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Good patios (smoke-free) with good food in Toronto?

I'm looking for a patio that isn't on a busy street, that has some quiet and some shade. The only one that I've seen recently is Cafe Utopia's. I tried out Poor John's for breaky but it can get pretty smokey. Also, I know Grano has a nice one (food is hit and miss at Grano's in my experience)... Also I think Southern Accent used to have a nice one but I haven't been there in ages...

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  1. Allen's on the Danforth has a backyard patio, so nicely removed from traffice, as does Caren's wine bar in Yorkville. Both good choices depending on your whims - Allen's is more standard pub fare (with the famed 'best burger in Toronto' - not so sure about that) whereas Caren's has a spectacular a la carte cheese selection as well as other bistro/cafe choices. Happy hunting!

    1 Reply
    1. re: trishna

      Oh, that's the place with the cheese fondue! Thanks! Any idea if either does breakfast?

    2. Jamcafe at 195 Carlton (between Sherbourne and Parliament) has a nice rear patio, no smoking that I could discern (i'm allergic) and decent food. I was there recently with a group of 6 and really enjoyed the food, atmosphere and service (very friendly).

      3 Replies
        1. re: Ediblethoughts

          Yes, for dinner on a Friday night.

        2. re: JPJ

          Smoking is allowed on their back patio.

        3. You raise an interesting point, Edible. Patios are not always pleasant places for non-smokers. Are there any non-smoking patios in the city?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Yongeman

            As I understand the by-law, if a patio is permanently covered (non-retractable roof), it's non-smoking. If it has no awning or roof or the roof is retracted, smoking is allowed. A restaurant or bar with a patio with no awning can also declare itself "smoke-free" at there own discretion, but since most use the patio as their unofficial smoking section, there aren't very many.

            Example: when the Black Bull opens their awnings, it's non-smoking, when the awning's closed, you can smoke.

            The Black Hoof's patio has a roof, thus no smoking.

            1. re: ChalkBoy

              That might explain Cafe Utopia since it has a permanent cover on the back patio.

            2. re: Yongeman

              I'm pretty sure that Utopia Cafe's is. I also tend to find that even if smokers are on the patio outside, if the windows are open (and they usually are), it's kind of like it feels like it's a smoking restaurant, depending on where you're sitting.

            3. Don't know if you are looking for only breakfast places but if not, Terroni on Queen has a large patio with some shade and no smoking. Last night i was at George and they have a non-smoking patio, but the price is maybe a little high.

              Allen's, by-the-way, does allow smoking so there's lots of it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tartytatin

                In order to go there, I'd have to eat my words re my complaining about their substitution policy on pizzas but I could try out that limone pasta that I've heard raves about... thanks!

              2. Well the best food in a patio setting would definitely be George, but I'm sure that's not what you had in mind.

                2 Replies
                1. re: aser

                  I'm not sure it is either but I've never been there so maybe summer is a good time to consider it.

                  1. re: Ediblethoughts

                    I think George patio is best in city. Enjoy!

                2. a) The Cadillac Lounge on West Queen West has a very excellent patio system, with both covered and uncovered expanded outdoor areas. The atmosphere, service and food are all above average, in my experience.

                  b) The Brazen Head over in Liberty Village has a multi-level patio and is big enough that you could find a non-smoking area. The food is pub-ish, but decent. Depending on the time you go, the crowd can be beyond annoying though.

                  c) School, also in Liberty Village has two nice patio areas but I think it's still overcoming its growing pains. Service hasn't been fantastic, but maybe it's just my experience.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: meowmixer

                    Thanks--Cadillac Lounge sounds good (though far for me but making a note of it); I've been to School but it was too early for the patio and, yes, service was a bit sad.

                    1. Sidecar has a beautiful back patio and the best prix fixe deal in the city (IMO). $24, Sunday - Wednesday. Boulevard Cafe has a lovely patio as well, on a leafy side street in the Annex. I can't recall how much shade it has though -- it's on the East side of the street and may not get shade until a bit later in the evening.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: TorontoJo

                        Lovely picture of the patio and I see your point re the prix fixe. And it's open at 5pm--definitely a bonus for me since we usually eat early!

