5 Patios for Summer Entertaining

By Susan O'Neill June 5, 2009, 2:20 PM EDT

The patio at the SkyLounge

Photo: Courtesy of the InterContinental Toronto Yorkville

Restaurants and hotels across the city are welcoming the summer season by unveiling new and renovated patios. Here's a look at five venues with outdoor space for dining and events.

1. The Burroughes Building, located at Queen and Bathurst, is an independent loft-style space with hardwood floors and exposed brick walls. The 6,000-square-foot venue, which opened about a year ago, debuted a rooftop patio on May 31. The outdoor space, referred to as the Top of the Burroughes, offers views of the city and can accommodate up to 125 people. The space is equipped with its own bar and lounge furniture. The patio can be booked for private events in conjunction with the sixth floor loft area, which holds up to 500 people.

2. The Drake Hotel added a Taco + Tequila Shack to the popular Sky Yard patio in May. The shack, which will be open throughout the summer, offers executive chef Anthony Rose's tacos made with fresh shells from La Tortilleria in Kensington and filled with beef, chicken, or fish. Cocktails created by mixologist Simon Ho include the blood orange margarita—made with tequila, triple sec, agave nectar, lime juice, and blood orange juice. The rooftop patio holds up to 150 people.

3. The SkyLounge at the InterContinental Toronto Yorkville, which seats 96 and holds 180 for cocktail receptions, is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the first time this summer. A new tapas-style menu includes dishes like olive and caper bruschetta on a baked cambozola walnut crouton; a bocadillo trio of pulled pork, beef tenderloin, and chorizo; and rabbit paella with shrimp, mussels, escargot, saffron, asparagus, and olives. Students from the Glenn Gould School (across the way on Bloor Street) will provide live music at SkyLounge from 5:30 to 8 p.m. every Thursday through Saturday, thanks to a new partnership with the the Royal Conservatory of Music.

4. Kelly Kimmel, the owner of Moroco Chocolat—a chocolate shop, restaurant, and lounge located on Yorkville Avenue—unveiled an Alice in Wonderland-style patio on Thursday. The outdoor space, which seats 50 and holds 80 for cocktails, is bordered by grass and has white fairytale furnishings (including stools shaped like frogs). Indoors, the 3,600-square-foot restaurant, which is filled with jeweled furnishings and crystal chandeliers, seats 90 and can hold up to 130 for receptions. Moroco's menu includes a selection of salads and sandwiches as well as traditional French pastries and champagnes by the glass.

5. School Bakery & Café, which opened in Liberty Village this past December, officially launched its outdoor space May 29. A front patio seats 30 and a side patio can accommodate 80. Tall greens surround the patio, which is filled with aluminum furniture and red umbrellas. Chef Brad Moore's menu includes dishes like green papaya chicken salad and curry-kaffir lime chicken pot pies. School, open for breakfast and lunch throughout the week, will begin offering dinner service Wednesday through Sunday on June 10. The restaurant seats 65 inside and can hold up to 150 for receptions. The total space, including the patio, can hold 250.

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