Tag Archives: Toronto patios

HEATED PATIO EATS: Last Supper of 2020 @ Positano

When they opened all the heated patios across Toronto, there was always the question of how long this was gonna last. Well, now we have our answer — with the city heading back into lockdown at midnight tonight, there will be no more dining out, inside or outdoors, anytime soon… and my guess is this will be at least until the end of 2020.

So that’s why we treated our meal at Positano Restaurant, this real-deal Italian joint on Mount Pleasant, like it would be our last restaurant visit of the year. We talking a three-course Italian feast, right on the sidewalk with just one heater, scarfing down pizza, cheese, Birra Moretti…and of course, I’ve still got room for dessert, bro!

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We’re starting off with a great big ball of buffalo mozzarella, served on a bed of cherry tomatoes and arugula. This Buffalo Soldier in Flavourtown is creamy, dreamy, to the extremey!!!

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Now, I’ve housed a whole lotta pizzas in my day, but this is one flavour combo I’ve never seen before. They’re packing shrimp, squid and olives on top of their pizza pescatore, with some nice foldable slices and a real crunchy crust. It’s not delivery, it’s delicious!!!!

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Now, dessert was reasonably priced at $8.95, but you don’t get a lotta bang for yer lira — this was a pretty small piece of cake, son! Their torta caprese is a flourless almond cake with a hard chocolate bottom and a whole buncha powdered sugar on top. It was a less than amazing ending to an otherwise almost perfect meal…but hey, it’s probably still gonna be the best dessert I have for the rest of 2020. I mean, you can’t really order dessert for delivery, bro. 😦 😦 😦

HEATED PATIO EATS: Portuguese-style surf ‘n turf!

Now, last weekend when we went to Bindia, it wasn’t very warm. But last night was even colder — it was probably my first subzero patio experience, not counting that time I tailgated at a Buffalo Bills game. And now we’re hanging out at Flor de Sal Restaurant, a cozy little Portuguese joint that’s just steps away from the steps that take you up to Casa Loma, at Davenport and Spadina.

They’ve got a little four-table front patio with a heater in the middle and curtains all around — and they even bring you blankets to help keep you out of the cold. But since it was still pretty chilly, I had to warm up with a classic Portuguese/Brazilian comfort dish, feijoada:

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Dude, this is like pork ‘n beans to the extreme, bro! This hearty white bean stew is packed with hunks of pork, potatoes and a couple sprigs of cilantro, for that extra kick. I would eat that off a snow boot!

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But now it’s time for the main event, son! This is not the first time I’ve had Portuguese bitoque steak, but they did give me a much nicer piece of meat than that other place. As you can see, this is pretty much the perfect medium rare, served up with Maitake mushrooms, cassava fries — thicker and crunchier than potatoes — and of course, the fried egg on top. For a few dollars more, they also throw in a jumbo shrimp, for that surf element…

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Surf’s up, bro! I’ve sucked down several shrimp in my day, but very few were as tasty as this!!!

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Of course, you KNOW I’ve still got room for dessert, and when I saw the Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake, it was a match made in Flavourtown Heaven! This triple-layer, quadruple-decker beauty comes with with raspberries, chocolate sauce and caramel, and there’s even a chocolate-covered fig on the side, on top of shaved almonds…so it’s almost like you’re getting two desserts in one, son!!!!

HEATED PATIO EATS: Tandoori Chicken of the Sea @ Bindia

Now, I’ve chowed down on some real-deal Indian food all over this city, from chicken vindaloo to butter lamb, but one dish I’ve never seen is tandoori lobster. I mean, if you can kill it and grill it, you can probably tandoori it, but I don’t think any place has ever thought of doing it before.

But now we’re hanging out at Bindia Indian Bistro, this funky joint right across from St. Lawrence Market, where they’ve got 10 different tandoori dishes on the menu, so you KNOW I’m about to dive in, bro!!!

