There’s nothing like a refreshing, ice-cold cocktail when the sun’s out and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. If you’ve got the fortune of enjoying Toronto during these next few months, you don’t want miss its patio season. To get you started on all the revelry, we’ve spotlighted three trendy spots serving great food, ambience and, of course, rounds of lip-smacking-good margaritas.
Playa Cabana Hacienda
When it comes to tequila, the folks at Playa Cabana claim they’re “total purists.” At each of their four locations, including Playa Cabana Hacienda (the largest of them all with two floors, a massive backyard patio and a buzzing bar scene), you can expect over 50 types of 100-percent agave tequilas on offer. Cozy up to the bar, under the neon signs, and order margaritas by the glass or pitcher. If you feel overwhelmed by the menu, go with the signature Dave’s Margarita, an ode to owner Dave Sidhu’s preferred recipe — one ounce of Tromba Blanco Tequila, an ounce of Cointreau and lime. Be sure to add guaca fresca (avocado, chilies and lime) with chips to your order. Or, if you’re feeling spunky, give the Top Flight Margarita a taste; it’s a fun glass of Patron Anejo, St. Germain, Grand Marnier and lime-filled happiness.
Nueva Vista Social Club at Deq
During the summer at the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, the sights and sounds of Cuba take over the hotel’s swanky Deq outdoor patio in the form of the Nueva Vista Social Club, a lounge that tips its straw hat to the legendary Buena Vista Social Club. The experience features a Havana-inspired menu for dinner (Cubano sandwiches, empanaditas and chicharritas) and cocktails (the Bacardi- and maple syrup-packed Expense Account Mojito or the Margarita Aplastado with over three ounces of Cazadores Reposado tequila). This excitement is accompanied by a weekly descarga (improvised) jam session with some of Toronto’s best Latin musicians — all of which is best enjoyed on the patio’s plush lounge seating or next to the glowing fire pit when the sun goes down.
El Catrin Destileria
Over in the historic Distillery District, El Catrin Destileria has created an exciting seasonal nighttime hotspot for the area, complete with a killer patio accentuated by massive black chandeliers on the outside and giant glow-in-the-dark skull murals on the interior. Once the home of the Gooderham and Worts distillery, which produced rye whiskey in the 1850s, the Distillery District has since been converted to a vibrant arts and entertainment neighborhood over the past decade. While rye whiskey is a thing of the past in the area, El Catrin makes sure that plenty of tequila and mezcal flows with six types of margaritas. For the purists, there’s the Tradicional, and for those longing for something new and refreshing, the Frutas Fresca, with fresh mango, blackberry or watermelon, proves the perfect summer sipper. Couple those libations with authentic, modern Mexican cuisine in the form of items like ceviche, tacos and mini burritos.