Summer is here and we have all been let loose into the wild, finally able to head to the nearest patio to get our fill of the summer sun (and summer beer, cider, and cocktails!). With countless sparkling lakes and rolling rivers in Ontario’s Highlands, it’s hard to beat a waterfront patio where you can enjoy good company, a pint of the local brew, and a hearty meal with the calming ambient sounds of the water below.
Remember that many of the restaurants on this list are so excited to serve you again this summer, but may be a little rusty after being closed for so long so be patient! Share the love this summer (and who can be even a wee bit negative while sitting on a patio)?
Get your sunscreen on, dust off the sunglasses, and savour some of the best waterfront patios in Eastern Ontario.
The ambience at a riverside restaurant or bar is a distinct one. Add to the experience the sounds of the river flowing nearby and you’ve got yourself a soothing soundtrack to an unforgettable meal.
- Pair up spicy Thai cuisine with small town vibes on the garden patio out front of Suwan’s Thai Cuisine in Minden, which includes views of the Gull River.
- The Rio Tap and Grill (where the wings come highly recommended) has a patio that hangs high over the Bonnechere River in Eganville.
- In Lanark County you can take your pick from many riverside restaurants on multiple rivers, but be sure to check out the Lockmaster's Taphouse & Patio's view of the Rideau River in Smiths Falls, Boulton House's huge waterside patio along the Mississippi River in Carleton Place, or Loom Bistro's cozy patio in the Riverside Inn, Almonte.
The carefree vibes of summer make this a season for socializing. Get a couple of friends together and park yourselves on a patio to safely soak up the sun, enjoy an ice-cold drink, and some shared snacks.
- Boshkung Social is the second location of Haliburton’s own Boshkung Brewing Co. with a lively patio overlooking the Gull River in Minden.
- On the other side of Ontario’s Highlands, cottage country watering hole CC’s on the Rideau is another optimal social gathering spot where you can listen to live music and watch the boats meander by on the Rideau Canal.
- Rhubarb Restaurant in Haliburton overlooks the small but pretty Mirror Lake and can be your go-to for good friends and good food, at the same time.
- Calabogie Brewing Co's waterfront seating area along the Madawaska River is the cream of the crop when it comes to peaceful patios.
Cozy Inns and Rustic Lodges
So many resorts and inns in Ontario’s Highlands make dinner and drinks easy with their onsite restaurants. Once we are able, plan to stay overnight so the whole crew can kick back and imbibe.
- Bonnie View Inn boasts Daisy’s Dockside Patio – named after their resident potbelly pig – a chill spot to relax with a pint or two.
- Another Haliburton fixture is the adults-only resort Sir Sam’s Inn, serving up gourmet meals, fine wines, and unbeatable views of Eagle Lake.
- Grab take-out and watch the sunset over the lake from one of the waterside tables at Sands on Golden Lake.
- Get a taste of the real Canadian wilderness (and meat fresh out of the smoker) at Spectacle Lake Lodge’s Lakeside Smokehouse on their gigantic outdoor patio overlooking Spectacle Lake.
- Stop in for a meal on the Madawaska River at locals’ favourite, the Ash Grove Inn on Kamaniskeg Lake.
- Have a bite at Loom Bistro in the Riverside Inn in Almonte. The view of the mighty Mississippi River is unbeatable.