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So basically, you get two lobster tails to an order, marinated in tandoori masala spices, with a some yogurt on the side. I don’t always eat grilled lobster, but this was cooked nice ‘n tender, without being too chewy. I was expecting this dish to be spicy, but it really wasn’t… Although I still dipped it in that cucumber yogurt sauce — dude, I’d put that on a flip-flop!!!!

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Of course, you can’t really have tandoori chicken of the sea without some tandoori-fried bread, bro! This butter naan came out nice and chewy, with a little crunch from the charred bits. I could probably pound, like, 22 pieces of these…but you don’t wanna fill up on bread, bro!

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Speaking of things I’ve never seen before, this was the first time I’ve come across Sura Panam, an India red ale from Cool India Brewing Company, based in London, Ontario. Normally, I find most Indian beer to be light and watery, meant to cool down the spice of the food, but this one had a bit more flavour to it…plus, they actually pour it on tap!

HEATED PATIO EATS: The full French experience @ Biff’s Bistro

So we’re hanging out at Biff’s Bistro, this funky French food joint on Front Street. I’ve been here a few times before, and they’ve always had some good grub, but during the pandemic, they’re going back to their French roots with culinary classics like duck confit, steak frites, Coquilles St. Jacques, and these crispy critters in Flavourtown, Cuisses de Grenouille — we’re talkin’ frog legs, son!

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Now, if you told me these taste like chicken, you would not be wrong. But watch out for them little bones, bro! These babies are topped with chopped ‘nduja sausage for that extra kick, and there’s like a cool ranch donkey sauce underneath, giving you that full chicken wing experience…

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And speaking of chicken, up next we’ve got another French culinary classic, coq au vin. Dude, this was some of the best cock in wine I’ve ever had, bro! The chicken just falls apart, super-tender and juicy, with some mashed potatoes, a couple mushrooms and crisp green beans. This dish was so good, I even ate all the veggies, bro!!!!

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But you KNOW I’ve still got room for dessert. And it definitely doesn’t get more français than crème brûlée, mon ami!

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Say no more, mon amour! This burned cream snaps, crackles and pops with a nice crispy shell, creamy centre and they even throw in a sugar cookie, for that extra crunch. This totally puts Auberge du Pommier to shame in the dessert department!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Be vewwy, vewwy quiet…We’re eating rabbit!

Indoor dining won’t be allowed in Toronto for at least another month, so it looks like a lotta restaurants will hafta fire up the patio heaters if they’re gonna stay open. But on Wednesday, we didn’t even need a heated patio — it was still, like, 19 degrees at dinnertime.

So we’re hanging out at F’Amelia Ristorante, this cozy, family-style Italian joint just offa Parliament, about a hop, skip and a jump away from Wellesley. And speaking of hopping, when I saw the braised rabbit papperdelle on the menu, I knew I had to jump all over that, bro!!!

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Now, this rabbit meat is kinda like pulled pork, minus the BBQ sauce. And the papperdelle is sorta like a mini lasagna, with a buncha thin, chewy noodles. The oyster mushrooms give it a bit of juiciness, and I think there’s even a couple pieces of kale on there or something. So I had at least one serving of green stuff this week…

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Of course, you KNOW I’ve still got room for dessert, bro! This was the last piece of Nutella cheesecake they had, and it was ice, ice baby, too cold! I actually had to let it thaw out for a bit. But if you take a Nutella cheesecake, top it with chocolate chips, strawberries and cherries, well, there’s no way I’m NOT gonna eat it!!!

HEATED PATIO EATS: Classic Canadian comfort food @ Peter Pan Bistro

Now, with this crazy heatwave we’ve been having, temperatures are touching 20 degrees in the daytime, and it’s still like 14-15 at night. So they didn’t have the heaters on last night at Peter Pan Bistro… but they did have a fire pit, which made things nice and smoky.

