Eat & Retreat
By Brooke Madden
Is there anything better than a cool cocktail on a hot day? Happy hour out in the heat is a long-beloved tradition here in the GTA, and with the highly anticipated season here at last, patios have been popping up everywhere. No complaints here, but narrowing down the right places to sip and snack can become a challenge. Fear not! We’ve done it for you. Check out our top ten GTA patios to hit up this season.
1) The Bronte Boathouse
I’m a huge oyster fanatic, so any time I can find a place with oysters available seven days a week, I take note of it. The Bronte Boathouse in Oakville offers an impressive selection of seafood, sushi, and sandwiches. Casual lakefront dining has been perfected at this centrally located establishment. If you’re seeking a patio with fresh, exciting dishes and creative cocktails, the patio at Bronte Boathouse is definitely worth a visit.
Locally owned and operated, CaFfiNo is probably the best-kept secret I’ve stumbled upon during my time living in Toronto. Hidden in a red brick building in Liberty Village, this old-school Italian-style patio offers home-cooked, decadent pastas, pizzas and wines. Its back patio is like an Italian courtyard, complete with string lights and elegant place settings. You’d never know it was there if you weren’t looking for it, so it makes an excellent date-night surprise. You’re welcome!
3) La Cantina
Family-owned and -operated, La Cantina offers an Italian fine dining experience for the Hamilton community. Led by executive chef Maurizio Grande, La Cantina takes inspiration from old-school Italian restaurants – and their patio does too. Escape to an Italian oasis, and proudly support local on your next patio trip to Hamilton.
4) Spencer’s at the Waterfront
Find yourself in Burlington this summer? Take advantage of the city’s gorgeous lake views, and pop some bubbly on the patio at Spencer’s at the Waterfront. Well known in Burlington for its fabulous views, seafood and steak options, Spencer’s at the Waterfront offers guests the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, all in the heart of the city.
5) The Open Cork Restaurant & Lounge
The Open Cork offers “Cali-Ital”-inspired cuisine, and I cannot get enough of it. A blend of fresh, California-style ingredients and classic Italian fare, their menu is excellent for summer nights. Enjoy live entertainment and an extensive, award-winning selection of wines at this Mississauga gem.
6) Downtown Bistro & Grill
I grew up eating at this spot, so it holds a special place in my heart. Their patio is a little bit smaller than the others, which makes your dining experience pleasantly more intimate. After a nice walk in downtown Burlington, pop in to the Bistro for a quick drink and some fresh bruschetta. Or book a full sit-down dinner experience for the whole family.
7) Rapscallion & Co.
With a unique classic cocktail bar-inspired aesthetic, Rapscallion & Co in Hamilton offers a decadent, eclectic menu. If a Sidecar and Steak Au Poivre tickle your fancy, this place is for you. Themed events, like their “Beatles Brunch,” also tend to make an appearance, so keep an eye on their Instagram!
8) Cove Bar & Restaurant
Located on Bronte Harbour, Cove is a gastro-pub and seafood restaurant right on the water. The patio here seamlessly blends the indoor/outdoor aesthetic, with comfortable couches and pretty plants. But the best part of this hangout is definitely the food. The fish and chips is a must-try, and the hot seafood platter is out of this world. Definitely a great patio for a girls’ night out in Oakville.
9) Snug Harbour Seafood Bar & Grill
Calling all seafood lovers! Port Credit is home to Snug Harbour Seafood Bar & Grill. With its patio located right on the water, you know the seafood is going to be delicious. Enjoy oysters, calamari and other seafood favourites, or indulge in some comforting mac n’ cheese. This menu has it all – and the view to accompany it.
Planning a night out in Toronto’s exclusive King West neighbourhood? Look no further than Lavelle. You’ll want to make reservations for this spot, but Lavelle’s iconic rooftop patio offers some of the most stunning views of the Toronto skyline. Its Japanese-Brazilian comfort cuisine pairs meticulously with the selection of cocktails. If you plan it right, you can even take a dip in the exclusive rooftop pool!