By Lauren Eedy
Last week, we profiled the many restaurant patios of St. Marys (with the exception of Westover Inn, which wasn't open at the time, but now is). This week, we are highlighting some of Stratford's top patios.
As current restrictions are allowing a maximum of 4 people to be seated together outside while dining, excluding larger households with more than 6 under the same roof, people are eagerly flocking to available patios for some social time: how refreshing! This is not only good for our local economy but our own well-being and since restrictions are slowly lifting, you can sense a collective sigh of relief and observe the success slowly opening has achieved. The only impediment here is inclement weather which we witnessed firsthand on the day patios opened back up for guests, which leads me to this weekâ€™s topic: covered patios.
Stratford boasts an array of wonderful patios throughout the city, but when it is raining or when weâ€™re seeking shade, what are our options? Iâ€™ve comprised a list of some of the most popular covered patios in the downtown core of the Festival City that will be helpful as a guide when planning your next outing.
Bentleyâ€™s Bar & Inn at 99 Ontario Street has a partially covered patio with an awning and is one of the most popular patios in Stratford. Reservations are not available for patio seating as it is first come, first serve but worth the visit if you enjoy people watching, classic pub and comfort food, an array of tap selections and daily specials created by their chef.
Mercer Kitchen/Beer Hall/Hotel at 108 Ontario Street is situated across from Bentleyâ€™s and boasts one of Ontarioâ€™s largest craft beer selections. With an izakaya inspired menu (the word is a Japanese term meaning â€˜stay-drink-placeâ€™, or a spot to settle in and get comfortable) there is something here for everyone whether you like to share an array of eclectic appetizers or some of their more substantial dishes. It is guaranteed that you will discover something new each visit!
CafÃ© Bouffon at 70 Ontario Street is located also at Pazzo Taverna. This is their new French concept restaurant with a beautiful patio which extends in front of the Memorial Gardens. Reservations are recommended and this is a place to slip away and pretend you are dining somewhere on the streets of France. Just wait until you discover their menu from traditional pastries, sweet and savoury crepes, duck confit, fresh oysters and many more delectable items. This quaint little joint is quickly becoming a hot spot to visit.
The Parlour Inn at 101 Wellington Street offers a two-level patio with coverings. A more elevated restaurant with options for every palate and budget, they are famous for their smash burgers and pavlova. This patio offers a quiet and intimate setting.
Gillyâ€™s Pubhouse at 92 Downie Street is a typical sports bar and fun place to hang out with friends. They offer daily deals and specials on appetizers, wings, burgers, and fish & chips. When they are able to open for indoor dining, this is the place to bring your friends for a game of pool or karaoke!
Fosterâ€™s Inn at 111 Downie Street is across from Gillyâ€™s. With a partially covered patio, they offer a hearty breakfast, lunch and dinner. Famous for their Sunday brunch, varieties of benedicts, burgers and of course steaks, this patio will leave you feeling relaxed and well looked after.
Pretty Good Pizza at 72 Wellington Street resides where Pizza Bistro was formerly. Offering a beautiful and covered back patio, you do not require reservations, but this is certainly a popular new spot. Boasting cold beer, â€˜okayâ€™ wine, naturally leavened, hand tossed whole pies or slices, snacks, and salads.
The Common at 80 Wellington Street also offers a lovely back patio which is covered. The cuisine here is an eclectic mix of comfort food from here and there which boasts â€˜eat without borders.â€™ Lots of Asian inspired dishes fused with local ingredients make this place entirely unique. In the evenings after their kitchen is closed, they offer tapas and specialty drinks on their patio too.
The Red Rabbit at 64 Wellington boasts a covered streetside patio where you can enjoy food from their sister restaurants across the street, snacks and cocktails from Avec, or order off their current specialty menu called â€˜Rediteranian Cruiseâ€™ featuring dishes from Spain, Morocco, Greece, Turkey and more!
The Bru Garden, or Kenâ€™s Bru Garden at 156 Waterloo Street is the latest pop-up from the owners of Kenâ€™s French Fries, The Alley, Braai House, and Little Green Grocer. This garden was recently implemented with later hours on the weekends, ambient lighting, picnic tables and two take-out windows to order from. Food such as piri piri chicken sandwiches, burgers, specialty fries and ice-cold drinks are all available for you here and bonus, it is 100% plastic free!
Braai House at 31 Brunswick Street is also the home to the temporarily closed Alley (formerly Keystone Alley). This South African inspired restaurant offers not one but three covered patios! Focusing on open-fire cooking, they offer everything from piri piri chicken, cauliflower wings, pizzas, traditional South African fare and extremely creative desserts. Given the ample space they offer, you wonâ€™t be needing a reservation.
Revival House at 70 Brunswick Street has a lovely, covered patio set in their beautiful gardens. Often there will be live music playing so you can sit back, relax and enjoy their popular brunch, lunch or dinner items. They have recently implemented pizzas to their menu and offer seasonal, house made ingredients in all their food. Reservations are highly recommended.
This just touches on the number of covered patios offered in Stratford where you can get some relief from the sun or rain and enjoy the outdoors. There are many others scattered throughout the city which are worth seeking out. Having these culinary gems in our backyard is something we should all be taking advantage of. Hopefully this serves as a useful guide to get your adventure started!