They’re also serving up a winter market menu, with comfort food classics like grilled cheese, smoked meat, pumpkin soup — and their portable take on a French Canadian classic, this tourtiere hand pie:

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Dude, this is like tourtiere meets empanada, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all! You’ve got a nice, beef-pork blend inside a warm, flaky crust, with a side of house-made ketchup, which added a nice flavourful kick. I could probably slam at least five of these…

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But you KNOW I had to save some room for raclette, bro! Hot, melted cheese on top of crispy potatoes with these little bites of gherkin pickles… I could eat that all day!!!

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Now, Canadian comfort food needs to go with a Canadian comfort beer. They only had two brews to choose from, so I went with some Country Vibes, a nice amber ale from Beau’s. You KNOW I love my country, and I love it up loud, bro!!!!

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Of course, I definitely still had room for dessert — this wasn’t even that much food. And speaking of winter comfort food, this chocolate chip cookie s’more definitely hit the mark! I would soooo roast this over an open fire, son!!!

HEATED PATIO EATS: Eating all the tacos @ Chula Taberna

Now, even though it wasn’t supposed to warm up until Wednesday, Taco Wednesday is sooo NOT a thing, so we headed out on Tuesday to Chula Taberna, this funky Mexican fusion joint in the east end, where they’ve got a heated, tented, two-level backyard patio…and lemme tell ya, the place was packed!

This taberna is serving up five different types of tacos, so you KNOW I had to try them all — but first, we’re starting off with some Mexican street corn.

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Dude, this dish is like Elote Gone Loco, bro! You’ve got corn on the cob, topped with queso fresco, pico de gallo, an avacado crema and some cilantro. It’s almost like they put a whole taco on top of this thing!!!

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Speaking of tacos, though, we’re diving in first with some crispy fish. You’ve got beer-battered haddock on a house-made tortilla, packed to the gills with guacamole, cilantro, cucumber and cabbage, with some more of that avacado crema on top. Mmm, crema…

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Next up is the BBQ beef brisket. Dude, this is body by BBQ beef brisket! But underneath all those red onions, shaved carrots, corn, cheese and cilantro, I’m almost wondering, where’s the beef, bro???

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Taco number three is a personal-go-to — we’re talkin’ pulled pork, son! But they also funk this one up with onion, cabbage, cilantro and then these crunchy, ground-up chicharrones… Dude, you could put those on a flip-flop and it would still taste good!!!!

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Speaking of crunchy things, up next we’ve got the crispy zucchini taco. Now, the only reason I ordered this one is because I gotta try ’em all, but y’know what, the deep-fried, battered zucchini wasn’t bad. Also, this taco has pretty much the exact same toppings as the Mexican corn, only switching out the crema for an adobo mayo…

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And now we’re saving what was probably the worst for last with the chipotle grilled chicken. Even in better lighting, this taco doesn’t look that great, as it’s just oozing with too much donkey sauce. And the chicken didn’t taste like chipotle, or even grilled, bro. Next time, I think I’ll stick with the zucchini!!!

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Now, even after cramming all those tacos, I totally still had room for dessert, bro! This tasty churro oughtta do’er, though…

HEATED PATIO EATS: Big steak under a big tent

Now, the last couple times we tried to eat on a heated patio, we got rained out. So basically, I’ve been living off delivery since last Tuesday. But when I heard that ONE Restaurant, this swanky joint in Yorkville, had a heated patio that was underneath a tent, I knew I had to check it out…even if it was only, like, 3 degrees last night.

Now, on this cold, not-quite winter’s night, I was in the mood for some steak. And they’ve got a few cuts to choose from, but I went with the 18 oz PEI ribeye, with sides of mushrooms and truffle fries. I’m more of an Alberta beef guy, but this steak did not disappoint me!

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It may be charred and blackened on top, but on the inside, the meat is a perfect medium-rare, tender and juicy. It goes great with the mushrooms, and they even give you some roasted bone marrow, for that extra fatty richness!

