After a long winter of lockdown, it’s feeling pretty magical to be emerging from the confines of our homes to enjoy food and drink under the summer sun on restaurant patios. One Toronto restaurant group is taking this enchanting experience to the next level with an outdoor dining experience set at the foot of Toronto’s own fairytale castle.
The Gardens at Casa Loma is a new outdoor dining experience from Liberty Entertainment Group (who also run the castle’s other onsite restaurants). The new dining space is set amid the castle’s stunning gardens, offering sweeping views of the Toronto skyline and the historic castle itself.
“The beauty is: while you’re on the patio, you’re in the lower gardens with a backdrop of the castle so you see the exterior of the castle and then we have a beautiful view of the city as well,” says Nick DiDonato, president and CEO of Liberty Group. He says the space also features some tented areas to accommodate diners on rainy days.
Although the gardens have been used as a wedding venue in the past, this new project represents the first time they’ve been opened to the public as a dining venue. Working out of a pop-up kitchen in the gardens, Liberty Entertainment’s culinary team has created what DiDonato describes as a “global” menu.
The approachable menu spans from Mediterranean-influenced appetizers like grilled octopus and chips and dips platter with hummus and tzatziki; to classic mains like steak frites and lobster ravioli. The Gardens at Casa Loma also offers a sizeable selection of wines by the glass and bottle, cocktails and easy-drinking beers. “It gives people an opportunity to get outside, experience some wonderful dining and experience one of Canada’s most iconic historical sites,” says DiDonato.
The Gardens are currently expected to remain open until early September. Bookings can be made online.
“We’re really pleased with the response we’ve been getting. Our first three weeks were sold out every night of the week,” says DiDonato. “We’re thinking, ‘we should have done this years ago.’ You look at the pandemic and the things that have happened in the past year and it’s a learning curve. You learn and do a lot of things you may never have [otherwise] done.”