In the oft unforgiving world of Toronto restaurants, having a patio can make or break a new locale. Because after six months of icy sleet and sludge, who wants to sit indoors in July?
So it’s easy to understand why Michael Dabic, the eponymous owner of Michael’s on Simcoe and former GM at Harbour Sixty, was delighted when, after two years of lobbying, city hall finally approved his request for a quaint sidewalk oasis.
Sitting outside on a balmy June afternoon, Michael soaks in his creation: green ivy snakes up the red brick wall, orchids float in glass pools, and a black Tucci umbrella offers cool reprieve from the relentless sun. A waiter in a crisp white shirt breezes past with a tray of raspberry mojitos.
“It was a labour of love,” Dabic recalls. “We’re just happy to have a patio. It’s a precious commodity in this city.”
The patio just opened up this summer, and the owner certainly spared no expense. Each German-designed chair cost $3,000. The space seats up to 30.
“It was expensive, well over $100,000,” Dabic says, estimating the umbrellas at $30,000 altogether.
The move was undoubtedly worth it, especially for TIFF-goers. The roomy street-side terrace offers a front-row seat to star gazing; Soho House and the Shangri-La Hotel — veritable headquarters last year for Kiera Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jake Gyllenhaal — are just across the road.
“It’s like Yorkville on a very good day. I don’t think you can beat it,” Dabic says.
Which is not to say that Michael’s on Simcoe doesn’t have it’s own share of solid TIFF soirees. Last year it hosted Academy Award winners Julianne Moore (for her Oscar-winning Still Alice) and Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton (5 Flights Up).
Star power aside, the contemporary downtown steakhouse offers an extensive wine list, summer-worthy cocktails and authentic Italian dishes such as the ever-popular carpaccio di mazo, drizzled with fresh lemon truffle dressing. The true knock-outs are undoubtedly their steaks, including top-quality local Canadian cuts and luxe Japanese Kobe.
The best part? They take reservations — even for the patio, which stays open until 2 a.m. every night.
Are you excited for the new Michael’s on Simcoe patio? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.
This post is sponsored by Michael’s On Simcoe.