Patio Season 2023 [Toronto] [GTA]

Rather than extend the previous thread, I thought I would start a new one for this year.

I’ll start us off by noting that Lake Inez opened reservations for their Mystery Patio dinner experience for reservations (we just snagged a table for June 23). For those unfamiliar, this is a 6-course meal with a cocktail and wine pairings. It’s usually delicious, fun, and very entertaining.


A few nights ago, we needed a patio close to the opera and one of the few now open was Sud Forno. While offering less variety than other Terroni locations, our experiences in the past have always been pretty good.

The patio is located in the alley beside the restaurant. It is covered over top, but is otherwise very much open air. Service was a little slow, but we got out in time for the opera.

Buon Per Te - Empress gin, Cichetto Limone, ginger syrup, grapefruit juice, soda - pleasant, easy drinking, but could have had a bit more ginger.

Glasses of wine:

  • Rosato 2019 Terre Siciliane IGT, Ayunta - great, with strawberry and butterscotch notes (no oak).
  • 2018 Moliss Barbera d’Asti Superiore - lots of red fruit and low tannins.

Tartare di salmone (special) - smoked and raw Chinook salmon, mascarpone, frisée, fried capers, lemon zest - a simple and satisfying riff on lox and cream cheese flavours.

Primavera pizza (special) - white pizza, mozzarella, zucchini, white onion, tomato confit, Taggiasche olives, anchovies, basil - very tasty if not especially spring-y. Note that the dough at Sud Forno is a different recipe than at other Terroni locations, although I’m not sure we could tell.

Ravioli d’anatra - duck confit and butternut squash, with butter, sage, crispy prosciutto - soft duck marrying nicely with the sweetness of the squash, then a rich, almost cheesy sauce.

“Bis al Volo” - Two vanilla panna cotta! (you can mix or match panna cotta and tiramisu) - lovely, mixed berry jam on top.
Pistachio and nocciola gelato - the hazelnut was better, pistachio too sweet (but at least not fake green coloured).

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Good idea! Thanks for starting a new thread!


The one on Hazelton and Yorkville recently renovated their patio and the covered area should open soon (the main entrance area is already open)

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We went to Lapinou’s patio with friends on Saturday night. It remains very comfortable. The heat lamps will make it very warm if there is a chill in the air. The extendable canopy overhead will block sunlight, but not a heavy downpour. It can get quite breezy if the wind direction is right.

Lapinou started off more eclectic and inventive (our favourite phase), then shifted towards more traditional French bistro (steak frites), and now has swung to a bit more modern French bistro. Food remains very good and the French wine selection is also extensive. Servers are friendly, though the service itself was a little slow. Having a larger party, we sampled much of the current menu.


Gimme Shelter - Goslings rum, lime, housemade passion fruit ginger beer, angostura bitters - like a more tropical Dark ‘n’ Stormy.

A custom-made virgin sour with coconut, egg white, and tropical fruits - fun.

[Not pictured] Le Solstice - charred pineapple infused rum, Bacardi 8 year rum, lime, pineapple, cardamom, cinnamon (on the egg white on top) - also very tropical and delicious.

The wines-by-the glass are available as 3 oz pours, if you want to do lots of sampling. We tried:

  • Domaine Zinck 2020 Riesling from Alsace - nice but not as aromatic as last time.
  • Guy Breton Cru Régnié 2021 Beaujolais - unfiltered, stewed strawberries, rhubarb, a hint of mushroom, and wonderful.

Thankfully they brought back their amazing house-smoked ham…

… covered with shaved Comte, celery, caper, truffled mayo-ish drizzle. We had it with the…

… brodflour baguette, warm and oozing with sourdough flavour.

There were three raw options (not including the oysters):

Scallop with green apple, radish, mint, lemon ponzu - fresh, light, delightful.

Seabass, passion fruit, habanero, finger lime - closer to a more standard ceviche.

Beef tartare with chermoula, crispy shallot, yogurt, crackers, on labneh - though the least visually appealing, this was a flavour bomb, rich with cumin. The one to get of the three.

Two of the warm apps followed:

Mushroom croquette, truffle honey, chevre - not oily, crispy on the outside, rich mushroom-y and cheesy on the inside, with a hint of sweet.

French onion tart - caramelized onions, emmental, gruyere, niçoise olives - good but a little too salty (from the olives probably).

Then two salads:

Gem lettuce, meyer lemon, fresh herbs, pistachio - simple and very winning, with the herbs and pistachio providing the right accents.

Lapinou Caesar salad - castelfranco radicchio, parmesan, breadcrumbs, and a nice anchovy dressing - nice, though some bacon-y touch would have elevated it.

We had two regular mains:

Organic salmon, with morels, asparagus, ramp salsa verde, vin jaune - crisp skin, just done and moist, with lots of spring flavours and textures.

Iberico pork, grilled cabbage, white beans, yuzu kosho - moist, richly flavoured, and very satisfying.

They also have larger shareable mains:

Duck au poivre - whole crown of duck, green peppercorn jus - duck was perfectly cooked and very tasty, but the jus had a tad too much salt.

Whole branzino (1.5 lb), lightly cooked, with lemon, a great salsa verde, and pickled caper leaves.

We ordered two sides:

House fries with garlic aioli - thick cut, brined in vinegar first, with a crispy outer texture.

Sauteed spinach - breadcrumbs, black garlic vinaigrette - refreshingly without cloying amounts of butter.

And all three desserts:

Coconut sorbet, fresh and pickled rhubarb, pink peppercorn - light and tangy, perhaps the best of the 3.

Chocolate cake, cream cheese, raspberry, cocoa nibs - not very chocolate-y, but also not too sweet and the overall effect was still very enjoyable.

Brown butter tart, banana mousse, rum ice cream - maybe a tad too much salt in the brown butter, but the mousse and ice cream were awesome.


I enjoyed brunch on the Union Patio this morning’s. I had the Swiss Train Ride (Croque Madame, $24) and a cappuccino.

They let us stay for 2 h. In the past, it was a 90 minute table.

Ventilation was great. I’ll be back.


Booked a table at Ascari Enoteca (the original Queen East location) and arrived just in time for the thunderstorms last night. They drained our table, moved it in again the building wall, and dried off all the seats and table surfaces. After that, everything went fine. All the food remains very good to excellent and they have a great wine selection.

We ordered a bottle of an orange wine: Ampeleia Bianco 2020, Tuscany (trebbiano, malvasia, ansonica) - very nice, caramel-y, tartly tannin-y and cinnamon, with a bit of apricots.

Tonno All’Azqua Pazza - lightly poached albacore tuna, tomato puree, olive, onion, fennel slice, mint leaf - light, with all kinds of vegetable notes.

Grilled asparagus, lemon ricotta, soppressata bagna cauda, hazelnut pangrattato - this was great - fresh asparagus, cushioned in pillowy ricotta, with salty, spicy, and umami hits from the rest.

Burrata Primaverile - with charred baby zucchini, watermelon radish, fava beans, snap peas, basil soubise, pickled pearl onion, mint, and teardrop peppers - almost a complex salad with burrata overtop.

Arancini All’ Amatriciana - pecorino arancini, housemade guanciale, black pepper, tomato sauce - cheesy and delicious

Agnolotti di Ricotta - morel mushroom, asparagus, onion flowers, preserved lemon butter, pickled ramps - more spring fun in pasta form.

Linguine alla Puttanesca - datterini tomatoes, smoked whitefish, castelvetrano olives, capers - a nice idea to sub in local smoked whitefish for the usual anchovies; didn’t quite succeed although the dish was otherwise well-executed.

Rhubarb pistachio tart with white chocolate chantilly - simple, not too sweet, and gorgeous.

Panna cotta (goat yogurt?) with rhubarb granita, rhubarb tuile, coconut crumble, rhubarb, raspberries - they always do panna cotta well and this was great, with nice tartness from the rhubarb elements.


Finally got around to trying le paradis
They have small sitting area outside The weather turned so ended up inside
Had the following
Beet salad, bocacini salad
Duck breast I tried no pic was decent
I had the veal kidneys. Slightly over cooked but I haven’t had these in ages maybe so my reference is off
Finished off with Catalan cream again my reference is off. A busy spot for a weekday filled with regulars

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Haven’t been to Le Paradis in over 2 decades. I actually had a kidney dish there, which was very good at the time. Do you recommend we revisit?

