CLOSED: El Patio (Toronto)

The space at the back of El Caballito has transformed into El Patio, a bright cheery outdoor bar with tons of tables and seats. Sure, the surrounding buildings and dumpsters detracts from atmosphere but with the large floral mural, gorgeous rattan light fixtures and spacious bar & out door kitchen flanking the other sides, the imperfections soon blend into the background.

#Parv and I attended a pre-opening event as part of an Amex Front-of-the-Line deal: $100 afforded us six drinks, ten small bites and chips & dips (in hindsight not really a bargain but did allow for a first look at El Patio before one too many margaritas have been spilt). Plus, the cheerful sombreros looked brand new and may have been used for one too many pictures. 

The Mezcal mule ($9.50 or $48 for a pitcher) continues the ginger beer cocktail trend. Slightly sweet, fizzy with a touch of lime, the cocktail made with Mezcal (an agave distilled spirit) was refreshing; nice summertime choice. 

A tower of salsas (the tangy green tomatillo one my favourite) and pail of chips arrived soon after, followed by a plate of simply adorned guacamole. Given the tortilla chips were heavily salted, I'm glad El Patio left the dips relatively neutral. However, the non-spicy salsas' delicate flavours were somewhat overpowered by the chip: a bit more cilantro could help.                   


Rather than ordering off a menu, the food circulated as passed bites in exchange for food tickets. For some, like the spoon of juicy, salty, tender ceviche, it worked as the dish lent itself to sitting around.

But, for the hot items, unless you sat in front of the trailer kitchen, they often arrived lukewarm. The mushroom taco's shell turned cold and hard. Or the arancini, which is best piping hot to enjoy the creamy risotto and crispy exterior in perfect harmony.   

Generally, their food was heavily salted. The pickled cactus tacos, for example, was already salty with it's crispy shell, strong pickled cactus but then further topped with cotija cheese. But then, it's likely a brilliant entrepreneurial move as salty food calls for more drinks. 

In the end, I'd leave the food to Los Colibris, which is conveniently located on the second floor. But, to enjoy the outdoors before (or after) dinner, El Patio is a small hidden oasis.  

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 220 King Street West

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