                        1. re: Ediblethoughts

                          Just a couple of observations about the patio at Sidecar -- the table legs are sort of in awkward positions, so you find yourself either keeping your legs uncrossed or crossed to the side. And I personally found the seats hard, but I just snagged an extra cushion and I was fine. On a bright note, they bring around a basket of pashminas for the ladies if the temperature gets too cool. They also have large patio heaters.

                          Wicked good cocktails, btw.

                          Oh, and I second George for the prettiest patio in Toronto. But one course there will run you the same at the 3-course prix fixe at Sidecar. :)

                          1. re: TorontoJo

                            Yes, the prices at George are giving me pause! Good to know about the chairs being hard; that might bother one of my party. I usually order wine but will consider changing that policy for Sidecar.

                        2. re: TorontoJo

                          Is it recommended to make a reservation on Sunday night for the Prix Fixe at SideCar ? Or even possible?

                          1. re: easily amused

                            They are on Open Table, so it's easy enough to check availability.


                          2. re: TorontoJo

                            i'm pretty sure they are smoke free too....

                          3. If you're up for a pub atmosphere, Rebel House has a nice patio in the back, with a sort of awning thing for shade but it's still quite bright. Don't know about how smokey it gets because I've never sat outside as it's usually threatening rain whenever I try (go figure). However, I've sat just inside the back door where the draft comes in from the patio and have not smelt excessive cig smoke (and I'm sensitive). Oh and the food is good.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: JamieK

                              I didn`t know they had a patio! I haven`t been there in years and they`re the closest place so far and I just called and they said they don`t allow smoking on the patio. So definitely will go this weekend! Thanks!

                              1. re: Ediblethoughts

                                So did you go? How was it? Both in terms of patio ambience and food. I've yet to try the cheese pennies that others have commented about. Some good beers on offer though.

                                1. re: JamieK

                                  They had cheese pennies? (What are cheese pennies?) We did go and the patio was wonderful. Very nice lighting (went to Southern Accent on the weekend also and the patio felt just a bit more... claustrophobic), open and peaceful. I enjoy this place especially because it has cidar on tap, which I enjoyed. My dining companion did have beer but I distracted when the ordering took place so not sure which beer was ordered.

                                  The food was decent: We tried the barley risotto (quite tasty if a bit oily from the cheese); spinach and mixed greens salads (spinach salad's dressing was a bit on the creamy/sweet side for me but otherwise fresh with nice crunchy almonds and the house salad had a pleasant vinaigrette poppy seed dressing); ribs (they were so sugary sticky they were kind of like dessert; not unpleasant actually but rather unusual); side of maple baked beans (not bad but the flavour was a little off somehow); side of corn bread (it was quite nice with the scallions and corn pieces making it more than your classic corn bread, even though I prefer classic corn bread, I liked it) and veggie curry. I was disappointed that the veg curry wasn't on cracked wheat as per the menu (on white rice instead); the curry was sort of creamy, again, not so much to my taste but my dining companion liked it. It had chick peas, zuccini, and some kind of black seed that was drowned out by the curry. For dessert we had decaf coffee which wasn't bad and the only dessert offering, a cranberry peach crumble---which was quite tasty, all tangy and sweet and a bit gooey.

                                  Overall a very pleasant meal on a very pretty patio.

                                  1. re: Ediblethoughts

                                    The cheese pennies (coins? can't recall the name on the menu) are like mini cheddar cheese biscuits. Flat, a little chewy, served with sour cream and salsa. They are pretty darn tasty and are washed down nicely with a cold beer.

                                    1. re: TorontoJo

                                      Oh, yeah. I do recall seeing them on the menu. Ever since over-eating such (similar?) food at Red Lobster, I tend to avoid them. Not because they aren't very tasty! (I tend to think the tastiest thing at RL are their cheese buns...)