulton, this cozy east-facing patio makes for a perfect date night, especially for sparking, white, red, and rose wine lovers.
8. Boxcar Social / Hip
4 Boulton Ave. | 647-344-4530 | boxcarsocial.ca
While it’s less patio and more two large beautiful benches with an eastern exposure, Boxcar Social’s Boulton Street patio makes for a relaxing place to sit with a cup of coffee and a savoury snack and watch a more residential version of Toronto go by. Dogs definitely welcome.
9. Mazz Japanese Bistro / Cozy
806 Queen St. E | 647-347-8744 | mazzbistro.com
Eat your sushi and sashimi al fresco. You’d never guess that one of the most charming patios in Riverside is located behind the teeny tiny Mazz Japanese Bistro on Queen East near Boulton. From the street, this restaurant comes across sleek and posh but the patio out back has garden party vibes.
10. Tabule / LIVELY
810 Queen St. E | 416-465-2500 | tabule.ca
Located on Queen East just west of De Grassi St, Tabule’s colourful back patio is a summertime hotspot, always packed with a lively crowd, with friendly service and the best middle eastern cuisine in Toronto. The patio is open seven days a week for lunch, dinner, and late night drinks.
11. Bonjour Brioche / SHADED
812 Queen St. E. | 416-406-1250 | bonjourbrioche.com
Located at the corner of Queen East and De Grassi, this french bakery dishes out the best in brunch and a shaded patio perfect for people watching. Covered by trees and offering a nice breeze, you sometimes forget you are in the middle of the city, especially on weekdays. On weekends you may need to stand in line first for a seat. During winter months, the heated patio makes for a cozy spot to enjoy brunch.
Know a great Riverside patio that we’ve missed? Let us know!
Karen Lloyd is a writer, photographer and website designer in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood.