Finally, the sun is out, the weather is warm and it’s time to take in a patio or two. But don’t think that means having to drop the kids off at the grandparents or having to hire a sitter. Patio-time can be family time if you do a bit of advance planning.
First, pick your time carefully. Late afternoon or early evening, when your kids are played out, napped out and ready to eat, but child-free adults still aren’t ready to dine, is likely best. Pack a few toys (I highly recommend Play-Doh), plenty of wipes and make sure your iPhone is fully charged, just in case you need to pull that out. If possible, skip the stroller. If you have to bring it, take an umbrella style one, since space on many Toronto patios is often tight. And finally, make sure to pick the right patio, one that might not be the newest or hippest place, but that is family-friendly.
Here are some great patios in Toronto that will let you enjoy a drink, some sun and some quality family time.
307 Danforth Ave
Craving the comforting taste of Southern Italian cuisine while enjoying a glass of wine on a patio? Then check out the Danforth outpost of 7Numbers, which has a small though cute patio as well as high chairs and a kid-friendly menu that includes a wide variety of pastas. 7Numbers also offers a family-style menu at a fixed price, making this a great option for your next special occasion dinner.
Amsterdam Brewery Brewhouse
245 Queens Quay W
This destination arguably has the best view of any patio on this list, thanks to its lakefront location. Made up of four different patios, the Brewhouse is a big space that is perfect for capping off a day down at Harbourfront. Besides beer, it offers a wide menu that includes a kids’ section. It also offers high chairs.
1000 College St
You’d never know it from the street but this traditional Portuguese grill house is home to a big, beautiful patio out back. It frequently hosts big get-togethers of families and friends so things can get a little boisterous, but then that just means no one’s going to complain (or even notice) if your children fuss. While patio seating is picnic table-style, high chairs are available for the little ones.
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884 Queen St E
Craving Mexican in the East End? Then Barrio Cerveceria is your spot! Its colourful patio space features a fire pit, which may or may not be a selling feature, depending on your child. And while there’s no kids’ menu, we think its tacos-and-nachos heavy selection will please most family members. Note that the patio can get crowded, so it’s best to leave the stroller at home.
250 Front St
Want to pair a family-friendly patio with a Blue Jays game, Ripley’s Aquarium or a trip to the CN Tower? Then this Boston Pizza, located where Front Street meets John St, is exactly what you’re looking for. It’s steps from all three of those destinations and offers a kids’ menu, high chairs and servers who are used to dealing with unruly guests.
The Burger Cellar
3391 Yonge St
This is one of the smaller patios on the list but what it lacks in space it makes up for with a family-oriented atmosphere that comes complete with high chairs. The Burger Cellar also offers a kids’ menu though we think that its main offerings are packed with items that will make your children happy (the place does specialize in burgers after all). Also on the menu are creamy milkshakes and such desserts as chocolate brownies.
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594 College St.
One of Little Italy’s best-known patios is also a great spot to take the kids for any meal or even just a tasty dessert (how does a butter tart with gelato sound?). Its massive menu consists of mostly Italian favourites but it also offers burgers and sandwiches. For the adults, there are daily drink specials while kids can sip on a Shirley Temple. High chairs are available upon request.
671 St. Clair Ave
At this cute café, you’ll find coffee, desserts and an adorable patio out back where you can plop your child in a high chair and enjoy a Nutella latte and a freshly made sandwich. Cocoalatte is opened for breakfast and lunch and is the perfect place to meet a friend while you’re on mat leave or treat your school-aged child to a special treat.
18 Tank House Lane
Here’s another option for Mexican food. Located inside the always scenic Distillery Distinct, El Catrin’s large patio always feels like its hosting a party, though one that’s completely family friendly. The menu consists of both traditional and modern Mexican food, with the tacos having won a few awards. In addition to high chairs, El Catrin also offers a special menu for “little amigos.”
House on Parliament
454 Parliament St
This beloved neighbourhood institution is home to two patios, a smaller one out front and a rooftop one. Regardless of where you sit, you’ll have access to the sun and the pub’s impressive beer and wine menu. There’s no kids’ menu but given the focus on classic (and delicious) pub food, we feel confident that your kids will find something they want to eat.
Maple Leaf Tavern
955 Gerrard St E
Three years ago this long-standing Leslieville spot underwent quite the makeover. Now it has an elegant look and a pretty patio that while narrow, is an ideal spot to bring the kids for a meal that’s both relaxed and nice. Besides offering “upscale comfort food,” the Tavern also has a kids’ menu that looks delicious. High chairs are also available.
This South African chain has been springing up everywhere and for a good reason: Its peri-peri chicken is a hit with all ages! And while you can take Nando’s to-go, if you’re craving some patio time, the chain’s Queen W location is the perfect spot. It’s spacious, with room for strollers, and high chairs are available. There’s also a menu that features kid specials and family-size combos.
1249 Queen W.
This classic Parkdale bar and grill is also home to a patio so massive that you can actually park a stroller without fear that it’s blocking a server or fellow guest’s route. While baby enjoys an afternoon nap, you can enjoy one of the bar’s 25 craft beers and watch the action on Queen W. All that space, a menu that has something for everyone, and a low-key vibe also makes this a great space to organize a meetup with those friends who you haven’t seen in forever.
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57a Richmond St & 720 Queen St W
Both locations of this beloved restaurants are home to fantastic, family-friendly patios. While they’re often crowded (leave the stroller at home), the busy-ness just means that it’s harder for other patrons to hear your children. Just note that while the Italian menu includes such child-friendly foods as Margherita pizza and what’s essentially spaghetti with tomato sauce, Terroni generally doesn’t allow for substitutions so make sure there’s something here that your kids will eat as-is.