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I’ve lived a few blocks from Le Paradis for 8 years, but I haven’t been in over a decade. I had dined there at least 2 times between 2002 and 2013. It used to be one friend’s favourite restaurant in the city. I don’t like kidneys, so I wouldn’t have ordered those. I probably ordered duck, seafood or steak frites.

I was turned off that the owner had views on the opposite side of the political spectrum from mine, in 2020 and 2021.

I will be leaving the neighborhood this month, and it’s unlikely I will visit Le Paradis over the next couple weeks.

The bistro patio I have been meaning to visit is Maison T. It’s a nice little patio. I hope to visit this month or next. I also want to visit Pompette soon.

Le Baratin’s patio opening was held up by the city’s red tape for the CaféTO programmes. The takeout food @rstuart and I enjoyed last weekend was very good! I will revisit Le Baratin for takeout or patio.


Maison T was pretty good when we went., but perhaps not worth putting on a high priority for a repeat visit.

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Hmm I would pass though if you just want to try the veal kidney. I will probably end up there again as want to support a neighborhood spot to try other dishes.

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Breakfast sandwich at Emmer today. I managed to get an order in when there were only 3 people ahead of me in line. There were 15 people behind me by the time I paid. This was around 11:20 am on a Sunday.

I had an iced latte and breakfast sandwich on their park bench outside the covered patio. Also, pieces of quiche to-go.

My lucky window of a short wait time was before the 15 minute lull between the breakfast menu and lunch menu.

The Sunday crowd is a different crowd. It seems like a lot of people who like making public displays of affection are heading to Emmer around 11:15 am, and there are a ton of couples with strollers. The dads almost all are bearded, wearing baseball hats and expensive non technical running shoes with anklets. I was tempted to take a photo of some people ahead of me in line, because it looked like the dads had intentionally matched their Cole Haan and All Birds shoes with their shorts, shirts and baseball hats.

The moms with the strollers usually have long hair, usually straight , often with a lot of highlights. The dogs are usually Doodles, but today I saw a miniature poodle and this black dog with a Swiss cross collar.

It’s just weird how uniform the Sunday brunch demographic for Emmer is.

Here is my breakfast sandwich, $10 before tax.


I liked Maison T. a lot, though the price of the onion soup ($18) is pushing it. A narrow menu, but well chosen, with most main-dish prices, given the quality, acceptable. Steak-frites perfectly executed, one of the best in town, and I’ve ingested many of them. An attractive patio on Shaw Street, away from the nearby traffic, but not the NOISE of the traffic on Dupont. Unless you like patios beyond reason, I’d sit inside. Amiable service. Nicely refurbished from its previous rickety incarnation, the much-missed Universal Grill.


We took two friends to Dova recently, now that the back patio is reliably open. Food and wine remain excellent. Service was friendly, if a bit spotty (e.g., no cooling container for our wine until requested).

Cocktails remain delicious:

Calice cocktail - bourbon, chartreuse green, amaro, dom benedictine, rosemary syrup, lemon juice - lots of complexity and yet so yummy. We also ordered a bottle of 2021 Possente Kima, cataratto - nice and grapefruity.

Burrata: peach, heirloom cherry tomatoes, wine reduction, olive oil. Peaches were only OK, being not yet in season. The rest was lovely.

Capesante: fresh sweet raw scallops, wild fennel, peperoncino, orange, Zammara EVOO. Consistently on the menu for good reason.

Pesce spada: cucumber, mustard seeds, mints. Another lovely crudo that has been on the menu over the past year.

Ravioli all’Astice: cauliflower ravioli, lobster, chives, saffron sauce - a very good newcomer pasta. We lamented the loss of the Rico e pepe.

Fighi pizza: black fig, parmigiana reggiano, buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto crudo, lemon blossom ginger juniper honey - sweet and salty goodness.

Fior di zucca- pizza bianchi, stracciatella, anchovies, lemon, zucchini flower - as amazing as last time.

Finocchio: wood oven roasted fennel, house aged wine vinegar - simple and well-executed.