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The truffle fries are topped with a TON of shaved Parmesan. That’s a whole lotta cheese, bro! I almost wasn’t sure whether to eat them with a fork or my fingers…but dude, eating fries with a fork is a five-year felony in Flavourtown!!!

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Of course, even after making all that meat disappear, I definitely still had room for dessert. And after seeing the chocolate bread pudding, you KNOW I had to order it, bro!!!!

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Now, this ain’t no stale french bread, bro! They make their bread pudding outta butter croissants, then top it with toasted marshmallows, hot fudge sauce and a scoop of ice cream on the side. Dude, this has gotta be one of the top five desserts I’ve had all year…

…oh, and the steak was pretty good, too! 😛

HEATED PATIO EATS: Rooftop pizza @ Gusto 501

A couple years back, we hit up Gusto 101 for a real-deal steak dinner on their rooftop patio. So when I heard that they opened up a new joint in the east end called Gusto 501, I was hoping it would be five times better, bro! This place also has a rooftop patio, although it’s a lot smaller, with heated panels on the walls behind every table. I wasn’t quite as warm as last week at George, but at least I was able to unzip my jacket, so that’s not too bad…

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We’re starting off with arancini, two not-so-big balls of deep-fried rice goodness, sitting atop a whole pile of pepper and cheese. You only get a couple of bites here, but I would put these balls in my mouth any day, bro!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event. We’ve got pizza carbonara, with flor di latte, guanciale, pecorino, black pepper and an egg yolk on a nice, crispy crust. Now, I was expecting there to be an egg in the middle of the pizza, but instead it’s sorta smeared all over the place, which takes away half the fun. Anyways, the crust and cheese was on point, but I couldda used some more guanciale, which is basically Italian for bacon.

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Now, I know the name of this blog is NOT Burgers, Bacon and Pinot Grigio, but the only beer they’ve got here is Peroni, which is Italian for “meh.” On the other hand, they’re serving up house wine on tap for just a dollar an ounce, so I told ’em to fill ‘er up to the top, bro!!!

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And yes, we still had room for dessert, son! Now, this tiramisu looks more like tirami-soup, but the flavours were still pretty on point. And hey, at least it’s not served in a mason jar!!!

HEATED PATIO EATS: Fancy land, sea & air trio @ George

Since the province has ordered all indoor seating at restaurants in Toronto to stay closed until November, a lot of places have started popping up with heated patios. I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to be out on a patio when it was only, like, 10 degrees outside, but last night, I was sitting outside in a t-shirt, right next to a heater, chowing down on three tasty courses at George, this really nice restaurant on a not-so-nice stretch of Queen Street East…

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So, we’re starting off with lobster, a dish served cold with lentils, lemongrass and a random piece of lavash bread for some reason. I don’t always eat cold lobster, but the nice, meaty chunks went well with the lentils…and hey, if you give me bread, it’s not like I’m not gonna eat it.

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From there we’ve moving on to what was probably the best dish of the night, roasted duck breast with chanterelle mushrooms and a Danish-style pastry stuffed with mushrooms and herbs — it’s like Yorkshire pudding gone hygge, bro! The duck was nicely roasted, and you got a pretty decent amount of food for a “second course,” which was enough to tide me over until the main event.

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Now, this is something you definitely don’t see every day. We’re talking wild boar, medium rare, with some cheese-stuffed pasta, beans ‘n greens. And also a tostada, for some reason. I am not sure what’s up with the random breads at this place…but again, I’m not really complaining.

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Of course, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! I wasn’t really feeling the desserts on the menu, so I asked if they had anything chocolate, and they were like, “Why yes, we do!” This here’s a flourless chocolate cake, which they call a “bergote,” and it’s topped with strawberry ganache and caramel butter cream. It might not be my favourite flourless chocolate cake in the city…but with all the crazy flavours going on here, I think it’s my second-favourite.

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