Canada’s 10 Best Places To Dine and Drink Al Fresco
Across this great nation of ours, we all have one thing in common: we never pass up the opportunity indulge in a bit of sunshine when we are lucky enough to get it. Here are our top spots to bask in the sun, cocktail in hand, from coast to coast.
Seasons in the Park – Vancouver, BC
This charming restaurant is located within Queen Elizabeth Park, which happens to be the highest point in Vancouver. As such, it offers unsurpassed vistas of the Vancouver skyline, the ocean, North Shore Mountains and the park itself. Take a scenic drive through Stanley Park or walk the seawall to its most western point to reach the glass-wrapped restaurant’s unique location. Arrive at dusk to watch the sun setting over the city and stay for dinner while watching the lights illuminate the skyline. Seasons in the Park serves lunch and dinner as well as brunch on weekends, all offering fresh, regional dining options.
(Photo: Courtesy of Seasons in the Park)
Terrasse Place d’Armes – Montreal, Quebec
Located on the roof of swank Hotel Place d’Armes, Terrasse Place d’Armes is the spot in Old Montreal to delight in some rays while enjoying some sips and nibbles during the summer months. Enjoy a sunny lunch while gazing upon the beauty that is Basilique Notre-Dame just across the way, or enjoy one of their famous raspberry mojitos while admiring a fiery sunset behind Mont-Royal. Since Terrasse Place d’Armes is divided into two sections, you also have the option of reserving the smaller terrace for you and 40 of your closest friends.
(Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Place d’Armes)
The Roof Lounge – Toronto, Ontario
Situated on the 18th floor of Yorkville’s luxe Park Hyatt Hotel, the sophisticated Roof Lounge is the ideal spot to grab a cocktail and take in the incredible views of the Toronto skyline, from the Royal Ontario Museum just below all the way to the CN Tower. The outdoor terrace is open from noon until midnight, but dusk is when you’ll want to be there to watch the sunset and indulge in a plate of their famous feta and oregano fries. Joe Gomes, the Roof Lounge’s 54-year veteran bartender, will likely be there to welcome and amuse you with stories of eras gone by, all while making you one of his memorable martinis.
(Photo: Courtesy of the Park Hyatt Toronto)
Sooke Harbour House – Sooke, British Columbia
It’s not for nothing that this luxurious ocean-front resort has been voted one of Canada’s most spectacular venues. Located right on the beach, just 45 minutes from Victoria, B.C., Sooke Harbour House offers breathtaking vistas with a definite West Coast vibe. The ocean, Olympic Mountains and organic herb, flower and vegetable gardens all make for stunning views from this unique spot for local, seafood-centric cuisine. Plus, they’re all about conserving the environment. Non-toxic cleaning products, a composting program and a water conservation system are all part of the sustainable environmental practices brought about by the current inn owners.
(Photo: Courtesy of Sooke Harbour House)
Hovey Manor – North Hatley, Quebec
Located in the Eastern Townships, one of Quebec’s most beautiful regions, this 5-star Relais et Châteaux New England-style hotel offers grand and tranquil vistas of Lake Massawippi from its water-front patio. At any time of day or night, Hovey Manor‘s luxurious garden, with its panoramic views of the lake, invite you to linger and relax. Afternoon tea on the lawn, a sophisticated outdoor lunch with a view or drinks around the pool at dusk are all sufficient reasons to want to stay a little longer. The internationally renowned Le Hatley restaurant, known for its innovative Quebecois cuisine, is the perfect place to enjoy a romantic tête-à-tête meal while watching the sun descend into the lake.
(Photo: Courtesy of Hovey Manor)
Raw Bar at Hotel Arts – Calgary, Alberta
South Beach-inspired décor and a poolside patio make Raw Bar one of the best and most unique spots for outdoor dining in Calgary. Head to this locale to spend the afternoon basking in the sun poolside while indulging in one of their signature cocktails like the Derelict, a concoction of vodka, homemade plum and clove jelly and lychee liqueur. The seasonal cocktail menu changes often, created by their in-house award-winning master mixologists. The weekend crowd can swing to the sound of local DJs while enjoying some of Raw Bar’s inventive Asian-influenced cuisine, which includes favourites like pad thai, chili braised short ribs and fresh sashimi.
(Photo: Courtesy of Raw Bar)
The Thompson Hotel Rooftop Lounge – Toronto, Ontario
The chic Thompson Hotel Rooftop Lounge offers unparalleled 360-degree views of Toronto and Lake Ontario. Enjoy a refreshing poolside drink on warm, sunny days while dipping in the stunning infinity pool and gazing out at the skyline. On summer evenings, you can find Toronto’s trendy set in the poolside cabanas, drinking creative cocktails and munching on one of their charcuterie & cheese platters.
(Photo: Courtesy of The Thompson Hotel)
Espace Lafontaine – Montreal, Quebec
What could be more charming than enjoying a chilled glass of local rosé or a light meal right in the middle of one of Montreal’s most beautiful green spaces? This iconic Plateau park has been serving bistro fare with a side of unencumbered greenery for the past couple of years. Bring the whole family, sit in the shade of a breezy poplar tree and enjoy their scrumptious brunch on a sunny weekend morning. Or enjoy a romantic evening meal with your better half while delighting in their much-talked-about smoked salmon or beef tartare. One thing to keep in mind? Espace Lafontaine moves to the beat of the sun and closes every evening at nightfall.
(Photo: Courtesy of Espace Lafontaine)
Lift Bar and Grill – Vancouver, BC
Sitting at Vancouver’s Lift Bar and Grill is like sitting on a huge docked ship, with outstanding views of the marina, its slow-moving boats, the North Shore Mountains and Stanley Park. The space is divided into several floors and venues, including a couple of outdoor patios, a bar and the main, glazed-in dining room. The outdoor spaces are equipped with fire pits to compensate for Vancouver’s cranky weather, and to help you enjoy the evening while sipping on a yummy cocktail, no matter what the mercury indicates. The west coast contemporary lunch, brunch and dinner menu changes often and is handed to you on a nifty iPad for easy browsing.
(Photo: Courtesy of Lift Bar and Grill)
The Panorama Restaurant – Banff, Alberta
Ever had a drink at 2,281 metres (7,486 feet) above sea level? Sitting down at The Panorama Restaurant at the Banff Gondola complex allows you to do exactly that, with breathtaking views of the Canadian Rockies as an added bonus. The 200-seat restaurant perched on Banff’s summit serves lunch and dinner throughout the summer months, running from June to September. On Saturday evenings, the Alpine Lights events let you enjoy a beautiful sunset along with a full Alberta prime rib dinner. What’s not to love?
(Photo: Courtesy of Banff Dining Guide)