Spinaci e cicoria: spinach, dandelion, chili oil, pistachio dust, shallots, lemon zest - simple green livened up with multiple extra falvours.

Arancia: tiramisu savoiardi, orange mascarpone, Cointreau liqueur, candied orange, pistachio. This remains the dessert to get, half regular tiramisu and half orange tiramisu.

Cannolo: sweet fresh ricotta, candied lemon, dark chocolate & roasted pistachio cream - a fine version of this standby.


Brunch at Bar Koukla. I wanted the breakfast sandwich (proino koulouri) but that was not available today.

They were quick. The egg was maybe a little runny on the Dakos, which was really Toast, not Dakos. Dakos is a Cretan Rusk, not a thick slice of toast. Pretty tasty.

The potatoes and lamb were quite good. Probably a little more food than I needed today, so I will walk it off.

45 minute wait at Union on Ossington around 12 pm. The patios were packed , with 10 plus people in line, at Old School and Sisters & Co at noon.

Manita isn’t offering take-out anymore, apparently.


That menu looks interesting.

It’s too bad I’m rarely around for brunch.

The Baklava Pancakes is calling for me so hard that even the warnings of goddess Kirke would do me no good.


Baklava cheesecake is also a thing lately- at Mamakas across the street (which has $45 prix fixe lunch, and generally is better restaurant, same owner Thanos Tripi), also found in Greektown at Serano Bakery and Cafe Serano on Pape .

Here is Mamakas’ patio today. I probably should have splurged on the $45 prix fixe lunch at Mamakas.

Everything sounds good in concept at Koukla, and it could be amazing, but it’s been short on execution both times I’ve visited.

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Sisters & Co has 4 outdoor 2-tops on the sidewalk this summer. No shade.

Very happy with the Char Siu Benny today. Sisters & Co also does pick-up through Ritual.

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Finally tried Bar Vendetta a few nights ago. This is in the former Black Hoof’s digs and is part of the Jen Agg mini-empire. There is a small street patio out front, but the nicer patio is out back. It’s covered, but still open air. Best of all, they don’t play music out back, so you can actually hear each other talk without yelling.

There is an extensive wine list, mainly by the bottle. There are also a few fine cocktails. The food is Italian-focused, mainly a bunch of antipasti and a few choice pastas. The pastas are a bit more straightforward than the ones at, say, Grey Gardens. But they are well-executed with quality ingredients and well-balanced flavours.

We started with a couple of cocktails:

  • Glitterball (left) - fino, melon, elderflower, chartreuse, cava
  • Gulf Stream - Jamaican rum, pineapple, peach, yuzu, gentian, cava,cucumber slices
    Both were layered and needed mixing, but did not come with a mixing implement.
    They were both refreshing and well-balanced when mixed.

We then moved on to a bottle of 2015 pinot noir, Freja Cellars, Willamette Valley - almost minty with lots of strawberry and cherry; we all loved it.

Scallop crudo: buttermilk, caviar, tarragon - light, simple, and wonderful.

Burrata with spicy pepper jelly, sesame snaps, red onion - quite sweet, almost dessert-y, so it may or may not work for you.

Garlic bread stuffed with cheese - just as good as it sounds.

Meatballs, with tomato sauce, basil pesto, parmesan - richly flavoured and living up to the recommendations in various write-ups.

Heirloom tomato salad, with garlic scapes, cultured butter - highlighting the flavour of in-season tomatoes.

Crown cacio e pepe with ricotta, lemon, black pepper, pecorino - another dish they are known for and rightly so, featuring a huge ricotta-stuffed pasta and a great sauce of pepper and pecorino.

Rigatoni with merguez sausage , favas, pecorino - another excellent straightforward pasta.

Trecce with asparagus and stracciatella, guanciale, and egg yolk - a delicious cousin of carbonara.

Tagliatelle with lemon, saffron butter, parmesan - simple and satisfying, particularly due to bits of lemon zest.

  • Yuzu sorbet (left) - excellent, very tart
  • Apricot gelato (right) - hard to detect much flavour in comparison
  • Lemon torta, with almonds and white chocolate - not as tart as a lemon square, but not too sweet and nicely citrusy.