Patios are opening up around Toronto and surrounding areas and some of us are cautiously stepping outside of our bubble to finally enjoy a meal out. The city has even offered up valuable street space to restaurants in designated areas so they can expand their patio space since the weather is now in our favour. Many restaurants and food purveyors have adapted too by offering the public ways to shop their pantries and offer special grocery and meal kits. We all still gotta eat, right? And now that we’re officially tired of making bread at home, here is what’s going on and has caught our attention…
McEwan’s PEI Box: In collaboration with Canada’s Food Island in Prince Edward Island, McEwan Fine Foods is launching three meal kits. Featuring PEI’s exceptional culinary products (available to order starting on Monday, July 13th, for pick-up and delivery beginning on Wednesday, July 15). The premium meal kits are a ‘Prince Edward Island Patio Party’ in a box and include the East Coast island’s five core products including sustainable lobsters, mussels, oysters, beef and potatoes. The kits come with chef-inspired recipes created by the McEwan Fine Foods culinary team. The Prince Edward Island Patio Party box options are a Surf Box, a Turf Box and a Surf & Turf Box with recipes like a chilled lobster Cobb salad, PEI grass-fed strip loin steaks with truffle compound butter, PEI oysters with McEwan’s cocktail sauce & mignonette and PEI mussels with a choice of lemon, white wine & bacon sauce or tomato, fennel, chili and preserved lemon sauce. Ideal for special occasions…or heck, just a reason to celebrate our country’s goodness!
Sofia Restaurant: Tucked away in a cove is a hidden gem and a favourite in Yorkville. With two spacious patios ideal for lunch, weekend brunch or date night (we need one asap) to get your Italian food fix. The restaurant has refreshed their lunch menu with drool-worthy offerings. Think simple yet sophisticated. Check out the Panino Aragosta with poached Atlantic lobster. And with one of the country’s most celebrated mixologists – treat yourself to one of Nish’s fab cocktails or mocktails.
Auberge Avec Canoe: If you prefer to venture to uptown, Auberge du Pommier’s patio is quaint and serene. Currently offering diners a very special collaboration menu with Canoe Restaurant in their green oasis with all health and safety protocols in place…and beyond. The Tasting Menu is highly recommended and features the talents of both restaurants. Staff are masked in clear face coverings – so yes, it makes a difference when we can finally see smiles again. Take out menu also available.
Marben: A favourite downtown neighbourhood restaurant has reopened their patio for dinner and weekend brunches. The new dinner menu consists of locally-sourced and seasonal dishes with many vegetarian options including a new vegan burger that isn’t pretending to be meat – it’s actually made with tempeh and quinoa. The brunch menu is filled with Marben classics including their “Fry Up” (an English breakfast!). You’ll also want to check out the Marben market while you’re there for your at-home pantry essentials.
JoyBird Fried Chicken pop up at Stackt Market: The “OG” of Taiwanese fried chicken is addictive anyway you take it…as a burger, or off the bone. This pop up is now running thanks to Chef Trevor Lui and his team. Patio seating is available on site. Okay, and bring your vegan friends because there’s even something for them.
Sweet N Nice Ice Cream Pop-up at Stackt Market: Grandpa Neale was famous for his homemade ice cream treats in Trinidad for many years. In fact, he peddled his cool creamy treats to locals and visitors alike. His family has now brought his secret recipes to Canada thanks to popular demand. Flavours like Rum & Raisin, Mango, Guava, Pineapple Coconut and Coconut include ingredients sourced from the Caribbean Island. The ice cream is so flavourful and a welcomed treat. For the summer months, you can find them at Stackt Market.
Chotto Matte: If you’ve been craving Nikkei cuisine here is where you need to be. The Peruvian/Japanese flavours are irresistible and the vibe makes you feel like you’re away in a tropical paradise. Refreshing sashimi, sushi, and rolls, cool salads, deliciously seared beef tataki, and the new Nikkei BBQ Fried Chicken are worthy summer treats. Conveniently located at Brookfield Place and close to Union Station it perfect to enjoy the city life. Then wander down to the waterfront to finish off a summer’s night.
The Distillery Patio District: The Distillery District has been revamped to create a safe, socially-distanced space for Torontonians looking to get out and support local businesses while enjoying delicious food and inspirational and uplifting art installations. There’s also (up to 3 hours) free parking all month. Dubbed as Toronto’s largest patio district, the Historic brick-paved Trinity Street and the Pure Spirits Mews courtyard have been transformed into a fully licensed European-style seating area, with a sea of colourful umbrellas for guests to kick back and enjoy the beautiful weather. These patio extensions along with the patios at local restaurants, Madrina, El Catrin, Cluny Bistro, Pure Spirits, Mill Street and Boku make the Distillery District the largest patio district in the city with flavours from around the world, coffee shops, breweries, bakeries and more.